|April 30, 2005
|Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario: Send off
Friendship Center and Healing Lodge
|May 1, 2005
|May 2, 2005
|Blind River, Ontario
|May 3, 2005
|Elliot Lake(turn off), Ontario
|May 4, 2005
|Whitefish Lake, Ontario
|May 5, 2005
|French River, Ontario
|May 6, 2005
|May 7, 2005
|Parry Sound West, Ontario
|May 8, 2005
|Parry Sound East, Ontario
Mothers Day Breakfast
|May 9, 2005
|South Bay Victoria Harbour
|May 10, 2005
|May 11, 2005
|Owen Sound, Ontario
|May 12, 2005
|Port Elgin, Ontario
|May 13, 2005
|May 14, 2005
|Kettle Point, Ontario
|May 15, 2005
Port Huron, Michigan
|May 16, 2005
|Port Sanilac, Michigan
|May 17, 2005
|May 18, 2005
|Bay City, Michigan
|May 19, 2005
|May 20, 2005
|Rogers City, Michigan
|May 21, 2005
Visit Council of Trees
|May 22, 2005
|Mackinaw Island, Michigan
St Ignace, Michigan
|May 23, 2005
|Mackinaw Bridge Crossing, Michigan
St Ignace, Michigan
|May 24, 2005
Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
|May 25, 2005
|Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
Water Walk 2005 Completed
At Sault Tribe Centre
Josephine Mandamin: We are guided by visions and dreams, but most of all we are guided by our Spirit and Spirit Helpers. The journey with the water has become a lifetime experience, in that, the work is year round. More women and young girls are hungering for women teachings. We must feed their hunger. Elders have given advice/direction on how to proceed further. There is a concern by the Elders that First Nations in Canada are not getting the message about our concern for the water. It has been foreseen that I must walk to all the First Nation communities (reservations) along Lake Superior. How this is to be done, I cannot fathom when and how. Only the spirit will guide that journey.
I sincerely believe that the message is for all people and not just for Aboriginal women and their partners. The messages about water are getting more pronounced and profound. Our Mother is churning vigorously as witnessed in the Indian Ocean recently. We know that when we lift the water in prayer and sing for that water, we are in fact purifying the water and it becomes fit for consumption. We know that we are the healers and that energy that we carry is not to be undermined by anyone, let alone ourselves. We know that the past two years our Grandmother Moon has united with her Daughter (our mother), to bring messages to her. And she in turn spoke to her mother (our grandmother). How rich we are!! We know there will be more messages because we hear them through songs in the Lodge. We must learn to hear those messages/sounds.
The Water Walk is a spiritual walk that was prompted by the words of our Grand Chief of the Mide Lodge. That must never be forgotten. It comes from a grave concern about our used-to-be fresh drinking water. If we don’t do something about the abuse of our mother’s life blood; we will be paying $300.00 for an ounce of water within 25 years or sooner. We must get up and do our work with the water.
This journey with the pail of water that we carry is our way of Walking the Talk. We really don’t have to say anything. Just seeing us walk is enough to make a person realize that, yes, we are carriers of the water. We are carrying the water for the generations to come. Our great grandchildren and the next generation will be able to say, yes, our grandmothers and grandfathers kept this water for us!!
But this message also has to go to the earthy powers that be. Our First Nations/Tribal Leaders must take the step toward acting on their responsibility. Our elected government leaders must also enact policies to protect our waters and water ways. Lake Huron is home to the largest fresh water island in the world and Georgian Bay being a part of that lake used to boast the wealthiest fishing grounds in the world.
Protection of the water is key to our survival.
Mike Nadjiwon: Diane and I walked with the water walkers yesterday. We brought them food, drinks and money. We walked with them about 5 1/2 hours which is a drop in the bucket compared to what our aunties and grandmothers have undertaken for the water. They are walking about six kilometers per hour. Their day starts at 4:00 a.m. they started walking at 5:30 a.m and ended at 9 p.m sundown last night. Their spirits were uplifted with our presence. Josephine, Violet and Melvina are the three women who are carrying both the staff and the water as they walk. The staff if the men of our lodge are unaware is OUR responsibility to carry. I will be going on a four day fast over the water and the condition of our mother. I know that their are midewin men and women in the Northeast doorway that are able to help. They are travelling in three vehicles and are walking with blisters on their feet, in rain snow and hail yet their was not one complaint of this work. They started walking from the Elliot Lake turnoff this morning and are making their way to a feast at Sagamok this evening.
Mary Deleary: A Union of Ontario Indian’s Media Advisory was sent out today adivsing of the arrival of the Women Water Walker’s at Whitefish Lake First Nation and their presentation and address to the Robinson – Huron Chiefs. the Union of Ontario Indian’s will be attempting to continue to assist with communications regarding the water walk.
Deanna Jones-Keeshig: Whitefish Lake First Nation is approximately a 30 minute drive to Sudbury and so the walkers are planning to arrive in Sudbury tonite and a hotel room at the Holiday Inn has been gifted to them by Mike and Dianne Nadjiwon. Leona Stevens (Gitahgawgoonse) Neebowee kwe has traveled to Sudbury today to meet them and and accompany them with coordinated activities in Sudbury that she has facilitated. Leona was also in Sault Ste. Marie this past week-end for their send off.
