Twenty-nine years after an indigenous community began its drinking water advisory, its chief and a federal cabinet minister issued a press release to say they're talking about it again, as they have for the past two years.On February 1, the 29th anniversary of Neskantaga First Nation's drinking water advisory, the Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, met with Neskantaga First Nation Chief Christopher Moonias to discuss the progress made toward resolving their long-term drinking water advisory."Neskantaga First Nation and the Government of Canada are making significant progress toward sustainable and long-term access to clean, safe drinking water. We know that when people think about drinking water advisories in Canada, they think about Neskantaga, which has endured Canada's longest drinking water advisory at 10,591 days and counting. It is essential to rebuild the trust of community members in their water supply," the press release stated.Neskantaga and the Government of Canada are working together on a 12-point action plan to address the community's immediate and long-term needs. The meeting coincided with Ottawa's additional investment to resolve issues at the existing water treatment plant that would enable the First Nation to lift the drinking water advisory after 29 years."As a result of these new investments, and thanks to the hard work of the community, important progress has been made toward the community having the confidence to lift the existing long-term drinking water advisory," read the release.Moonias and Hajdu agree that a new water plant will be needed to meet the needs of the community. As a start, Hajdu committed to supporting Neskantaga in the design phase of this new plant."This commitment serves as a clear reminder that the Government of Canada will continue to work in true partnership with Neskantaga First Nation so that its people can trust the water coming out of the taps for generations to come," the release explained.This work builds on the existing investments totaling $29.4 million to retrofit the community's current water treatment plant, initially built in 1993 and expanded in 2017."We also recognize that the long-term drinking water advisory has a long-lasting impact on the mental health and wellbeing of community members. No one in Neskantaga has ever experienced clean, safe drinking water in their homes – a full generation has gone without drinking from their taps, unlike others in neighboring cities like Thunder Bay. The Government of Canada will follow Neskantaga's lead and continue to fund First Nation-led initiatives meant to support healing from the trauma inflicted by having the longest drinking water advisory in Canada," the release explained."Chief Moonias and Minister Hajdu are optimistic with the progress to date, and will continue to meet regularly as they have been doing over the past two years. We will work together so that the community has the confidence to lift the existing long-term drinking water advisory and can rely on a long-term solution to bring safe, clean drinking water towards a new beginning."In 2021, Neskantaga, Tataskweyak Cree Nation and Curve Lake First Nation agreed to settle their national class action against the Government of Canada for failing to adequately fund and provide access to clean, safe drinking water. As part of this settlement, Canada agreed to provide a minimum of $6 billion to make all reasonable efforts to ensure reserves have regular access to clean, safe drinking water in their homes. For more information, visit: https://FirstNationsDrinkingWater.ca/The legal action was initiated in November 2019 in a proposed class action on behalf of all members of First Nations and members resident on reserves that had a drinking water advisory for at least one year since 1995. The three bands signed on individually in 2020. The terms of the broader agreement were announced on July 30, 2021, and approved on December 22, 2023. They include the following.$1.5 billion in compensation for individuals deprived of clean drinking waterthe creation of a $400 million First Nation Economic and Cultural Restoration Funda renewed commitment to Canada's Action Plan for the lifting of all long-term drinking water advisoriesthe creation of a First Nations Advisory Committee on Safe Drinking Watersupport for First Nations to develop their own safe drinking water by-laws and initiativesa commitment of at least $6 billion to support reliable access to safe drinking water on reservesthe planned modernization of Canada's First Nations drinking water legislation Since 2016, the Government of Canada has committed over $5.2 billion to First Nations to build and repair water and wastewater infrastructure and support effective management and maintenance of water systems on reserves. In May 2020, Indigenous Services Canada consented to the Tataskweyak Cree Nation certification order, as well as the draft litigation plan.On May 29, 2020, Neskantaga First Nation and Chief Christopher Moonias were added as plaintiffs. In September 2020, Canada expressed their consent to certification of the Curve Lake First Nation–Neskantaga First Nation–Tataskweyak Cree Nation proposed class-action litigation. On October 8, 2020, certification of the class action was granted by the court.