Sacred Journeys – June 2011

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Sacred Journeys – December 2012 / January 2013Everyday Rituals & Celebrations

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 that one native grandmother had 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, and in which you can 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, which was in need of help. She walked with the water in a copper pot, which her people believe purifies the water.

When she completed that walk, she realized that all of the lakes are connected, so she and her now-growing group of walkers decided to walk around all of 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 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 also travelling up from the Gulf of Mexico, being detoured quite a bit, apparently, as a result of the tornadoes. Grandmother Melvina and Grandmother Irene, among 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 starting from Churchill bringing the Arctic waters, led 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 of 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 a Victoria Island ceremony in 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, becoming covered in blisters. 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, who has been travelling from Maine, carrying the eagle staff.

If you could meet them all, 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, used for teaching the young about water, to pass on at the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge. 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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