10: Indigenous relations with water with Abigail Speck//Relations autochtones avec l'eau avec Abigail Speck


This call was on Monday February 22nd at 4 pm EST (1 pm PST) for our upcoming national call.

Our four mentors Jennifer, Samantha, Zihan and Marilie invited Abigail Speck, Indigenous Knowledge Specialist at Ocean Wise to facilitate a talk on indigenous relations with water.

Abigail k̓ʷə nə skʷix, təliʔ cən ʔəƛ̓ xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Abigail Speck is my name, I’m from Musqueam).

Abigail is the Indigenous Knowledge Specialist with Ocean Wise at the Vancouver Aquarium. She works on integrating Indigenous Knowledge into our programs within the Education Department. As an indigenous person, she is passionate about using this opportunity to include indigenous knowledge into the programming for people to learn multiple ways of knowing. Before Ocean Wise, Abigail was a Youth Outreach worker within her community, providing after school programming with Indigenous youth. She has a strong passion for teaching, sharing and engaging people with her story across all generations.

We watched two short documentaries followed by a discussion. The first video is about a proposed solution to the drinking water problem on indigenous reserves. They aim to have a First Nations Water Authority where indigenous peoples are licensed and trained to serve their own community and do not need to rely on someone else.

The video also touches upon:

  • · How the drinking water issue is not an engineering problem, it is a political problem
  • · People competing for resources to fix the issue
  • · First nations leaders speaking about boil water advisories
  • · Many people still using blue bottles because they don’t trust tap water
  • · How to have safety and standardization with the solution
  • · How people will work together as a team
  • · They want to have ability to turn on a tap and have clean water
  • · Governments committed to funding

The second video is about Autumn Peltier’s fight to protect Canada’s drinking water, her journey in environmental activism and shedding light on indigenous water issues.

The video mentions:

  • · How Autumn brought Anishinaabe teachings to the world
  • · Reasons she has been asked to speak at different conferences
  • · The promises of clean drinking water Trudeau’s has made to her and how she has been disappointed in his actions
  • · He jealousy and bullying she experienced in school
  • · Her daily schedule
  • · What was her “call for change” and what inspired her to take action
  • · The challenges she has faced: she is not making money off of this, family has to support her
  • · Speaking at the UN
  • · She wants to make a change for the rest of her life

We discussed the following topics during the call for video 1:

  •  If this has been pushed as a priority in the house of commons for over ten years, why hasn’t something been done? Why are governments not responding to their needs?
  • Does the water authority sound like a promising solution or is it removing responsibility from the government? What are some positives and negatives?
  • Biggest challenge/ opportunity in joining a water authority

And these topics for video 2:

  • Traditional clothing and a message: do you have a piece of clothing that sends a message or means something to you?
  • Jealousy and success: how do you overcome something when there are a lot of barriers in the way?
  • What are your ties to water? Do you have any family traditions surrounding water?


See the recording here 

pw: WaterFeb22

Learning Objectives

This national call is intended to demonstrate the listed learning objectives under climate change of the ocean literacy theories:

  • · Earth has one big ocean
  • · The ocean made the earth habitable
  • · Oceans and humans are inextricably connected

It also meets the following sustainable development goals:

  • · 4: Quality education
  • · 10: Reduced inequality
  • · 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • · 17: Partnerships to achieve the goal

And the following biodiversity convention goals:

  • · 1: Understand values
  • · 11: Protected areas
  • · 19: improve knowledge

Continue to 1: Onboarding / Welcome National Call »