In the late 1960’s, the Kwadacha First Nation, a small Tsek’ene community located on the Peace River in Northern British Columbia, were flooded out of their traditional territory by the W.A.C. Bennett Dam – one of the largest dams in the world. The dam and its reservoir (the largest in Canada) has affected an area the size of France, flooding hundreds of cemeteries, moose calving grounds, and village sites. Thousands of animals drowned including beaver, mountain goats, and bears–leading to near-starvation in the community. The waterways were rendered too dangerous to navigate. Many people of Kwadacha have drowned due to the flooding, and ongoing dust storms from the slumping banks of the reservoir have led to respiratory illnesses. In a cruel form of irony , Kwadacha has not been provided with access to electricity from the dam, and continues to pay B.C. Hydro for a diesel generator.
With construction of a new dam underway on the same river, further flooding is imminent. It’s time for Kwadacha to tell their story.