indigenous water rights

100 Water Heroes: Autumn Peltier

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Environmental Advocate

Autumn Peltier is a 13-year-old Eagle Clan Anishnaabekwe from Wikwemikong Unceded Territory in Northern Ontario. Autumn has been fiercely advocating for water conservation since she was just 8-years-old and has become a renowned environmental activist throughout the world.

Her beginning in water advocacy was inspired by her aunt, Josephine Mandamin, who raised awareness surrounding water conservation and indigenous water rights by walking the shores of the five Great Lakes. Autumn began her water journey by speaking at community events about the absolute necessity of conserving Canada’s water.

In 2015, Autumn attended the Children's Climate Conference in Sweden, and in 2017 became the only Canadian nominated for the Children's International Peace Prize. One of Autumn’s most publicised encounters occurred in 2016, where she met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Assembly of First Nations' annual winter meeting, and told him about her grave concerns surrounding Canada’s water situation.

Autumn was also recently invited to speak at the launch of the UN's International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, where she acted as the ‘representative of civil society.’’

Autumn is one of our #100WaterHeroes for her fierce water advocacy efforts and her focus on ensuring safe drinking water for Indigenous communities in Canada.

Anishinabek Nation Twitter: @AnishNation

100 Water Heroes: Farhad Contractor

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Founder of Sambhaav Trust

Farhad Contractor is the founder of Sambhaav Trust, a voluntary organisation that operates in six Indian states, that “works on reviving and strengthening ecologies in more than 300 villages.”

Having been awarded the Smile Fellowship, he chose to spend time in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, “a place that would run out of water and fodder leading to as much as 70% migration” (Khandekar, 2013). Farhad moved on to work in Bakasar, collaborating with villagers to rejuvenate close to 120 beri’s, and facilitate the creation of close to 400 new ones.

Together with six partners, Farhad registersted the Shambaav Trust, focusing on “rainwater harvesting and community empowerment in the Thar Desert.” One of Farhad’s key principles is to engage and activate the community to fix local issues:

“Centuries of indigenous wisdom that has found water for drinking and irrigation - even in extremely arid landscapes - wells, filter ponds and other catchment systems [the wisdom] still rests with the local communities. And even without any government intervention, they know very well how to manage water.” (in Singh, 2010)

Farhad is one of our #100WaterHeroes because he recognises the value of engaging communities, and empowering them to take charge of local water management issues.

Twitter: Farhad Contractor

Sambhaav Website: https://sambhaavtrust.in/