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The ANA Messenger - Spring Edition

Published: June 6, 2013
Audience:
Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS), Environmental Regulatory Enhancement
Types:
Newsletter

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Mississippi River Water Walk

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A staff member of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a 2012 ANA SEDS grantee for “Return to First Medicines Project,” is an organizer of the 2013 Mississippi Water Walkers. Sharon Day, a 60 year old soft-spoken Ojibwe woman, joined by community members, has been walking and carrying a copper pail of water from Lake Itasca, the birth place of the Mississippi River, down to where the Mississippi River meets to the Gulf of Mexico to raise awareness about clean water. “This walk is a prayer,” Day says. “Every step we take we are praying for and thinking of the water. We carry the water and an eagle staff. We start at sunrise and end at sundown each day. Every four days, we hold ceremony. This is our life until we get to the Gulf of Mexico.” 

A group of Indigenous Women will carry a copper pail of water from the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota to the place where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.

The women walkers and supporters left Lake Itasca State Park on March 1 following a traditional Ojibwe water ceremony at 7:00 am and will continue walking each and every day until they reach the Gulf near New Orleans on or around April 29th.

The Water Walkers will draw attention to the peril the river faces due to pollution. The Mississippi River is the second most polluted river in the United States. Toxic chemicals from municipalities, farms and corporations are taking their toll on the river. By the time a drop of water reaches the “dead zones” near the mouth of the river, the water is nearly depleted of oxygen. We can stop this and the walkers intend to educate people along the way as to what they can do.

“We want the walk to be a prayer,” Day says. “Every step we take we will be praying for and thinking of the water. The water has given us life and now, we will support the water.”

To learn more or participate: Join the Mississippi River Water Walk 2013 Facebook Group: Mississippi River Water Walk

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