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Media Releases and Other News
RELEASE: Flowing into Right Relationship: Paddle the Athabasca River June 29-July 1
June 29, 2017
Today the Athabasca and its Keepers hosted a unique 3-day canoe voyage of Athabasca Watershed Indigenous Peoples and Settlers in celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation and the importance and value of Keeping this Canadian Heritage River for all living things. This wild, beautiful and still free, undammed river provides Boreal homes and livelihood for all peoples and a great diversity of native plants and animals, featuring such creatures as Bald Eagles, moose, bear, lynx and many more.
» RELEASE (ENGLISH): Commemorate Canada 150 on a Canadian Heritage River (257KB PDF)
» COMMUNIQUÉ (FRANCAIS): Venez célébrer Canada 150 sur une rivière du patrimoine canadien (340KB PDF)
» FACEBOOK: Flowing into Right Relationship Paddle Event Page
» POSTER: Flowing into Right Relationship (177KB PDF)

MEDIA CONFERENCE: Completion of phase 1 of the Hay River Basin pollution investigation
January 9, 2017
A media conference and information session will be held February 2, 2017 at noon to discuss the Hay River Basin pollution investigation. Based on concerns relayed by Traditional Knowledge Holders in northwestern Alberta, Keepers of the Water and its partners, Dene Tha First Nation, Beaver First Nation, North Peace Tribal Council, and Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta have completed phase one of this investigation regarding pipeline spills and their clean-up in Dene Tha Traditional Territory. The media conference will take place at Corbett Hall at the University of Alberta, and will include a presentation by Dr. Kevin Timoney. See the poster for further information.
» POSTER: Media conference and information session (770KB PDF)

RELEASE: Environmental Groups Support MCFN Call to Protect Wood Buffalo National Park
October 3, 2016
Environmental groups met with members of UNESCO's international monitoring mission, in Canada to investigate threats to Wood Buffalo National Park's World Heritage status. The groups will express their support for the Mikisew Cree First Nation's petition to put the Park on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites in danger, and call on Canada to take action to protect this global treasure from the growing threats, including upstream hydro-electric and oil sands developments.
» RELEASE: Environmental Groups Support MCFN Call to Protect Wood Buffalo National Park (276KB PDF)
» Presentation to IUCN UNESCO Mission to Wood Buffalo National Park (2.9MB PDF)
» Keepers of the Water: Strategic planning for UNESCO presentation (390KB PDF)

RELEASE: Join us September 6 to support the Justice for the Peace Caravan
August 30, 2016
First Nations leaders, Elders and other community members from Treaty 8 are driving across Canada to focus on the importance of the latest legal challenge to the Site C Dam project on the Peace River. On September 6, Elder Nancy Scanie will lead a Water Ceremony at the Alberta Legislature at 8am, before the caravan leaves. Come gather, bring water from a precious natural place, and bring yourself in solidarity with people protecting land and water for a better future.
» RELEASE: Justice for the Peace! Caravan (107KB PDF)

GATHERING: Keepers of the Water X
June 17, 2016
Keepers of the Water join Paddle for the Peace, urgently protecting the Peace River from Site C Dam. Join us for a Strategic Planning Session on July 9, 2016 at 6pm (RSVP), and for our Annual General Meeting on July 10, 2016 at 1pm at the Treaty 8 Building in Fort St. John, BC.
» INFORMATION: Keepers of the Water X
» WEBSITE: Paddle for the Peace
» POSTER: Keepers of the Water X (600KB PDF)

MEETING: Keepers of the Athabasca's AGM to be held May 28
May 2, 2016
Keepers of the Athabasca will hold its Annual General Meeting on May 28, 2016, from 11am-3pm, at the Anzac Community Hall. For further details, directions, and contact information, download our poster.
» POSTER: Keepers of the Athabasca AGM 2016 (264KB PDF)

NEWSLETTER: Keepers of the Water releases its newsletter for March 2016
March 15, 2016
Check out our latest newsletter for reports on the Hay River Basin Pollution investigation, the Dehcho community-based water quality monitoring program, a report from Keepers IX, and more.
» NEWSLETTER: August 2015, Volume 1, Issue 1 (775KB PDF)

