Deon Hassler, a circuit rider technician for File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, is this year’s recipient of the National First Nations Water Leadership Award.
The National First Nations Water Leadership Award was created by Indigenous Services Canada in March 2018 to recognize and honour Indigenous people or organizations that have demonstrated leadership and outstanding dedication to the advancement of clean, safe drinking water in Indigenous communities.
Hassler comes from the Carry-The-Kettle Nakoda Nation, is a decorated military veteran and a former water plant operator.
“Ensuring the health and safety of a community’s water supply is a role I take very seriously,” said Hassler.
“I am fortunate to be in a position where I can now share my years of experience and knowledge, to help train, mentor, guide, and assist new and future operators and leaders in the ongoing care, maintenance, and operation of this critical piece of community infrastructure.”
Further to Deon’s work in training, he also formed the First Nations Water Association, an organization of First Nations water plant operators, technicians, circuit riders, and trainers.
“Water operators work long hours, often with little recognition, to watch over their community’s water supply. It is the hard work and dedication of people like Deon that is vital in helping us achieve our goal of lifting all long-term drinking water advisories by 2021,” said Seamus O’Regan, minister of Indigenous Services.
The File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council is made up of 11 First Nations within the Treaty 4 territory, and exists to assist, enhance and promote First Nations entities and its people, based on the spirit and intent of the Treaties.