The rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands are the lifeblood of FNFN territory. We have been and will always remain river people. Every one of our ancestral village sites are located on a critical river, lake or tributary. The rivers were once our highways. Our people would travel the rivers by boat most of the year and by dog-team and later ski-doos in the winter. Lakes throughout the territory would provide enough fish to feed our families all year long.
The Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) Water Strategy has been developed with support from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia in order to ensure proper functioning and ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems in FNFN territory. Grounded in extensive community input, the FNFN Water Strategy articulates our vision for water use and management in FNFN territory, prioritizing traditional use and Treaty rights alongside ecological integrity. The primary risk to the achievement of this vision is the intensity and density of industrial development in our territory, particularly in the natural gas and forestry sectors, but with climate change as another increasingly important factor.
One of the primary purposes of this FNFN Water Strategy is to set the framework for FNFN to actively engage in protecting water and improving water governance in FNFN territory. A second critical purpose is to reconnect our people with the waters again. Community members expressed a desire for this Water Strategy to strengthen community connection to and presence on the rivers, and expand community-based water monitoring, management and restoration efforts, so that in the future our members will have faith that they can again “dip their cup” and drink directly from the land without worry.
Our Water Strategy identifies Fort Nelson First Nation’s Water Vision, which identifies that we will do everything in our power to ensure that now and for future generations:
Through extensive engagement with FNFN community members and application of their vision, values, and principles, five priority water Values were identified to provide direction and focus to the FNFN Water Strategy: