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4-17-00

Dear Cree sympathizers:

Perhaps you have seen today's article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about Saturday's conference on environmental justice and energy policy where Chief John Miswaggon spoke of his agony and the suffering of his people from Manitoba Hydro. When he told us that the hardest part of his job as Chief is going to officially identify the bodies of suicides and cut down the bodies of people who have hung themselves, he stifled a sob. After his speech, I closed my eyes and prayed, "Oh, God! Cutting down your friends and relatives out of the trees and houses! Help me to act to stop this horror! I am responsible and I will take responsible action! Help me."

I am responsible. I pay my NSP bills on time. I am an NSP shareholder. I have gone to shareholder meetings to protest NSP's insanely destructive policies. I have met, phoned, and written to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, imploring those white men to deny NSP the right to buy more power from Manitoba Hydro. But those white men told me that they, and the rest of Minnesota, have no choice. Those men told me that they are quite ready to grant NSP another contract with Manitoba Hydro, even though there are other suppliers of energy. The Commissioners want Manitoba Hydro's power and they very well might approve its importation into our homes if we don't figure out a way to stop them. In the name of God, please help me, folks. I can't do it alone. In the name of Councillors Kenny Miswaggon and Nelson Miller, help me. In the name of William Thomas, whom I met at the conference, a Cree from the impoverished Nelson House community, a neighbor to Cross Lake, help me. You and I are the consumers that the Commissioners claim must be served by choosing the lowest cost, reliable energy--and the Commissioners will choose Manitoba Hydro for us because all the "evidence" the Commissioners have received "proves" that Manitoba's hydro-electricity is the best choice.

Help me, please. Phone, e-mail, whatever you can think of or do. I need your help to take responsibility and use my whiteness, my education, my citizenship, my money, my compassion, my presence.

I've reserved space in my Quaker Meetinghouse on Tuesday night, May 2, for people to meet with me and pray and strategize how we can act to stop the hydro-electric holocaust. We can meet there from 7:00 until 9:00. But don't wait til then if you have a way to contribute to this mission. Take action. Let me know your ideas; they might be ones I should follow, too. I will share them, with your permission, because others may expand your offering just as happened with Jesus's miracle with the loaves and fishes.

For environmental justice,

Diane J. Peterson
Member, Peace and Social Action Committee
Twin Cities Friends Meeting
St. Paul, Minnesota
(651) 653-4385
birch7@goldengate.net