Tensions around the renovation of the chapel of Uashat

We have asked for an engineer’s evaluation to find out how much work we can do to keep the building recognized as heritageexplains Kenny Régis, an adviser.

He assures that the council has been trying for a while to stop its work, the amount of which amounts to $500,000.

They were led by the former vice-chief and candidate for the leadership this summer, Antoine Grégoire. The latter indicates that he has been involved in the project since the beginning and that the band council owes him hours of work.

This work was undertaken in May.

Renovation work began in the spring of 2022.

Photo: Antoine Gregoire

Abandoned for twenty years, the chapel was to benefit from work to solidify the foundations in particular. Hydro-Québec even participates in the financing.

According to what we know, the decision to interrupt the works was taken by the council for internal reasons in the community, but the objective remains to complete them as soon as possible.says Francis Labbé, spokesperson for Hydro-Québec.

Mr. Grégoire does not understand the council’s decision to stop these renovations.

Antoine Grégoire wears a cap.

Antoine Grégoire was vice-chief and presented as the one who piloted the file of the chapel.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Felix Lebel

He also accuses the council of not having paid him the equivalent of 220 hours of work. $ puis plus rien. Ils voulaient me payer 35$ de l’heure, moi je demandais 50″,”text”:”Ils m’ont donné une avance de 3000$ puis plus rien. Ils voulaient me payer 35$ de l’heure, moi je demandais 50″}}”>They gave me a $3000 advance and then nothing. They wanted to pay me $35 an hour, I was asking for $50he says, recalling that he holds a diploma in carpentry-joinery, that he has 25,000 hours registered with the Commission de la construction du Québec and that he is a journeyman.

The former vice-chief suspects the council and in particular the re-elected chief, Mike McKenzie, of reprisals against him.

Indeed, Mr. Grégoire is challenging the community’s last elections before the federal court.

It’s just to make me miserablehe lets go.

Asked if this is a possible reprisal, Councilor Kenny Régis replies: no way.

A chapel and a cemetery.

Hydro-Québec is financing half of this renovation project.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Daniel Fontaine

Regarding the hours that would not have been paid to Mr. Grégoire, he replies: it’s administrative, I can’t answer. But Antoine Grégoire invented a position for himself, he proclaimed himself head of works.

In addition, three other Innu who work on the site were warned that Friday would be their last day. One of them strongly complained about it on social networks, accusing the band council of putting Innu out of work.

Petition launched

The decision to suspend work upsets many Innu. A petition (New window) was launched to request their resumption.

A person is carrying out renovation work on the plancier of the chapel.

A total of four people worked on the renovation of the chapel.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Felix Lebel

In 10 minutes, she had already collected 50 signatures and has almost 100 at the time of publishing these lines.

It is explained there that the signatories request that the works continue immediately, as this is detrimental to the advancement of the transmission of our cultural heritage and our history.

We don’t understand ITUM’s decision [le conseil de bande de Uashat mak Mani-utenam, NDRL] to want to stop for a time this beautiful project which will highlight our Innu heritagecan we still read.

Denise Jourdain is in a cemetery.

Denise Jourdain wants work to resume and has launched a petition.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Felix Lebel

The petition was launched by Denise Jourdain who is particularly keen on the restoration of this chapel. At one time, when authorities tried to remove the religious ornaments, women from the community, including Denise Jourdain’s great-grandmother, barricaded themselves in the building to protect it.

It must be said that the building has a special place in the hearts of the Innu.

Our nomadic elders went there before returning to the territory. It has a great historical value, you can feel all the prayers that were made thereadds Antoine Grégoire.

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