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Tainted Waters: Acknowledging the Story of Shoal Lake #40

Nibi. Water.

Before we can understand this story of Shoal Lake #40 First Nation, we must first come to understand what water is to Indigenous peoples.

Far from a commodity or a simple human need, water is the essence of all life. It is sacred, symbolic, and an integral part of the physical and spiritual worlds. It is inseparable from the rest of nature. To understand relationship, we need only look to water.

Anishinaabe people are born with Anishinaabe inaakonigewin— inherent law. To Aimee Craft (Anishinaabe-Métis), Anishinaabe laws are “a set of sacred or spiritual instructions that are given to us as we journey towards the earth [and] allows us then to see the world differently and learn from our natural environment”. These interconnected laws form the basis of their way of life: guiding their relationships with the spiritual world, with all of nature, and with other human beings. Anishinaabe nibi inaakonigewin (water law) flows through all those relationships. “And when we think of water as part of that, we have spiritual instructions relating to water, we see water’s interaction in the natural environment and how other beings interact with water.” Water is therefore a source of knowledge and information within those complex, interdependent relationships. It is the basis of sustaining life– the most basic of human needs, but it also supports the plants, animals, and other resources that make up and nourish the natural world. It further extends into the spiritual realm, the two worlds connected through ceremony.

Anishinaabe nibi inaakonigewin (water law) acknowledges that the water itself has a spirit and that we must look after that spirit.Anishinaabe Nibi Inaakonigewin Report

Within such a complex, interdependent system, alterations to one element ripple throughout, affecting the system as a whole. As such, Anishinaabe nibi inaakonigewin involves responsibilities to maintain the physical and spiritual integrity of the water, and in doing so, the entire system. When distilled, Anishinaabe inaakonigewin is about responsibility and a way of life 1. Sustaining a balanced, healthy system is necessary to achieving their mino-biimaadiiziiwin—individual and collective well-being. And as with all relationships, there is a duality. It can give life and it can also take away life if that balance is not maintained. For thousands of years the Anishinaabe people have fulfilled their responsibilities contained within their water law. The water has been clean and drinkable, infused their gifts from the Creator–their food supply and sacred medicines– and provided transportation to sustain trade and social networks.

The Anishinaabe people of what is now called Shoal Lake #40 First Nation have been living in accordance with those laws since time immemorial. Moving freely and responsively to the seasons, long before the current, arbitrary borders and colonial-crafted bands, the lands and waters surrounding Shoal Lake have been their home, their responsibility, and their source of life. That deep history, knowledge, and teachings have been passed through the generations through story, songs, language, dreams, ceremonies, and the birch bark scrolls. Those stories belong to and should be told by the Anishinaabe people themselves. But this particular story involves us all.

We would be able to drink from the streams as long as they were flowing. Now we see so much diversion; it’s not natural. It’s not natural to tamper with the veins of Mother Earth. People think that it only impacts the Anishinaabe, but it impacts everyone.” – Elder Florence Paynter

Far from the spiritual, reflexive perspective of the Anishinaabe people, the settler colonial-based system of the Canadian state views land and water as something to be manipulated, owned, and commodified. In every sense, it is power— literally, financially, and relationally. In contrast to the reciprocal relationship sustained by the Anishinaabe people, the relationship between land and water with the State is primarily exploitive. The seizing of lands during the colonial era for Settler and State became the basis of wealth and relational power. And what grew from that colonial root are the political, economic, legal, and social structures and processes we all live within today. What are seen as gifts from the Creator to the Anishinaabe people, are extractable resources to the Settler and State. What were once flowing transportation networks are now punctuated with dams, simultaneously affecting and isolating the original travellers and powering, literally and symbolically, the new and dominating nation state2. Indigenous laws came to be replaced by the Indian Act and Canadian legal system— whereby tools for power replaced guides of responsibility. And just as the State has manipulated the lands and waters of Shoal Lake, it has consequently manipulated the story of the Anishinaabe people of Shoal Lake #40 (SL40).

Western law tells us exactly how to act; Anishinaabe law will not. Anishinaabe law acts as a guide and tells us what is. — Aimée Craft, Anishinaabe-Métis lawyer

Built from the historic trading juncture of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, the City of Winnipeg had been growing rapidly into the start of the 20th century. Unreliable water sources threatened the continued growth of the city and marketability of the surrounding areas for settlement. Created by a special Act of the Manitoba Legislature in 1906, the Water Supply Commission of the City of Winnipeg was established to find a reliable source of water. The Greater Winnipeg Water District (GWWD) was formed and to be supplied with clean, soft water from Shoal Lake via an aqueduct.

