Shoal Lake 40 speaks out on water issues

by Glen Dawkins, originally posted on July 16, 2016


Members of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation are speaking Saturday as part of a discussion on the issues with Winnipeg’s water.

For over 100 years Shoal Lake 40, the community where Winnipeg gets its water, have been stranded on a man-made island. They have lived under a boil water advisory for the past 19 years,

“Winnipeggers have a responsibility to educate themselves about this issue because we are the reason it’s still happening,” said Andrew Vineberg of 13 Fires Winnipeg which organized the event. “We must realize that the comforts we enjoy do not come from nowhere, but rather have dire consequences for people.”

Vineberg spent a week in Shoal Lake 40 with students from the community learning about the land last month.

“We have to listen to the voices of the community on the other end of the aqueduct, and this event is a great opportunity for that,” he said.

Winnipeggers will have a chance to hear about the injustices and resulting tragedies from members of Shoal Lake 40 Angelina McLeod and Roxanne Greene, who will be speaking and hosting discussion circles at the event.

In a story in the Winnipeg Sun this week, it was revealed that construction of the long-awaited Freedom Road to connect Shoal Lake 40 First Nation with the Trans-Canada Highway appeared to be on hold while the Pallister government reviews funding arrangements and examines why a previous agreement was signed with the First Nation without legislative approval.

The City of Winnipeg, the province and the federal government agreed last year to fund the all-season gravel road and to share equally in the $30-million cost estimate. But the price tag for the 24-km road has since risen to $46.5 million and neither level of government has committed to increasing their share of the funding.

Organized by 13 Fires Winnipeg, the event will feature the art installation, “Reflects in Water” by Friends of Shoal Lake. The “Reflects in Water” art installation combines statements from people living in Shoal Lake 40 with an art project that anyone can contribute to. It will run parallel to the Red River, along the path through Stephen Juba Park.

This story will be updated.

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