FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SHARON DAY, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-325-8077
EMILY JARRETT HUGHES, email@example.com, 612-314-5413
(Minneapolis, MN, August 3, 2019) Indigenous-led Red River Nibi (Water) Walk began August 1, 2019. The walk began at the headwaters of the river near Wahpeton, North Dakota. Over an estimated 12 days walkers will carry a ceremonial copper vessel of water 550 miles to the Chalet Beach at Lake Winnipeg, Canada.
“Every step we take we’re sending our prayers, our thoughts to the river,” said Day, a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. While she walks, Day also prayer for the 134 names written on ribbons on her staff, each one representing an Indigenous woman found dead in the Red River over the course of the past few decades.
“We need to walk the Red River because of all the pollution ending up in Lake Winnipeg,” Day said. “But also because of all the bodies found in it.”
Nibi means water in the Anishinaabe language. In Anishinaabe teachings it was promised that the water would always flow down to us as long as we remembered to sing and make offerings to the water.
The Nibi Walkers believe these songs and offerings are crucial now, when the health of our freshwater is at great risk. They invite people from all walks of life to join them – in person or in spirit – on this sacred mission.
Throughout their walk participants will pray and sing, sun-up to sun-down, to heal and honor the River. Though steeped in Anishinaabe ritual and beliefs, people of all faiths are welcome to walk for an hour, a day, or more.
“We want the Walk to be a prayer,” says Sharon Day, the leader of the Wisconsin River walk. “Every step we take we will be praying for and thinking of the water. The water has given us life and now we will support the water.”
Nicole Christian is a 23 year-old student from Minneapolis who wanted to figure out a way to honor the 134 women that have been gathered by the Sovereign Bodies Institute. She cut up red T-shirts, wrote the names of those identified on individual pieces, and tied them to the staff.
“And we’re sending a message to the world that we wish for peace and an end to violence,” said Sharon Day. “If we can treat our water with gratitude, respect and love, then maybe we can treat each other that way.”
To learn more about the Red River Nibi Walk visit www.nibiwalk.org. Nibi Walks is a program of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force and supported by generous donations. Sharon Day is available for interviews. Please contact her directly at the number listed above.
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Photos available on request.