How did the walk start?


If you have been following along with the Lake Winnipeg Water Walk (LWWW) blog, you’ve read my previous post titled “Who am I?”. Keeping with the theme of questions, I decided to write this post “How did the walk start?”.

It began on January 12, 2013. I had just sat down with my coffee and started reading the news paper. As I was reading the various headlines and stories, a title caught my attention:  “Lake Winnipeg nominated for ‘ Threatened Lake of The Year, 2013’ award!“. I sat there in disbelief and wondered how this happened? I began to recall previous articles and events that tried to give warning to the diminishing state of Lake Winnipeg.

I remembered reading about Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research where he discussed the affects that positive thought has on water.  His studies found that prayer, song, and kind words encouraged water to heal and form perfect crystals. I understood and could relate to his work, as this is something that Anishinabe people have known, believed and practiced for generations.

This sparked memories of my teachers from the 3 Fires Midewiwin Lodge speaking about the importance of water and how life depended on it. I recalled our Grand Chief,  Bawdwaywidun, asking the women of the 3 Fires Lodge what actions we were going to take in order to protect and heal the waters. I remembered how a grandmother of our lodge, Josephine Mandamin, stood up and said she was going to do a water walk  that involved walking around the 5 Great Lakes and then the St. Lawrence River. She inspired us all, so much so that many of us got involved in the 2011 Four Directions Mother Earth Water Walk.  I remembered my experience walking for the water and how fulfilling it felt to do my part in sending my thoughts, prayers, and positive energy to the water. I recalled conversations I had with my lodge sister Sharon Day as she described her plan to initiate and organize a water walk for the mighty Mississippi in the spring of 2013.

I thought back to watching a documentary on the Nature of Things, entitled “Save My Lake“. This film highlighted the fact that since the 90’s, Lake Winnipeg has been undergoing an ecological shift that if continued to be ignored, will result in the death of the lake. I felt that I could not let this happen.

I knew that something had to be done to bring awareness to the issue; to help people realize that this is not just an issue that affects a small population, but it affects everyone. These thoughts and memories inspired me and gave me the courage to say the following words out loud – ” I am going to help Lake Winnipeg by organizing a water walk“.

And that’s how it began. This is something that I am passionate about because I want to help ensure that my grandchildren, 7 generations from now, will have clean water to drink and enjoy.

I know that without water – life will cease to exist.

This is the phrase that has become my mantra, “Ingah izitchigay nibi ohnjay” which means I will do it for the water.