TRU’s Equity Committee fights for Indigenous rights to clean water

Water is Life campaign highlights the urgent need for clean drinking water across many Indigenous communities

The battle for clean water in Indigenous communities continues. On Feb. 14, TRU’s Equity Committee held a Water is Life campaign event to advocate for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities across Canada.

The campaign was started by CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) and is supported by the TRUSU Equity Committee. Accessibility Representative Alex Duarosan and Equity Coordinator Azul-Sky Billy of the Equity Committee provided the Omega with information about the campaign and how people can make a difference.

“Indigenous people in Canada continue to grapple with the impacts of colonization,” Duarosan said. “This campaign illustrates the enduring impacts of colonization, and its repercussions are like a domino effect. So if you don’t have access to clean drinking water, health effects can follow, economic effects, social effects — that sort of thing.”

Water is Life’s goal is to end long-term boil water advisories in Indigenous communities across Canada. The Equity Committee aims to get the federal government’s attention while continuing to demand a change in universal access to clean drinking water.

The Equity Committee will be sending a banner signed by TRU students, faculty and staff to Patty Hajdu, Canada’s minister of Indigenous services.

“We’re going to … just sort of let her know that this is still relevant, it’s still something that we are fighting for and to keep it on her radar,” Billy said. “It is just one step that we can do, one piece of action that we can do to help.”

Duarosan and Billy emphasize the importance of clean drinking water access as a human right and the effects of not having access to a clean water supply.

“Many communities who don’t have access may have to spend large sums on bottled drinking water which leads to plastic waste and [lack of access to water] can lead to health and hygiene complications such as illnesses from bacteria viruses or water-born diseases,” Duarosan said. “It is imperative for individuals to rally behind this cause as the struggle persists.”

Duarosan outlines that the issues can include financial struggles, physical health issues, mental health issues and environmental issues. 

For more information on Water is Life and what you can do for the cause can be found here.