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First Nation wants recognition of 'injustices' it suffers because of water supply canal

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The Shoal Lake First Nation wants the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to acknowledge human rights abuses it says it has suffered because of a water diversion that provides water to Winnipeg.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

The Shoal Lake First Nation wants the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to acknowledge human rights abuses it says it has suffered because of a water diversion that provides water to Winnipeg. Photo Store

Officials with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights are visiting Shoal Lake First Nation today, as community leaders look to get the message out about past and current human rights violations in the area.

Though the City of Winnipeg has clean drinking water from that area, Shoal Lake has been on a boil-water advisory for nearly 20 years and is barred from most development in order to keep Winnipeg's water supply safe.

Senior staff from the national museum will be shown the physical impacts of the diversion, including the canal that has cut the community off for 100 years.

The First Nation is basically an island thanks to the diversion, forcing the people of the community to cross the lake via boat in the summer or on the ice in the winter.

Shoal Lake officials are hopeful the museum will acknowledge the negative impact the region suffers to provide water for Winnipeg.

"Like so many injustices in Canada, ours has been ignored," offered Chief Erwin Redsky in a statement. "The offence and the harm is as plain as day but Canadian indifference, Canadian blindness to the damage done to First Nations is so complete that not even the designers and funders to Canada’s shrine to human rights recognized the hypocrisy of using water that literally kills our people."

Redsky invited the museum to come to Shoal Lake in May.

Representatives from the province and the city will also be in attendance during the visit.

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