By Jannan Cotto
To the first inhabitants of the Great Lakes Region, one of the most water privileged areas of the world, the water crisis in Flint, MI, a state bordered by all five Great Lakes, is unfathomable. As Anishinaabek, we recognize all of creation as sacred, especially our life-giving and sustaining water. Therefore, we are encouraged to engage in practices that help us live in respectful relationships of reciprocity with all things.
With this in mind, an intertribal group has organized to hold a water ceremony for Flint, MI. The event is an international and intertribal effort with support from the federally recognized tribes in Michigan, urban Native communities of Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, and Chicago, relatives in Ontario, and the University of Michigan-Flint.
The water ceremony will be held on April 16th at the University of Michigan-Flint campus in Flint, Michigan. The intent is to show respect, honor, and acknowledge the water as a living being. The ceremony will be led by Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, an Anishinaabekwe who traversed over 10,900 miles around each of the Great Lakes in 2003 with her copper pail of water to raise awareness about how important our water is.
We would like to invite all nations to consider sending a delegation from their community to this gathering. If you would like to join us or have questions about how you can support, please contact Theresa Chingwa 231‐330‐5317 (USA); Donald Lyons 517‐204‐0274/ firstname.lastname@example.org for Facebook questions (USA); Joanne Carey 231‐330‐5901 for water donations (USA; Patricia Shawanoo 226‐349‐1241 (Canada).