AFN Supports Pikangikum First Nation's Call for New Water Supply System: State of Emergency Issued Over Lack of Clean Drinking Water

OTTAWA, April 19 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today stated his support for the citizens of Pikangikum First Nation in Ontario who issued a state of emergency last Friday, April 15, because the community has no clean drinking water. The state of emergency was declared by Pikangikum First Nation Chief Jonah Strang.

National Chief Atleo stated: "I fully understand the concern and frustration of Chief Strang and his community on this matter, which has been an issue for many years. I have seen these problems first hand in my travels to First Nation communities.  Literally thousands of our people are in homes that do not have clean drinking water. Our people are getting sick and at risk of disease. These types of problems should not be happening in a country like Canada. We need action now."

Pikangikum First Nation has ordered a shipment of more than 21,000 liters of bottled water for the community and this is creating a strain on the community finances, which are already limited. The situation in Pikangikum must be addressed and highlights the problem of the lack of clean drinking water that affects too many First Nation communities. Currently, more than 116 First Nations are living under "boil water advisories".  The federal government is expected to release in the near future a national engineering assessment on wastewater and water systems in First Nation communities that will provide a more detailed picture of the national scene.

"We want to see action for the people of Pikangikum and all First Nation communities that are struggling to ensure their citizens have access to clean drinking water," said National Chief Atleo. "We have made safer and healthier communities one of our priorities in this federal election. We need a clear commitment by the federal government to work with First Nations to deliver on a plan of action for stable and sustainable infrastructure including First Nations water and waste water systems. "

You can download the AFN Election Priorities at:
http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/11-04-04_afn_2001_federal_election_priorities_fe.pdf

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Don Kelly, AFN A/Communications Director 613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or email dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-2920857 or email agaron@afn.ca

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