Indigenous teen only Canadian up for International Children’s Peace prize
Autumn Peltier is just a teenager, but already she’s using her voice to enact positive change in the world -- starting with Canada’s water.
An environmental activist, the teen from Wikwemikong First Nation was only eight years old when she gave her first speech about the universal right to clean drinking water. Since then, Peltier has worked as an advocate for protecting natural water resources, from signing a treaty against the expansion of oil sands, to lobbying world leaders for water protection at the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden.
“I’m sad because our waters are sick. Not just in Canada, but all over the world,” Peltier said in an address to the Assembly of First Nations.
Now, Peltier is in the running for the International Children’s Peace prize. She is the only Canadian up for the prestigious award.
“When I think about how polluted the water is already, I think of future generations and my grandchildren and their grandchildren. Will they even have clean drinking water?” Peltier told CTV Montreal. “Water is alive and has a spirit, and like water is so sacred.”
In December 2016, Peltier had the chance to raise her concerns with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I said I’m very unhappy with the choices you’ve made, and he said, ‘I understand that,’” Peltier told APTN News. “And then I started crying … and all I got to say after that was 'the pipelines' and then he said, ‘I will protect the water.’”
Peltier says that regardless of whether she wins the International Children’s Peace prize, she is honoured to have been nominated and will continue forward in her activism.
“If we don’t speak up now, or advocate now, how worse is it going to be?” she told CTV Montreal.
The teen says she hopes to be a lawyer in the future, so she can advocate for others at a higher level.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Vanessa Lee