AMC Expresses Concerns Over Escalating Health Conditions for First Nations Experiencing Long Term Boil Water Advisories

Press Release

February 23rd, 2023

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) calls on the Canadian Government to prioritize its election promise to end long-term boil water advisories for First Nations. These poor living conditions mirror third-world countries and worsen the health outcomes for affected First Nations.

In Manitoba, approximately 13 boil water advisories have been lifted since 2015. However, there are still four long-term boil water advisories for Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, Shamattawa First Nation, and Sayisi Dene First Nation.

“First Nations water resources are sacred and have been desecrated by Hydro development, rendering our once pristine waters undrinkable and unsafe for bathing,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “It is unacceptable that First Nations are denied the basic human necessity of clean drinking water. I express empathy for those First Nations where infants, children, and the elderly have been injured, and in some cases disfigured due to having to bathe in unsafe drinking water.”

Plenty of communities have prompt intervention and repairs when their water is dirty. However, the same can not be said when it comes to First Nations. Bartonella Quintana infection is now associated with extreme poverty, affecting those in cramped housing with limited access to clean water, and therefore warrants our collective and immediate attention. This infection, also known as trench fever, disproportionately infects First Nations due to the Canadian government’s continuing failure to provide all its citizens basic necessities of life. First Nations leadership in Manitoba has long advocated for joint efforts and the required resources to establish a Manitoba First Nations Water and Wastewater Authority that would be mandated by and accountable to the elected First Nations leadership in Manitoba.

“This should never be acceptable in a first-world country, especially for such long periods of time, decades in some cases,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “First Nations in Manitoba look forward to more discussions and clarity and remain ready and willing to help facilitate solutions and help the federal government keep its promises to First Nations.”

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
Email:  media@manitobachiefs.com

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people.

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