As many of you may have heard by now, I walked with the copper pail with water from the Gulf of Mexico last Saturday when Sandy Stein and I caught up with the Mother Earth Water Walkers between Old Post and Reserve at LCO. Anna Merritt and I are going to Bad River Reservation tomorrow, June 10. Follow-up on this day afterwards.
Please take the time to read about the important issue of protecting water for all species and for generations to come. Water is a gift and not a resource to be plundered, contaminated, bought and sold.
Today when you take that sip water, be sure to thank the water. She has been taken for granted and disrespected for far too long. In ancient times and with many tribal cultures of today, people remember to thank the water and honor her for the gift of life she brings.
Saturday morning, June 4, I drove up to Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Reservation in Hayward, WI and parked at the tribal college to wait for Sandy Stein, Secretary of Happy Tonics. Our plan was to meet up with up Mother Earth Water Walkers and join them.
First I must tell you that the old ravens that guard over the college let it be known I was there. They landed in trees near me and I bid them good morning as they cawed. These ravens have been in the forest near and around the tribal college for years, perhaps even generations. I know because they or their descendents were there when I graduated from the tribal college in 2003.
Sandy arrived and we put on our skirts over pants to show a sign of respect and then we headed to Hwy. E going in the direction of Reserve. We said our intentions silently and put down some sacred tobacco as we drove. I called WOJB the tribal radio station while we were on the road and a nice young man told me that the walkers were about at the hill headed for Reserve. What hill I thought? Northwest Wisconsin is all hills since the four glaciers passed through this country long ago. Sandy understood that the walkers stayed on the reservation last night in Old Post so she turned down a road that might be where they were.
And they were. The walkers of the southern direction have been walking since April 20th, carrying the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico to Bad River, WI where it will meet with the other waters from the Atlantic, Hudson Bay and Pacific on June 12th. The southern direction included Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin – The walk is ongoing until the water from the south reaches Bad River, WI
Not knowing how to join them in the well orchestrated walking event, she asked a driver with the back window displaying WATER WALKERS. His name is Brody and he said, “Jump in” and I did.
He and his wife Barb Baker-Larush have been on the road for a
long time and they were orchestrating the walk through the reservation. Sharon Day has been on the walk since April 20. It is so important that the water never stops. It has to keep moving until it reaches its destination being Bad River on June 12 where all water walkers from the Four Directions will converge; Pacific and Atlantic Ocean; Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes.
The same respect is held for the Eagle feather staff that men usually carry to protect the water and the woman carrying the water. If a man or young male is not available than the water carrier herself has to carry the staff also. The staff is sacred.
To start my walk, Sharon Day, one of the main event organizers and grandmothers smudged me so I would be pure before I carried the copper pail with water gathered from many clean and fresh sources. Brody told me Sharon was in a hurry to get back home for a few days and had started to step up the pace so that walkers knew that it was important to help her in their own pace in order to help Sharon achieve her goal. She has been walking through many states and was near closing of her part
of the walk. I think that was probably spurring her on. I was impressed that a Grandmother could walk at a clip like this. It was almost like she was dancing the steps as she fast walked to the beat of drum music.
I had to hold on to the pail handle and walk at the same time as the walker started to pass it to me. I matched my steps with hers until she was sure I was walking on my own. I felt honored to finally be walking on this important journey. I have wanted
to be part of this walk since Grandmother Josephine Mandamin started walking with a vision of protecting and respecting water back in 2003 when she walked around Lake Superior. Brody told me the walkers stayed at his house last night June 2, in New Post. In the evening they sat around a bonfire to relax after a long day. I must say I never saw such fit Native American women as I did today. These are warrior women who have the heart beat to walk from their hearts. They are dedicated to bring this
important issue of fresh and pure drinking water forward for all species and for seven generations out. The vision is global.
Multinational companies don’t want us to know that they are buying up rights from countries to “OWN” the water. Colonization is still ongoing. Then the multinationals turn around and bottle the water and sell it back to the very poorest of the poor in
developing countries such as in Africa. It is unethical to dishonor water in this way. Water is a gift from the Creator not a commodity to be bought and sold.
