Fighting for Clean Water

“Water is life,” says Autumn Peltier.

This teenager is fighting to get clean water for all people. She lives in Canada. Her family belongs to the Wikwemikong First Nation. The First Nations are groups of indigenous people in Canada.

Clean water is very important, Peltier points out. People need it for drinking and washing. We also need it for growing, cleaning, and cooking our food.

Peltier started her fight for clean water early. When she was eight, she saw that some people had to boil their water before using it. If they didn’t boil it, the water could make them sick. Peltier was upset by this. She began to talk about the problem. She spoke up at her school. She spoke up in her community. Soon, she was speaking at conferences. She even spoke at the United Nations!

At age 14, Peltier was named Chief Water Commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation. That is a political advocacy group for 40 First Nations. Her great-aunt, Josephine Mandamin, had been Water Commissioner before her.

As Chief Water Commissioner, she encourages young people to work for clean water. “Have respect for all living things,” she advises. “Get your school or class involved in a type of activity to help the land. If we all come together,” Peltier says, “we can hopefully make a big change.”