LYTTON FIRST NATION — An elder in the Lytton First Nation told Jim Brown a story of her own relatives, who died years ago after developing diarrhea. The family’s matriarch, Brown said, never understood the problem was likely caused by their drinking water, which they drew from a ditch.
“It was probably E. coli from the cattle that were walking in her ditch line, because at that time, they used to get their water right from the ditch and drink it,” Brown said this month as he stood over a similar hand-dug canal at a snowy hillside farm in Lytton. “It was the cattle walking in their ditch line, crapping in their ditch line. So they lost quite a bit of children back in that day. They had no control, and they didn’t know what was causing the sickness.”