Fox Lake Cree Nation is a signatory to 1910 Adhesion to Treaty 5 signed at York Factory.
In 1947 the Gillam Band was recognized as an independent Band and renamed the Fox Lake Cree Nation (FLCN) afterwards. In 1968 FLCN saw 26 federal crown lots within the Gillam area assigned as reserve lands. In 2009, 3.2 acres were assigned within Gillam.
Within its traditional territory, Fox Lake contains the Kettle, Long Spruce and Limestone Generating Stations, as well as the Radisson and Henday Converter Stations.
1966 – 1975: Construction of the Kettle Generating Station, resulting in 5400 acres of land flooded and the diversion of waterways.
1973 – 1978: Construction of the Long Spruce Generating Station, resulting in 3400 acres of land flooded and 8 miles of dykes built to prevent flooding.
1976 – 1979: Construction of the Limestone Generating Station, resulting in 500 acres of land flooded.
2004: Impact Settlement Agreement between Fox Lake Cree Nation, Manitoba Hydro and the Province.
2009: The Joint Keeyask Development Agreement (the Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership): Fox Lake Nation is a partner in this Agreement, though Manitoba with Manitoba Hydro as sole shareholder has full control.
The Keeyask Generating Station is located on the Nelson River about 35 kilometres west of Gillam and FLCN’s A kwis ki makah reserve and 80km west of FLCN’s Bird reserve. The 695-megawatt generating station was originally estimated to cost $6.5 billion, but as of December 2017 the price tag looked to be closer to $10.5 billion. Manitoba citizens are starting to feel the cost of Keeyask, as the first in a series of proposed rate hikes (7.9%) is planned for April 1st, 2018. Some are taking action by signing this petition.
Unfortunately, the cost of Keeyask is not just monetary. Fox Lake Cree Nation has experienced over 50 years of dam construction and witnessed the devastating impacts that dams have had on the community and surrounding environment. These impacts include, but are not limited to:
– The silencing of the Kischi Sipi wherever a dam is constructed
– The contamination of waters and an increase of mercury levels in some fish and aquatic animals, leading to the loss of food sovereignty
– The permanent degradation of shorelines as a result of flooding, erosion, floating debris, and the disappearance of local fauna
– The reversal of natural seasonal flow cycles with high flows occurring in the winter
– The decline in fish populations, big game, and furbearers in the local area
– The loss of burial sites in the flooded areas
– The loss of clean drinking water
In this video, you will hear a story told by Noah Massan, an Indigenous elder from Fox Lake Cree Nation in Manitoba, Canada. He shares his experience of fishing on his traditional territory and being confronted by a conservation officer who wanted to take away his boat and nets, claiming that Noah was blocking a stream. Noah points out the irony of the situation by showing the officer a huge hydroelectric dam that is blocking the entire river and destroying the environment.
Hydroelectric dams have many negative impacts on the environment, such as flooding land, endangering aquatic life, disrupting river systems, and emitting greenhouse gases. By telling his story, Noah raises awareness about the injustice and hypocrisy that Indigenous people face when they try to exercise their rights and near harmful development projects.
Watch this video to learn more about Noah’s story and how hydroelectric dam development affects the environment and Indigenous communities.
Fox Lake Cree Nation. (2012). Environment Evaluation Report.
Fox Lake Cree Nation. (2013). Regulatory Environmental Assessment – Socio-Economic, Resource Use and Heritage resources. Presentation to the Clean Environment Commission
Barghout, C. (2017, Dec 18). Keeyask dam cost could reach 10.5 billion, report warns. CBC.