Mi’kma’ki: Visit to Northern Pulp Mill

On the weekend of May 23rd-25th, 2014, I found myself in Mi’kma’ki in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia for a Defenders of the Land and Idle No More gathering. I wasn’t really sure what to expect or who I’d meet but I went with an open heart and an open mind. During that weekend, I met dozens of people with an unwavering love and respect for the lands that birthed their peoples. There were elders who had been fighting to protect their lands, waters, and cultural ways of being for longer than I’ve walked this earth. Then there were young people, like me, just entering the struggle and trying to navigate our way through these difficult waters. I often found myself moved to tears as I listened to the stories in the room but I also found hope. You see, I encountered a type of dignity and love that cannot be compromised; dignity and love that will fuel this fight right to the very end.

On my last evening in Mi’ma’ki, I was given a tour of the Northern Pulp Mill by Jonathan Beadle, Mi’kmaq from Pictou Landing, and Miles Howe, a freelance journalist and Nova Scotia resident. The experience left me feeling sick and deeply troubled and hurt by what I saw. My head ached for hours afterwards and my lungs burned from breathing the air. I literally felt like I had been poisoned.

Less than three weeks later, there was a major spill at the mill. An unknown amount of untreated raw effluent spilled directly into Pictou Harbour which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Here is a video document of the experience:

Northern Pulp Mill

Click image for link

Here are some links to media coverage of the recent spill:

http://www.idlenomore.ca/pictou_landing_erects_blockade

http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/blog/miles-howe/30946

For more information on the Northern Pulp Mill and those affected by it, visit:

http://cleanthemill.com/