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.
Apart from the occasional whiz of a vehicle hurtling down Chiefswood Road, the main thoroughfare that leads into the heart of the Six Nations of the Grand River, the most populous First Nation in Canada, is still.
Wind gently rustles treetops, birds happily chirp and a blank-eyed rabbit silently inspects my car before darting into a green field; the scene is downright bucolic.
A little further into the reserve, however, a gravel parking lot outside a characterless strip mall buzzes with activity.
It's a hazy Sunday morning in August, and the non-natives of southern Ontario have descended upon Jay's Smoke Shop to stock up on tobacco.
Lots of tobacco.