Connected to the much larger Lake of the Woods, it was deemed Shoal Lake could provide an endless supply of water to the residents and industry of the GWWD. By any standards, this was a large project. Lake of the Woods is an interprovincial and international body of water. As such, permissions were necessary and involved the Provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, the Government of Canada, and the United States via the International Joint Commission. Despite living and holding reserve lands at the intended site, SL40 was not consulted. That reasoning can be inferred by the words of W. M. Scott, Chairman of Commissioners of GWWD, in his 1938 paper “Greater Winnipeg Water Supply”: “There [was] virtually no settlement on the shores of the Lake of the Woods; there [were] only a few Indians part of the year.” 3

Shoal Lake #40’s reserve is outlined in red and sits on the shores of Shoal Lake, which is connected to the much larger Lake of the Woods. The body of water extends into the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, as well as the United States to the south. Image: Google Maps

In reality, the site of the intended aqueduct was the original village and ancestral burial grounds of the Anishinaabe people, who had come to be known as Shoal Lake #40 Band through the implementation of the Indian Act. The Federal Government utilized the powers of that Act to forcibly “purchase”4 a section of reserve land, approximately 3,000 acres, and surrender the community’s rights to gravel and sand. As a result, their reserve was ultimately cut into three separate and disjointed pieces, the community was moved to a nearby peninsula, and their village and burial grounds were dug up.

The aqueduct was completed between 1913 and 1919, costing approximately $17 million dollars, and employing as many as 2,500 people. While Anishinaabe men had been employed early in the project, “policy mandated that the GWWD hire men who were residents in the municipalities” and by the end of the project Indigenous people had been largely squeezed out from the labour force. As Adele Perry points out, they were “a community cut out of whatever economic benefits might have been accrued from a major public works project”. Supportive infrastructure for the project included, among others, a 110-mile railroad, hydroelectric power, and a telegraph wire. Politically, financially, and logistically, it was a massive project.

But when the taps were finally turned on, it was tainted water that flowed. Although perfectly safe and clean, the water was also discoloured. The Falcon River was emptying a highly coloured muskeg water into Indian Bay, the location of the aqueduct’s intake. Extending the intake into clearer water was estimated to cost $1 million. Instead, a diversion dike and canal, costing $147,000, was built—successfully diverting the discoloured water. Constructing the dike consequently cut SL40’s new community from the mainland, turning their peninsula into a man-made island. GWWD’s $850,000 savings cost the community the ability to freely travel, their most basic of rights, and even their lives.

Shoal Lake #40’s reserve is outlined in red. The seizure of their land separated the reserve into 3 pieces, and the building of the dike and canal separated the peninsula from the mainland, where their village had been relocated. Accessing the mainland has required travel across water to nearby Kejick and the reserve of Shoal Lake #39 First Nation, and use of their road. Image: Google Maps

Some of the gravel that was used to build this dike, they excavated the remains of our ancestors, the earth, the rock, the soil that was there… literally we are walking on our ancestors. — Daryl Redsky, Freedom Road: Context

Restricted by political and physical barriers, the people of SL40 were kept from fulfilling their sacred responsibilities within Anishinaabe nibi inaakonigewin to protect their waters. Contaminated in part by nearby industry and inadequate sewage facilities, the community has been under a boil water advisory since 1997. At the other end of the aqueduct sits a $300 million state-of-the-art water treatment plant, and the City of Winnipeg has been drinking and building with clean, clear Shoal Lake water for over one hundred years.

Although plans for a water treatment plant were initiated in 1998, they were scrapped by the Federal Government in 2011 due to cost. According to then Chief Erwin Redsky, part of that decision involved the dwindling number of people living on reserve. He blames that fact on the government isolating them in the first place. “They’re penalizing us for something they created and people are leaving because of it.”. A water treatment plant for the community, and adequate sewage system, has been non-feasible for decades due to lack of road access.

