First Nation discovers large petrochemical sheen on Athabasca River; Alberta’s new energy regulator missing in action

First Nation discovers large petrochemical sheen on Athabasca River; Alberta’s new energy regulator missing in action

July 7, 2013, FORT MCMURRAY – The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is demanding answers and action from the Alberta government following reports of a large possibly petrochemical spill into the Athabasca River. The large visible peteochemical sheen may be from a previous spill that regulators failed to contain or from a new release. Either way it has been left unaddressed and has forced the community to close the communities water intake.


Early Saturday morning a community member from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) reported a large oily sheen on the Athabasca river about 60 km north of Fort McMurray that according to his account stretched over 5 km.

The sheen, that from pictures and eye-witness account appears to be petrochemical in nature, was reported both to the Alberta Governments new Alberta Energy Regulator and the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources. After silence from both government bodies, Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam flew over the site late Saturday afternoon reporting that the sheen now stretched for over 100 kms, and had soaked river banks. Nation members also took samples and pictures of the spill.


“Our Nation faces another toxic threat to our water supply and our calls for action are met by silence by the Alberta government and their new energy regulator. Our members appear to be the only world class monitoring system Alberta has,” said Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam.


The finding of the spill happened on the same day that hundreds of people from all across Canada gathered in Fort McMurray to participate in a healing walk through the inundated tar sands region.


“It’s tragically ironic that we would find this sheen on the same day that we walk to heal the land from tar sands destruction,” remarked Adam. “This spill is one of the number of reasons why we walk and is a oily reminder of Alberta’s growing pipeline and tar sands problem. The Alberta government needs to address these problems, ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.”


Pictures taken of the spill can be viewed here:


For more information contact:

Eriel Deranger, ACFN Communications Coordinator 780-903-6598



For Immediate Release: First Nations Leader Calls on Politicians to Experience Tar Sands Firsthand at 2013 Healing Walk

June 17, 2013

First Nations Leader Calls on Politicians to Experience Tar Sands Firsthand at 2013 Healing Walk

Minister Joe Oliver and Premier Redford Invited to Join More than 500 Residents and Concerned Citizens From Across Canada, US



Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation has issued a formal request to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Alberta Premier Allison Redford to join the fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray on July 6. A fourteen-kilometre, day-long journey, hosted by the Keepers of the Athabasca, the Healing Walk is a spiritual gathering focused on healing the traditional territory of the nations that has been impacted by tar sands expansion.

“We believe that our politicians are out of touch and have no idea what it is like to live day-to-day in a place that has been made toxic by out of control tar sands development. It is important for them to experience this place, to drink the water, breathe the air and hear from the people who are quickly losing hope for a livable future for their children and grandchildren,” said Chief Adam. “On behalf of our nation and the more than five hundred others who will join us on this journey, we invite Minister Oliver and Premier Redford to walk alongside us.”

To encourage participation by the politicians, the nation has also issued a formal petition, which to date has already gathered close to 7000 signatures. The petition can be found on the Healing Walk website at

Hundreds of participants from across Canada and the US have registered to attend the walk and many will be making their own pilgrimages both before and after the event to raise continued awareness of the impact expansion is having not only in Alberta but in other provinces and in states that are facing proposed oil and gas infrastructure development. Saskatoon’s Dion Tootoosis of the Poundmaker Cree will ride a bicycle from Halifax to Fort McMurray sharing his hope for a sustainable future, and a group from the US will undertake a Compassionate Walk along the Keystone XL pipeline route from Alberta to Nebraska to encourage care and respect for the earth after participating in the Healing Walk.

Award winning journalist and author Naomi Klein will also join the Healing Walk. “Canada’s dependence on dirty oil money is sickening our country in countless ways. Not only is the land itself being poisoned, alongside the people who depend on that land, but the tar sands boom is poisoning our collective political culture as well,” she said. “It is being poisoned by escalating attacks on First Nations rights, by the dismantling of crucial environmental protections, and by the gagging of scientists whose findings are inconvenient to the quest for ever more extraction. I am participating in this sacred walk because it invites us all to begin a process of healing — healing the land from violence, healing ourselves from our dependence on an economy based on that violence, and healing our deeply imperiled democracy.”

More information about the Healing Walk and to register to participate, visit the website at

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link:

Contact Information

Eriel Deranger
Communications Coordinator
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Please watch and share this great video clip of a presentation on the importance of understand the complex history of Treaty and Aboriginal rights and the current Idle No More movement.

Mashi Cho

For Immediate Release: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation challenges new Shell tar sands mines [Video]

ACFN Indigenous people living downstream from the tar sands explain in their own words why they are saying enough is enough.

Shell Canada is proposing two new tar sands mine projects in northern Alberta, Canada. From the perspective of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations (ACFN), whose lands will be affected by both Shell mines, governments are not fulfilling the promises of Treaty 8. This has led them to file a challenge to the Jackpine Mine proposal under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.


Producer/Directors: Eriel Deranger and Melina Laboucan-Massimo

Videographers: Eagle Claw Thom & Zack Embree

Music: Meander River Dene Drummers

Recorded and engineered by: Taro Hashimoto & Curtis Cardinal

For Immediate Release: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation calls for resignation of Gerry Protti, newly appointed chair of Alberta Energy Regulator

logoAthabasca Chipewyan First Nation calls for resignation of Gerry Protti, newly appointed chair of Alberta Energy Regulator

May 1st, Fort McMurray, AB– The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) is calling for the removal of Gerry Protti as Chair of the Alberta Energy Regulator. ACFN joined by non-governmental organizations, and special interest groups that have serious concerns with conflict of interest regarding Mr. Protti’s appointment.

For many First Nations this appointment is insult to injury especially those that have been pushing on the Alberta government to strengthen their engagement with First Nations in relation to energy and resource development with little success. Mr. Protti has a long industry history as one of the founders of the Canadian Association for Petroleum Producers, was an executive for Encana, and is a lobbyist for the Energy Policy Institute of Canada. We question his ability to chair the Alberta Energy Regulator with transparency and accountability.

“Where is the justice for our communities?” stated Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “Our community has been raising serious questions about the provinces environmental standards and monitoring.  We have repeatedly demanded more meaningful participation in the development of the provinces new environmental monitoring projects.  Instead of better engagement they appoint the former founder of CAPP as the Chair of the new Alberta Energy Regulator?  This is unacceptable and insulting.”

This appointment comes also with the Alberta government also announcement of it’s Corporate Guidelines for First Nations Consultation Activities, 2013 giving industry the upper hand and failing to meet First Nations expectations. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has join in with the many groups that are outraged with this announcement and questioning provincial leaders interests.

“We are calling for the resignation of Gerri Protti as the Chair of the Alberta Energy Regulator. How can Gerri Protti be diligent to First Nations concerns and uphold treaty rights when he clearly has no previous experience engaging First Nations and still has such strong industry ties.” said Eriel Deranger, ACFN Communications. “Clearly the Government of Alberta has sent a strong message to First Nations of whose interests are important in this province by appointing an industry leader and setting the stage with the release of its new corporate guidelines for First Nations Consultation Activities.”

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has long been a leader in elevating Treaty rights and First Nations concerns regarding development in Alberta.


For more information:
Chief Allan Adam, ACFN  780-713-1220
Eriel Deranger, Communications Coordinator ACFN 780-903-6598