From an interview with Josephine Mandamin (“Water Walker,” grandmother and a 2015 recipient of a Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation)

Walking with the water

When we walk with the water, we pray for the water. The water that we carry, we pray for it, and we pray to it; we speak to it. Our minds and our hearts are with the water that we carry. The water is very precious. We have adopted it. We picked it up from where we walk from, we carry it from one place to another.

We, as Anishinaabe people, have to carry our sovereignty, our work, as we have been governed by the Creator. Because when we are brought down, we are brought down by the spiritual world, down to the physical world. We are given responsibilities-roles that we have to do. We have to take care of our mother, the Earth. That is what we are doing now, is taking care of our mother, the Earth. That is what we are doing now – taking care of our mother, the Earth. We have to – especially now, in this day and age, where she is really suffering. She is being polluted, she is being prostituted, she is being sold. All that is happening to her is happening to us women now. So, when I think about how we as women have to pick up our bundles, we have to really think about how important it is that we really know who we are as women. That we are very powerful women, we can be very instrumental in how things are changing.

Josephine Mandamin raises awareness about water conservation through her Water Walks. She has performed these walks throughout Canada, Central America and the United States, walking more than 17,000 kilometers in the past five years.

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