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Autumn Peltier  

Canadian Indigenous Clean Water Activist

Autumn Peltier is Anishinaabe-kwe and a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation and an internationally recognized advocate for clean water. She is a water protector and has been called a "water warrior".

When Peltier was just 8 years old, she attended a ceremony at a reservation where she saw a sign warning that the water was toxic, according to the CBC.

Growing up on a freshwater island in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in Canada, Peltier says she had never experienced toxic water. The memory of that sign stayed with her.

Six years later, at the age of 14, Peltier is fighting for water conservation and indigenous water rights. She says she was inspired by her great aunt, Josephine Mandamin, an indigenous activist who walked the shores of all five Great Lakes to raise awareness for water conservation.

When she was 12, Peltier confronted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, telling him she was unhappy with his policies on controversial pipeline projects. Trudeau promised her he would protect the water. Since 2015, 87 long-term water advisories in Canada have been lifted; 56 water advisories remain.

Peltier spoke at the UN about the importance of water conservation and water access, explaining the sacred role water plays in her culture.

"Many people don't think water is alive or has a spirit. My people believe this to be true. ... We believe our water is sacred because we are born of water."

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