Indigenous Activist — Nadia George inspires Meridian Credit Union to support charitable organization Water First Education and Training Inc.
Meridian Credit Union (Meridian) is dedicated to understanding Indigenous perspectives by listening, reflecting and enacting change in areas of need. Through actor, activist and Meridian Member, Nadia George, Meridian learned about and now supports the charitable organization Water First Education and Training Inc. (Water First).
Nadia’s involvement with Water First charity
Nadia’s interest in being a volunteer ambassador for Water First came from her heart. After losing her father to the lack of access to clean drinking water, she knew she had to use her agency to expose the harm and neglect Indigenous communities experience. She chose to advocate for Water First because of their collaborative approach to working with Indigenous communities. Nadia respected that they took the time to sit with Elders and Knowledge Keepers to develop a tailored plan that educates Indigenous youth.
Water First’s focus on educating youth is part of developing long-term solutions to the water crisis that gives back autonomy to Indigenous communities and allows them to control their resources. Water science education is important because infrastructure alone does not provide the solution to clean water. It’s the understanding of how to maintain these systems without dependence on external bodies that make the real impact.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up and speak, but it takes a lot more to sit down and listen.
Reconnecting with her roots as an urban Indigenous person
Nadia acknowledges the privileges that come with being an urban Indigenous person and that she is still reconnecting to her Indigenous lineage removed through colonial history. Her activism always starts with asking what is needed from Indigenous Leaders, Elders and Knowledge Keepers. An Elder once said to her, “It takes a lot of courage to stand up and speak, but it takes a lot more to sit down and listen.”
Nadia discussed how the water crisis also contributes to the deterioration of mental health within the Indigenous community. “The land gives us purpose and it should be respected,” says Nadia. With the lack of resources and ongoing threats to Indigenous land, it’s a struggle for the community to take care of their physical health and environment. Due to this, Indigenous Peoples are more likely to experience severe mental health issues. Advocating for mental health support is another area Nadia speaks frequently about and she encourages everyone to acknowledge how these issues are interconnected.
Nadia’s next steps as an activist
Nadia’s next step as an activist is building on her existing work by continuing to reconnect with her roots and creating more opportunities for Indigenous Peoples.
Her activism is proof that Indigenous representation matters in mainstream media. Had she not used her platform to share the interest of Water First, Meridian may not have come across this initiative as soon as they did. With that, the onus to create space for Indigenous Peoples are on non-Indigenous people with the most privilege. Non-Indigenous people must respectfully seek Indigenous knowledge, reflect on history, listen to what is needed, and act accordingly.
Meridian’s commitment to Indigenous voices
Meridian is proud to support the well-being and success of Indigenous Peoples through various community organizations like Water First. They are inspired by the fearless activism of Nadia George and are honoured to provide an outlet to amplify her voice.