Autumn Peltier: Meet the ‘water protector’ of Canada’s First Nations

Peltier, who grew up in Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island, first became aware of the need for water advocacy when he was eight years old. When visiting a neighboring indigenous community, she discovered that they could not drink their tap water due to pollution. That was the beginning of her career as an activist.
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“I believe that regardless of race or color, (or) how rich poor we are, everyone deserves clean drinking water,” she says. “You don’t have to be indigenous to respect (water) or create awareness for it.”

At age 12, Peltier made headlines for scolding Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his failure to enact policies to conserve clean water. Since then, she has spoken with world leaders at the UN General Assembly and at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit. She was also nominated three times for the International Children’s Peace Prize.

“You generally wouldn’t think that a child or young person would speak out about world issues or political issues,” Peltier says. “That’s why it’s so much more powerful — because that’s how you know something’s wrong.”

Watch the video above to find out how Peltier is elevating the central role of water in indigenous communities.

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