On March 31, Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara and chapter activist John Caldwell met with the walkers at the Manitoba-Ontario border.
The Atikokan Progress reports that Youth4Lakes is a group of about a dozen Treaty 3 Indigenous youth ages 13 to 36 from Manitoba and Kenora who embarked on March 28 on a 2,100 kilometre walk from Winnipeg to Parliament Hill. They have been averaging 40 to 50 kilometres a day are expected to arrive in Ottawa in May.
The walkers include Ben Raven from the Jackhead First Nation in Manitoba, which is located on the shore of Lake Winnipeg. He says because there is so much algae from poor filtration and due to the diversions, you can boil the water, but you can’t drink it. Walker Victor Thomas is from the Skownon First Nation. His community has experienced massive damage from flooding related to the narrowing of the West Waterhen River Bridge. The group also includes Edmund Jack, Amanda Jones and Alyssa Nepinak.
They have been speaking against C-45, the legislation passed by the Harper government that severely reduces the protection of lakes and rivers across the country. iPolitics notes, “Youth4Lakes is specifically concerned with clean water. ‘All of this is to bring awareness and appreciation and gratitude for the waters of our world, and to acknowledge that without the water being healthy, it’s near impossible for the rest of humanity and all the creatures of earth to survive,’ said Ko’ona Cochrane, who helped to organize the walk.”
iPolitics adds, “The youth are also walking in support of Idle No More, which has vowed to have a ‘Solidarity Spring’ and a ‘Sovereignty Summer’ with a number of actions planned, including pipeline-related blockades that are sure to create headaches for the Conservative government.” The Council of Canadians and Common Causes have endorsed this ‘call to action’ from Idle No More and Defenders of the Land.
To find our more about the group, go to their Facebook page Youth4Lakes, https://www.facebook.com/#!/Youth4Lakes.