Led by Anishinaabe Grandmothers, Water Walks respect the truth that water is a life giver, and because women also give life they are the keepers of the water. In Anishinaabe religion prophecies were given before contact with light skinned people. The prophecies state that when the world has been befouled and the waters turned bitter by disrespect, human beings will have two options to choose from: materialism or spirituality. If they chose spirituality, they would survive, but if they chose materialism, that choice would be the end of humanity (“The Seven Fires Prophecy”). We choose spirituality and duality with all people who now live on Turtle Island, regardless of their ancestry. We unite with others and walk towards love and a better future for our grandchildren.
Water Walks are focused and implemented in faith: faith in the water spirits, faith in the earth, faith in humankind and faith in the power of love. No amount of money is more powerful than these forces. When we spend time respecting and thanking the water for keeping us alive, it becomes impossible to abuse it. When we spend time praying for the water, we spend time praying for ourselves; in praying for ourselves we pray for all of our relatives3.
At this time in our collective history, we are seeing the negative repercussions of global domination and greed. The water is polluted and suffering, plastic litters every ebb and flow of her veins. Turtle Island’s heart, Lake Superior, is threatened every day from corporations wanting to exploit our largest fresh water resource. We stand with the organizations and people working to propose legislation, clean up, hold services on the river, protect conservation trusts, mobilize and rally for the water in their communities and worldwide. We are the spiritual side of these movements and we offer our hearts, our minds, our prayers and our asemaa4 in support of Nibi and all those who walk with her.
Learn more about Sharon Day, leader of Nibi Walks and Executive Director of the Indigenous People’s Task Force.
Learn more about this history of the Nibi Walks by watching these short videos of conversations with the grandmother of the Nibi Walking movement, Josephine Mandamin and with Water Walker Dorene Day.
Learn more about the protocols for a Nibi Walk.
Read about some of the past walks.
Media coverage of past walks.
1 Ojibwe word for water
2 North America
4 Ojibwe word for tobacco
Day, S. M. (2014, January 14). Word’s Can Be so Powerful. NibiWalk.com. Retrieved January 18, 2014 from http://www.nibiwalk.com
Coberly, J. (2011, July 19). Environment: Gulf dead zone could be the largest ever. Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Retrieved January 18, 2014 from http://www.gulfhypoxia.net/
Purdy, J. (2014, January 14). No One’s Job: West Virginia’s Forbidden Waters. NewYorker.com. Retrieved January 18th, 2014 from http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/01/a-chemical-spill-along-the-elk-river-in-west-virginia.html
Butler, K. (2012, April 12). America’s Top 10 Most Polluted Waterways. MotherJones.com. Retrieved October 15, 2013 from http://www.motherjones.com
“Tom Dostou: The Keeper of the Seven Fires.” Youtube, 2013, November 26. Youtube. Retrieved on January 18th, 2014 from http://www.youtube.com