I would like to thank the Global Landscapes Forum and the United Nations General Assembly for having me here today to share my concerns and share why my people have a sacred connection to the water and the lands. I would like to start by sharing that the work I do is in honour of my late Great Auntie Biidaasige-ba. If it weren’t for her lifetime commitment and sacrifices to create the awareness and the sacredness of water, I would not be standing here today. She inspired me to do this work as she was an Elder when she began. I thought about who would keep doing her work one day; I just didn’t expect that day to come as soon as it did. She created the Mother Earth Water Walks. She walked around all the Great Lakes, more than once. She did this because the Elders began to see changes in the lands, medicines, animals and waters.
People in Attawapiskat continue to speak out about their water problems with some high-profile visitors this week. Attawapiskat's Chief and Council declared a state of emergency more than a week ago when water tests came back with higher-than accepted levels of trihalomethanes. Exposure to trihalomethanes can be connected to an increased risk of bladder and possibly colon cancer in people who drank chlorinated water for 35 years or more.
Eabametoong First Nation, an Ojibway community that sits about 360 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, passed a band council resolution declaring a state of emergency Friday after water test results showed levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) between 122 to 182 per cent above Health Canada safety standards.
Yesno said residents are also reporting a foul smell coming from the community's tap water.
During an emotional community meeting Tuesday evening, residents of a northern Ontario First Nation grappling with water problems demanded their chief and council ask the Canadian military to step in. Attawapiskat Band Coun. Rosie Koostachin said community members passed a resolution at the meeting calling on their band council to request Ottawa bring in the Canadian Armed Forces' Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to provide clean water.