Indigenous activist makes appearance at Puslinch event on water protection journey

A grey faucet drips water in front of a blurred background.
Water protection in Indigenous communities is a point of focus for activist Layla Staats, who will be attending an event in Puslinch surrounding the issue on Saturday. Photo by Canva.
Riley Gillespie-Wilson - CICW - FergusON | 02-06-2023
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Puslinch held an event on Saturday that educated on the issues surrounding water protection, specifically in Indigenous communities. Wellington Water Watchers was joined by several groups at the event, including Protect the Tract and the Ontario Federation of Labour.

Layla Staats, from the Turtle Clan and Six Nations of the Grand River and who is a generational survivor of residential schools, shared some of her music at the event. She is an filmmaker and activist around the issue.

Staats has a documentary on the issue of water protection in Indigenous communities. She travelled across Turtle Island throughout the United States and Canada to gain firsthand experiences in recent years and said one particular Canadian exchange had a profound impact on her.

“One of the stories that sticks out to me is a woman in Neskantaga, and they have been under 27 years of boil water advisory right here in Ontario,” Staats explained.

“So she said to me when you shower, just cover your entire body in shower gel and then get in the water quick, rinse it off and get out and you won’t get any rashes. I was like ‘woah.’ So I didn’t shower the whole time I was there filming,” she said.

At World Water Day in Paris, Staats made a delegation and she has learned through her travels how crucial it is to establish a connection with water.

“Water is alive. It’s a living entity. It hears us and it knows us and it’s ancient. It’s more than just molecules and atoms. It has a spirit. I started to develop a relationship with it,” she said.

Logan Staats, Layla's brother, joined Staats in the spotlight, performing music that educated on the crisis. The event saw a march and several other activities.

Listen to the CICW story below: