Indigenous people fare far worse than non-Indigenous populations when it comes to attaining safe and secure housing, both worldwide and here in Canada, according to a new United Nations report. The UN's special rapporteur on adequate housing, Ottawa's Leilani Farha, presented the report to the General Assembly Friday. It found that Indigenous communities lag behind when it comes to housing conditions and that their territories tend to be the "most disadvantaged in terms of access to infrastructure, including access to drinking water and sanitation, education and health services."
The first time Autumn Peltier noticed a boil-water advisory in a First Nations community, she was just eight years old. “I asked my mom what that meant,” Peltier, who is turning 15 this week, told CTVNews.ca by phone. “When she explained to me that our water is not safe to drink, it all hit me.” The Indigenous teen from northeastern Ontario has since been advocating for clean water in First Nations communities across the country. Peltier is in New York City this week to speak about the importance of clean water at the Global Landscape Forum at the UN.
Residents of a small Saskatchewan town can drink the water coming out of their taps for the first time in nearly nine years thanks to a new water treatment plant. Craik, population 400, has been facing a boil water advisory since August 2010, when the province found its old plant didn’t meet minimum disinfection standards. “Sometimes it was yellow and sometimes it was brown and sometimes there was dirt in it,” one resident recalled.