The Keepers of the Athabasca Society seek to unite the peoples of the Athabasca River and Lake Basins to secure and protect water and watershed lands for ecological, social, cultural and community health and wellbeing.
An integral part of the Arctic Drainage Basin Keepers of the Water, the Keepers of the Athabasca Society is comprised of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples, environmental groups, concerned watershed citizens and communities working together for the protection of air, water and land and thus, for all living things today and tomorrow in the Athabasca River and Lake Watershed.
We are committed to building capacity for informed and effective water and watershed monitoring and reporting, stewardship, restoration and cooperative action on behalf of the health of the Athabasca River and Lake Watershed.
We are concerned because the Athabasca River Basin is facing multiple environmental, social and cultural threats, including extensive logging, conventional oil and gas exploitation, strip mining, and unmonitored ground water impacts throughout the Basin headwaters. Other downstream impacts include five pulp mills, numerous municipal water demands, and the massive Alberta Tar Sands development project.
Downstream and downwind issues arising from the cumulative environmental impacts on the Athabasca River Basin ecosystem are pervasive and intensifying. Rare forms of cancer and an increase in auto-immune diseases in Fort Chipewyan residents; contamination of fish, water and sediments in the Peace/Athabasca Delta; fluctuation of water levels in Lake Athabasca and associated impacts on Saskatchewan First Nations and fisheries; and the increasing acidification and loss of fisheries in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan waters may be traced to water and/or airborne pollutants from Tar Sands development. The impacts on traditional ways of life of northern First Nations and other watershed citizens are profound. Treaty rights to livelihood through the use of local foods, and basic human rights to safe drinking water and clean safe air are compromised. These effects are not only negatively impacting the health and wellbeing of northern people, but also the myriad of life forms that the Athabasca and Arctic Ocean Basin river systems sustain.
The Keepers of the Water movement of the greater Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin and the sub-basin members of the movement are now working to establish a united voice to address the cumulative environmental issues of the Athabasca River Basin and the greater Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin. Only through a concerted effort to raise awareness, educate, and foster positive action do we have hope of appropriately addressing the complex environmental and social issues facing the people, communities, and ecosystems of the Arctic Ocean Drainage Basin.