Indigenous communities have long been engaged in oil and gas projects across Canada.
When oil and gas projects first spurred across Alberta in the 50’s the department of Indian Affairs took control of reserves and had complete control of the revenue and the sale of drilling rights to companies. Production at Pigeon Lake, a reserve fishing station for the four bands whose main reserves were located at Hobbema, began in 1952 and spread to other reserves as exploration progressed.
Unfortunately, this paternalistic attitude was typical of Canada at the time. Overtime a process began allowing for First Nations themselves to be in charge of oil and gas production on their land. The Indian Oil and Gas Act was passed in 1974. In 1987 Indian Oil and Gas Canada (IOGC) was created to replace Indian Minerals West within the Department of Indian Affairs, and the Indian Resource Council (IRC) was founded to advise IOGC. In 1993, IOGC became a Special Operating Agency within Indian Affairs, giving it a board of directors and a status resembling a Crown corporation, among other landmark decisions.