Land of Oil and Water
Aboriginal Voices on Life in the Oil Sands
   Underneath the woods and wetlands of northwestern Canada lie roughly two trillion barrels of oil, fifteen percent of the world's known reserves and six times more than what's left in Saudi Arabia.  This documentary film follows the journey of Warren Cariou, a writer from northern Saskatchewan, who learns that the oil companies from Alberta are expanding into his homeland.
    Warren returns home, to the Cree and Dene community of La Loche and to the nearby Métis village of Buffalo Narrows, to talk to people about what they hope the development will bring, and about their fears. He then travels across the border to Alberta and speaks to the people there who have lived with the oil sands development for more than thirty years.            
    The Alberta oilfields are also the homeland of two small aboriginal communities, Fort Mackay and Fort Chipewyan, which lie along the Athabasca River.  Warren learns of their struggle to preserve their traditional way of life in the midst of the largest and most destructive oil recovery operation the world has ever known.
    This sensitive and nuanced documentary gives voice to the people who are most directly affected by the development that is driving Canada’s new role in the global economy.  It is a story of change, of struggle, and of cultural persistence.  Fundamentally it is about the different ways in which people value the land.
(Canada, 2009.  45 minutes)
A film by Neil McArthur and Warren Cariou
“The devastating effects of the open-pit mines and their tailing ponds take the stage in this topical Canadian documentary. . .  dedicated to giving a voice to an isolated people. Land of Oil and Water speaks up in what is becoming a more and more heated conversation for us as Canadians.” Geist
Official Selection:
DOXA Documentary Festival
ImagineNative Media Arts          
Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival
Yorkton International Film
    Festival (Golden Sheaf Award
HotDocs Festival "Docs for
     Schools" Programme
And others
Land of Oil and Water is matched by this shorter film (15 minutes) which focuses solely on the Alberta Aboriginal communities of Fort Mackay and Fort Chipewyan. It was an official selection at festivals including the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival. Click the “Overburden” tab above for more information.  Both films are available on a single DVD --click “Order” above for more info.