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Barlow recognizes the Tsal’alhmec as a blue community

Garry John and Maude Barlow.

This afternoon in Ottawa, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow presented Tsal’alh resident Garry John a certificate recognizing the Tsal’alhmec as a blue community.

The St’at’imc at Tsal’alh, located along the shores of Seton and Anderson lakes, are situated in St’at’imc territory in south-western British Columbia. They have a membership of 720 people with approximately 320 members who live on reserve. On January 12, Tsal’alh became the first Indigenous community to become a blue community.

On that day, John stated, “This action upholds positions taken by our ancestors and makes sure our children and grandchildren know that we take our responsibility to keep water pure and free in all respects.” And Barlow has commented, “Despite the lack of commitment at the federal level, communities like Tsal’alh are paving the way to a new relationship with water, how it is governed and how it is managed. It is in communities like this where we can place our hope that water will be cherished for generations to come.”

The resolution adopted by them states:

  • Tsal’alh opposes privatization in any form of water and wastewater treatment services, including through P3’s, and commits to keep these services community owned, operated and delivered;

  • the Tsal’alhmec call upon the federal government to allocate $4.7 billion to water and wastewater infrastructure in indigenous communities, as called for by the National Engineering Assessment, and make adequate funding available without the condition of a P3 agreement;

  • bottled water will not be sold at any community facilities or community events in Tsal’alh where potable water is available;

  • Tsal’alh will forward this resolution to the Assembly of First Nations for circulation to all First Nations;

  • Tsal’alh will call on the federal and provincial governments to enshrine water as a human right in federal and provincial law;

  • Tsal’alh will call on the Government of Canada to develop a national plan of action to implement the human right to water.

If you are a member of an Indigenous community, please consider using this resolution adopted by Tsal’alh as a sample resolution.

For more information about the blue community project, please click here.

Further reading
WIN! Tsal’alh becomes a blue community (January 2015 blog)
Tsal’alh Becomes First Blue Indigenous Community (January 2015 blog by Maude Barlow)

Photo: Garry John and Maude Barlow.