Turtle Island Protectors: Indigenous Water Crisis
At the very least, every 30th person in Canada doesn’t have the access to clean drinking water. To backtrack, we are talking about 1.13M out of the total population.That’s two-thirds of the total amount of First Nations peoples, who currently reside in Canada. Canada, a place that has the reputation of being one of the most accepting and welcoming countries in the world, can’t give clean water to more than a million of its population. That’s a third-world issue that shouldn’t be happening in a country as good as ours – and the worst part about it, most people don`t even know that it goes on.
Another thing that a large majority isn`t aware of is the fact that a certain water bottle company is pumping at the exact same reserve, where only 9% of people get water that is good for human use. They sell that water to us when we refuse to drink tap.
Our vision for Canada is a country, where the basic need for water is free. Everyone, including our local community needed to be informed about this, due to the amount of persons in the dark. The more people know about this, the more actions can be done for the sake of eliminating this issue once and for all. We want to be able to live in a prosperous country that treats all of its citizens equally.
All of the actions were largely planned by the students within the group; our teachers had little to no involvement in setting them up. Encouraging the use of tap water was one of the things we did; through many announcements, posters, and bulletin boards around our school. We made a few appearances at a STEM conference in Toronto, and at the Aga Khan Museum, where we got to talk to a lot of teens and educators that were heavily passionate about sustainability. A classic water taste test has proved to many that both tap and bottled water largely taste the same. Mainly, we focused on two topics; the importance of using tap water over its bottled counterpart, and spreading awareness about the First Nations Water Crisis. Hosting an in-school bake sale and donating all profit to an organization that specified on helping Indigenous communities was a way to both help people in need first-hand, and to educate more people about the issue. Our biggest action was making a documentary, that was both informing on the crisis, and our journey in educating people about it. We hope you enjoy watching it!
Reflection & Celebration
A clear success was the willingness of all of our school’s students to participate in the actions we prepared for them. They were curios, eager to learn, and most have already quit using bottled water, which positively influences the crisis. We learned that making a difference is quite easy, when you put your mind to it. Collaborating and leaving our own mark on the development of this project was also something we enjoyed. A drawback was the lack of responses from officials and spokespeople that we wanted to interview for primary source information. We will host another non-profit bake sale, and the posters we hanged around the school will remain standing. We hope that the people seeing them will consider changing their habits to live with sustainability in mind.