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Clean Water for Pikangikum

Clean Water for Pikangikum

Clean water distribution to homes, cisterns, indoor plumbing and waste management efforts continue

Pikangikum, population 3,000, is the largest First Nation Community in northern Ontario. 86 percent of the community is under 39 years of age. Over 30 percent is under nine years of age. Pikangikum (pronounced pea-kan-ja-koom) has the highest birth-rate in the Sioux Lookout District of north-western Ontario. There are over 400 homes in the community. Half remain without water service, plumbing and waste/sewage disposal.

Pikangikum is a remote community, about 100 kilometres north of Red Lake and 540 kilometres north-west of Thunder Bay. It is accessible by road only in winter.

A song video by youth of Pikangikum

Pikangikum came to national attention after a wave of youth suicides in 2011. The tragedy prompted a group of Toronto-based professionals to work with the Pikangikum elders and school system. This group, which has become known as the Pikangikum Working Group, identified 12 priorities for the community. The first priority was to get a new school, which opened in the fall of 2016. The second was clean water.

The goal now is 

  • To provide a source of potable drinking water to Pikangikum homes, equipping the homes with a cistern to hold the water and a wastewater holding tank, as well as the necessary fixtures and fittings.
Pikangikum.location-map

Since 2013, more than 600 thousand dollars has been raised through the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). As of summer 2018, 200 homes remain to be equipped. The cost per home is about 25 thousand dollars.

Families in Pikangikum, who have with elderly relatives suffering from extreme health constraints, express relief and happiness in having access to clean water, toilets and bathing facilities at home. The PWRDF has been working with Habitat for Humanity Manitoba since 2016 and continues to accept donations for additional work in Pikangikum or other communities in need.

Bishop Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop for Canada, has called together a group of people from churches and community organizations who are concerned about Indigenous communities in Canada. The group was created in response to such concerns expressed by many about the lack of good drinking water in First Nations’ communities and how ordinary Canadians could help bring about positive change.

Bishop Mark’s group is Pimatisiwin Nipi -- The Living Water Group. They also support the PWRDF water programme in Pikangikum as they strive to achieve the Four Pillars in their work together:

  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Partnership
  • Strategic Giving.

St Matthew - St Aidan supports the Pikangikum Clean Water Project. The project has resonated with the people of the parish and, in the course of recent years, the parish has contributed over one thousand dollars to PWRDF for this project. "We expect to continue our support in 2018."

The parish became aware of the needs in Pikagikum when the Trent-Durham Area was involved with a cross-Canada walk organized to raise awareness about the need for clean water in First Nations' communities. The route passed through parts of Trent-Durham. The Right Reverend Linda Nicholls, Area Bishop at the time, called upon parishes to recognize the particular needs and to respond.

4 Comments

  1. Nancy Fairweather on 21 September 2018 at 8:43 AM

    Thanks for the very informative update Father Glenn. We’ve hit the $400 mark and we are striving for more than last years goal of $500 .

    • Glenn on 21 September 2018 at 12:05 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      That is wonderful! Thank you for taking the lead on this.

      Blessings,

      Glenn

  2. Nancy on 26 August 2018 at 9:13 PM

    Thank you Father Glenn for highlighting this effort. It’s amazing what a little change (coins) week after week can do for this great cause. We are now over $300 and have 5 months to go! Let us all try for the $600 Mark this year.

    • Father Glenn on 26 August 2018 at 9:56 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for all you do in keeping this very important project in our vision.

      Blessings, Glenn

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