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Queen Elizabeth School Students Raise Awareness for Clean Drinking Water in 2nd Annual Event
Queen Elizabeth School Students Raise Awareness for Clean Drinking Water in 2nd Annual Event
Posted on 05/09/2024
QES Walk for Water

A Real-World Learning project that began in 2023, morphed into a larger event for 2024, with two Perth-area schools gathering for the 2nd annual Walk for Water to raise awareness for clean drinking water in Canada.

The initiative began last school year after Grade 2/3 students at The Queen Elizabeth School (QES) learned about Anishinaabe Indigenous rights advocate Autumn Peltier and her mission to secure safe drinking water on all Canadian reserves. This year QES Grade 6 students took the reins and organized a larger event bringing both QES and The Stewart School together.

Approximately 600 students from Senior Kindergarten to Grade 6 walked from both schools and met at Stewart Park on April 24 for a water ceremony, blessings, and drumming by Upper Canada District School Board cultural advisor Danka Brewer. Brewer is an Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper from Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation.

The Walk for Water goal is to raise awareness of the need for clean water for all living things, for the health of our earth, and especially for the health of Indigenous communities across Canada who remain under boil water advisories.

“Leading up to this day we discussed some of the hard truths as we continued to learn about the conditions on reserves and what Indigenous communities face in lack of access to clean water,” said QES Grade 6 teacher Alaina Tanner.

“The Grade 6 class was inspired by the 2/3’s, and feel this project is so important that they wanted to keep it going,” Tanner said.

Brewer spoke to the students about water conservation and the traditional Algonquin perspective on the importance of water and the roles of women as water carriers of the community. She also led students in the singing of Nibi Wabo, The Water Blessing Song.

 “I believe that this teaches, in a positive, non-structural way, about cultural appropriation and it helps to build bridges of understanding between the native and non-native students in the school,” Brewer said.

“It was really inspiring to continue the project and it’s amazing to see it continue to grow and we hope we can continue to do it next year,” added QES Grade 6 student Emily Tanner.

Students are planning a fundraiser by selling T-shirts, new water bottle sticker designs and collecting donations in person, with proceeds going to the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to supporting health, education, arts & culture, and recreation & sports for Indigenous youth, as well as supplying temporary clean drinking water solutions for Indigenous communities.

“I’m really, really excited by what I saw,” said Ward 2 Trustee Carole Dufort. “I’m glad both schools came together to celebrate the water with their Indigenous people. They were all so respectful in singing and participating. I am so proud of them.”

A video documenting the walk is available below.


For media inquiries, please contact:   

April Scott-Clarke
Manager of Communications
Upper Canada District School Board
[email protected]

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