Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres Aboriginal Youth Council representatives gathered on Lake Simcoe to learn about threats to water sources and were given sacred water teachings by Water Walker Josephine Mandamin.

Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres Aboriginal Youth Council representatives gathered on Lake Simcoe to learn about threats to water sources and were given sacred water teachings by Water Walker Josephine Mandamin.

Toronto, ON, October 24, 2014 – Representatives from the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres Aboriginal Youth Council (OAYC) gathered on Lake Simcoe to learn about threats to water sources and were given sacred water teachings by Water Walker Josephine Mandamin.

Through a partnership between the OFIFC and the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada (JGI), the youth participated in a weekend workshop October 17-19 that involved traditional teachings from Elder Mandamin and a session on the governance of water presented by Dr. Seanna Davidson, a water expert from the area.

The youth are from nine Friendship Centres that will receive $1,000 each from the RBC Blue Water Project to research local issues and implement awareness campaigns on the importance of protecting water.

The nine Friendship Centres involved are the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre, Barrie Native Friendship Centre, Dryden Native Friendship Centre, Ne’Chee Native Friendship Centre of Kenora, N’Amerind Friendship Centre of London, Timmins Native Friendship Centre, Odawa Native Friendship Centre of Ottawa, Can Am Indian Friendship Centre of Windsor and Council Fire Native Cultural Centre of Toronto.

Shania Simon, a youth representative from the N’Amerind Friendship Centre, was eager to start her work after the workshop.  She has engaged a local water advocate from London and will work with others to create a campaign based on her individual interest in protecting water for personal and recreational use such as canoeing.   ‘I learned from Elder Josephine that we cannot take water for granted and we must work hard to ensure it is safe for use by my generation and the next’, says Simon.

The youth will report back to OFIFC and JGI and will showcase their results on World Water Day, March 22, 2015.