Call to Action: Support Neskantaga First Nation & End Long-Term Drinking Water Advisories

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RE: Canadian Government’s Neglect for Water Crisis in Indigenous Communities 


Right Hon. Justin Trudeau and the Canadian Government: 


The current Neskantaga First Nation evacuation due to unsafe water is only a metaphoric drop in the bucket of atrocity being experienced by Indigenous Peoples across the colonially-formed nation of Canada. As it stands there still remains to be over sixty long-term drinking water advisories in effect across the country. The Canadian Government’s inability to uphold the basic human rights of the original inhabitants of this land, the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples, is deplorable at best. 


The recent report by Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) explicitly states the following horror: “Neskantaga has not had safe drinking water since 1995 – the longest running boil water advisory in Canada. A water treatment plant was constructed in 2016 but there have been numerous delays, equipment failures and related infrastructure failures. The system failed in 2019, and the long-standing boil water advisory was replaced with a Do Not Consume warning. Indigenous Services Canada refused to evacuate the community”. 


In 2010 Canada signed onto the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) yet remains to ignore the commitments outlined in UNDRIP Article 21:

1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security.

2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.


This letter is a call to action for the Canadian Government to immediately provide financial support for the Neskantaga First Nation community’s evacuation and expedition of their water treatment facility. Additionally, the Canadian Government must not delay their commitment to end long-term drinking water advisories by March 2021, taking into account the impact which accessibility has on the dignity and wellbeing of communities without access to clean water. There is no excuse for ignoring this ongoing human rights violation. 


Yet again the Canadian government fails to protect the rights of the original occupants of this land in an act of continued colonialism. We urge you to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples and uphold your responsibility to provide equitable access to basic needs.


In Solidarity with the Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.

_______

Artwork contained within this document was graciously provided by Chief Lady Bird.
@chiefladybird | chiefladybird@gmail.com

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Report Cited: Canada Ignores Urgent Public Health Crisis, Refuses to Support Neskantaga First Nation Evacuation Again, October 21, 2020 https://www.nan.ca/news/canada-ignores-urgent-public-health-crisis-refuses-to-support-neskantaga-first-nation-evacuation-again/?fbclid=IwAR3fGi4cPBSLEholQ2RQXiKPLD3u7m_-395LfHUkgRbrYj4ThWWAQwl1e-M