Keegan Keeshig (Karl and Deanna’s son) will be joining the Women tonite in Sudbury and will begin the walk with them tommorow morning carrying the Eagle Staff as they journey south on hwy 69 to Magnetawan First Nation. They plan to arrive at Magnetawan tommorow evening where the community will feast and host them overnite.
On Friday morning they will be departing Magnetawawn for Shawanaga First Nation and a former Chief of Shawanaga and constant Lodge supporter; Howard Pamajewon will meet them in Magnetawan and carry the Eagle staff for the women. As they continue to Shawanaga a number of community members and Mide family (Keeshigs; Jones’s; Wes and Leona) will join them at Point Au Baril and walk with them into Shawanaga. Lunch will be hosted by the community and a media event is planned. This week in Shawanaga Our Mide Family led by Wes and Leona are doing a fasting camp. However, on Friday afternoon they plan to take the water walkers’s out on the Georgian Bay to offer their tobacco where the Great Turtle sits protecting this sacred site along our migration. The Shawanga Healing Centre is providing a room for the Walkers in Parry Sound for Friday night and a cash donation will be given to the walkers from the Independent First Nations (Deanna’s employers) and activities are planned in Parry Sound also. The walkers may choose to attend the coming out feast for the Fasters in Shawanaga on Saturday or they may want to continue their journey as there are other communities waiting with excitement for their arrival.
Karl Keeshig: The walk continues where it left off towards the end of yesterday. They progressed as far as Alban, about 50-60 kilometers south of Sudbury, last night As of 8:00 am, they were just passing the Pickerel Reserve, ie. Henvey Inlet First Nation. They should be at the Magnetawan River by noon. If all goes well they should be in Parry Sound by todays end.
We would like to acknowledge, Geezhigo Banaise (former Chief of the Shawanaga First Nation and in the running for the same post) for pledging to carry the staff today.
To be touched and moved by the Spirit is a memory that will last a lifetime.
I would like to acknowledge some of what I have witnessed. Meegwetch to Bob Goulais, Laura Liberty, Marty and Joanne Restoule, Keegan Hawk. I can’t remember them all nor have I witnessed all those who have stopped to help and support the walk.
I took the opportunity to catch up with the walk during noontime; I wanted to carry the staff and check up on our Aunties and sisters, etc. My trek was with Violet; we had a very good walk and talk. People were stopping, running back to talk to us, donating food, money. Some of our guests had seen our Aunties 4 days ago near Blind River; they said they had to stop and were amazed by how far they had walked. Violet shared a bit of the concern for the water. Around the same time we were walking up an incline, there in a clearing a moose was standing and watching us approach; it didn’t move an inch. It reached down, taking another mouthful, and lifted up its head to peer at us again – water just dripping from its chin. By then, there were about 8 cars pulled over, some to watch the moose, others to see us …. taking pictures, talking, … the moose would not move …. not even an inch. Violet was noticeably moved, as we all were …. she says to me, “this is the first time … we have seen many but they were the ones laying on the shoulder of the highway.”
I picked up some young fasters in Sudbury yesterday. One happens to be our buffalo dancer, Minno way way banese. When we caught up with the Walk, she and her friend put on their skirts and carried the vessel for Auntie Josephine. With in a short while after that she was taken to her fasting lodge for a two day fast. Beautiful – don’t you think!
One last note, In about 4 days time the Walk will be near Owen Sound, Bruce Penninsula, Cape Croke and Saugeen. The word is that the First Nations at Cape Croker and Saugeen are very excited regarding the walk. These two communities have been pushing the envelope for years now regarding rights over, under and around the water; they really look forward to hosting the Walkers. Here is something else, the Walk will be passing very near the Community of Walkerton. Walkerton was the community where 7 people died and thousands got sick as a result of what was in the water – this event took place about 4-5 years ago. Anyway a hand is going to be extended to this community to come and participate in the Walk as it passes near by.
When I was walking with Josephine, Melvina and Violet … I asked jokingly … when is your HOW TO: WATER WALK MANUAL coming out …. we could sure use it – the men can’t keep up, are getting blisters, people are asking how to get involved, etc. etc. lots of laughter ….
Deanna Jones-Keeshig: It is another beautiful day. Our Chi-Meegwetch to Gizhimanido for this beautiful creation and wonderful life, our prayers and thoughts are extended to our relatives of the lodge whom are in need of caring, healing and strength, especially Gloria, Jody, Tyrell, Taj, Kyle and their families.
I want to take this opportunity to share with all of you some of the beautiful blessings we have been touched by at Shawanaga First Nation in the Eastern Doorway and update you on the Water Walk.
