The newly unveiled Pays Plat First Nation flag. - Photo courtesy of Jesse Achneepineskum
In October 2008, the Chiefs of Ontario hosted a First Nations Water Policy Forum where the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk Onkwehonwe, and Lenape Peoples in Ontario met to discuss their perspectives on the waters including water quality and quantity, safe drinking water, and models for a path forward. Out of these discussions arose the Water Declaration, a document that was adopted by Chiefs in Assembly in 2008.
The Water Declaration is the culmination of decades of work on water related issues by First Nations in Ontario. It outlines the relationships of the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, Onkwehonwe, and Lenape
Peoples to waters, notes the conditions of the waters, the right to self determination, as well as the rights to waters and Treaties. Currently, work is ongoing to develop strategies to have the Declaration implemented and incorporated into educational institutions.
The Water Declaration can be used as a tool and living document when undertaking initiatives that impact the waters.