RELEASE: Climate Change Agreement must include UNDRIP
December 11, 2015
Keepers of the Athabasca calls on other world governments, even those who may feel that in their countries they do not have a group of people who self identify as Indigenous, to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in any international agreement from the UN climate change summit in Paris.
» RELEASE: Climate Change Agreement must include UNDRIP (466KB PDF)

RELEASE: Another pipeline break devastates Northern Alberta before Gathering
August 21, 2015
The Keepers of the Water will hold our ninth annual Gathering at Bushe River next week. Unfortunately, yet another pipeline break has occurred that is challenging our co-hosts. Near Chateh, on Dene Tha' Traditional Territory, Nuvista Energy spilled 100 cubic metres of "emulsion" (bitumen, sand, and waste water) over a 13,200 square metre area.
» RELEASE: Another pipeline break devastates Northern Alberta before Gathering (340KB PDF)

RELEASE: Water Restrictions on the Athabasca River and impacts to First Nation and Metis Communities
August 18, 2015
The Alberta Energy Regulator currently placed a water restriction on the Athabasca River. The first ever since anyone can ever remember, and some are thanking the new NDP government for prodding the AER to uphold their others duties of not only Energy oversight, but Environmetal protection, which has been severely lacking since the creation of the AER. Science is predicting that it will become more common to have low water levels, however only some companies are restricted on water use, meanwhile there are companies such as Suncor, Syncrude and Shell that can continue taking as much water as they want (no real limit). This still compromises community health and treaty rights and gives corporations first rights to water over communities and living beings.
» RELEASE: Water Restrictions on the Athabasca River and impacts to First Nation and Metis Communities (1MB DOCX)
» VIDEO: Alberta water suspensions a sign of what's to come: study (Global News)
» ARTICLE: Athabasca water restrictions not enough, says environmental group (CBC News)
» ARTICLE: Alberta Energy Regulator curtails water use by some energy companies (Edmonton Journal)
» ARTICLE: Oilsands water restrictions a climate change 'preview': study (Edmonton Journal)
» REPORT: Running out of Steam? Oil Sands Development and Water Use in the Athabasca River-Watershed (2.2MB PDF)

Activists cycle Kinder Morgan pipeline route to Alberta tar sands to illuminate impacts on First Nations and frontline communities
August 12, 2015
A group of activists are cycling the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline route from Seattle to the tar sands boom town of Fort McMurray. Through filmed interviews with First Nations and frontline communities, these folks will illuminate the oil industry's dirty tactics and elevate the voices of those most impacted by the continued expansion of Canada's tar sands.
» WEBSITE: The Road to Athabasca

Keepers of the Water releases its first newsletter for 2015
August 1, 2015
The first issue of News from the Keepers is now available, including the Resolutions from Cold Lake, an introduction to our new Executive Director, and more.
» NEWSLETTER: August 2015, Volume 1, Issue 1 (775KB PDF)

Announcing Keepers of the Water IX
July 24, 2015
Keepers of the Water and the Dene Tha' Nation in Bushe River, Treaty 8 Territory invite you to two important events this summer: a bush camp on Decolonizing Water Governance (August 5-8) and Keepers of the Water IX, our annual watershed gathering of stewards to protect our sacred Arctic Ocean Basin and northern waters (August 27-30).
» Keepers of the Water IX Gathering: Further information, including contact details
» AGENDA: Keepers of the Water IX (134KB PDF)
» POSTER: Keepers of the Water IX (300KB PDF)

Low water levels raise questions on Alberta’s water use policies
May 27, 2015
With the entire province of Alberta under a complete fire ban due to extremely low water levels and very dry conditions, Keepers of the Athabasca is asking the newly elected government to consider how the proposed Surface Water Quantity Management Framework that is set for implementation in fall of 2015, may adversely impact water levels.
» RELEASE: Low Water Levels Raise questions on Alberta’s Water Use Policies (1MB Word document)

