· Keepers of the Water Declaration 2006
· One Land, One People: Keepers of the Water Declaration, Fort Nelson 2012
· Keepers of the Water IV Resolutions
The Keepers of the Water movement was born during the first Keepers of the Water Gathering in Liidlii Kui, Denendeh/Fort Simpson, NWT, held on September 7, 2006. This Gathering was called because the people of the northern Mackenzie River Basin were becoming alarmed with reports of increased turbidity and toxicity, and decreased volume of water in their watershed. What was happening to the water and the ecosystems that relied upon it? Meeting on the shores of the great Deh Cho (Mackenzie River), a gathering of Elders from the north created the Keepers of the Water Declaration:
Water is a sacred gift, an essential element that sustains and connects all life. It is not a commodity to be bought or sold. All people share an obligation to cooperate to ensure that water in all of its forms is protected and conserved with regard to the needs of all living things today and for future generations tomorrow.In August 2007, Elders gathered once again in Thebacha, Denendeh/Fort Smith, NWT, and drafted a series of resolutions to further support the Keepers of the Water.
- Keepers of the Water Declaration, Sept. 7th, 2006
We, the Indigenous peoples of the Mackenzie River Basin and all the peoples of the Basin, from south to north, have gathered in Thebacha, Denendeh (Ft. Smith, NWT) for Tu Beta Ts'ena, the "Water is Life" Conference, held from August 20th-23rd, 2007 to express our concerns about the quality and quantity of our waters: the lifeline of all beings.These Elders' resolutions were further refined during the September 2007 Keepers of the Water II: Keeping the Peace conference, to reflect the growing voice of Elders throughout the Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin.
- Elders Resolutions, "Tu beta Ts'ena" Conference, Ft. Smith, NWT, August 20th-23rd, 2007
At the Keepers of the Water II: Keeping the Peace, a second resolution supported by all attendees was drafted. It was resolved that a national Keepers of the Water organization be formulated, with chapters for each watershed within the Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin:
We are concerned about the state of water across our country and around the globe. We support the development of a grassroots watershed plan for the Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin, bringing together First Nations, local citizens and community groups....A third outcome of the Keepers of the Water II: Keeping the Peace was the development of a rough watershed plan for the Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin, a plan that will continue to be developed and revised as new concerns, goals and actions are identified by groups throughout the Basin over the years to come.
We are committed to building a coalition of Keepers of the Water, and creating our own Keepers groups - Keepers of the Peace, Slave, Athabasca, Liard, Hay, and Mackenzie... - all the tributaries of the Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin. It is our hope that this will feed into a Canada-wide Keepers of the Water alliance.
- Keepers of the Water II Resolution, Ft. St. John, BC, September 27-29th, 2007