Labrador elder, 96, violates injunction for having picture taken at Muskrat Falls hydro project

Dorothy Michelin just wanted her picture taken.

(Dorothy Michelin, 96, wanted her picture taken at the gates of the Muskrat Falls hydro project Saturday. Submitted/Mike Hynes photo)

Trina Roache
APTN National News
A 96-year-old Labrador woman is the latest person to be served for violating a court injunction at Muskrat Falls.

On Saturday, Dorothy Michelin joined a group of about 50 land protectors at their camp outside the gates of Nalcor Energy’s controversial hydroelectric project.

Michelin is the elder in a large family in Labrador that has traditional traplines underwater in the reservoir area now flooded by Nalcor.

Dorothy Michelin speaking to an RCMP officer Saturday. Submitted photo.
Dorothy Michelin speaking to an RCMP officer Saturday. Submitted/ Mke Hynes photo.

Photographer Mike Hynes was there covering what he describes as a “peaceful” protest when Michelin showed up. She wanted her picture taken by the gate and she shook hands with the RCMP officers. Hynes said everyone, including police officers, was friendly. Michelin stayed for about an hour and then left.

Because of that picture, her name is now on a list of 25 others added to a court injunction obtained by the provincial corporation Nalcor in October. The injunction orders people not to block the entrance of the site.

“While most protesters have obeyed the injunction, certain individuals have continued to create an unsafe situation for themselves and others by preventing free access to and from the project site,” said a spokeperson for Nalcor.

Hynes was surprised to find his name also on that list, though he was only at Muskrat Falls in a professional capacity. He wasn’t aware he had violated the court injunction. He said at no time did police tell him to move or steer him away from the road while he was snapping pictures. He hasn’t been served yet.

Also named on the expanded court injunction is Billy Gauthier.

The Inuk artist went on a hunger strike for nearly two weeks, travelling to Ottawa to gain national attention over the concerns that the Muskrat Falls dam will create methylmercury and contaminate traditional foods sources downstream.

Land protectors had protested for weeks in October. After the three Indigenous leaders reached a deal with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball, the protests had dwindled for a period of time.

But many still have concerns about the project. Throughout November, land protectors have continued to hold vigils at Muskrat Falls, at times slowing traffic entering the site.

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Video Journalist

Trina Roache brings 18 years of journalistic experience to APTN Investigates. A member of the Glooscap First Nation in unceded Mi’kmaw territory, Trina has covered Indigenous issues from politics to land protection, treaty rights and more. In 2014, Trina won the Journalists for Human Rights/CAJ award for her series on Jordan’s Principle. She was nominated again in 2017 for a series on healthcare issues in the remote Labrador community of Black Tickle. Trina’s favorite placed is behind the camera, and is honoured when the people living the story, trust her to tell it.