No longer able to drink the water they’d been drinking and protecting for thousands of years, SL40 has been forced to purchase bottled water in the nearby city of Kenora, haul it to the community over seasonal roads, and store and distribute it with crumbling infrastructure. It costs an estimated $75,000 per year to purchase bottled water not including delivery and distribution, and the logistics affect the consistency of supply. An entire generation has not been able to drink the water that flows from their taps.

There’s never enough funds to fix everything, I understand that, but give us some infrastructure like this road that we desperately need, to be self-sufficient, so we don’t depend on government handouts and can be a self-sustaining community. We always were and we can be again.” – SL40 then Chief Erwin Redsky

Lack of road access has severely affected the ability for the community to build and update housing and other infrastructure projects, as materials are limited by their ability to travel by seasonal road.5 An unreliable barge has served as the community’s main mode of transportation in the summer to the mainland, ice road in winter, and precarious travel by foot, canoe, and more recently, air boat, during the ice freeze-up and thaw. Falling through the ice is not uncommon – nine have lost their lives while many others have survived—and medical and emergency service access is severely hampered. Individual and community economic opportunities are limited6. Isolation and poor services within the community has meant that many have left, eroding the cohesiveness of the community and impacting the passing on of knowledge and culture. Without an all-season road, students must board in Kenora beyond grade 8, some of whom never return.  The children leaving the community serves as a troubling reminder of the past, and the legacy of the residential schools still weaves its way through the community, as explained in Angelina McLeod’s short documentary series, Freedom Road7.

We’re pretty much in crisis mode every day, until the barge gets going. And that’s just reality for us. We keep talking about how resilient our community members are—we’re tired of being resilient. – Roxanne Greene, Freedom Road: Women

Freedom is exactly what an all-season, permanent road was expected to provide, and for which the community fought for decades. Preliminary agreements to equally split a proposed $30 million road between the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba, and Government of Canada failed to materialize as the Federal Government stalled. According to Federal Minister Bernard Valcourt in 2014, “due to overwhelming funding pressures, a formal funding commitment is not achievable at this time.” Manitoba’s Municipal Government Minister Drew Caldwell had a much different take, stating: “It’s a very modest amount of resources to make a huge, huge qualitative difference in the lives of people…. There is such a moral responsibility and moral obligation. We recognize that fully. We are completely moved to action.” Awareness and support for the struggles of the community grew with the public and media, even inspiring a public fundraising campaign to raise the Federal Government’s $10 million hold out.

Frustrated and desperate, SL40 thrust themselves and their battle for rights into the national and international spotlight by capitalizing on the media attention of the construction of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR). Built in Winnipeg between 2008 and 2012 at a cost of over $350 million, the national museum opened in September of 2014. The mandate of the CMHR “is to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue.”

The museum was built with clean, drinkable Shoal Lake water, making up the concrete construction and flowing through its pipes. To Daryl Redsky, it means his ancestors reside within the museum: dug from their resting place 100 years ago they now flow through the waters of Shoal Lake. Waters that now also flow through the museum’s Garden of Contemplation, a tranquil space available to rent for corporate functions and private dinner parties.

Every building in the city, the sidewalks, I bet has some DNA of our people from back home. Because in order for you to make cement concrete, you have to use water. And guess what— I think about every time I go to the city and every time I’m there, every restaurant I go to, I always say ‘give me some of that Shoal Lake water’. – Daryl Redsky, Freedom Road: Context

Nearing crisis, the women of SL40 first mobilized the community in 2007. Aimed at drawing public and media attention to their plight, members walked to Winnipeg where they ended their 137 km activist walk and continued their protest at the soon-to-be site of the CMHR.

They should really think about providing us road access before they start building fancy state of the art buildings to promote human rights.” – Daryl Redsky, Freedom Road: Women (from news coverage), May 2007

Nearly a decade later, still isolated and drinking bottled water, the community used the CMHR as a foil to juxtapose the ironic façade of Canadian ideals against the reality of human rights abuses a mere 150 km away. Coinciding with the launch of the CMHR in September 2014, SL40 launched their own “living museum” within the community—the Museum of Canadian Human Rights Violations (MCHRV). Visitors are invited to “view some band facilities but mostly it’s a lack of things like a water treatment [plant] and garbage disposal”. Promotional materials for the MCHRV advertise that “genuine unclean water” is available but caution of the risk involved in accessing and viewing the museum– accordingly, a “health and safety waiver [is] required”. 

