water walkers (2)By Vicki Monague

BEAUSOLEIL TRADITIONAL TERRITORY – The Mnidoo Gaaming Bimooseyang Water Walk lasted 17 days, starting at Cedar Point, Ontario on June 21 and concluding at Cedar Point, Ontario on July 7 – a total distance of 787 KM around Georgian Bay.

The objectives of this walk were to:

1) Raise awareness about declining water levels in Georgian Bay

2) Pray for the water and give thanks, keeping in mind the ancestors before us.

3) Build unity amongst all people who share in Georgian Bay regardless of age, race or gender.

4)  Sharing with all the true name of Georgian Bay, Spirit Lake, Minidoo Gaaming.

5)  Visit many of the sacred places that Anishinabe people gathered.

Prayers were offered in the morning and night and along each step of the walk for healing of lands, waters, and air, as well as healing for all the people and the mind, body and spirit. Walkers connected with people in every community from Collingwood, to Owen Sound to Little Current, to Parry Sound. The walk was supported by 10 First Nation Communities and many sacred places were visited, histories were shared.  Special thanks to all the elders who shared their teachings, lifted their pipes and prepared ceremony for the walker in all the communities on the journey.

It was truly an honour for all to take part in this work for the water. It is safe to say that all objectives of this walk were met and exceeded, lasting connections were formed. While the walk has concluded, the work for water must and will continue, we will now move forward more determined and more connected. We will work together to ensure this life source, Minidoo Gaaming, will forever flow for all future generations.

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING FOR MAKING THIS WALK A SUCCESS:

For helping Anishinabe Kwe remember her work for water, we give thanks to Grand Chief Eddie Benton-Beniase and Ogimaa Kwe Leona Stevens and all those of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge.

For the original vision of Water Walks, we give forever thanks too Josephine Mandamin and all those who helped with the Mother Earth Water Walks. A special thank-you goes to Doreen Day for the composition of the Water Song that we constantly offered along our journey.

To the community of Beausoleil First Nation who were the inspiration of this walk, for all you have all had to endure the most with low water levels, for every time you had to get on the boat clinging to the ramps in order to not fall, you have sacrificed for us all.  Also, thank you to all the members of Beausoleil First Nation who came out to support the walkers in their return to Cedar Point.