Water Carriers

Environment Water Carriers 2

NWAC’s Water Carrier Project is rooted in empowering Indigenous Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people as protectors of the water and amplifying their voices in their role as Water Carriers. Hence, the following portal presents the voices of Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people on their experiences with issues of Clean Water, Climate Change, and its subsequent impact on their cultural well-being. The information presented has been collected from sharing circles, interviews and research conducted throughout the project. The portal also facilitates the exchange of information, view and concerns relating to issues of Water and Climate Change by presenting various works conducted.


About The Water Carriers Project

The Water Carriers Project is intended to empower the voices of Indigenous Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals in discourses around water governance, especially, their role as the rightful protectors of Indigenous rights to potable and navigable waters.

Phase 1 of the Water Carriers project focused on obtaining knowledge from Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals on the importance of water in Indigenous culture. Phase 1 also focused on what it means to be a water carrier and how water is viewed through an Indigenous lens. The results of this phase can be found at watercarriersnwac.ca.

More recently, as part of the Water Carriers project: Phase 2- Engaging Traditional Knowledge to Build Capacity, NWAC has been advancing the voices of Indigenous women in water governance. Through engagement on the management of water and the environment, the project brings together Indigenous Women, Elders, and youth to discuss their roles as Water Carriers, particularly on challenges related to water insecurity and the impacts of climate change on the waters in their communities.

The end goal of the Water Carriers Project as a whole is to amplify and empower the voices of Indigenous Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people as protectors of water in hopes that the knowledge and opinions shared will create opportunities and build capacity to inform future work on issues related to water management in both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous communities. Nonetheless, Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse individuals will be able to speak about their communities’ experiences with climate change at a local level.


Using The Portal

The following portal is designed to primarily present the information and knowledge gathered from the Phase 2 of the project and present it in an accessible format. The portal is also designed to act as a landing point for indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse individuals across 13 regions and territories of Canada to share and present issues relating to Water in their communities. The following goals are accomplished in two ways:

  • Firstly, this portal will present the voices of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals through organizing its thorough research, interviews and sharing circles conducted during the project’s lifetime in an accessible format.
  • Secondly, the portal will also present information on Water in Canada and will provide knowledgeable resources developed by Indigenous Service Canada regarding boil water advisories and the initiatives underway to promote and better the conditions of Water Resources in Indigenous communities across Canada.
  • Thirdly, the portal will regularly update and present the issues and concerns experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse individuals by directly engaging them in engagement activities like sharing circle and interviews.
  • Fourthly, NWAC will enable individuals from across the country to enroll and participate in engagement activities conducted across the project and other related projects in the Environmental Unit of NWAC.

Subsequently, any opportunities presented by the Government of Canada for inclusion of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse individuals in water management policies or climate change will be shared through this portal as well. NWAC will hence be able to assist the government in attaining varied opinions across the regions and territories of Canada through its findings and also through the portal’s signup process.

Additionally, the information collected will be used to develop reports, info-sheets and posters that will be available to use later in developing policies requiring suggestions and input from Indigenous women and girls in relation to water management in communities across Canada.


Notice of Engagement Activities

The Water Carriers Project: Phase 1 began in early 2021 to empower the voices of Indigenous Women, girls, and gender diverse people on issues of water management. In 2021, NWAC engaged with multiple elders, knowledge keepers and representatives of different communities to attain traditional knowledge on topics of Water Carriers. The engagements primarily focused on the following areas:

  1. Understanding Who are Water Carriers and What it means to be One.
  2. Water is Life
  3. Indigenous Culture and its relationship to Water
  4. Water is more than a resource.

The results of the engagements from Phase 1 resulted in videos and case studies featuring Indigenous elders, knowledge keepers and women representatives from across Canada. Phase 2 of the Project began in August of 2022 and is scheduled to be completed in March of 2024. The phase 2 of the Project focuses on the following areas:

  1. Understanding duties of Water Carriers in their communities
  2. Knowledge and Experience related to access to clean and safe water.
  3. Knowledge of traditional water teachings, water, and environmental stewardship.
  4. Experiences with impacts of climate change with focus on Water
  5. Recommendations for conservation and protection of our navigable waters and environment.

The Phase 2, as of March 2023, has completed its First Part and has conducted 13 sharing circles across the 13 regions and territories of Canada. These engagement sessions focused particularly on the topics listed above and emphasized on finding solutions that would be led by Indigenous Women in their communities. An additional 2 interviews with knowledge keepers have also been conducted on similar topics which have been completed and can be found in the Phase 2 section of the portal.

Use the tabs below to view engagement activities and reports from Phase 1 and Phase 2 and other information related to the Water Carriers Project.


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