FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2016
The Lecturers’ Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland Votes in Solidarity with #MakeMuskratRight Campaign
ST. JOHN’S, NL – In advance of Tuesday’s meeting between Premier Dwight Ball and the representatives from the Innu Nation, the Nunatsiavut Government, and the NunatuKavut Community Council, the executive of the Lecturers’ Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland (LUMUN), on behalf of its membership, have voted unanimously to support a motion in solidarity with the communities and indigenous peoples in Labrador who are campaigning to #MakeMuskratRight.
As such, LUMUN supports its appeal that government:
1. Fully clear the future Muskrat Falls reservoir area of vegetation and soil before flooding to reduce methylmercury flowing downstream into Inuit territory.
2. Negotiate an Impact Management Agreement with the Nunatsiavut Government before Muskrat Falls’ flooding and damaging downstream impacts occur.
3. Establish an independent Expert Advisory Committee of recognized academic experts to advise on the design of, and audit, a rigorous, credible, and predictive monitoring program for downstream impacts of Muskrat Falls, using the best available knowledge.
4. Grant Inuit joint decision-making authority over downstream environmental monitoring and management of Muskrat Falls.
Elise Thorburn, executive member of LUMUN, comments on the situation: “We echo the concerns of the Memorial University Faculty Association (MUNFA) that faculty members have a duty to uphold Memorial University’s special obligation to the people of this province, as stated in the University’s vision statement.” She also added: “We see first-hand in our classrooms the wisdom that these students attain from their relationship to land and culture. As low-waged workers we also know the anxiety can come from food scarcity, and we support the right of Indigenous people to be food sovereign through access to country foods. Poisoning the food supply – fish, vegetation, and other marine life – is an unacceptable cost for hydroelectricity. As educators, we understand the vital necessity of passing on knowledge. Access to land is access to culture, and we affirm the right of the peoples of Labrador to pass on traditional knowledge and cultural practices through their relationship with their land.
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LUMUN is following in the footsteps of their colleague; MUNFA and the Memorial Students’ Union (MUNSU), who have already pledged their support for the campaign. Other allies, such as the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), the Public Action Network on the Status of Women and Amnesty International, have also pledged their support for the campaign.
Information and interviews:
Elise Thorburn, Executive Member, LUMUN
416.912.6286 | firstname.lastname@example.org