It is notable that it was the community itself that, despite limited resources and living within a state of survival, forced their struggles into the spotlight, rather than a museum supposedly in the business of human rights. But business, as Amber Dean and Angela Failler point out, is precisely part of the problem. As a national museum anchored within the city’s tourism industry, CMHR relies on revenue and stakeholders’ appeasement to keep the lights on and the water flowing. Dean and Failler argue that this reliance shifts the museum’s actual mandate from one of apolitical truth-telling to a palatable and marketable illusion of justice, hope, and Canadian identity8: a framing of our national narrative in which Canada is “a safe haven and an international arbiter of justice”9, genocide occurs only outside our borders, and the injustices of colonization exist firmly in the past. As such, one hundred years after the interests of SL40 were first eschewed for those of Settler, State, and industry, the CMHR capitalizes on and favours the marketability of Shoal Lake’s water in the Garden of Contemplation as reflective and healing as opposed to it being the centre of a very unsettling, ongoing story of injustice.  Unlike the CMHR, SL40’s brilliantly satirical museum tells that story of hypocrisy simply by contrasting their non-existent and crumbling infrastructure against the sparkling, award-winning structure at the other end of the aqueduct.

Image Credit: Aaron Cohen/Canadian Museum of Human Rights from Macleans.

What we are trying to say is there’s two ends of this pipe, the water pipe from my community to this city. On this end there’s prosperity, all the good stuff. On our end our community is slowly dying. It’s been cut off from the rest of the world for 100 years. — Daryl Redsky

With the help of Human Rights Watch, Linda Redsky crossed the ocean in 2016 to tell SL40’s story to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). Later that year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the community and re-iterated his campaign promise to commit the federal share towards the funding of Freedom Road. That road was finally completed in June of 2019 and the involvement of the community over generations in the realization of Freedom Road cannot be overstated. Highlighted in the 2019 short documentary, Freedom Road: Context, Daryl Redsky speaks of the extensive planning process that fully engaged the community. The community was also involved in the actual construction of the road. For many people, this opportunity was much more than just rare and valuable work—it was a way for younger people to invest in the future and contribute to keeping their community members safe. The project involved a variety of actors in multiple jurisdictions, and its success may now be a model for similar complex, Indigenous infrastructure projects.

Everything was well strategized, everything was well thought of, everything was planned. People think it just happened—no, it didn’t. Everybody did their part… and we all succeeded. – Daryl Redsky

With a permanent, all-season road, construction of a new water-treatment plant became feasible, and the project officially began 3 months after the completion of their road. Although the government has missed its self-imposed target to end all 105 long-term water advisories by 2021, SL40 is expected to finally have clean, drinkable water run from their taps by September. A multi-functional school was also made possible by the road, and attempts are being made to provide daily transportation to the high school in Kenora, potentially eliminating the necessity of boarding.

After decades of denial, our people can finally look forward to the day when we, like the citizens of Winnipeg, can turn on our taps and access clean, safe Shoal Lake water. – former Chief Erwin Redsky

SL40’s resiliency and accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary. They alone are the catalyst that led to the construction of Freedom Road and the cascade of projects that then became possible. But the freedom granted by that road is a one-dimensional, permitted freedom—the freedom to finally retrieve the most basic of rights that have been withheld for over 100 years. Freedom Road was not the solution to SL40’s problem, it was merely the resolution of a consequence of a much larger, dirtier, more insidious issue.

Restoring access to safe travel and water for SL40 was not a simple project. It included multiple levels of government, phases, and millions of dollars. But it was not the scope of the project that kept that violation from being rectified for over 100 years. It was instead the values, priorities, and disregard for Indigenous dignity, expressed in the construction of the Shoal Lake aqueduct, that remain unchanged a century later. It is this status quo that is the real problem facing SL40. The system of governments and values that swiftly prioritized Settler over Indigenous needs in 1913, of significant political, financial, and logistical scope, is the same unchanged system of governments and values that one hundred years later prioritized an expensive, unnecessary, and hypocritical Canadian Museum of Human Rights over the restitution of the very human rights it itself has been violating for over a century.

