Once Upon an Oldman
Special Interest Politics and the Oldman River Dam
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.
- 2000, Winner - Clio Award (Alberta), Canadian Historical Association
Glenn has carefully documented the sequence of events surrounding this often bitter controversy and has provided a comprehensive analysis of the issues, motives, and actions involved. His thorough review of the geography, history, and political institutions offers readers an understanding of how and why the project emerged. His book is well written, enjoyable to read, and supplemented by extensive notes and references. Recommended for all readership levels, especially for those interested in the interactions between governmental agencies, lobbyists, Native peoples, environmental groups, and legal institutions.
In this dense, well-researched, and thoroughly readable book, Jack Glenn examines how this highly controversial project came about.
An exhaustive chronicle of the battles over the construction of the Oldman Den in southern Alberta ... a definitive chronicle of both the battle of the Oldman specifically and the ongoing struggle to keep some of our natural landscape whole in the face of development pressures. Glenn provides background and reasons for his criticisms that are hard to object to, no matter what your agenda. for anyone who was involved, however peripherally, in the Oldman struggle, this book will be both engrossing and enlightening. For those concerned with the overall government versus environment struggle, it should be equally so.
1 The Oldman River Basin
2 In the Beginning
3 The ECA Review
4 A Dam on the Oldman
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
15 The Iron Triangle and the Oldman River Dam
16 The Environment and Its Friends
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?
Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.Subscribe to our newsletter now
Read past newsletters