Water & Aboriginal Communities

At present, Aboriginal people living on reserves do not enjoy the same quality of water as many other Canadians. This is true despite the fact that the Walkerton Inquiry found that Aboriginal people residing in Ontario “are residents of the province and should be entitled to safe drinking water on the same terms as those prevailing in similarly placed communities”. As of December 31st 2008, 106 First Nations communities in Canada were under drinking water advisories, including in some cases long-term drinking water advisories lasting several years. There can be absolutely no justification for allowing this inequality to continue.  Water issues in Aboriginal communities require urgent attention.

Work under this theme will expand the understanding of cultural, social and political meanings attached to water in Aboriginal communities across Canada with a particular  focus on the gender implications. Work will additionally explore funding and infrastructure issues, the problem of technical capacity, the use and impact of Boil Water Advisories (BWAs) and the existing regulatory gaps in Aboriginal water management.