Fort Chipewyan to move forward on first solar project
September 17, 2014
From September 16th to September 22nd solar panels will be installed on the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Elder and Youth Lodge with an official ribbon cutting ceremony to take place on September 19th. The installation will be the first of many projects that will be constructed in the region. Keepers of the Athabasca who hope this project will be an example; especially to other tar sands impacted First Nation communities, of the benefits solar can bring to communities supported the solar initiative.
» RELEASE: Fort Chipewyan to Move Forward on First Solar Project (45Kb PDF)

The fifth and final Healing Walk was held June 27-29, 2014
June 29, 2014
This year marked the fifth and final annual Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The people of the Athabasca joined together for this important gathering, turning attention not only to tell the story and stop the destruction in the Athabasca region, but to shed light on other communities, other places that have been sacred since time immemorial: the healing has to start everywhere.
» SITE: Healing Walk 2014: Further information and registration details
» RELEASE: Healing Walk Date Set (168Kb PDF)
» FACEBOOK: Tar Sands Healing Walk
» PHOTOS: 2013 Healing Walk (Flickr)
» VIDEO: Stop the Destruction, Start the Healing: Healing Walk 2013 (YouTube)
» VIDEO: Protecting the Sacred One Step at a Time: Tar Sands Healing Walk 2013 (Vimeo)

Keepers of the Water VIII Watershed Gathering: Thank you
June 8, 2014
Keepers of the Water and the Cold Lake First Nation thank our guests and supporters of the Keepers of the Water VIII Watershed Gathering, June 6-8, 2014. This Gathering of stewards of our Northern Waters was hosted by the Keepers of the Water Beaver River Council in English Bay, Cold Lake First Nations, Cold Lake, Alberta.
Further information is available on our Gathering page.

RESOLUTION: Keepers release Resolution opposing aggression against the Unist'ot'en Camp
June 7, 2014
Keepers of the Water, KoW Beaver River Council, and Keepers of the Athabasca have released a Resolution opposing government, military and police aggression against the Unist'ot'en Camp and the traditional Gitxsan Wet'suwet'en people who are asserting and protecting natural law on their birthright.
» Read the Resolution (72Kb PDF)

Join us on the Fifth and Final Healing Walk, June 27-29, 2014
May 20, 2014
This year marks the fifth and final annual Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Join the people of the Athabasca for this important gathering, as we turn our attention not only to tell the story and stop the destruction in the Athabasca region, but to shed light on other communities, other places that have been sacred since time immemorial: the healing has to start everywhere.
» SITE: Healing Walk 2014: Further information and registration details

RELEASE: Long-term damage to the Athabasca River is anticipated from the Obed coal tailings spill
November 28, 2013
Keepers of the Water and Keepers of the Athabasca have released a statement regarding the anticipated long-term damage to the Athabasca River from the breaching of a containment pond at the Obed Mountain coal mine.
» Read the full statement (433Kb PDF)

Keepers release statement on CNRL's Cold Lake oil spill
July 24, 2013
Keepers of the Water and Keepers of the Athabasca have released a statement regarding CNRL's oil spill in Cold Lake. The CNRL spill is of great concern to the Keepers, finding it unacceptable that the leaderships of the neighbouring First Nations have not been given access to do their own assessments. A rally has been planned in Calgary at the CNRL head office at 12noon on Thursday, July 25, 2013.
» Read the full statement (200Kb PDF)
» BACKGROUND: Tar sands well blowout raises questions about Alberta's regulatory oversight (NRDC)

Keepers of the Water VII Watershed Gathering, Part II (Northwest) has been cancelled
July 20, 2013
Part II (Northwest) of the Keepers of the Water VII Watershed Gathering, originally scheduled for July 31-August 1 in Mayo, Yukon, has now been cancelled due to very limited accommodation and food capacity in our planned host community. Please watch for notices of rescheduled meetings. The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council Summit is a closed gathering for YRITWC directors and invited guests only. We're sorry for any inconvenience, and we hope to join together with our concerned Keepers around the Arctic Ocean Basin soon.
» Keepers of the Water VII: A Sacred Gift, a Human Right