Shawanaga First Nation is located in the Eastern Doorway along central Georgian Bay in Ontario. The Midewiwin whom are members of this community include myself, my parents, Roger and Marnie Jones (whom became Midewiwin last year after she left us and returned to the Creator), my sister Shelley Skye and her daughter Ashley Skye. This is also the home community of our Eastern Doorway Chief – Onabinase, Jim Dumont, and the community which has become home for my husband, Karl Keeshig, our sons, Keegan, Keenan, Keelan, and recently as well, our brother and sister; Wes and Leona, who is also our Neebowekwe of the Eastern Doorway.
With the support of the Little Boys, the Midewiwin, the members and their families of this community whom reside here, along with visiting Midewiwin relatives, including the Water Walkers, we completed a very beautiful fasting camp here yesterday which brought blessing of healing, understanding and strength for individuals, families, the people, and all of creation, including our mother the earth. There were a total of 15 fasters. Many of the fasters were children of this community. There is a special blessing, so beautiful and strong when our children fast over this life and have an opportunity to connect with the spirit of this life, the creation and our Mother the Earth. It strengthens who they are and provides a promise for our future. Meegwetch especially to our Midewiwin relatives who fasted; Mike Nadjiwan (4 days), his son Philip (2 days), my son Keelan (3 days) both of whom are also Buffalo Dancers, and Geezhones’s daughter Cheyenne (2 days), who is also a Buffalo Dancer Escort and also to our nephew and niece, Chaz’s son Mukonse and Shelley’s daughter Margaret who completed their first 1 day/night fast. We have received so much life, through the healing, knowledge and strength you brought to all of our lives and the lodge towards the future.
On Thursday, the Water Walkers continued their journey from Sudbury and finished for the day at Alban. Magnetawan First Nation provided accommodation and a Dinner to the Water Walkers on Thursday. Meegwetch to the Midewiwin men; Bob Goulias, Marty Restoule, Karl Keeshig and Keegan Keeshig who were able to support and help the Water Walkers; Josephine, Violet and Melvina by carrying the Eagle Staff. Also Meegwetch to the women, especially Cheyenne for helping and supporting the Water Walkers with walking and carrying the water, for coordinating, bringing food, financial donations and completing errands.
On Friday, the Water Walkers began walking again at Alban and were joined by Howard Pamajewon from Shawanaga First Nation. He was able to walk with them to Still River to carry the Eagle Staff. My son Keenan Keeshig joined the Water Walkers at Still River to help carry the Eagle Staff and was able to walk with them to Harris Lake, where they finished for the day. I was really honored to help by walking and carrying the water with them for a while that day as well. Late afternoon on that day, myself, Keenan, and Joanne Keeshig travelled to the Turtle with the Water Walkers. We offered our samah, a water song and the Water Walkers renewed the water in the copper pail at this site. It was very moving and powerful. Meegwetch to Howard and Keenan for standing as men to help the water walkers and to Shelley’s husband Jeff who is an Anishinawbek Police Officer, that provided security escort, took us all to the Turtle in the police boat and provide liaison with the OPP.
The Shawanaga Healing Center provided accommodation in Parry Sound, a feast at the healing center on Friday night and the Independent First Nations communities who I work for made a financial contribution to the Water Walkers. The Water Walkers joined us for a while at our fasting camp in Shawanaga for singing in the lodge before retiring for the day. On Saturday the Water Walkers continued there journey from Harris Lake to Parry Sound where they finished for the day. They took a break during the day and joined us at fasting camp in Shawanaga for the Coming Out Ceremony where Mike Nadjiwan made a beautiful honor presentation to the Water Walkers. He passed to each an Eagle Whistle and another piece of wood from Medicine Lake in the mountains of Alberta where him and Dianne had travelled to complete and represent the 5 Great Lakes they are walking around. The Anishinawbe people from that area related to Mike which he shared with us yesterday, that this lake was fed by pure water from the Glaciers and that it connects and links with the underground rivers, which renew and replenish the rivers and the lakes of Turtle Island and in making his presentation he visioned the strenghtening of this connection to the waters of the Great Lake. Before we were complete, the Water Walkers left to continue their walk and finish their day journey of walking at Parry Sound. Karl was able to join them later to help them complete their day and Laura Liberty assisted by completing errands for the Water Walkers. Meegwetch to the Healing Centre, with special recognition to Ann Pamajewon, Josh Pawis and Joanne Keeshig for assisting and supporting the water walkers in coordinating, accommodating, and feeding the Water Walkers.
Today the Water Walkers left Parry Sound and are presently about at Mactier. Karl is walking them. Our Midewiwin relatives from Wausauksing First Nation will be joining them shortly to assist with walking, coordination, food, accommodation, errands and security this includes, Hector Copegog, Lucy Rice, Elaine Kelley, Marion Kelley as well as others yet to be determined. Hector Copegog spoke with the Chief of Christian Island who made contact with the OPP to support and assist the water walkers with their journey on the 400 north highway. Local newstations are also working to connect with the Water Walkers today, to spread their voice about what it is they are doing and work is being to done to further coordinate support, assistance, from individuals, communities and connect with Enhahtig Healing Lodge.
Josephine MandaminMelvina Flamand
Mike Nadjewon and Family
Darlene W and Family
Karl Keejik and Family
Mike Henry and Family
Roger and Ann Pamajiwan