“Everything’s great, because all we have to do is turn on the tap like everyone else,” says area resident Judy Claus.
Long-term drinking water advisories have now been lifted for a significant portion of the territory, after being in place since 2008.
The band chief described the milestone as a step in the right direction in mending relations with First Nations.
“Canada is always boasting (about being) an inclusive society,” says MBQ Chief Don Maracle. “Helping First Nations get caught up with their infrastructure is the right step toward reconciliation, so these sub-standard conditions don’t continue.”
Along with 20 community buildings, 280 homes on the Tyendinaga Territory now have clean drinking water, meaning for more than 750 people, it’s a huge improvement from what they’ve been used to.
“The amount of salt they used to soften it, the salt was so strong it wasn’t good for your diet, or for anything,” says Ron Claus. “You could have a shower, when we first moved in, you could taste the salt.”
With clean, drinkable water coming out of the taps, the Claus’ won’t have to filter their own water anymore, and they will be purchasing fewer plastic water bottles too.
“For our drinking water, we used bottled water at that time. Even to cook with, we were using bottled water,” Ron says. “Because they said that the amount of metals and stuff that were in the water was very high.”
So far, nearly $59 million has been invested to increase access to potable water for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.
There are some parts of the community that still don’t have clean drinking water, and the community will continue to fight to ensure all residents have a safe water supply.