While on the walk, I was happy to see Paul DeMain was there doing a live stream from News from Indian Country. We have worked together on several occasions over the past few years. His wife Karen was there too but we were concentrating on our roles
and didn’t have time to meet and greet. When I walked I felt empowered and in the silence all I could feel was my own breath and heartbeat. I remember there was drum music, sounds of singing birds, sights of cotton fluff blowing on the wind from cottonwood trees and fragrant green forests on both sides of the street. It was an honor to finally be part of this sacred walk. A young man, Conner Beauleu, held the staff and ran beside me was focused as we both were. He did two runs, one after the other, and was my silent strength. I am a 66 year old woman with mild emphysema and it felt so comforting to have a young warrior beside me. Such a noble young man true to his Ojibwe culture.
This was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I wouldn’t have the physical endurance to do the action miles that are required to fulfill the total trip through many states. I am a Council Guide for the Sisterhood of the Planetary Rites, founded in California by Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer. I carried a butterfly beaded medicine bag handmade by Marilyn Vig, an artist in Rice Lake, WI. Inside were the names women who sent emails saying they wanted to be with the water walkers in spirit. Their names are: Worth Cooley-Prost, DC, Anna Dunn, MN; Cassie McCrow, WI; Anna Merritt, WI; Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer, CA and founder of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites (SPWR) in CA; Kunda Wicce, Island near France; Sandy Stein and Mary Ellen Ryall, Happy Tonics, WI and SPWR, WI chapter participated in the walk; Ginger Wilcox, WI; Chris Doolan Ottose, WI and Akasa WolfSong were women who were spirit walkers. Inside the medicine bag was a prayer bundle of red cloth. Inside the small bundle was a pinch of sacred tobacco, made by Ginger Wilcox.
Sandy took lots of photographs which we will publish later because a CD needs to be made first and uploaded to my hard drive. I am so proud of her and her insight in knowing how important it was for me as an elder to walk in this unfolding vision. Women
are the protectors of water. I would like to mention that Worth Cooley-Prost is an artist in Washington, DC. We are water sisters through Facebook and have never met. Worth recently sent a beautiful water necklace that she was inspired to create through ceremony, moon and water. She doesn’t make her glass jewelry until she has been inspired by her rituals and ceremony first. Now I wear this water necklace to all water ceremonies. I was wearing the necklace today and as I walked with thoughts of all the women who have touched my life, I touched the medicine bag with sacred intentions within.
I gave the little medicine bag to Brody’s wife Barbara Baker LaRush. She will know who should hear the story when they sit around another bonfire.
Today I woke up at 5:15 a.m. excited because today has finally arrived. Sandy Stein and I will meet at Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation’s tribal college at 9 a.m. with anticipation of meeting up with Mother Earth Water Walkers. The Water Walkers will be coming through Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation on their way to Bad River on June 12.
The purpose of the water walk is to raise awareness to protect clean fresh drinking water from pollution and privatization around the world and to protect water for seven generations out. Water is a gift not a commodity. Water is coming in a copper bucket which Grandmother Josephine Mandamin and others who have been water on and off since April 10. Men often have carried the Eagle Feather Staff to protect women. Water Walkers are coming to Bad River to converge on June 12 from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes.
Will report on if we made the connection today. Sandy and I plan to walk with the Water Walkers from the tribal college to the Honor the Earth Pow Wow grounds. LCO has opened up the event to the public and invites the public to come and meet the Water Walkers. There will be ceremony and feasting.
Mary Ellen Ryall is a council guide of the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites with headquarters in California. She will carry the intentions of women who shared that they wanted to be on this walk with the Water Walkers. The names will be typed up and added to a small butterfly beaded medicine bag that she will wear as she walks with the Water Walkers.
Ottawa, ON (17 May 2011) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada is acknowledging with the highest esteem the Grandmothers and other supporters who are walking from the four oceans that surround North America. The leaders of the Water Walk carry copper vessels that contain the “healing and sacred salt water” from the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and from Hudson Bay that will be used in a ceremony where the waters converge in Bad River, Wisconsin on June 12, 2011. The water will then be united in Lake Superior where the first Water Walk began in 2003.
