For thousands of years, Indigenous North Americans drank some of the world's purest drinking water. Then came colonization and government neglect. First Nations' water quality fell and, with it, their health. But as Jay learns, change is coming thanks to Indigenous Water Protectors, like Deon Hassler, a teacher of water treatment plant operators for the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, and helpers, like Bob Patrick, a water expert at the University of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Robert Patrick is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Regional and Urban Planning Program at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to academia, Bob spent 10 years working as a land-use and water planner in British Columbia. Internationally, Bob has worked in Peru and Australia in the areas of integrated water resource management and regional planning. His current work focuses on watershed planning, specifically source water protection, to reduce the risk of contamination to public drinking water. He works closely with communities in Canada, especially First Nations, to develop community-based watershed plans and source water protection plans.
Deon Hassler has worked for the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council for five years as Circuit Rider Trainer. He has worked in water treatment and wastewater treatment for over ten years. Deon is responsible for 11 First Nations bands in terms of technical services to mentor, train, and assist the water treatment operators in operating and maintaining their systems, and obtaining and maintaining certifications