Autumn Peltier: The Water Warrior
Since age 8, she's been advocating for access to clean drinking water in Canada's Indigenous communities. Now she's leading this fight on the international stage. Meet 'water warrior' Autumn Peltier.
Autumn Peltier is leading the fight for access to water on the international stage
She was born in 2004 on Manitoulin Island, in Canada. The “water warrior,” as she’s been called, is a member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation, one of the 10 largest First Nations in Canada. At 8, she participated in a ceremony at the Serpent River Reservation, whose water was contaminated by nearby uranium mining. It was at that moment she decided to advocate for access to drinking water around the world.
In her view, protecting water is part of the identity and culture of Canada's indigenous peoples. To access drinking water, First Nations in Canada face many challenges. Today, 61 communities do not have access to it and have to boil water before drinking or brushing their teeth. The reasons: industrial pollution, lack of infrastructure and global warming.
At 12, she directly confronted the current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, about this situation. She also spoke at several international conferences, notably alongside Greta Thunberg at Davos in 2020. In May 2019, she was appointed Chief Water Commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation, which represents 40 member First Nations across Ontario, her home province. She was voted one of the top 25 Women of Influence of 2020 by the organization “Women of Influence.”