|Research planning symposium on water rights|
Cherishing water and claiming health was the theme of a research planning meeting held in The Pas May 9-10, 2012.
The event co-ordinated by the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Human Rights Research, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak brought members of 10 Manitoba First Nations together with researchers from the universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, and University College of the North. They shared information about drinking water and sanitation challenges in First Nations communities and brainstormed ways researchers might be able to help solve those problems.
Check out our Cherishing Water Facebook page, where First Nations youth and other members of their communities can dialogue with each other and researchers about water and sanitation issues they face.
“I see water as a holistic health right,” said Dr. Brenda Elias, who received a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to fund the symposium. In 2010, the United Nations recognized safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right.
Participants addressed issues such as:
- What are the health problems related to drinking water and sewage in your community?
- How can youth get involved in assessing drinking water and sanitation?
- What does your community want to know about laws on drinking water and sanitation?
- What’s the best way to measure the effects of good/poor water services and the costs and benefits of fixing the problems?
See the full agenda.
“We are pleased the Centre for Human Rights Research has chosen First Nations water and sanitation as one of its main research areas. Water is significant to the health of our people and environment. We must work collaboratively to address the inequities First Nations face in ensuring the health and safety of First Nations and our future generations,” said Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak. “In addition to the centre, we invite governments to work with us to invest adequate and comparable resources for solutions.”
The symposium was also supported by Dr. Annemieke Farenhorst, the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in the Prairie region and Dr. Warren Cariou, the Canada Research Chair in Narrative, Community and Indigenous Cultures. Filmmaker Cariou videotaped the proceedings.