Episode 71: Water and Anishinaabe Territory
The history of the Winnipeg River watershed and Lake of the Woods is a story of loss, survival, colonialism, and ecological injustice.
Between 1893 and 1895, the Norman Dam was installed on the Winnipeg River in Treaty 3 territory upstream of the Dalles 38C Indian Reserve to power local lumber mills. This resulted in the raising of the Lake of Woods high water level by 1.8 metres, and with its released water, the random flooding of downstream manomin fields, wildlife habitat, and winter ice roads that helped sustain the Anishinaabe peoples. In 1958, the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario commenced operations on its large-scale Whitedog Falls Generating Station downstream of the Anishinaabe territory. Trapped between two dams, unregulated sewage from the nearby town of Kenora and waste from the neighbouring Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company mills poured into the waters of a river that had nowhere to go. The resulting contamination of the waters and fisheries that had sustained generations of Anishinaabe peoples led to the abandonment of the Dalles 38C community less than 20 years after the completion of the Whitedog Falls station.
This episode features an interview with Professor Brittany Luby and Chief Lorraine Cobiness about the new book Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory.
Luby, Brittany. Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020.
Sainte-Marie, Buffy, “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying,” 2017, Track 4 on Medicine Songs
“Soft Piano” by Blue Jay Studio
“Success” by Joystock
“Kenora Powerhouse” Source: Brittany Luby, 2018.
Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 71: Water and Anishinaabe Territory” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 12 April 2021.
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