Water Decontamination for First Nation Reserves

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We are a group of students who are raising awareness on the issue of water contamination in First Nation Reserves during Treaties Recognition Week at Milliken Mills High School.

There has been unjust treatment for a number of First Nations as they do not have access to safe water. Right now, they need to rely on temporary water advisories in order to acquire safe water to drink and clean with in order to not risk their health and safety. Even though it is a violation of a human right to deny access to safe water to a person/group, this unfair treatment has been ongoing for decades.

Few of the inequitable treatment some First Nations experience in terms of water contamination include:

  • Having 174 drinking water advisories in May 2018 in over 100 First Nation communities. A single drinking water advisory can mean as many as 5,000 people lack access to safe, clean drinking water
  • The United Nations needing to declare water and sanitation human rights in July 2010 because they finally acknowledged that safe water is an essential
  • There being 67 long-term drinking water advisories that remains for the federal government to fix and 40 of those advisories are over a decade old
  • 73% of First Nations water systems being at a high or medium risk of water contamination and around 120 First Nation communities are on boil-water advisories
  • Being able to fix First Nations' water systems if the tax rate for Canada's corporation was raised from 15% to 15.5%
  • The Neskantaga First Nations being on water advisories since 1995
  • The water pump at the Neskantaga reserve failing on September 12, 2019, leaving many people without access to safe water 
  • Donald Maracle, the chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, seeing his residents develop skin rashes and gastrointestinal illnesses from showering or drinking the contaminated water
  • The Trudeau government promising to end all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations reserves by 2021, but many are given band-aid solutions that result in new short-term advisories. 

This petition is to be sent to the Government of Canada so they could acknowledge and prioritize the issues First Nations are facing in regards to water contamination. Water is an essential to life and the lack of access to clean, safe drinking water in First Nations must be fixed for good. That is why our ultimate goal is to revoke all water advisories immediately and to implement permanent solutions that would provide safe water in First Nation Reserves.