Our colonial history has resulted in deep economic, environmental, social and spiritual costs to indigenous peoples that have all but destroyed them. For example, Canadian government reports on drinking water quality in First Nations communities (Drinking Water Advisories – DWAs).
As of May 31, 2017, in 88 First Nations communities south of the 60th parallel there were:
- 37 short-term DWAs, meaning there was a temporary water quality issue on a specific water system.
- 97 long-term DWAs, meaning the advisory has been in place for more than a year.
Despite these challenges, many Indigenous communities on and off reserves are working hard to become self-governing and self-sufficient. Reconciliation, then, means nothing without action to support their efforts to enhance capacity and determine their own future within our Canadian family of nations.
To date, then, we have identified one project to support: the Pikangikum Water Project..
It is important to understand two things in doing this:
First, this is not their problem. This is our problem. While Canada, as a whole has flourished in many ways, our land like the rest of the world has suffered deeply from the colonial mindset. Like the rest of the world, we are facing unprecedented environmental challenges. The 2017 national assessment of Canadian watersheds, Watershed Reports. done by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shows, for instance, that our water resources, which we have so easily taken for granted, are in trouble.
Secondly, all of Canada will benefit if we work together with Indigenous Peoples who have an intimate knowledge of sustainable environmental practices based on deep knowledge of the land and awareness that the land does not belong to us; that we belong to the land, home to all our relations.
We also are looking for a local reconciliation project that will be restorative of right relations between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Peoples living within our own area. Currently we are seeking the guidance of Larry McDermott, Algonquin Ambassador and Executive Director of Plenty Canada to guide us in making a well-informed decision about where to put our energies and resources. In the end, it is all about the land.