First Nation urges human rights museum to acknowledge 'hypocrisy'
Canadian Human Rights Museum officials to visit Shoal Lake 40 First Nation in Manitoba
Representatives for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights will travel to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation on Wednesday to 'listen and learn' more about human rights violations in that community.
"They're trying to be champions of human rights and they can't ignore the tiny community they're getting their resource from."
The First Nation wants the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to acknowledge the price that Shoal Lake pays for the water being used in the Winnipeg-based facility.
...Everybody on the other end of the pipe is benefiting off our resource here while our people are suffering... - Darryl Redsky, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation member
Winnipeg's water supply comes from Shoal Lake. A century-old diversion flooded the lake, turning the First Nation into an island.
Redsky said people from the community have died trying to cross the water by boat, or on the ice in winter to get to the main land for basic necessities.
As well, he said Shoal Lake's own water supply is contaminated and the First Nation's funding request for a new water plant was turned down because it is not road accessible.
A spokesperson for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights said officials hope to foster dialogue with Shoal Lake 40 by visiting the community.
However, Angela Cassie said the museum is located in Winnipeg and has no choice but to use the municipal water supply.
"But what we can do as a museum is serve as a venue and forum of raising awareness of issues such as the access to clean water as a human rights issue," Cassie said.
"We also know that they themselves, the people coming here, can't effect any changes," he said. "But at least if we made them aware of our situation, our hardships and the sufferings we've gone through, perhaps as human rights people they could stand with us."
If Wednesday's meeting doesn't result in change, Redsky said the First Nation will be forced to declare a state of emergency because of the water crisis in the community.