The human impact on drinking water is the focus of a photo exhibition on display at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
“You look at the water as you are boating and it is a murky dark brown, rusty coppery looking colour,” said Georjann Morrisseau, a member of the Fort William First Nation Youth Council, describing the water in the rivers and along the Lake Superior shoreline in the Thunder Bay area. “When we went up to Loch Lomond, it was almost clear, a dark dark greeny blue, the way it should be without all those additives and pollution.”
The Youth Water Vision project, on exhibit at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery from June 15 to July 3, was developed by a group of 14 Fort William First Nation youth and adults and a group of Lakehead University researchers to bring young people and others from across the Thunder Bay-Fort William First Nation area together to work on protecting local water resources.
“How can we move forward and protect our water resources and how can we not only look at them as resources but also as life,” Morrisseau said. “When you look at something and humanize it and make it feel like it is a part of your life you might be a little more willing to stop whatever is hurting it.”
Morrisseau encouraged youth and adults from across the area to take care of their land and resources.
Morrisseau said the project participants want to raise an awareness of the pollution in the area and the fact that young people are interested in working together to bring about change.
“What we want to portray through this picture (exhibition) is if we can do it, you can do it,” Morrisseau said. “Let us all work together, Thunder Bay and Fort William. We all drink from the same water supply.”
Lakehead University researcher Matthew Roy said all segments of the population need to be involved in decisions about water, not just the experts who are currently making the decisions.
“You need to involve as many people as possible,” Roy said. “You need to involve all segments of the population and you need to make efforts to involve the people who are not being involved in the project.”
Roy said the Youth Water Vision exhibit creates a venue where everyone can view the ideas, values and perspectives of the people of Fort William First Nation and talk about what they see.
“It’s a matter of trying to bring all the perspectives together, create a venue where everyone can take a look at the images and kind of make up their own minds and talk about what they see.”
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