Keepers of the Water has been hosting Keepers of the Water gatherings in communities since 2005.
ARCTIC BASIN GATHERINGS INCLUDE:
2005 Akaitcho hosted the Keepers in Weledeh
2006 DehCho First Nation hosted Keepers in Fort Simpson, NT
2007 Athabasca Regional Gathering
2007 Moberley Lake First Nation, Fort St. John BC
2008 Mikisew First Nation in Fort Chipewyan AB
2009 Hatchet Lake First Nation
2010 Wollasten Lake SK;
2011 Lac Brochet MB;
2012 Fort Nelson First Nation hosted in Fort Nelson BC.
2013 Fort McMurray, AB
2014-Cold Lake, AB
2015 Bushe, High Level, AB
2017- Fort Smith, NWT
2019- Bigstone Cree Nation, AB
The Keepers of the Water movement was born during the first Keepers of the Water Gathering in Liidlii Kui, Denendeh/Fort Simpson, NWT, held on September 7, 2006. This Gathering was called because the people of the northern Mackenzie River Basin were becoming alarmed with reports of increased turbidity and toxicity, and decreased volume of water in their watershed. What was happening to the water and the ecosystems that relied upon it. Meeting on the shores of the great Deh Cho (Mackenzie River), a gathering of Elders from the north created the Keepers of the Water Declaration.
Keeper of the Water has been co-hosting an annual Gathering in different Indigenous Communities within Alberta, B.C, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and N.W.T since 2006.
Every year there is a different theme, depending on the community and what issues, concerns or topics the community would like discussed. Often the gathering is a 2 or 3 day gathering that includes education, report back on research, introduction of solution-based technology or techniques to respond to climate change, cultural events and community connections.
Over the years many Indigenous communities and individuals, Educational institutions, environmental organizations and even government departments have called on Keepers of the Water to bear witness to help elevate voices of concerns over actions that affect water, whether that be through government policy, industrial activity, poor community planning and infrastructure. Keepers of the Water are seen as a valuable and diverse voice that speaks for the Water.
As we are experiencing Climate Change, there are many considerations when discussing Water, Keepers of the Water understands the need to ensure that Water has a voice in all aspects that have been highlighted.
Water is the source of life; Indigenous People of the Americas have been told by their Naxehcho (Elders) that water is needed by all living things. No plant or creature can exist without water. The right of safe drinking water is unquestionable a human right. People should have the right to sufficient supplies of water to meet their essential needs and to have access to acceptable facilities for their human dignity, health and environmental protection.
If your community is interested in co-hosting the Keepers of the Water 2019 gathering in your community here are the following considerations;
- Keepers of the water will need consensus support by elected leadership for the gathering to occur in the community.
- We ask a community person be provided for the Executive Director of Keepers of the Water to work with. They together will work on the agenda, presentations, equipment and supply needs, venue, camping, cultural and budget.
- Keepers of the Water can contribute dollars to the event, we can help supply videographers and contribute funds to other needs.
- Keepers of the Water asks the hosting community to partner in the costs for the gathering, this can be by providing things such as use of an indoor building to have workshops and presentations in case of rain, a camping place for people who are coming from other communities to be able to camp, catering or a caterer. If your community owns business such as water hauling, wood hauling and porta-potties, this can also be something the community can contribute towards the gathering.
- Together the Executive director for KOW and the community contact will work on a theme for the gathering. As well as posters and other communications for the event.
Again, it is up to the community when the event will be held, they are typically held anywhere from June to September, so that camping and outdoor activities can occur.
If you are interested in co-hosting a Keepers of the Water gathering please contact us.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this important and meaningful gathering.