I was very fortunate to participate in the Keepers of the Water conference in Wollaston Lake, northern Saskatchewan, in mid-August. It was my first time to this remote community, which can only be reached by barge/boat or airplane as there are no roads that go directly there. People say the water there is clean enough to drink right out of the lake, which I saw someone doing. The lake, one of Saskatchewan's largest, certainly looked beautiful, though I hesitated to drink from it like the locals.
What does it take to protect Indigenous women from violence?
Tina Fontaine was a young woman who should have had her whole life ahead of her. She was a much loved daughter, niece, sister and friend. She was also a citizen of the Sagkeeng First Nation and member of an Indigenous community with a rich cultural heritage. However, this past summer she also became another number in a shameful statistic: one of over 1,100 Indigenous women and girls to have gone missing or been murdered in Canada since 1980.
Responding to Tina's death, vigils were held, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups in a renewed call for a national commission of inquiry into the appallingly high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
Rinelle Harper, the 16-year-old student who was brutally attacked last month and left for dead near the Assiniboine River, calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women at the AFN national meeting in Winnipeg this week.