2013 Healing Walk: A powerful and historic gathering
July 10, 2013
Photos and a video are now available from the 2013 Healing Walk held in Fort McMurray on July 5-6.
» PHOTOS: 2013 Healing Walk (Flickr)
» VIDEO: Stop the Destruction, Start the Healing: Healing Walk 2013 (YouTube)
» VIDEO: Protecting the Sacred One Step at a Time: Tar Sands Healing Walk 2013 (Vimeo)
» WEBSITE: Tar Sands Healing Walk

REPORT: The Harper government supports oil sands development and the Keystone Pipeline, but do Canadians?
March 12, 2013
A report just released by Keepers of the Athabasca indicates that many Canadian groups do not support oil sands development. In all, the Keepers found 35 groups had indicated opposition to new tar sands development since 2006. In 2011 former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed also indicated opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, saying the bitumen should be refined in Alberta. In addition a 2013 Abacus Poll of Canadians indicated 69% of people surveyed preferred the east-west pipeline option. Download the report.
» RELEASE: The Harper government supports oil sands development and the Keystone Pipeline, but do Canadians? (125Kb PDF)
» REPORT: Supporters of a Moratorium/Pause on New Oil Sands Projects in Alberta (116Kb PDF)

Effects of the Keystone XL pipeline on extinction of Alberta's Woodland Caribou part of the Washington Rally
February 19, 2013
Alberta conservation groups have sent information on the decline of woodland caribou in Alberta to the people organizing the February 17 Washington Rally to stop Keystone XL. This information was added to the organizers list of reasons for President Obama to turn down this pipeline. Download the full news release.
» NEWS RELEASE: Effects of the Keystone XL pipeline on extinction of Alberta's Woodland Caribou part of the Washington Rally (60Kb PDF)
» POSTER: Alberta Fossil Fuel Development is Killing Caribou (900Kb PDF)
» FLYER: Keystone XL will help push woodland caribou to extinction in Alberta (535Kb PDF)
» FACT SHEET: Caribou protection promises made and broken by Alberta's Conservative government (70Kb PDF)

Keepers of the Water VI Commit to Protect Water
September 29, 2012
First Nations water guardians, watershed organizations, and concerned citizens have gathered in Fort Nelson to work together to protect the health of our common waters for current and future generations. Everyone is invited to sign onto the Indigenous Declaration for Protecting Mother Earth and Water, endorsed at the Keepers of the Water VI Gathering, hosted by the Fort Nelson First Nation.
» Press Release: One Land One People: Keepers of the Water commit to protect water (64kb PDF)
» Indigenous Declaration for Protecting Mother Earth and Water (33kb DOCX)

Report shows governments breaking own rules to approve more oil sands projects
July 1, 2012
Keepers of the Athabasca has released a report by Helene Walsh, titled Alberta's Oil Sands Development is Not Responsible - Moratorium Needed. This report shows that since 2004, the federal and Alberta provincial governments have knowingly broken their own rules requiring the monitoring and consideration of environmental cumulative effects of all oil sands projects, including water, air, biodiversity and land. Download the full report and accompanying news release.
» Report: Alberta's Oil Sands Development is Not Responsible - Moratorium Needed (877Kb PDF)
» News Release (427Kb PDF)

Keepers of the Water VI Watershed Gathering will be held in Fort Nelson BC, September 26-29
March 27, 2012
Keepers of the Water is proud to announce that the Keepers of the Water VI Watershed Gathering will be hosted by the Fort Nelson First Nation in Fort Nelson, BC. The annual Gathering will be held September 26-29, 2012. Further information and registration details will be available soon, and visit our Gathering's page to contact the coordinators.
» Keepers of the Water VI

