As Long as the Rivers Run: Hydroelectric Development and Native Communities in Western Canada

From the Author's Preface: "This book is about the politics of hydroelectric dam construction as it concerns the Native communities which are inevitably located in the vast hinterland areas where such development takes place. The emphasis is on historic continuity. The process of hydro development in this century, and particularly the manner in which Indian and Metis people have been removed physically and bureaucratically from their water resources, is paralleled by the treaty and scrip processes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These early processes had the effect of removing the Native people from most of their land to facilitate non-Native settlement and resource exploitation. What little land they officially retained was augmented by their utilization of relatively large tracts of other land for hunting and trapping, and the use of waterways for fishing and transportation. But hydro developments after 1950 have resulted in a steady erosion of these opportunities. Reserve land has been flooded. Some lakes and rivers have been impounded, and others have dried up. The social, cultural and economic consequences of hydro dam construction, while little known to the general public, have been devastating to the people who happened to be located along the prime rivers and lakes. Furthermore, in theirs ruggle to protect their rights, to have mitigative measures under-taken, and to receive proper compensation for damages, they have been frustrated by both provincial and federal governments, and by hydro utilities and industries. We might all wonder why such frustration should exist. Surely development projects which cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars would include the provision of mitigation and compensation measures. Surely the people to be affected would receive the benefits of a development designed to benefit all. Surely these people would be better off after construction of the dams than they were before.Unfortunately, such is not the case." Pg xi-xii.

Author
Waldram, James B.
Primary Resource
Primary
Publication Date
1988
Publication Information

Waldram, James B. As Long as the Rivers Run. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1993.