The Keepers of the Water (KOW) project is taking urgent Indigenous-led action to halt the Alberta Tar Sands program in Canada and protect inland water resources deeply tied to Indigenous culture and heritage. Fossil fuel extraction in Alberta has created vast toxic tailings ponds, endangering the environment and human health globally.
Despite these concerns, Canada plans to release 1.4 trillion liters of treated tailings into the Athabasca River without obtaining Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from affected Indigenous communities. This action is in direct violation of Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) Act. This project will help KOW’s plans to engage in legal action, public advocacy, and increased social media presence to oppose the release of treated tailings and protect the environment and Indigenous rights in Canada.
KOW’s efforts include raising public awareness about the environmental impact, addressing environmental racism, amplifying Indigenous voices in discussions on cleaning up the tailings ponds, and using innovative tools like the ‘Multimedia Interactive Water Data Map’ to educate and combat climate change. They emphasize that Indigenous water governance is crucial for cultural preservation, community health, and spiritual connections.