'Water is alive': Autumn Peltier receives Water Warrior Award  

Autumn Peltier is this year’s co-recipient of the Water Warrior Award. The 14-year-old, who is from Wikwemikong First Nation, received the award alongside her late great-aunt, the well-known “water walker": Josephine Mandamin.

Autumn Peltier was only 13-years-old when she addressed the UN General Assembly and told world leaders to "warrior up" to protect water.

This year, at the age of 14, Peltier was honoured with the Water Warrior Award at the Water Docs Film Festival in Toronto.

Peltier, who is from Wikwemikong First Nation, was a co-recipient of the award. She also accepted it on behalf of her late, great-aunt, Josephine Mandamin.

Mandamin inspired Peltier's water advocacy work. She passed away in February, at the age of 77.

Josephine Mandamin was a tireless advocate for clean water. (Indigenousrising.org)

"She inspired a lot of people, and she inspired me," said Peltier.

Mandamin was well known as a "water walker." Like other water walkers, she walked great distances to advocate for protecting the health of the planet's waters. Mandamin walked 17,000 km around the Great Lakes.

"Josephine is the reason I do this work because since I was a little girl," explained Peltier, "she's been teaching me about the importance of water and the sacredness of it."

Autumn Peltier, far right, sits by the water with her sister, great aunt Josephine Mandamin, and mother. (Submitted by Stephanie Peltier)

Before Mandamin passed away she asked Peltier to carry on her water advocacy work for her, said Peltier. "Since she can't do it anymore, I'm going to continue it for her."

Water gives life, explained Peltier.  "We respect the water like it's a human being."

"In my teachings, in my way, water has a spirit. And water is alive."