Local First Nations join Water Walk

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Local First Nations join Water Walk

Overwhelming support from the Kenora area

KENORA, Ontario (May 27, 2011) – A group of dedicated First Nations people are walking their way through northwestern Ontario, carrying a copper pail of Arctic water and the hopes of spreading awareness of the importance and sacredness of clean, fresh water.

 

The Mother Earth Water Walk has entered the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Nation of Treaty Three as part of the northern journey that will bring together water from all four directions.  The group was welcomed by many local Chiefs, Elders and community members who joined the Walk as it moved through Kenora town limits.

 

A local organizer and former federal election candidate Tania Cameron was among the local walkers.

 

“This isn’t a protest or political walk, it’s more of a spiritual walk for me and my fellow Anishinaabe-Kwe (First Nations women),” said Cameron, a band councilor for Ochiichagwe’babigo’ining (Dalles) First Nation.  “As women, we are standing up and speaking for the water.  Every step we take is a prayer and a message to everyone that we must begin to protect the sacredness and cleanliness of water.”

 

Cameron was joined by Debby Danard, lead walker for the North journey of the Mother Earth Water Walk.

 

“As we left Shoal Lake before sunrise, and as we walked by Lake of the Woods, we are reminded of the importance of water, not only for First Nation communities but for all communities in the north,” said Danard, an Ojibway woman from Rainy River First Nations.  “These are the sources of our drinking water.  This is the same water that we give to our children to drink, that we cook with, that courses through our bodies.  We must all look after the water together.”

 

Danard reflected on the Walk thus far through northwestern Ontario.

 

“The youth from Shoal Lake walked with the water and eagle staff yesterday,” said Danard.  “When we touched down in the community, two eagles were flying overhead.  It was amazing.  Shoal Lake took really good care of us.  It’s been a beautiful experience!”

 

The Walk has received tremendous support from Grand Council Treaty Three and local First Nations.  Grand Chief Ogitchidaa-Kwe Dianne Kelly not only supported the walk, she received the blessing from the Treaty Three Grandmother’s Council.

 

The Treaty Three Police Service has accompanied the Walk from the Ontario-Manitoba border.  With the blessing of their superiors, the officers are actively walking, including the female officers who are carrying the water.

 

Laura Horton, a key walker and organizer, praised all the volunteers and supporters throughout this leg of the Mother Earth Water Walk.  She estimates that about fifty people and a dozen cars were part of the convoy making their way along the Trans-Canada highway.

 

“We have to say miigwetch (thank you) to all those people who have joined us and recognize their tremendous support,” said Horton with the Seven Generation Educational Institute.  She obtained the support of her Board and staff to support the Walk, as did many other First Nations and organizations in the Kenora area.

 

Laura told the story of a man, who underwent triple bypass surgery in February and has joined the Mother Earth Water Walk @Lasik New York.

 

“When he heard that we would be undertaking this historic journey, he affirmed he would get strong and recover so he could take part in the walk,” said Horton.  “He has been a big part of the Walk, as has many other people.  It’s such an inspiration.  There is such a good feeling here.”

 

Following their arrival in Kenora this afternoon, the Walkers will be treated to a pot-luck welcome feast to be held at Women’s Place.  Those in attendance will take part in a water ceremony conducted by the women of the Three Fires Midewiwin Society.  On Saturday, May 28, some of the Walkers will return for the Common Ground spring feast that starts at 12 noon on Tunnel Island. Click here to see from where you can buy SlimLife HCG drops

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This northern Walk is part of the 2011 Mother Earth Water Walk, and is just one of the “four direction Walks” being held concurrently.  The 2011 Water Walk will unite all the waters of North America walking from all four directions including:

  • Hudson’s Bay (North Walk began last Saturday, May 21 in Churchill, MB)
  • Gulf of Mexico (South Walk began April 20 in Gulfport, MS)
  • Atlantic Ocean (East Walk began on May 7 in Machias, ME)
  • Pacific Ocean (West Walk began on April 10 in Olympia, WA).

The waters from the four directions will unite at a ceremony overlooking Lake Superior at the Bad River Indian Reservation, Wisconsin on June 12.

 

The Mother Earth Water Walk was conceived to be a focal point to raise awareness and generate support, recognition and awareness of the importance of keeping water clean. The message of these women is simple: Water is precious and sacred… We need to work together to protect water as it is one of the basic elements needed for life to exist.

 

Nearly every spring, the women and their supporters have walked each of the Great Lakes and the length of the St. Lawrence River. The movement has been growing exponentially ever since.

 

It is estimated that a total of 9,426 km and well over 10 million steps will be walked this year.

 

The Anishinaabe, also known as the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi, are the caretakers of the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system on Earth. Anishinaabe women, as givers-of-life, are responsible for speaking for, protecting and carrying our water.

 

All people are encouraged and welcome to participate in and to support the 2011 Water Walk as it passes through their Provinces, States and communities.

 

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For more information:

Bob Goulais

Media Relations

(905) 591-5594

info@bobgoulais.com

Joanne Robertson

Communications Coordinator

waterwalk2011@gmail.com

email

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