In November of 2017, Chief Edward Page of the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe whose territory encompasses present-day Tiverton, RI and parts of Southeastern, MA wrote a letter to Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts detailing the tribe’s concern with Baker’s plan to import electricity from Canadian hydro sources. Chief Page voices great concerns regarding the suffering that the Pessamit Innu First Nation, an Indigenous Tribe in Northern Quebec has faced at the hands of Hydro-Quebec, the provincially owned Canadian utility company providing this power. As Chief Page details, the dams that will be supplying Massachusetts with this energy have caused irreparable harm to Indigenous communities by disrupting their food webs and threatening their very way of life.
The Northern Pass, a proposed 192 mile transmission line from Canada through Northern New Hampshire was at the heart of this issue. This line was scheduled to bring thousands of megawatts of dirty Canadian hydropower from Quebec into Massachusetts. Since this letter was written by Chief Page, the Northern Pass has been knocked down by New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee and the New Hampshire Supreme Court; however, this issue is still very much alive. The Northern Pass has taken a new name and route and is now known as the CMP Corridor or the New England Clean Energy Connect. As planned, this new transmission corridor will run through miles of pristine forests, ponds, vernal pools, and other ecosystems in Maine. The proposed 145 mile route will bring more dirty energy from Quebec to Massachusetts. This energy is not clean and is affecting the lives of Indigenous communities such as the Pessamit Innu each and every day. On November 28th, the North American Megadam Resistance Alliance will be bringing community representatives from Canada to the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, MA to speak about this issue.