“In the way that people would be displaced by not just the oil sands or the way they’re being developed… But when you see that development happening, when you see that they’re talking about starting up new mining developments in the far North right now and people will probably be uprooted or moved a little bit.
People from Attawapiskat – they’re talking about moving them certainly away from the flooding. And, yeah, it does seem like they should be moved away a little bit from where they are but on the other… they also have their ancestors buried there.
It all sort of ties in together with the way that we can move people, the way we should take other… not just pick up and leave, but have people move in… using a, oh, what can I say? A sense of… Leaving them with a sense of dignity, at least. And a sense of still being able to revisit or making sure that they belong where they’re going.
I think one of the fears is of having to move away and moving away from your friends. Things won’t be the same as they were before. And of course they won’t be. But there needs to be a little bit of a sense of some things can be very similar or some things can work well.
But also there needs to be a reason for it to happen and a reason that affords people a better opportunity than what they have now.”
John McIntyre, Interview Audio Excerpts, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 22, 2013
When you see development happening today. People being moved. They have their ancestors buried there. Have people move, leaving them with a sense of dignity.
Remembers where we parked the car and went on the dike. Everybody was so disappointed by the lack of a wall of water following the explosion of the cofferdam.
As a boy I tobaganned down the dike. It was just something for me to play on. In Cornwall there was a sense of malaise, people didn’t seem quite happy.
What can we learn from this for development projects today. There is lessons to be learned. Take the time and have the political will to do it.
Video Excerpt: John McIntyre, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 22, 2013
In this video John McIntyre once of Mille Roches relates what happened when people were moved for the Seaway with people being moved for oil sands development, other mining and the situation in Attawapiskat. He discusses the need to treat people with a sense of dignity even if the move is necessary.
Without knowing the history of the lost villages many have little awareness of the trauma people experienced with their dislocation. Whatever the rationale an authority has for displacing people - whether or not they are willing - it should be incumbent on them to treat people fairly and with respect. Just pretending that people were not harmed and ignoring what occurred only serves to reinforce the trauma.
John McIntyre grew up in Mille Roches, Ontario.
He now lives in Long Sault, Ontario.