Stuck in a hotel during a Christmas pandemic, Neskantaga members wait for water crisis to end – by Olivia Stefanovich (CBC New Politics – December 2, 2020)

Nine-year-old Bedahbun ‘Bee’ Moonias can’t bring herself to drink the running water in her Thunder Bay, Ont., hotel room. “Since we can’t drink the tap water back in Neskantaga, I’m scared to use the tap water here to drink it,” Moonias said. “So I use water bottles.”

Moonias has spent her whole life worrying about the water flowing from her faucets back home in Neskantaga First Nation, a remote fly-in Ontario community about 450 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

Neskantaga has the longest-duration boil water advisory of any reserve in the country — 25 years and counting. “Sometimes, I feel like we don’t exist,” Moonias said. “Like, nobody knows that we don’t have no clean water. Like, we’re just ghosts and we’re just put in a drawer, in a box.”

Moonias and nearly 300 other Neskantaga members have been staying at the Victoria Inn Hotel in Thunder Bay since an oily sheen was detected in their reservoir on Oct. 19 and running water was shut off.

Before the film was deemed non-toxic, its discovery left residents with a choice: go without water or evacuate during a pandemic. They decided the safest option was to pack their bags.

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