1st Nation walk to protect our water
Most people living near the great lakes take it for granted
By Pat Bailey
Published May 10, 2006
Most people living near the great lakes take it for granted that there will always be an endless supply of water.
But one group of First Nations’ women want people to wake up and realize how precious that resource is
Ashley Kewayosh, 23, of Walpole Island fears for the future of the water supply.
She said an increased number of boil water advisories convinced her that she should try and do something to raise awareness that pollution is threatening our water supplies.
Kewayosh said she was also inspired by ‘gram’, Irene Peters.
The result, her participation in the Mother Earth Water Walk.
The first such walk, completed during the spring of 2003, was led by Grandmother Josephine Mandamin around Lake Superior. The following year, the group completed a similar walk around Lake Michigan. In the spring of 2005, the walk revolved around Lake Huron.
This year there are two simultaneous walks -- one around Lake Erie, the other, Lake Ontario.
The Lake Erie group, led by Peters, 67, was at Point Pelee National Park on Wednesday -- stopping by on their trek around the lake.
As she dipped her copper water bucket into the water at the tip, Kewayosh said they had made several stops along the way to refresh the bucket from different areas of the lake.
Carrying about eight litres of water along the journey that began in Niagara-on-the-Lake on April 29 and will end there some time in mid-May, Peters said she hopes the walks will make people think about the state of the Great Lakes.
The group said they want people to appreciate that water is a sacred resource that is essential for life.
The walkers average about 70 kilometres each day, taking turns carrying the copper bucket containing eight litres of water.
They begin each morning about 5 a.m. and hold a ceremony, before sunrise.
The walkers stop to make an offering of tobacco at streams and rivers along the route.
They are accompanied by men, who carry a symbolic eagle staff to offer strength to the women.
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