In a country like Canada where freshwater is abundant, it's hard to imagine there are still many First Nations without clean drinking water. One of those communities is nestled in the Ojibway territory of Northwestern Ontario, where crystal clear lakes dot the pristine wilderness. The story of how Shoal Lake 40 ended up without access to clean drinking water and cut off from the mainland goes back a century. The building of a man-made channel forced Shoal Lake residents to relocate, and it effectively cut them off from the mainland.
The band is forced to spend $240,000 a year to ship in bottled water, while their neighbors at Shoal Lake 39 have a state-of-the-art water treatment plant. In response to these challenges, Shoal Lake band members are turning to traditional ways where they are discovering the deep-rooted values and sacred knowledge that will guide them in their fight for a road and for access to clean running water. So far, these ways have brought them success in defining their community and inspiring a united front. The band is now determined to stay true to their communal roots in their continuing fight.