An 18,549 kilometer walk around the Great Lakes came through Ottawa on May 20th. The goal? To call attention to the sacred gift of water and to raise awareness about the need to care for it.
Anishnawbe women, as givers of life, are responsible for speaking for, protecting, and carrying the water, for 20 000 kilometers–a walk to protect that which we all rely upon.
This year’s Water Walk “unites all the waters of our Mother Earth. Water from the vast Pacific Ocean, from the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic Ocean and from Hudson Bay will be gathered in copper pails and carried by hand. (The walkers will converge on the shores of Lake Superior (on June 12).”
The walkers were met at Victoria Island by an enthusiastic crowd who participated in the water ceremony. Speakers at the event included the 97 year-old spiritual leader of the Algonquin people William Commanda, Grand Chief of the AFN Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, a representative from the Native Women’s Association of Canada, as well as the water campaigner from the Council of Canadians. Grandmother Irene Peters and Grandmother Melvina Flamand who are leading the group of walkers from the eastern direction also spoke at the ceremony.
First United Church and Kitchissippi United Church hosted the walkers that evening, with a feast and a “sleep-over” in the church hall. The walkers were up at 2:30 am and on the road by 3:00 am, ready for another day of sore feet, high spirits, and the anticipation of well-wishers to accompany them on their walk. Representatives from the Council of Canadians, Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO), Project of Heart, and both Kitchissippi and First United church accompanied the walkers that day.
More information on the Water Walk, the schedule of where and when you could join the walk, and how to support the initiative with a donation, can be found here.
On May 21st, Project of Heart was proud to walk side by side, shoulder to shoulder with these inspiring Indigenous women, who have been walking from the East since May 7th.