Boozhoo/Hello my name is Autumn Peltier, I am the guest host this week for Little Feather Adventures. I am honoured to be here today as Shannon’s choice of her personal cultural hero. I’ve been asked to tell you a little about myself and what I hope to share with you today. I’ve been a water-rights advocate since I was 8 years old and I am a leading global youth environmental activist. I am the Chief Water Commissioner for Anishinabek Nation. I am 16 years old. I have spoken at the United Nations and at the World Economic Forum. I’ve been fighting for everyone’s right to clean drinking water. You know when a child speaks up something is wrong.
Water is a basic human right. Everyone deserves access to clean drinking water no matter what their race or colour is or no matter how rich or poor they are. We all come from water, water has a spirit, and without it, we wouldn’t be here today. The water is sick and contaminated and so we perform a water ceremony to pray for the water so that someday it will become clean again.
What inspired me to start my work as a water activist was the boil water advisories I experienced while visiting a First Nation community. They were under a water advisory for over 20 years. In Canada, some communities live in third-world conditions in a first-world country.
The most impactful action I am most proud of was when I was 12 years old I was asked to give a gift to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Assembly of First Nations and was told not to say anything. However, I was moved to say something to him. I told Trudeau off by saying that I was unhappy with the choices he has made and for the broken promises to my people. Trudeau said to me that he will protect the water. I still hold him accountable for that strong promise.
As of January 5, 2023, according to the Government of Canada, there are still 33 long-term drinking water advisories in effect in 29 communities. Since November 2015, 137 boil water advisories have been lifted.
All I want in life is to be a good ancestor and leave a better world for the next generations; that is something everyone can do to be an everyday hero.
Learn more about Autumn Peltier here.