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Let's honour water

The Indigenous Water Allyship

IYAWI - The Indigenous Youth, Art and Water Initiative

A meaningful partnership aiming to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Canada to improve living conditions and health through water and art.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities
Targeted population
7 years
2023 to 2030
Phase 1: US$1.5M Phase2: TBA

Land Acknowledgement

The One Drop Foundation acknowledges Inuit, Métis, and First Nations Peoples across Canada as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters since time immemorial. We are grateful for the traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders who are with us today, those who have gone before us, and the youth that inspire us.

About the Indigenous Water Allyship

The Indigenous Water Allyship is co-designed and implemented with, by and for First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth and their communities from 2023 to 2030. Its first phase, led by the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), is meant to empower Indigenous youth to express their voice and vision around water-related challenges through art and community-based approaches, while its second phase is meant to build on this to develop a long-term program to improve living conditions and health in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Canada through increased knowledge and equitable access to safe water.

Despite living in one of the most water-rich countries, many Indigenous communities in Canada continue to be disproportionately affected by water-related issues. Recurring drinking water advisories increase their exposure to contaminants which can result in waterborne illness and long-term health impacts.

For 15 years, the One Drop Foundation has been ensuring sustainable access to safe water and sanitation all around the world. Committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the Foundation is expanding its efforts to improve access to safe water in Canada.

Through the power of water and social art, the program will focus on promoting the capacity of Indigenous youth to influence water and climate issues, on enhancing Indigenous and intergenerational cultural wisdoms on water-related issues, and on increasing mobilization from all sectors in Canada.

Partners involved

The One Drop Foundation thanks the Center for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, Ovivo and Power Corporation of Canada, whose support will allow this initiative to scale from coast to coast to coast.

We also extend our gratitude to the RBC Foundation, Levine Bros. Plumbing, Listel, University of Western Ontario and Fondation François Bourgeois for their generous support, which has been vital to our projects and activities.

Read the press release

Phase 1 : The Indigenous Youth, Art and Water Initiative

In the first phase of the Indigenous Water Allyship, CIER and One Drop Foundation are co-designing the Indigenous Youth, Art and Water Initiative. This initiative seeks to connect with communities' relationships with water and to celebrate distinct water-related knowledge across Canada, while enhancing intergenerational and intersectoral relationships through community art-based approaches.

We are thrilled to announce that the Indigenous Youth, Art and Water Initiative has selected nine Young Indigenous Ambassadors from a total of 31 applicants. Supported by their Indigenous-led sponsor organizations, they will create community social art projects that promote the significance of water and challenge the current state of water issues affecting Indigenous communities in Canada.

Click here to know more about the Ambassadors and their social art projects.

The Selected Indigenous Youth

Participating Organizations

As part of the Indigenous Youth, Art and Water Initiative, One Drop Foundation is honoured to collaborate with 10 Indigenous-led and youth-focused organizations : Caldwell First Nation, Indigenous Elders & Youth Council, Kativik llisarniliriniq, Native Children’s Survival, Nuu-chah-nulth Youth Warrior Society, Water Movement, Water Ways Collective, Vines Art Society, WAG-Qaumajuq, and Wapikoni Mobile.

In our quest to collaborate with like-minded organizations, foundations and companies who believe in the urgent need to address and change the systemic issues at the heart of clean water and climate challenges, we invite the Canadian community focused on sustainable water initiatives to contact Lauren Alcorn, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Government Relations, to discuss learning and partnership opportunities.

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