Source Water Protection in Indigenous Communities
Legal Tool Kits

LEFT TO RIGHT Former COTTFN Chief Leslee White-Eye, the Late George Henry, Kim Wheatley (Workshop Facilitator), Kerrie Blaise (CELA), Elder Irene Peters, Mark Peters, Heather Gingrich

Since 2017, the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, the Oneida Nation of the Thames, the Munsee-Delaware Nation (CMO) and the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) have undertaken a collaborative, community-based project to identify threats to source waters in the Indigenous communities along the Thames River and, develop legal tools and policy aimed at their protection.

We wish to pay tribute to the late George Henry, former Councillor and Elder at the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation who was instrumental in the vision for this collaborative, Tri-Nation source water protection project. George was passionate about clean drinking water and Great Lakes protection, passing knowledge on to future generations, and including the community deeply in decision making.

View a short film, introducing this tri-nation-CELA intiative, the meaning of water and its importance to the CMO communities.

Legal Tool Kits

With funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario, the CMO communities in collaboration with CELA, devised legal and policy tools to address concerns from community members, whose historical use and enjoyment of the Thames River had been diminished, because of threats from industrial discharges and spills, sewage overflows, and the impact of phosphorus loading and pesticide use.

In response to threats to source water identified and prioritized by the CMO communities, an Indigenous Source Water Protection Toolkit was created. The Toolkit provides a range of legal tools which can be used in Indigenous communities to protect source waters and mitigate threats.

As this toolkit is a living document, we encourage all readers to refer to the websites of the individual CMO communities (linked above) for updates regarding the use of these legal tools by community members, Chief and Council, and administration.