This would be fully in line with its approach to the development of Tar Sands upstream, where independent monitoring and surveillance is finally being designed and a legally binding transboundary water agreement is being negotiated with Alberta. Residents of the NWT capital, who make up nearly half of NWT`s population, should clearly be entitled to the same approach. The abandoned Giant Mine near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is a particularly unfortunate case study of the memory and communication challenges associated with toxic waste. As a result of historic gold panning from 1948 to 2004, surface and underground environments are contaminated with arsenic trioxide and other waste. The most alarming are the 237,000 tons of arsenic trioxide waste stored in twelve underground mining stops and specially built chambers inside the abandoned mining plants. The federal and territorial governments plan to freeze this material underground with passive heat exchange technology, a transitional measure (up to a century) until new technologies can be developed to safely remove arsenic. However, until the development of new technologies is assured, the freeze-in-place strategy increases the possibility that large amounts of toxic materials will remain on site for long periods of time, perhaps forever. Questions about how to remember and care for this enduring toxic site were asked emphatically during the recent controversial environmental assessment of the Giant Mine Remediation Project, with the Mackenzie Valley Review Board concluding in its decision that “without any plans, important aspects of the project have been communicated to people in the distant future, they probably won`t have the information they need to properly manage the project.  The Toxic Legacies project, designed in part as a response to perceived deficiencies in environmental assessment and remediation, was created in 2013 as a partnership between the community and the university to address local perspectives for rehabilitation, lifelong care and communication with future generations at giant mine. The partnership included researchers from Memorial University (including two of the authors, John and Arn) and Lakehead University; The Goyatiko Language Society of La Dene First Nation, and Alternative North. Funded by an SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, part of the project`s mandate was to create a public dialogue on eternal care and communication with future generations, building on previous efforts such as the Perpetual Care Workshop 2011. To achieve this goal, project partners collaborated to create accessible resources and organize activities and events to raise awareness and develop a community strategy for communicating with future generations at Giant Mine. Canada or the GNWT (the co-supporters) assist the working group in carrying out its mandate in the secretariat. Elders suggested at one point that the entire history of the mine could be etched into words and images in the granite rocks at the place, to recall difficult topics like the death of Dene children due to arsenic pollution in the 1950s and even the Giant Mine strike in the early 1990s.
According to elders, any historical report on the mine should also recognize that their communities have been paying for decades for drinking water transported from outside and replacing a resource freely available in large quantities before the advent of the mine. . . .