On Friday, March 22nd, over 150 people gathered at the Manitoba Hydro Place Courtyard and marched to the Legislative Building to call for responsible management of our water.
Wa Ni Ska Tan co-hosted this event with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition. This year we focused not only on hydro issues, but all major water issues affecting communities in Manitoba.
The goal of the event was to address the social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts on water caused by hydropower, agriculture, pollution, oil spills, and a lack of political will. The event highlighted the boil water advisories in First Nation communities, the health of Lake Winnipeg, the injustices faced by Shoal Lake 40, and the flooding, displacement, loss of livelihoods, and disrespect that hydro-impacted communities have been dealing with for decades.
The event kicked off with the large crowd chanting their way to the Legislative building, yelling out “2-4-6-8, hydro justice cannot wait” “water for all” and much more.
Once we arrived at the Legislature, Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, (Wa Ni Ska Tan) and Laura Tyler (MEJC) reminded us of our responsibilities to the water and called upon various speakers to discuss their connection to water, and how they honour and respect the water in their everyday lives.
Speakers then followed to share stories and experiences with us, and remind us as to why we gathered. Speakers included Les Dysart (South Indian Lake), Rita Monias (Pimicikamak Cree Nation), Brielle Beardy-Linklater (Thompson) and Councillor Brian Wood (South Indian Lake).
Ultimately the event was a way for people to highlight and celebrate the significance of water in our everyday lives. It was an opportunity for people to show their support for hydro-impacted and other frontline communities, and ask for more responsible handling of our public utilities and infrastructure; to demand respect for our water.
There were also affiliated World Water Day events across the province, which was part of the Provincial Day of Action on Hydro and Water.
Swan Lake First Nation held a water walk with youth, live-streaming the event.
Hollow Water First Nation hosted a water ceremony at Camp Morning Star, where they acknowledged the importance of water.
Raymond Robinson spent the day outside at the Jenpeg Generating Station to gain support and raise awareness for the impacts faced by hydro-impacted communities, as well as to share tea and stories, and visit with other community members and passersby. The group at Jenpeg was visited by community members, people driving by, and Manitoba Hydro employees, where they all discussed hydro issues and the protection of our waterways in Manitoba, especially in Northern communities.
York Factory First Nation hosted a film screening of Water Warriors and discussion on the importance of respecting the water.
World Water Day was a day of recognition and celebration of water by people across Manitoba. The events hosted were made possible by motivated individuals who took action in support of water, bringing together community to honour, learn, discuss and celebrate the importance of water!
We are extremely grateful for all of the people who came out and participated in these events. We hope to continue to host many more events like this in the future.
The conversation on responsible and informed water use and management is only just beginning. We must continue to respect water and call for the responsible management of our provincial waterbodies. We hope you will continue to join us on our journey to do so!
Here are two petitions that you can sign, and take action with today:
ADOPT AND IMPLEMENT UNDRIP IN MANITOBA
SUPPORT CLEAN RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS
To access the summary of all Provincial events: