Who Can We Hold Accountable For The First Nations Water Crisis? | Liam Massaubi

The First Nations water crisis is beyond a national embarrassment. It should be seen as a national crime that the basic human right to water is seriously at risk in First Nations communities across Canada.

According to a Globe and Mail investigation, and backed up by the government's own data, about 150,000 aboriginal people living on reserve do not have reliable access to a safe supply of drinking water.

Children that are bathed in the available water often end up with painful rashes or other skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Water wells are contaminated with uranium, among other things, including cancer-causing by-products that are used to treat the dirty source water.

As of this summer, there are 158 boil-water advisories in place for 114 First Nation communities and while that may seem startling enough, it does not reveal the full extent of water problems facing First Nations communities. There are reservations that lack basic housing let alone running water, which leaves people relying on overpriced bottled water, cisterns and water brought in on trucks and well water which causes illnesses such as gastrointestinal disorders due to contamination.

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