One of Canada’s First Nations is looking to educate the world about that country’s true Human Rights record with the launch of a Museum of Canadian Human Rights Violations. Their ‘living museum’ consists of a guided tour of their own indigenous community located just two hours east of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights, opening this week in Winnipeg. Shoal Lake happens to be the source of Winnipeg’s water supply and the Shoal Lake 40 community has been cut off and economically repressed as a result of Canada’s imposition of that city’s intake on their reserve land. The ongoing difficulties and injustice experienced by the community has received widespread media attention and has attracted support from national and international Human Rights organizations. Ironically, Canada’s museum architect, Antoine Predock, chose to use Shoal Lake water as a symbol of ‘healing’ in his building’s “Garden of Contemplation.”
Roxanne Greene, a past councilor and one of the Violations Museum’s organizers explained, “At the settlers’ end of the water pipe there’s economic prosperity, clean drinking water and a $350 million building that advertises ‘healing’ and brags about what a wonderful country Canada is. At our end of the pipe, we have 17 years of boil water order, no job opportunities and we are forced to risk our lives for basic necessities. It’s important that the world have opportunity to see that huge Canadian contradiction.”
“I’ve been touring politicians and bureaucrats around our reserve for years,” said Stewart Redsky, a former Chief, “Showing them all the injustices and the ways we’re blocked from accessing the necessities of life. Nothing has changed. A Violations Museum is at least a way to broaden the understanding of injustice to the rest of the world.
While the opening of Shoal Lake #40’s Museum of Canadian Human Rights Violations coincides with the opening of the Canada’s Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, it is not a flash in the pan. The volunteers assert that their Museum’s program of educating the world on Canada’s hypocrisy will continue, “as long as the waters run” and as long as the violations continue.
“Our government is cooperating with the volunteers in showcasing the Violations. We’re allowing access to some band facilities but mostly it’s a lack of things like a water treatment and garbage disposal. People are opening their homes and telling their stories so it’s a whole community thing. After centuries of colonialism, there’s unfortunately lots to see,” said Chief Erwin Redsky. “Who knows, if a lot of people come out, maybe we can turn 100 years of human and Treaty rights violations into an economic opportunity.”
Daily tours of the Museum of Canadian Human Rights Violations are by appointment: Call or email:
Tours and General Info: (807) 733-2315, Fax: (807) 733-3115, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Relations: Cuyler Cotton, (807) 467-1492 (voice and text), Email: email@example.com
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