Organization: South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards
The SSRWSI is a grassroots, community-driven, non-profit organization working within the watershed to implement programs and initiatives that will protect the water resource.
Location: Saskatchewan, Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation
In Canada, Indigenous populations are at an elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19 compared to non-Indigenous communities. This condition is due to a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the physical isolation of communities, over-crowded housing, cultural practices necessitating community gatherings, and poor access to safe drinking water. This project aims to narrow the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities respecting the impacts of COVID-19 and other pandemics. Drinking water contamination continues to plague a disproportionate number of Indigenous communities in Canada. COVID-19 has only exacerbated human health conditions associated with poor water quality for on-reserve Indigenous people. Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation in Saskatchewan has a long history of water quality concerns. Water distribution in the community is primarily by truck to household cisterns. This method of delivery presents an elevated risk of contamination.
This project aims to narrow the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities respecting the impacts of COVID-19 and other pandemics. A focus on drinking water protection, aquatic habitat restoration and youth education will offer a transformative approach to improving the health condition in Indigenous communities.