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Autumn Peltier is a 15-year-old, indigenous, clean water activist. She’s a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation in northern Ontario. She lives on Lake Huron, one of North America’s Great Lakes — the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth. Peltier has broken major ground for indigenous water rights. An official “water protector,” she fights for universal clean drinking water. Specifically, she advocates for safe waterways and drinking water for indigenous peoples in Canada and beyond.
Peltier has also brought her message to the international community. In 2015, she attended the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden. And in 2017, she received a nomination for the Children’s International Peace Prize. In 2018, Peltier traveled to the UN General Assembly in New York. There, she addressed the UN on water rights, as part of the commencement of the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development. She also spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York during the 2019 global summit on climate change, and at the Global Landscapes Forum which focuses on sustainability of land. She stressed the alarming number of indigenous communities lacking clean water, and how little has been done to help them. “All across these lands, we know somewhere where someone can’t drink the water,” she said. “Why so many, and why have they gone without for so long?”