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Women Human Rights Defender Day

By Tanya Coulter

Did you know that November 29 is internationally recognized as Women Human Rights Defender  (WHRD)Day?

There are many who work tirelessly to advocate to increase awareness for the rights of women, girls and two spirited people are all over Mother Earth.  They promote sustainable peace and work to protect the importance of human rights and freedoms. This year I would like to focus on a young Indigenous WHDR;- who is aware of the need to approach things in a new way because of the times we are living in which includes COVID 19, Climate Change and the very real threat of ecological collapse.

Indigenous Teachings state that there are four kinds of sacred water and the work to protect these waters is Women’s responsibilities.

The four waters are: water that falls from the sky as rain, snow, sleet and hail, water that flows on the earth as rivers, streams, lake and oceans, water that falls from humans eyes as tears and the sacred water that we as humans are conceived into: amniotic fluid.

Autumn Peltier is a young Indigenous women who takes this Traditional role very seriously and recognizes the need to defend water’s human rights for all of humanity.

Autumn’s work has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally. Most recently she won the Revolution Her 2021 Community Vision Youth Award.  I encourage the reader to watch the highlights of her speech presentation she gave to the United Nations in September of 2019. Here she explains why we need to defend water’s rights.  We live in challenging days and in such times, we are tasked with asking ourselves what is important to protect and defend for the next generations? Miigwetch.

Tanya Coulter is the IHWS Program Coordinator, M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre

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Our shared vision is an inclusive community where all people live their lives free from all forms of violence and oppression, and have equal access to the best of what the community has to offer.

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