You can’t understand Alberta if you don’t understand the Battle River, writes Harvey Locke in The Two Albertas. Geographically, the more forested north side of the river gave rise to the fur trade, while the plains on the south side were based on a buffalo economy. In short, the Cree occupied the northern part of the watershed and Blackfoot the south. Later, the north side was settled by Métis, French, Scandinavians and East Europeans, while English and Scots primarily settled south of the river. Hence, two very different socio-political constructions of Alberta emerged with the Battle River as a pivotal place in that development.
Sarah Skinner of Battle River Watershed Alliance presents another view, “Landscapes I had viewed as vastly different and disconnected from one another are intimately connected. This realization has taught me that all our actions have consequences that go far beyond our immediate surroundings. When it comes to water, these consequences can literally flow from community to community,
province to province, and even around the world.”
Treaty Six Territory
A river runs through our lives, binding us together. Some of us were born here as descendants of First Nations or early Settler people. Some came later. But here we are, together in Treaty 6 lands, and each with stories to tell. Inspiration is in the air we breathe, in the land all around us, in the waters of our rivers and lakes, and in the sun that fires us and our imaginations.
In the current era, the people of our region face exponential changes brought by science and technology. While our region has significant coal reserves, coal technology is on its way out. The good news, though, is that many are turning to alternate forms of energy such as solar and wind systems. Some insist that farming has to change “because the machinery is getting bigger all the time.” Others insist equally that we shouldn’t let manufacturers elsewhere determine how subsistence and care of the land should work.