Teenager Autumn Peltier, an Anishinaabe from Wikwemikong First Nation, has made a name for herself an advocate for the world’s sacred waters.
In doing so, she’s met with Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau, attended the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly and marched for the protection of water—particularly the protection of waters sacred to indigenous peoples that are being threatened by polluting oil pipelines.
And when Peltier was only 13 years old, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize as Canada’s only candidate.
— Perry Bellegarde (@perrybellegarde) December 6, 2016
The International Children’s Peace Prize was founded in 2005 and is awarded to a child working to advance the lives of children globally.
She told CBC, “I like to share that water is really sacred. Water is life. Mother Earth doesn’t need us, we need her.”
Peltier’s mission started at the age of 8 when she followed in the footsteps of her aunt Josephine Mandamin, who was herself a recipient of the 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation.
— Chiefs of Ontario (@ChiefsofOntario) December 6, 2016
She was invited to the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden when 32 countries drafted their demands to world leaders. The document was presented to the 2015 United Climate Change Conference held in Paris.
Peltier also introduced Prime Minister Trudeau at the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly but had only a few moments to speak with him.
According to the Huffington Post Canada, Peltier said, “I said ‘I’m very unhappy with the choices you’ve made.’ And he said, ‘I understand that.’ And then I started crying and then after that, all I got to say is, ‘The pipelines.'”
But she said Trudeau promised the protections she wanted.
One of her most significant statements was a national call for action in November of 2016, where she encouraged the people of Canada to help shut down highways for one hour as a way to speak out for water protection.
Her passion for water protection extends, not only throughout Canada, but worldwide, where, she says, everyone deserves clean drinking water.
And she’s right; everyone does.