When a Canadian National Railways (CN) train derailed next to Wabamun Lake in August, it spilled 1.3 million litres of bunker C fuel oil and 70,000 litres of Imperial pole treating oil into the lake.
The spill covered Wabamun Lake almost in its entirety. The Nakota people wondered if this important body of water would be able to recover.
CN hired Eastern Canada Response Corporation (ECRC), a firm that specializes in marine oil spill response services, to do the clean up. ECRC, in turn, worked with members of the Paul Band to clean up their portion of the lake themselves.
On Oct. 16, with about everything done that could be physically done to restore the lake before freeze-up, members of the Paul Band, CN and ECRC held a blessing at water's edge that, they hope, will help restore the spirit of Wabamun Lake.
"The oil that got into the lake took the spirit out of the lake," said Paul Band Chief Daniel Paul. "We want to hold a ceremony, have blessings, have sweat lodges. Hopefully we can restore some of the spirit that was in the lake."
"So far CN has been very co-operative," said the chief. "I understand that there is still some oil in the lake, there is still some staining along the shorelines, there is quite a bit of work left to be done. That is when they (CN) will be tested. Are they going to return to the lake next year?"
James Carson, president and general manager of ECRC, said the company took part in the blessing because employees had become friends with many members of the band while working together.
Stories by George Young
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|Title Annotation:||Tradition & Business|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2005|
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