The sobering reality is that building a museum to tell, and sell, a sanitized narrative of human rights in Canada does nothing to stop the ongoing, systemic, racist prioritization of Settler and State. Instead, it actually perpetuates this systemic racism by intentionally shielding viewers from the State’s complicity in violating human rights as a means of sustaining economic and political objectives. Until Indigenous rights, needs, and values are pragmatically viewed as valid and equal, SL40 will forever be fighting the consequences of living within an imposed society in which their way of life is viewed as inferior, and the accumulation of wealth and power take precedence over the well-being and sustainability of people and environment.

Despite being surrounded by the very water being safely consumed in Winnipeg for one hundred years, Shoal Lake 40’s most basic rights to clean water have been violated according to both Canadian and international standards, including those contained within the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples10. And yet, when clean, safe drinking water finally flows through the taps in SL40 in September, that long fought battle for human rights will only have been realized by one-dimensional, non-Indigenous standards. Shoal Lake #40 will still be prevented from fulfilling their sacred responsibilities of stewardship of the land and waters, as outlined in their Anishinaabe nibi Inaakonigewin—their water law.

This is not a new story. SL40 has received significant support from both the media and the public in their fight for rights. A fight that eventually garnered enough political will to address, though not adequately, all boil-water advisories in Canada. That story, however, is almost always told from a non-Indigenous perspective, focusing on water as a basic human need. But the way in which the people of SL40 have been violated extends far beyond their physical loss of life and right. It has also been a spiritual, mental, and emotional assault. They have witnessed and felt the destruction and exploitation of their ancestral lands, waters, and burial grounds, and kept from, through colonial law, fulfilling their sacred responsibilities to the Creator. Isolation has pushed members out of the community, further threatening the survival of their culture, sense of community, and economic prosperity. They have been forced to purchase commodified water, despite their belief that water cannot be owned, the spiritual significance of which is rarely appreciated or acknowledged. And as the land has been manipulated and changed by government infrastructure projects, their inherited land-based knowledge has been affected.

The construction of the aqueduct in 1913 has rippled throughout generations, building and expanding outwards over time and reaching into virtually all aspects of life for the Anishinaabe. Their power to fulfill their responsibilities within Anishinaabe inaakonigewin have been purposely restrained because to protect the integrity of the land and water would be a direct threat to the settler colonial state and objectives that lie at the very root of Canada. The people of Shoal Lake #40, and all Indigenous peoples in what is now called Canada, will be indefinitely violated—physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally—so long as the land and waters are exploited and they are kept from their sacred rights and responsibilities.

As a white Métis/Settler who has benefitted from this system and has the privilege to safely drink the same water that flows through Shoal Lake, I have a moral obligation to highlight the contrast between these two very different experiences of access to the very same waters. It is my hope that through telling this story, of which all of us in Canada are a part of, that I can play a role, however small, in highlighting the very real, very present undercurrent of systemic racism flowing through the structures and systems of our country. My intention is to unsettle the reader in the way that the CMHR has not.

This is also my personal commitment to always remember, and to remind others, that it is not enough to understand the historic and present harms and injustices towards Indigenous peoples from merely a Canadian perspective. We must learn and respect the depth of their knowledge, their history, and their way of life in order to even begin to undo and understand how colonial ways of life impede and are prioritized over Indigenous ways of life. I will continue to challenge myself and others to push back against our country’s harmful narrative and to fight for a deeper, more holistic standard of rights and equality. 

Authors Note: I would like to draw special attention to the Indigenous voices that are this story. Most of the quotes and information has been pulled from the documentary series Freedom Road by Angelina McLeod of Shoal Lake #40 First Nation, and I have relied on the words and knowledge of Elders from the incredible Anishinaabe Nibi Inaakonigewin Report, crafted by Aimée Craft. This is not my story, though I play a role, and I highly recommend readers to view both the documentary series and report, which are publicly available online.

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“Shoal Lake residents weep as feds balk at funding road construction.” CTV News. June 25, 2015. https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/shoal-lake-residents-weep-as-feds-balk-at-funding-road-construction-1.2440723.

Stefanovich, Olivia and Ryan Patrick Jones. “Federal government vows again to end boil water advisories but offers no new target date.” CBC News. March 10, 2021. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa-new-website-term-drinking-water-advisories-1.5943388.

