Autumn Peltier named as chief water commissioner by Anishinabek Nation

Autumn Peltier, seen at the Lieutenant Governor’s office in Queen’s Park last January upon receiving the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

NIPISSING – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare has announced that Autumn Peltier of Wikwemikong will be honoured at the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Assembly in June as the new Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner.

The assembly’s theme, Mndaadendang Nibi Ekeanjigewat (Honouoring our Water Protectors), will give thanks to the previous Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner, the late grandmother Josephine Mandamin and celebrate Autumn, who is the great-niece of Josephine, as she takes up her new position, the Anishinabek News reported in a release April 26.

“Autumn has extensive nibi giikendaaswin (water knowledge),” said Grand Council Chief Hare. “She has been bringing global attention to the water issues in our country for a few years now. It is an honour to have her be our next chief water commissioner.”

Autumn told CBC News on April 25 that it is an honour to take on the role from her great aunt, Josephine Mandamin. “She’s my biggest mentor,” Autumn said. “She’s my hero. Ever since I was a little girl, she taught me everything I needed to know about the importance of water and becoming a woman. She was one of the most important people to me.” He aunt died earlier this year at the age of 77. Her life was spent protecting the Great Lakes. She founded the Mother Earth Walk and also helped establish the Great Lakes Guardians Council.

Autumn told CBC News that before her aunt Josephine died she asked Autumn to continue working to protect water. “I’m going to carry on her work until we don’t have to any more,” she said. Autumn will continue to advocate for water protection in hopes others join her. “I hope to see people standing up and more people taking action,” she said.

Autumn is a 14-year-old youth from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. She has advocated for the water at the United Nation and the Assembly of First Nations.