The first time Autumn Peltier noticed a boil-water advisory in a First Nations community, she was just eight years old. “I asked my mom what that meant,” Peltier, who is turning 15 this week, told CTVNews.ca by phone. “When she explained to me that our water is not safe to drink, it all hit me.” The Indigenous teen from northeastern Ontario has since been advocating for clean water in First Nations communities across the country. Peltier is in New York City this week to speak about the importance of clean water at the Global Landscape Forum at the UN.
Residents of a small Saskatchewan town can drink the water coming out of their taps for the first time in nearly nine years thanks to a new water treatment plant. Craik, population 400, has been facing a boil water advisory since August 2010, when the province found its old plant didn’t meet minimum disinfection standards. “Sometimes it was yellow and sometimes it was brown and sometimes there was dirt in it,” one resident recalled.
The cause of the fire that destroyed the water treatment facility on Carry The Kettle Nakoda Nation has been ruled undetermined by Saskatchewan First Nation Emergency Management.
The facility was destroyed in February, leaving roughly 1,500 people without water.
According to Kimbal Ironstar, the First Nation’s projects manager, within three days of the fire they were able to hook up untreated well water and restore running water.
“Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions,” Tara Scurr, business and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International Canada, said in a statement Thursday.
A water-main break in Nackawic early Monday morning has prompted a boil order for some residents and closed two schools for the day. The order affects only those on lower Landegger Drive, according to a post on the town's Facebook page. Nackawic High School and Nackawic Middle School are closed because of the break, a town official said.
Union Bay resident Kathy Calder wants to know why she can't drink her tap water. Her community, in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, has been on a boil water advisory for more than a month. Calder was looking forward to asking some questions at Thursday night's Union Bay Improvement District [UBID] public meeting. However, a letter posted to the district's website Jan. 10 says residents are banned from attending the public meeting, which consists of elected officials.
Today, Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, visited Kehewin Cree Nation and congratulated Chief Brenda Vanguardand the entire community on the official sod turning for their new water treatment system. This new water treatment system is critical to the community's efforts to lift their long-term drinking water advisory.
Recently elected Xeni Gwet’in chief Jimmy Lulua doesn’t have running water in his own house. He brushes his teeth from a cup. It is a daily reminder of how precious water is to his people — but, he noted, “It’s not by choice.”
“We’ve never been high on the government’s priority list,” he said. “We live in a third world country in one of the richest countries in the world.”
A green dot. That’s the symbol the federal government uses for this First Nation in the Gatineau River Valley. An online map that tracks one of the Liberal administration’s signature pledges — to rid First Nations of warnings that their tap water is dirty and unsafe — marks Kitigan Zibi with a green dot, like a traffic signal, indicating Mission Accomplished.