The Canadian Press. “Opening of Canadian Museum for Human Rights draws protests.” Macleans. September 19, 2014. https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/opening-of-new-human-rights-museum-draws-protests/

Thompson, Jon. “What Freedom Road can teach Ontario about partnering with Indigenous communities.” TVO. June 24, 2019. https://www.tvo.org/article/what-freedom-road-can-teach-ontario-about-partnering-with-indigenous-communities.

Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. 1, no. 1. September 8, 2012.

UN General Assembly. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly. 2 October 2007. A/RES/61/295. https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf.

Vuchnich, Allison. “Bacteria, parasites and toxins – water quality ‘negligence’ at Shoal Lake 40.” Global News. November 6, 2015. https://globalnews.ca/news/2321664/bacteria-parasites-and-toxins-water-quality-negligence-at-shoal-lake-40/.

Ward, Dennis. “‘Spirits of our ancestor’: Shoal Lake 40 is rectifying a century of hardships.” APTN. November 24, 2020. https://www.aptnnews.ca/facetoface/spirits-of-our-ancestor-shoal-lake-40-is-rectifying-a-century-of-hardships/.

“Water treatment program.” City of Winnipeg. https://winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/water/treatment/plant.stm.

“Woman from Shoal Lake 40 First Nation speaks to UN about human rights.” CBC News. February 23, 2016. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/redsky-shoal-lake-united-nations-1.3459150.

“Work begins on new Shoal Lake 40 water treatment system.” CBC News. September 6, 2019. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/shoal-lake-water-treatment-1.5273750.

  1. I am not Anishinaabe and therefore cannot and do not intend to teach such important concepts. Instead, I include this most basic sketch so non-Indigenous people may begin to understand the complex and multi-dimensional relationship they have with land and water. For a much more comprehensive introduction to Anishinaabe inaakonigewin (law) and Anishinaabe nibi inaakonigewin (water law), I refer the reader to this most excellent resource, from which I based this sketch. Prepared by Aimée Craft (Anishinaabe-Métis), this report sought to collect generations of knowledge held and taught by Anishinaabe Elders
  2. This book, written by Brittany Luby, a local Anishinaabe academic and historian, details the effects of the hydroelectric industry on the Indigenous peoples in our area. Brittany Luby, Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory.
  3. This dismissal was further evident within the application to the International Joint Commission: “Your petitioners submit that the use and diversion of said water from Shoal Lake for said purpose will not… injuriously affect the interests or rights of any parties.”
  4. The Federal Government set the price of $1500, a “nominal” cost, according to Mayor Thomas Waugh. Adele Perry: “In the Water: The Strike, Shoal Lake and Indigenous Dispossession.”
  5. Video footage from this news report illustrates the condition of the infrastructure at that time. It is an excellent piece that covers many of the details in this story. Crime Beat TV, “FULL STORY: As Long as The Waters Flow”.
  6. Normal economic activity is restricted under the terms of the 1989 Tripartite Agreement.
  7.  I highly recommend this short documentary series for a deeper look at how the isolation has affected the community. It is their story, told by Angelina McLeod of Shoal Lake #40, and is based upon the stories of members of the community. It is available to watch for free on the National Film Board of Canada site.
  8.  CMHR is the focus of many critiques and protests. This paper explores how CMHRs business model and political pressures affect the content of the museum, re-enforcing rather than illuminating the human rights abuses that stem from settler colonialism and the role it continues to play today. Amber Dean and Angela Failler, “‘An Amazing Gift’? Memory Entrepreneurship, Settler Colonialism and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights”
  9. This excellent critique of the CMHR by Erica Lehrer further explores the Museum’s failure to connect the legacy of Canada’s settler colonialism to Indigenous injustice of past and present, among many others. Erica Lehrer, “Thinking through the Canadian Museum for Human Rights”
  10. UNDRIP outlines the minimum standard of rights for Indigenous peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007. Canada initially refused to sign on the basis that those rights undermine the rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They signed this non-binding agreement (they agreed to the principles but are not obligated to follow through) in 2016, and in 2021 it was officially signed into law through Bill C-15.
About Me
Hey, I'm Alyssa!
When a mysterious illness sidelined my original plans in life, I packed up and moved home to Kenora, Ontario, Canada. With little money, the inability to work, and a whole lot to figure out, I moved into my family’s cabin on Lake of the Woods. So these are the moments, the recipes, the occasional heartache, and the adventures of a life starting over on the little island between Fox and Hare.
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