Don’t Raise a Glass Quite Yet: A reminder that Indigenous communities still need clean water
Water. It’s sacred. It’s a way to connect to nature. We drink it. We bathe in it. We need it to live. Now more than ever, we need access to clean water to sanitize and keep ourselves safe and healthy. It’s a basic human right and yet, thousands of Canadians don’t have access to it.
As of February, 61 Indigenous communities still don’t have clean drinking water and are under a boil-water advisory if not more stringent rules. Half of those communities have been experiencing this for over a decade. That’s up to 5000 people per advisory zone. That’s insane.
From places like Grassy Narrows where a pulp and paper mill has been responsible for a mercury dump that has caused long-lasting effects since the 1960s to Neskantanga where citizens have been evacuated to live in Thunder Bay hotels until the problem is fixed, it’s clear that now more than ever, we need to turn our attention to Indigenous populations and real ways to help them.
To their credit, the federal government has created a goal to solve water crises across these communities by March 2021, committing 1.8 million dollars to the cause and already having lifted 88 long-term advisories. Unfortunately, according to reports from the David Suzuki Foundation, this puts them well behind where they should be to reach their target date. In short, more work will be needed to lift all of the bans and make them long-lasting lifts.
Keep your eyes on this issue.
Peace, love & history.
P.S. I thought this song was an appropriate addition to this blog post.
Kristine Liao, “61 Indigenous Communities in Canada Still Need to Boil Water for Safety,” Global Citizen (Global Citizen, September 30, 2020), https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/canada-indigenous-drinking-water-dangers/. “Drinking Water Advisories,” David Suzuki Foundation, April 4, 2018, https://davidsuzuki.org/project/drinking-water-advisories/. Global News; Annie Burns-Pieper Andrew Russell, “This Ontario First Nation Has Been under a Boil Water Advisory for 25 Years. Now Ottawa Is Investigating,” Global News (Global News, November 13, 2020), https://globalnews.ca/news/7457955/neskantaga-first-nation-water-crisis/. “Safe Water for First Nations,” The Council of Canadians, accessed November 17, 2020, https://canadians.org/fn-water. “Drinking Water Advisories,” David Suzuki Foundation, April 4, 2018, https://davidsuzuki.org/project/drinking-water-advisories/.