Sacred Journeys: June 2011

ni ugh izhi chigay nib onji

I will do it for the water

In this continuing series on 2012 and the new earth, I would like to offer you a perfect example of living from your authentic heart. It is a story about the love and respect one native grandmother for the water of the earth, and a vision she had to show the water the depth of her love and respect. It is also a story that is unfolding right now this summer, in which you can also participate.

Grandmother Josephine Mandamin began this journey years ago when she was inspired to circumnavigate lake Superior, to thank the water for its gifts, and as a way of connecting the larger lake to the fresh water on her reserve that was needing to be helped. She walked with the water in a copper pot, which her people believe, purifies the water. When she completed that walk, she realized all the lakes were connected so she and her now growing group of walkers, decided to walk around all the great lakes.

Melvira Flamand, her sister, told me that every time Josephine talks about the water, she is still moved to tears. Josephine’s journey has inspired many, and has even made it into a full length documentary and a portion of an NFB documentary on the water of the great lakes. There have been stories of the water improving after people met with her and helped to carry the water around the lakes. What native grandmothers knew, before Emoto and those experiments on water crystals, is that the water responds to love, respect and gratitude. They followed their hearts.

The vision has grown, and now this summer salt water is coming to Lake Superior from the four directions. A group of grandmothers, carrying a buffalo staff/flag are coming from the west carrying water from the Pacific ocean. Grandmothers are traveling up from the Gulf of Mexico, being detoured quite a bit apparently, from the tornados. Grandmother Melvina and Grandmother Irene, and others, carrying the eagle staff, began in the east the first week of May, carrying water from Maine’s Atlantic ocean. Grandmother Josephine, representing the north, is in Churchill bringing the arctic waters, lead by a polar bear staff. Their target is to get to Lake Superior by the middle of June to offer the salt water to the Lake and then to the Bad River in Wisconsin.

“We are doing this for the water, the water, the water. And we are doing this for the animals and nature. They show us how they appreciate it as we walk by them, they are so happy they come and greet us and talk to us so we know all of creation appreciates that we see our responsibility to take care for all of the water. It is our mother the earth that gives to us from her heart, unconditionally, all the time. She feels us.” (Grandmother Irene Peters– Munsee Delaware Nation speaking at Victoria Island ceremony May 2011)

They invite you to help and participate; you can pray for them, think about them, and better still, come and walk with them. They would greatly appreciate any help and support.

I was struck by how badly their feet were taking a beating, with their feet covered in blisters. But it is poignant that it is the grandmothers who are walking on already tired feet, when their burden would be so much easier if more of us joined in the walk, even for a day, so that they could rest in the vans while the new feet carried the water for them. There is a wonderful young lad, Josh Metansisine, that has been traveling from Maine, carrying the eagle staff. If you could meet them you’d want to carry them high on your shoulders if you could. They are filled with light, courage, and commitment. They are walking for us.

Please email your best wishes for the water and the walkers at . Each of your messages will be read and treasured. You can find other ways to support them, stay in touch for future events and track their whereabouts on a virtual map at These are modern times and there is a gps on the copper water pot.

Copper pots, and cups, have long been respected by indigenous peoples for their purifying qualities. I am presently on the lookout for copper thimbles to pass on the three fires Midewiwin lodge used for teaching the young about water. Be sure to thank water today before you go to sleep. Water appreciates your gratitude.

ni ugh izhi chigay nib onji

I will do it for the water

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