Once Upon an Oldman is an account of the controversy that surrounded the Alberta government's construction of a dam on the Oldman River to provide water for irrigation in the southern part of the province. Jack Glenn argues that, despite claims to the contrary, the governments of Canada and Alberta are not dedicated to protecting the environment and will even circumvent the law in order to avoid accepting responsibility for safeguarding the environment and the interests of Native people.
Glenn describes the geography and history of the Oldman River basin, the institutional arrangements behind the dam project, and the ongoing controversy as it has unfolded since 1976. He then takes a close look at the disparate groups involved in the controversy: the governments of Alberta and Canada and their agencies, the Southern Alberta Water Management Committee, the Friends of the Oldman River Society, and the Peigan Indian Band. Considering these in the context of major issues raised by the project, he discusses water management and irrigation, environmental impacts, and implications for the culture and beliefs of the Peigan, including their claim to a share of the flow of the river.
In Once Upon an Oldman, Glenn has pulled together information from a wide range of sources: the media, correspondence of politicians and public servants, reports from government agencies, environmental groups, and the Peigan Indians, court decisions, and interviews. What emerges is a disturbing and fascinating tale of confrontation, pitting governments against environmentalists and Native people, that convincingly demonstrates that resorting to the courts is an ineffective way to protect both the environment and those who have lived here since before the arrival of Europeans.
Jack Glenn has worked for both Environment Canada and Alberta Environment. He lives in Calgary.
Abbreviations Preface Introduction PART 1 1 The Oldman River Basin 2 In the Beginning 3 The ECA Review 4 A Dam on the Oldman 5 Interlude 6 The Battle Joined 7 The EARPGO Challenge 8 Carry on Regardless 9 Milton and the Lonefighters 10 7 September 1990 11 In the Aftermath 12 The Federal Review 13 The Panel Reports 14 And Thereafter PART 2 15 The Iron Triangle and the Oldman River Dam 16 The Environment and Its Friends 17 Archaeology 18 Biological Diversity 19 EARPGO and the Courts 20 FOR and the Attorney General 21 The Peigan Indians 22 The Peigan and the Oldman River Dam I 23 The Peigan and the Oldman River Dam II 24 The Federal Watchdog I 25 The Federal Watchdog II 26 Iniquity and Betrayal 27 The Peigan, Politics, and the Courts 28 The Environment, Politics, and the Courts 29 Information and Disinformation 30 Does It Matter? Bibliography Index