Alberta Oil Sands

Effects on the First Nations


Environment & Wildlife
  • deforestation of the boreal forest
  • the amount of carbon that is absorbed by the trees has drastically decreased
  • increase of greenhouse gas emissions
  • pond tailing seepage is released into the Athabasca River which is contaminating the water (approx. leaks 11 million L of contaminated water/day)
  • toxic water=affecting the food webs and chains of the Natives living within the area and downstream communities
  • over consumption of water (approx. 4 barrels of water=1 barrel of oil)
  • water levels have been on a decline
  • loss of animals and their habitats
  • disrupts the migration process for bird species


  • increase in diseases, cancers, tumors, and infections
  • 30% increase in the amount of cancers within the last 12 years
  • way above national averages for many illnesses
  • those living in the area and in downstream communities of the Athabasca River feel the effects of the polluted water
  • are unable to eat the contaminated fish, which is a vital food source for the First Nations
  • fish deformities are becoming more common
  • Examples: Leukemia, Lymphomas, Bile Duct, Soft Tissue Sarcoma, and Lung Cancer


  • animals that are vital to traditions, hunting, and eating practices are being contaminated
  • contracts made between the government and First Nations are being violated
  • Treaty 6 signed in 1876: VIOLATED
  • Treaty 8 signed in 1899: VIOLATED
  • strained relations with the government and the oil companies