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How two young climate activists are tackling water and food insecurity across North America

Name comes from Lakota Tribal History Tokala Society—a group of warriors who have shown bravery and leadership since childhood ——Tokara is a photographic series Spotlight on the next generation of BIPOC climate activists. In part three, we meet two activists working in Canada and the eastern seaboard of the United States to improve water and food security in their own communities and beyond.

Makaśa Looking Horse (Mohawk Wolf Clan and Lakota)

Canada Six Nations of Grand Rivers, Ontario


Makaśa Looking Horse. Looking Horse wore a vintage Gucci dress with her own beaded top and ribbon skirt.

Photo by Carlos Jaramillo; by Marcus Designed by Correa


When Makaśa Looking Horse On a week-long canoe trip along the Grand River, the largest watershed in southern Ontario, Canada 2019, her first Seeing the concentration of dirty waterways around her home, the Six Kingdoms of Rivers certainly did.

The Mohawk and Lakota Honors McMaster University student quickly realized that when she canoeed downstream to Brantford, the Where the water was starting to form a green film and pungent smell in the beautifully clear, northern city closest to her Aboriginal community. Seeing the pollution caused by industrial waste and agricultural runoff, Xunma began to understand why the water in Liuguo was murky and not flowing so fast.

But most importantly, it provides a clear reminder of exactly why the community is water insecure. Many reservation community members – more than 12, 000 – Water from the tap cannot be drunk, potable water must be purchased to fill the well or cistern. Only 000% of residents can get water from the Six Nations Water Treatment Plant because there is no money for the infrastructure to connect more households to the waterline. All of this is far from isolated communities, despite being a short drive from cities like Toronto.


Looking Horse takes a boat trip to Georgia with matriarchs and scientists from the community Rand River, to assess restoration of the river by removing inoperable dams. “There’s a lot of sediment and pollutants at the bottom of it, [and] there’s only one way to clean it up, and that’s to let the river clean itself up, let it move, and eventually it’ll come back to health,” she said.


In 12, Looking Horse submitted a letter from A cease and desist letter from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council, the traditional government of the community, where Nestlé stopped pumping water from the Territory’s aquifers. Matriarch of Longhouse, Patriarch Mary Sandy, Keeper of the Faith Norma, and Dr. Beverly Jacobs lead the Looking Horse down the lane and calm her fears by telling her that this is our land and waters.


When Nestlé changed ownership to Blue Triton a few years later, these same women hand-filed a second cease and desist at Looking Horse Letters are strengthened together with suspension development. She wanted to have it delivered in person again, but was told to send it by email this time. Instead, she led the march to the office, called the CEO, left a voicemail explaining her intentions, and left the letter and the moratorium in the foyer.


Profits also help fill community fridges, fund a magazine produced by Collective, and support their next event, all promoted via the YLC Instagram account . (Sales of this magazine include nearly 12 pages from underrepresented artists that will help a queer Native through another gallery Artists are not expelled from events.)


Bouhbal, now a student at NYU studying recorded music, said the collective continued to meet on Zoom, And connect in the group chat. They’re planning their next steps, which include a YLC website, a gentrification-focused magazine, and the distribution of free defense kits to Black and brown trans and gender nonconforming people.




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