Residents forced to leave their Indigenous community in northern Ontario over a water crisis are returning home after nearly two months

Do Not Drink the Water

In a social media post from Chief Chris Moonias, the residents from Neskantaga are returning home. Work on the water treatment plant was not complete, however, water was running again and, after 14 days of tests, was cleaner than before.

About 250 people relocated to a hotel in Thunder Bay in late October after an oily sheen surfaced in the community’s reservoir. A handful of residents stayed behind to do necessary work.

It’s been difficult for residents to go through a pandemic, water crisis and evacuation at the same time, Moonias said.

He thanked people in Thunder Bay and other First Nations across Canada for their support.
Chief Moonias was clear about the conditions required to be in place before people could go home, including a call to investigate the business practices of companies that work on water-treatment facilities in Indigenous communities.

Moonias also thanked federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller for working with the First Nation during the crisis and committing to support their priorities.

Members of Neskantaga First Nation have been under a boil-water advisory for longer than any other in Canada. They are hoping to return home before Christmas to clean running water for the first time in 25 years.

Neskantaga is only accessible by air and an ice road in winter. It sits about 450 km north of Thunder Bay, Ont. – where nearly 300 of its members have been living in a hotel since an oily sheen in the reserve’s reservoir on Oct. 19 triggered their evacuation.

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Colette Linden is a graduate of the three-year Broadcast Journalism and Communications Media program from Mohawk College before heading to McMaster University to obtain her degree in Public Relations. In addition, Colette has a certificate in Writing for Publication and a certificate of Competency in the French Language, . A recent resident of Sault Ste Marie, this Hamilton native gained experience working at TSN, the Ontario Medical Association and spent 14-years with the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) as the Communications Manager. A Mother of two amazing boys, Connor & Dante, Colette is a die-hard sports fan with a passion for government affairs and hopes to one day represent this City on Council. Focusing on Politics, Indigenous Affairs and Local News, Colette also reports the latest in Sports both locally and professionally. Colette joined the Superior Media Team in September of 2019 and is thankful to finish out her career with such a family-oriented and community-oriented team.