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New York Public Radio Looks at Environmental Cost and Cultural Impact of Rupert River Diversion

by admin ~ November 10th, 2007

North Country Public Radio (Canton, NY) aired a radio series this week titled “Hydro Power in Cree Country.” The six part series includes interviews with Nemaska Chief Jose Jemekin, Hydro Quebec and Sierra Club representatives, audio postcard from Wakwayokastic River, 1992 interview with Ogdensburg librarian Nicholas Smith, news story about high power transmissions lines in northern New York State, and more. You can hear all of the episodes on the NCPR website, or in the following links. Many thanks to the Rupert River Film Expedition for bringing this to my attention.

Series: Hydro Power in Cree Country

Beginning today, North Country Public Radio will air a series of special reports about a part of the world that feels very remote: the Cree Indian territory in northern Canada.

Back in the 1990s, New York’s then-governor, Mario Cuomo, canceled a $15 billion deal to buy hydroelectric power from Quebec. That move effectively killed a project that would have built a network of dams and reservoirs along the Great Whale River, near James Bay. That was a victory for the Cree and for their allies in the environmental community. But now Hydro-Quebec is moving forward with a new project that will uproot and rechannel another northern river. Supporters say it’s an engineering feat that rivals the Trans-Alaska pipeline, one that will supply cheap, carbon-free electricity to consumers in New York state and Vermont. As Brian Mann reports, the Rupert River is sacred to the Cree who live nearby.

Episode 1): “Electricity bound for NY, VT comes at a cost for the Cree.” Report by Brian Mann. 7:00 min.


Episode 2): “Wild trout on the Wakwayokastic” (audio postcard from fishing guide Brian McDonnell on the Wakwayokastic River near the Cree village of Moose Factory). 1:37 min.


Episode 3): “Archive 1992: looking back over 20 years with the Cree” (an interview with Ogdensburg librarian Nicholas Smith on his 20 years of experience visiting James Bay and the Cree). Audio file is incomplete. Interview by Martha Foley. 11:35 min.


Episode 4): NY pushes back against federal power corridor (news story on the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor). Report by Martha Foley. 3:00 min.


Episode 5): In one life journey, the modern history of the Cree (Thomas Jolly speaking about life on the trapline, residential schools, and the importance of land based knowledge). Told to Brian Mann. 3:30 min.


Episode 6): For SLU outdoor team, a decade-long journey north (audio diary about an outdoor wilderness program and the James Bay Canoe Expedition). Produced by Brian Mann. 6:00 min.


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