News / Winnipeg

Winnipeggers get chance to sample 'muddy' Shoal Lake 40 water Tuesday

The clever protest coincides with World Water day on March 22.

Shoal Lake 40 band member Linda Redsky, 55, with her nephew Adam. Last month, Redsky traveled with several other Indigenous women to the United Nations in Geneva to report on the Canadian
government's failure to fulfill First Nations
right to clean drinking water.

Metro File

Shoal Lake 40 band member Linda Redsky, 55, with her nephew Adam. Last month, Redsky traveled with several other Indigenous women to the United Nations in Geneva to report on the Canadian government's failure to fulfill First Nations right to clean drinking water.

Picture a waiter with a pitcher of water, and imagine the water isn’t clear.

On Tuesday, that grim nightmare will be made a reality in Winnipeg as lobbying group “Friends of Shoal Lake 40” will open a “water bar” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the skywalk between the Millennium Library and new Police Headquarters on Graham avenue.

Sharon Redsky said the fancily-dressed waiters will have murky “muddy” looking water on hand for people to observe and smell, along with information on the state of drinking water for many first nations.

It isn’t pretty, but for seven First Nations communities in Manitoba and 117 in Canada lacking easy access to clean drinkable water, it’s a reality.

“Water is such a sacred item… we all have to live with water, so we all have to take care of it, and make sure everybody has access to clean water,” Redsky said. “It’s a human right.”

On March 7, following a visit and presentation form Linda Redsky, a resident of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation (under a boil-water advisory for 19 years), the United Nations released a review on Canada’s compliance with water obligations.


The UN expressed concern about “restricted access to safe drinking water and to sanitation by the First Nations as well as the lack of water regulations for the First Nations living on reserves.”


Tuesday’s event is meant to draw attention to the issue, and give people the opportunity to sign notes in solidarity with the Friends of Shoal Lake 40 in lobbying the federal government to improve the situation for all affected Canadian First Nations.

Redsky emphasised the water at the water bar will be "safe to drink," unlike that on several reserves, "but the point is you can visually see the difference."