Water is a life force that has been respected and honoured through ceremony since time immemorial by the world’s Indigenous peoples. With this respect it is of growing concern that many Indigenous people and others around the world do not have access clean drinking water.
The women in the Water Walk, many whom are Elders have taken on a physically daunting campaign journeying over 10,400,000 steps to raise awareness about the crisis. Like many great concerns it is the women who lead and give voice to the issue.
“The Anishinaabe, also known as the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi, are the caretakers of the eastern woodlands and Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system on Earth. Anishinaabe women, as givers-of-life, are responsible for speaking for, protecting and carrying our water.” (Mother Earth Water Walk, 2011)
NWAC, NGO’s and government officials are listening and will respond. You too can support the walkers! For more information see http://www.motherearthwaterwalk.com/ and follow them on Facebook.
This year’s Water Four Directions Mother Earth Water Walkers is imperative as we realize we must honor water which is sacred and a gift to all living species. Please support the many who are walking and will converge at Bad River Reservation on June 12. A council guide from the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites plans to attend. We hope that several women from the Water Ceremony group of Minong, WI, will attend also.
The vulnerable white trillium lily of early spring grows in the sweet woods. The sounds of happy gurgling water and singing birds gladdens the heart. Sweet watercress grows in the stream where the water spills out into a pure stream. Watercress will not grow in unpure water.
We must protect our local drinking water sources. After seeing Blue Gold, I am going to ask my village where the water source is and where the sewage goes. The film suggests we do this to be informed about our own community water supply.
Today in Minong, Wisconsin, USA, the winds blew approximately 40 mph. It was enough to snatch a baby bird from its nest and hurl the small bird down in my back yard. From where the bird was carried is a mystery. I saw the baby bird on the lawn from my window and went out to investigate. The fledgling got scared and tried to fly. The bird could only make minute flights close to the ground. I kept my eye on the bird throughout the day.
Early this afternoon I went out and saw that the baby was not moving. The bird opened and blinked its eyes and I knew that it lived; however, I also knew that it could not fly now. Perhaps it suffered some internal injury. I sang the baby bird an honor song. Then I found a live worm and carried it to the bird on a straw strand. I thought the bird might be hungry and thirsty. At this point I also brought a small lid filled with water to tempt the bird.
By 4 p.m. the baby bird had died. I bent down and kissed its tiny head the color of fall leaves. It felt warm. The body was black with tinges of blue and green. The color could only be seen from a close position. The bird with closed eyes blew over and I noticed one foot curled and the other straight. I dug a hole and gently placed the small bird in along with sacred tobacco that was used in earlier morning ceremony prayers.
I thought about the mother. She would never know what happened to her baby bird and my heart wept.
Northwest Wisconsin is in the middle of a winter snow storm much like a blizzard. Even the streets are not plowed. My sidewalks and driveway are piled high with new snow. It looks so pure and beautiful. I really like it. I wasn’t quite ready to start a busy season again, at least not yet! So I welcome the snow. Later this morning, I will put on the boots and hike next door to the Minong Senior Center.
Last night we had a Water Ceremony at the Hospitality House in Minong. Only one woman could make it simply because she lives nearby. The others had to travel here. Weather makes all the difference. Dabora and I dressed the makeshift alter with sacred objects. We did the seven directional Water Song. Candles were lit and the snow just kepm on falling.
We prayed for the water. The late snow will melt and add presious water drops to the water table. This is good and something that should be remembered and respected.
Globally water is threatened in many ways: Pollution, lack of fresh drinking water, privatization, drought, Climate Change. As women we are the protectors of water. There will be no life on the Earth if there is no fresh clean drinking water. All species depend upon water for life. Water needs to be respected and not taken for granted.