Keepers of the Water Publishes a Position Paper on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline
February 11, 2012
As Keepers of the Water, we believe our present Conservative Government in Ottawa is putting oil industry profits ahead of the social, economic and environmental well-being of Canadians. It is being done in such a way as to erode our democratic rights in the process. This paper, prepared by the Keepers of the Athabasca and Keepers of the Water, outlines our position on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and our concerns for the right of participation in the Environmental Assessment process.
» Our position on: The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, Keepers of the Water (364Kb PDF)

VIDEO: Spoil, a documentary on the Great Bear Rainforest
January 30, 2012
This powerful documentary by EP Films has incredible photography by a group of the world's top wildlife photographers. It brings the true picture of the coast this oil would be traveling through to get to open ocean, and the danger level involved. It highlights the nature we all want to protect, but our blinkered and incessant addiction to burn more oil, is helping to destroy.
» Spoil, a documentary on the Great Bear Rainforest, EP Films

Keepers Participate in Ottawa Action against the Keystone Pipeline
September 27, 2011
Keepers of the Athabasca Chair Roland Woodward of Ft. McMurray First Nation and Co-Chair Julie Burke of the Keepers of the Pembina led protesters over the barricade in a peaceful demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta to Texas, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on September 26, 2011. Julie and Roland were arrested along with more than 100 other protesters in their courageous stand for Our Sacred Water. Roland was easy to spot with his big white hat, eagle feather and cane.All protestors who were arrested were fined, banned from the Parliament grounds for one year, and released. No criminal charges were laid.
» Read the full news release
» VIDEO: Ottawa Action, Greenpeace

Peter Kent, MP responds to Keepers call for assessment
September 8, 2011
The Honourable Peter Kent, MP and Minister of the Environment, has responded to the request by the Keepers of the Athabasca for a full panel federal environmental assessment of the BC Hydro Site C dam.
» Download our request for an environmental assessment, June 17, 2011 (53Kb PDF)
» Download Minister Kent's response (143Kb PDF)

Keepers of the Water V Watershed Gathering comes to a close
August 14, 2011
Northlands Denesuline Nation and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak are grateful to all participants and guests for the success of the 5th Annual Keepers of the Water Gathering, held in northern Manitoba August 10-14, 2011. Our theme was Water of Life.
» Further information and outcomes

Registration is now open for Keepers of the Water V
June 14, 2011
Preparations for this year's Watershed Gathering are well under way, with a formal invitation and draft agenda now available for download. Early registration is now open.
» Further information and registration package

Fundraising: Help us fund the Keepers Watch Toll-Free Reporting Hotline
March 15, 2011
Join us in celebration of CanadaWaterWeek March 15-22. Support our effort to give citizens the opportunity to voice their concerns on what is happening along the Athabasca River through the Toll-Free Reporting Hotline. The Hotline provides citizens with the opportunity to become a part of the solution within their local community. Information compiled will also be used to determine where concentrated efforts are needed along the watershed. World Water Day is March 22 and we can make this project a reality by then. Your small change can make big change!
» Project details and your opportunity to give

Tipping Point: CBC's Nature of Things looks at the oil sands
January 27, 2011
This two-hour documentary special hosted by Dr. David Suzuki goes into the heart of the conflict surrounding Alberta's oil sands. Featured voices include Francois Paulette (Keepers III Program Chair), Dr. David Schindler, Dr. John O'Connor (Keepers III keynote speaker), Chief Allan Adam, and several others of the Keepers family, along with Avatar director James Cameron.
» CBC Nature of Things: Tipping Point complete documentary

Keepers of the Athabasca holds its fall board and council meeting at MBRS
November 17, 2010
Keepers of the Athabasca will hold its fall board and council meeting Friday, November 19 to Sunday, November 21 at the University of Alberta's Meanook Biological Research Station.

