MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2011

Maude Barlow addresses Assembly of First Nations convention, supports First Nations calls for internationally recognized human right to water
 
Moncton, NB -- Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, addressed the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly this morning, pledging her and her organization's full support for First Nations struggles for access to clean water and sanitation, which Canada and the provinces are now required by international law to provide as a human right for all peoples.
"Almost one year ago to this day, the United Nations acknowledged that water and sanitation is a fundamental human right, equal to other rights that are enforceable under international law. Even though the Harper government shamefully abstained from the vote recognizing the right to water, it is nonetheless bound by an obligation to ensure the peoples of Canada enjoy that right," said Barlow in her speech to the AFN.
"The human right to water and sanitation is being violated right here in Canada. First Nations' homes are 90 percent less likely to have running water than the homes of other Canadians," says Barlow. "The Harper government cannot hide from this fact. It is now under international obligation to redress this travesty."
 
Water is a prominent theme in resolutions to this year's AFN convention. One calls on the AFN to advocate for the application of UN General Assembly Resolution on the right to water and sanitation in Canada "as a supporting mechanism for the implementation of Indigenous Rights, Title, and Treaty Rights in Canada." Another asks that prior and pre-extinguished water rights of First Nations in British Columbia be addressed and given priority over short- and long-term water rights to third parties in First Nations' territories.
 
There is a resolution asking for a government investigation into the impacts on water of shale gas developments on First Nations lands, and another which asks the AFN to continue to support the Tsilhqot'in Nation struggle in B.C. against the proposed New Prosperity copper mine, which has been rejected once by the federal government based on independent panel findings it would have "significant adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat, on navigation, on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by First Nations and on cultural heritage, and on certain potential or established Aboriginal rights or title."
"The Council of Canadians is very keen to work with the Assembly of First Nations to address the crucial issue of water and sanitation on First Nations communities across the country and to use the two historic UN resolutions recognizing the human right to drinking water and sanitation to dramatically improve the situation," said Barlow at the close of her speech. "That is why we need to work together to see justice done and ensure the dignity of clean water and sanitation to everyone in this country and around the world."
 
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More information and to arrange interviews:
Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians: (647) 222-9782; strew@canadians.org
Emma Lui, water campaigner, Council of Canadians: (613) 298-8792; elui@canadians.org

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Action Alerts

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.