Nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) Mide-Kwe Water Walker Tasha Beeds will conduct her first ceremonial Water Walk in a COVID-safe manner for the recovering body of water known as Nibi Nikwejiwong, or Junction Creek.
From May 5 to 9, Beeds and a group of walkers will place water from the creek inside a copper pail. As the water walkers carry Nibi Nikwejiwong, the movement will recognize ancestral Anishinaabe uses of the creek as a water highway, the significance of the waterway for the Greater Sudbury area, and the inherent connection to the Great Lakes.
“The water is a unifying force that brings people together because what happens to the water happens to us all,” the organizers said in a press release. “The movement also generates the opportunity for active truth and reconciliation not just from non-Indigenous people to Indigenous people, but for all people to reconcile our negligence and improve our relationships with the Waters, Lands, and all of Creation. The ceremonial movement of the Water Walk is in
honor of Nibi’s (the Water’s) gift of life for all of Creation.
“We move to remember how without water, nothing would survive, including us. We move to remind others of the need to protect the water for future generations. We move because water is life.”
Some of the walkers who will join Beeds include Dallas Abitong, an Anishinaabe-Kwe from Sagamok who mentored under and walked with the late Josephine-Ba Mandamin, in addition to Annette Cristo, another Anishinaabe Kwe from Sudbury. Laurentian students, youth from Dokis, as well as three Nohkomisak (Grandmothers) from Wiikwemkoong will also participate in the walk.
This year, with COVID policies in place, the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee’s annual trout release will become a part of the ceremony. Other people will be able to join the walk depending on provincial guidelines.
Beeds heard the call of the polluted creek when she moved to Sudbury as a professor in 2019.
After consulting spiritually with the water through a fasting ceremony, learning about the history of Junction Creek and discussing and meeting with local elders, she made the decision to commit to enter into the ceremony for this, still significant, but often disrespected, waterway.
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