Horizon Wind Inc.’s plans for a wind farm atop the Nor’Wester Mountain Range in Ojibwe traditional territory are under fire from opponents who fear the development will violate sacred places and endanger the environment.
The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee will hold a rally on Wednesday May 29 to voice concerns over the Big Thunder Wind Park, followed by a barbecue to raise money for legal fees to combat the project.
“Many people feel the industrial development will infringe on their way of life and it could affect tax payers in many ways,” the group Save the Nor’Westers says on its website. “But most of all, the natural biodiversity in the sacred lands will be irrevocably damaged by clear cutting and blasting areas of the mountain to install wind turbines.”
Known as the Anemki Mountain Range to the Ojibwe who have lived and worshiped here for thousands of years, the mountain range just outside the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, has been under siege as Horizon Wind Inc. seeks to develop the area. Thunder Bay owns the land on which the company plans to build.
“The Nor’Wester Mountains have been home to Ojibwe for thousands of years. Ojibwe used the Nor’Wester Mountains as a passage way and encampment between what is now Thunder Bay and the Pigeon River Border,” the protection committee said in a statement announcing today’s rally. “The Ojibwe have always considered the Nor’Wester Mountain range as a sacred place.”
The project involves installing 16 wind turbines southwest of Mount McKay, an iconic landmark and ceremonial site and the highest peak in the Nor’Wester range. It lies within the reserve of Fort William First Nation, whose lands adjoins the 17,000 acres that the wind farm would consume. First Nations people say that the initial phase of the project alone would cut through a moose migration area and require clear-cutting of numerous trees, they said at a hearing back in 2011, according to the Wawatay News.
“All peoples are welcomed and invited” to the rally and barbecue, the protection committee’s statement said. For more information on the gathering, see the group’s statement posted at NetNewsLedger.com.