“Black Colony, Athabasca Landing, Alberta,” no date.

“According to historians, Between one thousand and fifteen hundred Blacks came to Canada, settling in Saskatchewan and Alberta, attracted by the image of “free lands [in Canada] and also that everyone had the right to vote and was a free man.” [via]

Erica Lord; "I Tan To Look More Native", 2006, Digital inkjet, 4 x 5 inches. Erica is of Athabascan, Inupiaq, Finnish, Swedish, English and Japanese heritage. Also, a link to a great article on colouring, colonialism, and the multiplicity of racial identity.

Neil Young supports the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

Dubbed the “Honor the Treaties” concerts, the Canadian shows will raise funds for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Defence (AFCN) to help the northern Alberta aboriginal band in their fight to preserve their land from oil sands development.

The Canadian tour dates include: Jan. 12 Toronto, ON- Massey Hall, Jan. 16 Winnipeg, MB- Centennial Concert Hall, Jan. 17 Regina, SK- Conexus Arts Centre, Jan. 19 Calgary, AB- Jack Singer Concert Hall

Alberta coal mine spill heading to N.W.T.

The Northwest Territories’ Environment Minister says toxins from a massive coal mine spill in Alberta are making their way north.

On Oct. 31, Sherritt International’s Obed Mountain coal mine spilled about 1 billion litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca River. The mine is no longer operating. The spill happened when a retaining wall collapsed, unleashing the equivalent of about 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools of contaminated water. 

The Alberta government says the contaminated water is now making its way through the Athabasca River and the Peace River. It should reach the Slave River and Great Slave Lake close to the beginning of December.


The Alberta government says the contaminated water will dilute and be safe once it reaches the Slave River in the N.W.T. Miltenberger says his department will continue to test the water for contaminants as it moves downstream.

Miltenberger says there have been oil spills that have leaked into the local watersheds in the past, but they’ve never affected drinking water.

The Alberta government says it’s doing comprehensive testing for heavy metals on clay, mud, shale and coal particles moving through the Athabasca River. Alberta Health maintains there are no immediate health concerns.

Fort Smith resident Francois Paulette says that’s far from the truth.

“They’ve been saying that for 40 years,” Paulette says. “The environmental people are saying this is a highly toxic contaminant in the water. We’ve been instructed that people shouldn’t be taking water from the river in that week.”

The Alberta government says it’s hoping to share the test results from the affected areas in the Athabasca River early next week.