Thousands of Island Lake residents still haul their drinking water in pails from a community tap and rely on outhouses or latrine buckets that some dump on the ground close to home. What will it take for these Manitobans to secure what the United Nations recognizes as an essential human right to safe water and sanitation?
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ISLAND LAKE — “A hundred years of disappointment,” a banner might have read at last year’s centennial celebration of the treaty that brought the indigenous people of Island Lake into a “trust” relationship with the Canadian government.
1700s: Indigenous people migrated into the Island Lake region, according to Victor Harper of Wasagamack, who leads cultural awareness workshops.
Oscar McDougall, associate director of capital projects for St. Theresa Point First Nation, said he's "semi-optimistic" that either piped water or storage cisterns will be in most homes within his community in five years.
Hint to First Nations leaders in Island Lake: After you're finished lugging water home and digging a new hole for your outhouse, and if you're not busy giving your kids and grandpa a sponge bath, you might want to think about hiring a lawyer.
FROM his eighth-floor apartment overlooking the Manitoba Legislative Building, retired public health doctor Pete Sarsfield watches like a pesky conscience.