As Long as the Rivers Run
Hydroelectric Development and Native Communities


Cover image (As Long as the Rivers Run)

In past treaties, the Aboriginal people of Canada surrendered title to their lands in return for guarantees that their traditional ways of life would be protected. Since the 1950s, governments have reneged on these commitments in order to acquire more land and water for hydroelectric development. James B. Waldram examines this controversial topic through an analysis of the politics of hydroelectric dam construction in the Canadian Northwest, focusing on three Aboriginal communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He argues that little has changed in our treatment of Aboriginal people in the past hundred years, when their resources are still appropriated by the government “for the common good.” Using archival materials, personal interviews and largely inaccessible documents and letters, Waldram highlights the clear parallel between the treatment of Aboriginal people in the negotiations and agreements that accompany hydro development with the treaty and scrip processes of the past century.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Contents 8
Maps 11
Preface 12
Acknowledgements 18
1 Hydroelectric Development and Native People in Canada 22
Hydroelectric Development from Coast to Coast 26
2 Treaties, Scrip and the Alienation of Native Lands in Western Canada 38
Politics and Leadership in the Pre-Treaty Period 39
Prelude to the Western Canadian Treaty Era 44
The Treaty-Making Process 48
Treaty Five: A Brief Case Study 58
The Métis and the Scrip Commissions 65
The Community of Cumberland House 74
3 Cumberland House and the Squaw Rapids Dam 74
Community History 75
The Squaw Rapids Dam 77
Consideration of Downstream Effects 80
The Community View of the Dam Proposal 83
Emerging Problems 84
The Churchill River Study 89
More Study – No Action 91
Legal Action 93
Mediation 97
The Community of Easterville 100
4 Easterville and the Grand Rapids Dam 100
Community History 101
The Grand Rapids Dam 104
The Grand Rapids Forebay Administration Committee 104
Land Surrender and Site Selection 107
Negotiating Away a Home 112
The Role of the Federal Government 118
The Forebay Agreement: A Letter of Intent 120
Legal Action 125
The Special Forebay Committee: A Native Reaction 128
5 South Indian Lake and the Churchill River Diversion Project 134
The Community of South Indian Lake 134
Community History 135
The Churchill River Diversion Project 137
Anachronism in a Technological Age 139
Negotiations and Public Hearings 140
New Government – Same Old Story 151
Legal Action 155
Appeal to the Federal Government 156
"Just People of Manitoba" 161
Divide and Conquer: The Age-Old Strategy 163
The Northern Flood Committee 166
The Northern Flood Committee's Legal Action 170
A Clash of Democracies 173
The Panel of Public Enquiry into Northern Hydro Development 175
The Northern Flood Agreement: A "Charter of Rights and Benefits" 177
The Commission of Inquiry into Manitoba Hydro 181
After the Flood: Negotiations and Compensation 183
The Augmented Flow Dispute 186
6 Conclusion 190
Treaties and Dams: For the "Common Good" 190
How Common is the "Common Good"? 198
Appendix 1: Treaty No. Five 204
Appendix 2: The Forebay Agreement 212
Appendix 3: Manitoba Hydro's 1969 Compensation Proposal for South Indian Lake 222
Bibliography 224
Notes 232
Index 258
A 258
B 258
C 259
D 260
E 261
F 261
G 262
H 262
I 263
J 264
K 264
L 264
M 265
N 267
O 267
P 268
Q 268
R 268
S 268
T 271
U 272
V 272
W 272
Y 272