Keynote: For the Love of Water

For the Love of Water
Josephine Mandamin, Wikwemikong Unceded Nation

A First Nations citizen and great grandmother, Josephine Mandamin, Anishinaabekwe from Manitoulin Island, made a sacred walk around each of the Great Lakes over a period of five years, and then traveled from Kingston, Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean along the St. Lawrence River. Each one of the 24,113,700 steps Josephine took was a prayer for the water, for Mother Earth, for the animals, the birds, the insects, the trees and for us, all two-leggeds. She has walked more than 17,000 kilometers to raise consciousness about pollution in the Great Lakes. The Water Walkers carried water in copper pails from the vast Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean and the Hudson Bay to the shores of Lake Superior. Anishinaabe women and men walked side-by-side carrying the ocean waters from the four directions. Josephine feels it is their responsibility, role and duty to pass on the knowledge and understanding of water, to all people, not just Anishinaabe people, but people of all colors.