‘Pray for the waters’: Great Water Gathering brings Indigenous, non-Indigenous protectors together

Aug. 18, CBC News:

Aldeen Mason is a grandmother now, but she still remembers swimming in the Winnipeg River, in her home community of Sagkeeng First Nation. However, her favourite place to swim was also downstream from the local paper mill.

“Whatever they put into the waste, it went into the river and it affected us because we were downstream. And I remember when I was 10 or 11 years old, I would start getting this guck on the bottom of our feet when we went swimming; it would stick to the bottom of your soles,” said Mason.

Eventually, the pollution from the mill meant that the Mason family was no longer able to swim in the river, and were forced to fish upstream from the mill.

“We used to have a lot of sturgeon in the river and now you hardly see [them],” she said.

She remembers her father walking to the local paper mill in the 1980s to join a protest.

“Eventually that paper mill closed down. I think it’s been about 20 years now,” she said. “Sure, people complain about the loss of jobs and stuff like that. For us, that was our life.” Read more.