Water for Indigenous Communities
St. Peter’s Anglican Church is connected to the Pimatisiwin Nipi (Living Waters) Group, led by Archbishop Mark MacDonald. With our help (through the Advent Conspiracy Program and year-round donations to PWRDF (Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund), for the period 2011 until 2019 20 homes in the Northern Ontario community of Pikangikum First Nation were retrofitted with safe water, indoor plumbing and waste disposal.
Funds remain available to Pikangikum, raised by both PWRDF and a government grant which matched our funds. We plan to continue working with Pikangikum on the projects already started, including the retrofit of another 30 to 40 homes with a water and wastewater system.
Pikangikum has faced a number of challenges in 2019, with two evacuations of the community because of wildfires, as well as significant turn-over in the band’s leadership. While Pikangikum recovers from these two fire evacuations, Pimatisiwin Nipi, in continued partnership with PWRDF, decided to pivot and focus on supporting other indigenous communities. Work in Pikangikum is a pilot project and it has always been the plan to expand the partnership beyond Pikangikum to other indigenous communities lacking safe drinking water, of which there are many. New possibilities for partnership are currently being explored with the indigenous leadership, for example provision of a water truck and training community members in water infrastructure and maintenance.
PWRDF’s five-year strategic plan includes working with First Nations, Metis and Inuit people, guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the priorities of indigenous communities and organizations in Canada. The learnings from our eight year journey with the Pikangikum partnership will be valuable in helping PWRDF navigate and strengthen all of these initiatives. Donations can be made directly to PWRDF Indigenous Water Projects or through the Church office, payable to St. Peter’s Anglican Church with PWRDF Indigenous Water Projects on the notation line.
For education, the Church’s Resource Library is equipped with numerous non-fiction and fiction books authored by or about indigenous peoples.
2020 And Beyond
With the help of St. Peter’s and support from faithful and generous people all across Canada, PWRDF can continue to partner with groups that are improving clean water and sanitation, and advocate for greater support from the federal government to address these unacceptable inequities in our own country. Let us pray that God’s law of Compassion will continue to set the agenda for all that we do, that partnerships between indigenous and non-indigenous Canada can heal and flourish, and that a more just country for all Canadians will be made possible.
St. Peter’s Social Justice and Advocacy Committee
Revised March 2, 2020