Left behind in Neskantaga and exiled in Thunder Bay, a nation still waits for clean water at home – by Willow Fiddler (Globe and Mail – November 12, 2020)


On a table in the corner of the banquet room of a Thunder Bay hotel sits a collection of posters with hand-written messages like “Shame on you #Trudeau” and “We deserve clean water.” They were drawn by children from Neskantaga First Nation, pleading for safe, clean tap water to drink – a basic human right no one under the age of 25 has had in the remote Northern Ontario community.

Neskantaga Chief Chris Moonias says if it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic, he’d be on his way to Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park with the posters to show the governments how living under the longest-standing boil water advisory in the country has affected his community.

Residents have to rely on bottled water for drinking. For cooking and bathing, they have to fill up jugs and pails at an outdoor reverse-osmosis system that sits in a shed up a hill.

The First Nation is in the fourth week of an evacuation to Thunder Bay that began after the community’s water plant was shut down because an oily sheen was visible in the water reservoir.

Test results confirmed that the substance was mineral oil, a hydrocarbon used in water pumps, according to Aaron Wesley from Matawa First Nations Management, an organization that provides technical services to a group of nine communities in the region. He said efforts are under way to fix the pump and get residents back to their community before winter sets in.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-left-behind-in-neskantaga-and-exiled-in-thunder-bay-a-nation-still/