Lac Seul conference highlights importance of water
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
“There’s been some great conversations around water and how important it is,” Rachel Garrick said of the Niipi Onji Bimadiziwin - Water is Life Conference, which took place at the Lac Seul Events Centre December 6, 7, and 8 in Frenchman’s Head.
Garrick, community wellbeing facilitator for Independent First Nations Alliance (IFNA), helped coordinate the conference with Lac Seul First Nation health director Leroy Quoquat.
Focusing on the community’s past, present, and future relationships with water, the conference provided Lac Seul community members with an understanding of the community’s historical relationship with water.
Garrick said the conference was also an opportunity to share traditional knowledge and teachings around water, create community awareness of the complexity of the Lac Seul First Nation water system, prepare community members for future emergencies, discuss traditional and current approaches of water protection, and generate positive approaches to restore, protect, and conserve the water systems.”
Conference participants were also educated on the flooding of Lac Seul First Nation in 1929, as well as the responsibilities of current water plant operators.
Students from Obishikokaang Elementary School attended part of the conference.
“We have our women here who are water carriers, who are leading us daily. With our traditional beliefs, women are very important and central to water; protecting water,” Garrick explained.
She added, “One of the integral things that has been highlighted throughout this conference is that we are all interconnected. We are all responsible when it comes to water and water is life.”
“Water is an essential source for our people. We’ve lived alongside water all our lives… as we move into the future, we decided we have to do something to protect our water and preserve it,” Quoquat explained.