It devours our land

It devours our land r1 ... View archive version The Fort McKay First Nation has traditionally been open to development in the Alberta oilsands.

Hemmed in on three sides by oilsands operations, the nation has experienced firsthand the environmental consequences of industry — while also benefited tremendously.

Lucrative contracts have meant a decent standard of living for many in Fort McKay. But those same people must drink bottled water in their homes, find sick animals on their traplines and live among high rates of miscarriage, respiratory illness and cancer.

It has become increasingly difficult for members of the Fort McKay First Nation to practice their traditional ways of life on their territory. That's why, when a company put forward a proposal to open a new oilsands project near Moose Lake — the nation's last refuge to hunt, fish and gather traditional plants — the people of Fort McKay responded with a resounding, 'aw, hell no.'

But that didn't stop Alberta from permitting the project.

This week, on the heels of the Fort McKay First Nation's lawsuit against Alberta for failing to protect their Treaty 8 rights, we bring you an intimate peek into the life of this Indigenous community located at ground zero of Canada's largest industrial zone.

Photographer Aaron Vincent Elkaim spent time documenting the daily life of Fort McKay, where industrial impacts have irreparably altered cultures and traditions, childhoods and dreams. The Fort McKay First Nation has been fighting to protect Moose Lake from industry for two decades.

The nation's story is one of push coming to shove, Elkaim writes.

We bring you this, and so many more great stories this week. Please read on.

Carol Linnitt
Managing editor, The Narwhal

Canada won't perform an environmental review of most new oilsands projects. Here's why.

By James Wilt
In terms of development and greenhouse gas emissions, in-situ (meaning in ground) projects represent the future growth of the oilsands. And yet, they are being exempted from the federal government's new and improved environmental assessment rules. And not for the reason you think. Read more. Reader spotlight
Every once in a while we receive a note from a reader that really touches our hearts.

This lovely, hand-written note went out to our whole team and it gave us a collective surge of gratitude and warmth.

Thanks, Kaela
From all of us at The Narwhal

B.C. investigation into Old Fort landslide caught up in conflict of interest, residents say

By Ben Parfitt

The Old Fort landslide forced the evacuation of 200 people from their homes in September. Those individuals couldn't help but notice the slide occurred right at the base of a gravel mining operation. Someone must be looking into that connection, right? RIGHT?

Yeah, yeah, the same people that granted the gravel mining permits in the first place. Oh and — quelle surprise — they're not publicly releasing any information about their investigation. Read more.

The fossil fuel era is coming to an end, but the lawsuits are just beginning

By Kyla Tienhaara

Westmoreland Coal made a bad bet in 2013 when it purchased five coal mines in Alberta. Now it wants Canadian taxpayers to pay for its mistake. Read more. Watch our new short documentary
Coal Valley: B.C.'s quiet water contamination crisis Our journalism is free.

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