December 9th, 2020 Last Updated on: March 5th, 2021
Autumn Peltier is only 16 years old, but she's already doing amazing things.
The sacredness of water is of utmost importance to her, and advocating for communities that do not have clean water is her passion.
She understands that a world without healthy water is not a world we want to live in. “Water is everything. It’s the lifeblood of Mother Earth. It brings new life,” she says (Me to We).
Autumn was greatly influenced by the works of her late great aunt, Josephine Mandamin, who was an advocate for the protection of the valuable waters of the Great Lakes. She wants to continue the job her great aunt had started.
Watch the video from National Child Day, where Autumn expressed why this work is so important to her.
In many Indigenous communities, bodies of water have come to be recognized as having “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person,” yet the United States government does not agree. Native people have fought long and hard throughout history to protect their land, including water. Being able to keep the water on their land healthy and clean, as well as to have a say in what happens to the water, is vital for them. Water is their life.
She is a trailblazer, just like her counterpart who lives in Sweden, Greta Thunberg, who Autumn finally got to meet in person at the World Economic Forum.
Image Credit: CBC
A few notable accomplishments for this bright young lady include:
- She is the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation.
- She was honored with the Ontario Junior Citizen Award.
- In 2018, she was invited to be a keynote speaker at the United Nations.
- She won a WE Day award for Youth in Action (12 & Under).
- Even at 14 years old, Autumn had her own profile highlighting her work on the North American Association for Environmental Education site.
- She spoke at the Global Landscapes Forum and the United Nations General Assembly, one day after the nation-wide march against inaction on climate change.
In a 2018 speech to the UN, Peltier said that “where I come from, I’m fortunate that I can still drink the water from the lake but sometimes I question it. Not far from where I live, there are communities that have lived through boil-water advisories. I ask myself: Why is it this way? Why in my province? Why in my country?,” (CTV News).
What is Autumn up to now?
Image Credit: Photo: Linda Roy of Ireva Photography, Illustration: Maia Faddoul via Chatelaine
Autumn has partnered with Abercrombie and Fitch as a Clean Water Activist.
On her IG page, Autumn shares Abercrombie’s new initiative called “The Equity Project.” They recently joined forces to launch a video series on IGTV called “A&F Conversations” for the adult brand and “Hanging Out with Abercrombie” for the kids. Both will “focus on addressing important topics on race and inequality by utilizing voices of influential people to help to create change.”
As you can tell, Autumn is making waves and creating a positive reaction across communities. Keep an eye out for her, as she won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
Autumn’s Instagram is booming with new followers–you should be one of them!
Follow her @autumn.peltier
Featured Image – Image Credit: Instagram / Autumn Peltier via CTV News
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