Further gatherings are hoped for after a national forum on Aboriginal water rights that brought together indigenous leaders, elders, and civil society and church activists at the Wilderness Edge Retreat Centre in Winnipeg.
Water has been a central concern for indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world, said Chris Hiller, Anglican indigenous justice co-ordinator. “Water is tied to everything else from logging to mining to cultural assimilation; it’s essential to who indigenous people are and it’s essential for all of life,” she said.
At the end of the last month’s forum “there was a sense that people wanted to continue to come together, possibly through a national and even international conference on water,” said Ms. Hiller.
Funding for the conference came from a private foundation, the Anglican, United and Evangelical Lutheran churches, the Quakers, and several Catholic communities. The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and the Canadian Council of Churches also provided assistance.