The Town that Lost its Name: The Impact of Hydro Electric Development on Grand Rapids, Manitoba

Manitoba Research Alliance on CED in the New Economy,

Author +
Peter Kulchyski and Ramona Neckoway, with the assistance of Gerald McKay and Robert Buck

Year: 2005

This report details the ways in which the development of a hydro-electric project in Grand Rapids divided people living there into the First Nation, the “town” and a “hydro community” made up of Manitoba Hydro workers and their families. The report explores the disastrous effects of this development on Aboriginal lifeways, including restrictions on their land use, subsistence activities, and the destruction of their community, social ties and self-esteem. The report illustrates the inhumane economic and social disparity between the lives of inhabitants of Grand Rapids town and First Nation (both inhabited primarily by people of Aboriginal and Métis ancestry) and those of the Manitoba Hydro workers. The report concludes with suggestions for government on how to rectify the situation of inequality, demoralization and lack of opportunity that Manitoba Hydro has created for people living in Grand Rapids, as well as suggestions for how they can ensure that compensation is stable, appropriate, and provides a means for these communities to rebuild their lives and communities.

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