November 26, 2010 | The Firelight Group with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN)
The Firelight Group worked with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation to understand how Athabasca River levels and water quality change are affecting the practice of treaty rights downstream from large oil sands facilities.
Based on detailed mapping of river knowledge, use, and related avoidance, the study documents and maps a clear relationship between water quality, water levels, and the ability of First Nations to practice Treaty rights on the lower Athabasca River, in the delta, and on adjacent rivers and streams.
As part of this project the Firelight Group compiled community-specific technical reports, prepared a submission designed to inform regulatory decisions regarding Athabasca River management, and drafted non-technical summaries of the study results for broader internal and external dissemination. The Firelight Group also prepared and implemented a media communications strategy to highlight the findings, and generated significant earned media coverage for the project.
Co-authored by the Firelight Group’s Craig Candler, Rachel Olson and Steven DeRoy
April 26, 2012 | Pat Marcel and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation with the Firelight Group Research Cooperative.
This project involved drafting a caribou and bison protection plan to address the restoration of Barren-ground caribou habitat, dwindling woodland caribou herds in the vicinity of industrial activities near the oil sands, and the pressures on a small but culturally important bison herd near Poplar Point in Alberta.
The strategy was based on interviews with community members completed as part of a traditional knowledge study in 2010 and was endorsed in meetings with Elders and with Chief and Council in 2012. The strategy identifies an area for caribou and bison protection from the Firebag River north to the provincial border, including the Birch Mountains. The plan also recommends a stewardship zone in the rest of the ACFN territory in Alberta with guidelines to reduce impacts on caribou habitat.
The project, funded by the Environment Canada Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk, was drafted by Pat Marcel and ACFN in collaboration with the Firelight Group’s Carolyn Whittaker and Craig Candler. Maps were created by Steven DeRoy with peer review by John Cathro and Petr Komers.