For the past two years (2009-2010), Happy Tonics, Inc. has exhibited at the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico’s Annual Xeriscape Landscaping and Water Conservation Conference. We are proud to be connected with the Council and their work. The following article was sent by Scott Varmer, Executive Director, Xeriscape Council of New Mexico.
by George Radnovich
Americans are staying inside in record numbers; they are playing on computers, watching television, eating perhaps too often and generally leading a very sedentary lifestyle. This has at least in part caused skyrocketing healthcare costs and obesity, especially in our children. Collateral disadvantages to this situation are that we are paying less and less attention to our outside environments as a society. This situation also does very little to educate our society about the way the natural world works and how important water is to us in arid lands. The Xeriscape Council of New Mexico sees this as an epic problem; we need to get people out into their landscapes and those of our public lands, we need to instill the wonder of looking at a flower into our children and we need to re-energize our connection to the environment and water use. Re-Connect to the Environment is the Theme of the Water Conservation Conference presented by the Council this year and I would like to be the first to Welcome you to our conference and this interesting topic!
We at the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico work very hard to deliver the most relevant topics and issues concerning our environment, water conservation and water management along with green technologies and water appropriate landscaping; these are among the most important issues of this century, and we will discuss them. However, our conference this year will concentrate on the nexus of getting people outside to learn, learn about watersheds, landscapes and yes water use.
Our speakers this year will be led by our keynote for the first day of the conference Pat Mulroy. Her leadership at the Southern Nevada Water Authority has brought water and drought issues to the forefront in Las Vegas and her strong leadership style has catapulted Las Vegas to the front of the debate. On the second day of the conference I think you’ll enjoy hearing from Mitchell Joachim (pronounced Jo-ak-um) an architect with decidedly different ideas about architecture and the natural world. He will discuss the nexus of architecture and biology and some very interesting ideas in architecture and urban design. Other speakers will talk about the importance of wild places, how to treat them and particularly how to get people out into them! We hope this year’s conference will give you the tools to understand these differences and treat them with healthy environmentally appropriate regard. Last year’s conference was much better attended than our expectations for this year – the economy is at play here. However, that hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm and we are proud that we are one of the largest national conferences devoted to outdoor water conservation in the country. We will continue to provide one of the best venues for new ideas and concepts for water conservation, policy, and methodologies for design.
Thank You and Best Regards,
George Radnovich, President
Xeriscape Council of New Mexico
Don’t know how this will help, but feel led to offer, one of the music cd’s I produced called “Immaculate Waters”, that was produced in 2002 is specific for healing using prayers for forgiveness, and cleansing. There is a lot of water sounds and nature sounds throughout.
The music was made when I went through a healing and spirit helped me through the death process and crossed that threshold and now am on the 9th music cd still alive and more focused on the real work/purpose for even being on this planet. Each music cd produced between the years of 1998-2009 is for some aspect of healing and balancing the chakras and masculine/feminine energies.
I was a former “grandmother speaks” host for 3 years and held groups at a sacred site and gave empowerments for the grandmother’s work, so through that opening was connected with you all. I’d like to donate 100 of these music CDs to support the work. You can use these for fund raising.
To let you know, these music CDs are recorded with the 528 hz, which is harmonious to the system, and is converted back into analogue another helpful tool to balance the chakras. Each song on each album individually is helpful to balance the chakra, and then when the whole music cd is listened to with intent for deep meditation is for even another level of balancing the chakra system. There are prayers of different sacred languages. Please think about it, and let me know if it can help. Much love and many blessings, Anyah
Grandmother Whitedeer says, “We have these along with several others now to distribute for our Fundraising Venture for our cause……E-mail Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re grateful for you. Without your help, we could not bring life’s most basic necessities to those in Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Honduras, Bangladesh, India, and Haiti. This year, we reached more than 238,000 people with sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. Next year, we are striving to reach even more people and a total of one million people during our 21 year history.
Thank you for working with us to achieve universal access to clean water and the dignity of a toilet!
February 2 – The Grandmothers from Quebec who brought forth the 10th Nibi Wabo Water Ceremony.
They will stand in tradition on the Ice… Please stand with them in your area and Circles for prayers and blessings for the Winter Waters. Support this Ancient Water Blessing that came to them through the Grandmothers. Bring your Birch Bark Clappers!
Let Us Stand Together….March 22, 2011
Those who spoke before are speaking again in one voice. This is the time of power and transition.
This is the Time to gather as one Voice, one Heart, one Mind. Many compassionate hearts are already dedicating intention, prayer, meditation, service, Mass, circle, dance, chant and song.
In harmony all can come together in one universal Wave.