Keepers of the Water IV featured in the Watershed Sentinel
November 12, 2010
Keepers of the Water IV has been featured in the November-December 2010 issue of the Watershed Sentinel, western Canada's only enviro-news magazine.
» Keepers of the Water IV · Watershed Sentinel, November-December 2010

Save the Date: Keepers of the Water V Watershed Gathering
October 14, 2010
Keepers of the Water V is slated for the Northlands Denesuline Nation in Lac Brochet, Manitoba, August 10-14, 2011. Our theme this year will be Water of Life. Be sure to join us for this important and inspiring annual event. Conference information and registration forms will be available early in 2011.
» Gathering details and contact information

APTN Investigates: Toxic Overflow Part 1 and Part 2
September 29, 2010
In these video segments, APTN studies the contamination of First Nations by unregulated landfills and dumps, and the risk of groundwater pollution by toxic industrial waste. Part One looks at the problem in the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba. Part Two looks at work being done in Saskatchewan First Nations.
» APTN Investigates: Toxic Overflow Part 1 and Part 2

Photos: Downstream Community Members Hold Healing Walk through Tar Sands Region
September 22, 2010
On Saturday, August 14th the Keepers of the Athabasca, a network of First Nation, Metis and settler community members along the Athabasca river hosted a 'healing walk' through the tar sands. Photo gallery.
» Photos

Keepers of the Athabasca signs letter to Pelosi and Markey
September 10, 2010
The Keepers of the Athabasca and a number of our sister organizations working to protect the Athabasca Watershed have submitted a letter to US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Edward Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Our letter highlights our concern with the very serious consequences of reliance on Canadian tar sands oil and the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.
» Letter to Pelosi and Markey 105kb PDF

New bird mortality report released
September 9, 2010
A new report has been published in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology by Kevin P. Timoney and Robert A. Ronconi, showing annual bird mortality in the bitumen tailings ponds of northeastern Alberta greatly exceeds industry estimates.
» Report: Annual bird mortality in the bitumen tailings ponds in northeastern Alberta, Canada

Keepers of the Water: A wake-up call from the North
September 2, 2010 · Rita Wong, Associate Professor of Critical+Cultural Studies, Emily Carr University
This August, I was very fortunate to participate in the Keepers of the Water IV Conference in Wollaston Lake, northern Saskchewan. It was my first time to this remote community, which can only be reached by barge/boat or airplane as there are no roads that go directly there. People say that the water is clean enough there that you can drink it right out of the lake, which I saw someone doing. The lake, Saskatchewan's largest one, certainly looked beautiful, though I hesitated to drink from it like the locals.
» Read the full article

Outcomes from Keepers of the Water IV now available
September 2, 2010
A follow-up briefing and resolutions established at Keepers of the Water IV Watershed Gathering 2010 are now available. We ask our 500+ Gathering participants to watch their emails for an evaluation form coming soon.
» Keepers of the Water IV watershed gathering

Announcing Keepers of the Water V Watershed Gathering 2011
September 1, 2010
The Keepers of the Water series of watershed gatherings continues its move eastward. In 2011, we will gather in northern Manitoba, at a location and date to be determined by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. Further information will be available in the spring.
» Keepers of the Water V watershed gathering

New oilsands report released
August 29, 2010
A new report has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Erin N. Kelly, David W. Schindler, Peter V. Hodson and Jeffrey W. Short, linking high levels of toxic pollutants in the Athabasca River system to oilsands mining.
» Report: Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries

Saskatchewan uranium mines create toxic legacy
August 27, 2010 · Kyle Ashmead, Digital Journal
The Keepers of the Water Saskatchewan hosted Keepers of the Water IV from August 19th to August 23rd, 2010. The conference took place in northern Saskatchewan, with over five hundred people including locals in attendance. Conference attendees discussed many issues affecting the north, not least among them, was uranium mining in Saskatchewan.
» Read the full article

Keepers of the Water IV Watershed Gathering 2010 comes to a successful close
August 23, 2010
Thank you to the Keepers, speakers, and attendees of the Keepers of the Water IV Watershed Gathering in Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan. With 530 registered participants, important connections were established and key information was shared about the issues affecting the North. Thank you in particular to our hosts, the Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation, and the full Keepers IV Planning Committee for a well-organized event and a memorable cultural experience.
» Keepers of the Water IV watershed gathering

Keepers of the Athabasca: Healing Walk, August 14
August 14, 2010
» Keepers of the Athabasca news