WIIKWEMKOONG – Clean water advocate Autumn Peltier of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory has been selected as a recipient of a National Conservation Award by the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF).
“The CWF is pleased to announce the recipients of the Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards. The eight national leaders are featured in the July/August issue of Canadian Wildlife magazine and represent outstanding achievements in diverse areas including education, arts, fisheries and legislation,” a CWF release explains.
Autumn Peltier was presented with the Wade Luzny Youth Conservation Award. Ms. Peltier has been a water protector since she was eight years old and has travelled across the country and internationally to advocate for clean drinking water in First Nations communities and across Mother Earth.
The Wade Luzny Youth Conservation Award was renamed in honour of CWF’s much-admired executive director who died unexpectedly in 2016. It recognizes Canadian youth who have undertaken wildlife or habitat conservation projects and activities that have helped make a difference to the environment.
“Since 2016, when she told the prime minister she was disappointed in him and gave a speech saying it was time to stop ‘terrorizing Mother Earth and give her time to heal,’ she was named by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) as a water protector, was a keynote speaker for World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, and has addressed the United Nations General Assembly and the World Economic Forum. In 2019, at age 16, she appeared on the BBC’s annual list of 100 most influential women. She was the only Canadian on the list,” the CWF release explains.
“The source spring of Ms. Peltier’s passion should be well known to Canadians: as of March 2021, there were at least 58 outstanding water advisories affecting 38 First Nations communities. Some have not had clean, running drinking water for more than two decades,” the CWF continued.
In Canadian Geographic magazine recently, Ms. Peltier recalled saying at age eight, “there’s kids my age and younger not knowing what it’s like to drink clean water from a tap,” and deciding she had to do something about it. Ever since then, she has.