NEW YORK CITY – The Black Cotton Foundation announced on September 11 that 15-year-old Autumn Peltier, chief water commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation, will be the recipient of its 2020 Jasmina Anema Youth Award. The award is given to an extraordinary young person who goes above and beyond to improve society’s quality of life and community. It is a special award that serves to recognize outstanding youth, while motivating others to believe in and achieve their dreams.
Autumn Peltier is a 15-year-old Anishinaabe-kwe and citizen of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, a member First Nation of the Anishinabek Nation, a release notes. “She is a water protector, also referred to as a ‘water warrior,’ who has been advocating for the protection of nibi (water) and Mother Earth since the age of eight. Autumn has gained national and international recognition, and uses that platform to emphasize the connection of the Anishinabek to the land and water, their role to protect the lifeline of Mother Earth, and brings to the forefront the need for clean water for First Nations in Canada. Autumn understands that the work to protect water and Mother Earth must happen immediately in order to secure a future for the next generations to come.”
Autumn was appointed as the Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner in June 2019 where she will be representing the Anishinabek Nation on all matters related to water. Autumn is a three-time nominee for the International Children’s Peace Prize; a nominee for the 2019 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award; recipient of 2017 Canadian Living Me to We Award Youth in Action under 12; recipient of the Sovereign Medal of Exceptional Volunteerism in 2017; recipient of a 2017 Ontario Junior Citizens Award; 2018 Ottawa Riverkeeper Award; recipient of the 2019 Water Warrior Award from Ecologos; recognized as one of 30 under 30 by North America for Environmental Education; and was named in the 100 Most Influential People in the World for Climate Change Policy in 2019. Autumn is also the subject in a documentary short, ‘The Water Walker,’ that premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
“Our organization is beyond ecstatic and extremely humbled to be able to present Autumn with our Jasmina Anema Youth Award,” said Raheim Singleton, president and founder of The Black Cotton Foundation, in the release. “Autumn’s bravery, selflessness, leadership and beautiful spirit are the qualities we look for in a Jasmina Anema Youth Award recipient, and she exceeds all of our checkmarks! We could’ve never imagined when we started this award that this award would go beyond the tri-state area. For this award to go beyond our country’s borders, and to have Autumn be our first international recipient, epitomizes our award’s slogan of ‘Dream Big Dreams.’ We are hopeful that Jasmina Anema is smiling down from heaven, today.”
Autumn will be honoured during an award ceremony at a later date, due to the pandemic.
The Black Cotton Foundation is a community-related non-profit organization based in Newark, New Jersey. Its mission is to promote and produce programs and events that will have a positive and profound impact in the community and to educate people through ‘observation and participation.’ Their programs and events are geared to benefit the poor and working class communities of New York and New Jersey, specifically focusing on children by teaching them unity and teamwork, and helping them to build a supportive community.
Jasmine Anema was a spunky and charismatic six-year-old girl from New York City who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2009. Her brave fight inspired many people, amazingly resulting in over 10,000 bone marrow donors on her behalf, saving the lives of at least 21 people. Unfortunately, Jasmina lost her battle to leukemia on January 27, 2010.