Mississippi River Water Walk 2013 started on Friday, March 1!
Here is a copy of their tentative schedule.
Lead walker Sharon Day and Eagle Staff Carrier.
LIVE gps map… updates every 10 minutes.
Sample map: Day 4 beings.
Please keep up to date with them by joining their facebook group: Mississippi River Water Walk 2013
If you have a day or a few days they need walkers and staff carriers. Please contact:
Sharon Day, Lead Walker, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or make contact via their facebook page.
Miigwech Water Walkers! Stay warm in the north and cool in the south and safe the whole route!
Dianné Jean Aldrich, the organizer of the Lake Monona Water Walk:
Nice blog entry by Callen Harty
Lake Monona Water Walk
For photos by Callen Harty from the event, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150881971342127.399989.702102126&type=1&l=41d4a656bc
I just found out that these people are running in honour of water this year, and they need some funding to keep the runners safe out there. www.peacenanddignityjourneys.com
They need help between Chicago and Dallas. If you can help here is the link to the page of regional organizers.
Here is the link to their Donate page.
From their facebook page:
“Peace and Dignity Journeys are spiritual runs that embody the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor. This prophecy mandates that at this time all Indigenous Peoples in the Western Hemisphere shall be reunited in a spiritual way in order to heal our nations so we can begin to work towards a better future for our children and generations to come. Through the Journeys, participant runners and supporters work to accomplish this goal by helping each other reconnect to their respective spiritual practices and traditions; by helping each other relearn our role in the world as Indigenous Peoples; and by reminding each other of our responsibilities to Mother Earth, Father Sky, our communities, and ourselves.
Peace and Dignity Journeys occur every four years and start with Indigenous runners on opposite ends of the continents (Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina). They run for six months through hundreds of Indigenous communities where they participate in their respective spiritual practices and traditions; spark dialogue on the issue of peace and dignity for Indigenous Peoples; model their responsibility to Mother Earth, Father Sky, communities, and themselves; and receive the community’s prayers. These prayers and conversations are then carried to proceeding communities until the runners reach the center of the hemisphere. When the runners meet at the Kuna Nation in Panama City, Panama, it will symbolize all Indigenous Peoples joining together in a spiritual way to manifest the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor.”
Please join us at the screening!
Filmmaker Jeff Bear from UrbanRez Productions of B.C. is flying in with the film. Mother Earth Water Walker, Nokomis Josephine Mandamin will be here.
We are very pleased that Jeff Bear is coming all the way to the Sault for this screening. During the 2011 walk, the Central Communications Post was on this campus at Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. Many of our students participated in the water walk, and many of them, including Josephine will be graduating this June.
Everyone is welcome.
DATE: Thursday, May 24, 2012
TIME: Doors open 7pm, things get underway at 7:30pm.
PLACE: Great West Life Amphitheatre, Algoma University, 1520 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
There is no admission fee but donations towards the Lake Nipigon journey are welcome.
The poster is below.
Miigwech. See you there.
Posted for Nokomis Josephine Mandamin, Mother Earth Water Walker
April 24, 2012, at Rocky Bay, the water will be lifted after the Offerings are made to the sacred waters. This will be approximately at 8 am, although the morning Tobacco and Pipe Offering will have been made prior to the lifting of the water. We will then proceed on Hwy 11 towards Nipigon, Ontario.
Over the past year we have honored the sacred waters of Lake Nipigon with three offerings: the first was in the summer at the mouth of Lake Superior where the Nipigon River flows, then over the winter a big Bundle Offering was presented to the Spirits, and then this winter (new year), another bundle was offered to the ice water at Rocky Bay. On April 24th will be the fourth offering.
Those that want to join us are asked to bring good and happy energy. Not everyone will be able to carry the water and staff all the way through because of the shortage of boats. We do not have extra skirts so women are asked to wear/bring their own skirts.
Contact will be through or website or email for now: Josephine.Mandamin@gmail.com
More information will be shared as we receive more.
Chemical Valley charter challenge
Status: In Progress
Ecojustice is working to ensure that the human rights of people living in one of Canada’s most polluted communities — Sarnia’s Chemical Valley – are recognized and protected.
The level of pollution faced by residents of Aamjiwnaang is like few other places in the country. But a win in our case would be a first step towards dealing with the pollution problem and defending the human rights of Aamjiwnaang citizens, and hopefully, all Canadians.
More Info: http://www.gcmonitor.org/article.php?id=1124
|Aamjiwnaang First Nation: Movie makes plea to reign in toxins released from Chemical Valley
by Jim Bloch, Voice Reporter
“When I think back, I wish we’d never come to Sarnia,” says resident Jean Simpson in the opening of Pamela Calvert’s 2007 documentary, “The Beloved Community.”
“My dad had a choice at the time, but they thought Sarnia was Imperial Oil, they thought wow, this is a big oil city – and it was, there was a lot of work here. When we got off the train down at the station, and they took us down to where we lived in Bluewater, my mother couldn’t get over it, she said it was just so beautiful, it was like a fairyland. Then when you woke up the next morning, the stink from the plants was enough to knock you over. It was terrible. But she always thought with the lights at night it looked like a fairyland.”
The fairyland turned out to be a long-term ecological and medical nightmare for the workers in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley and for the Aamjiwnaang First Nation (Chippewa), which is bordered on three sides by petrochemical plants.
The Blue Water Sierra Club and St. Clair County Community College’s Green Team sponsored the screening of the movie in SC4′s Fine Arts Auditorium last Thursday.
Stunning data emerging from Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia in 2004 sparked Calvert’s interest in making the movie. For more than a decade, beginning in 1993, Aamjiwnaang women had been giving birth to girls at a rate of 2:1 times more than boys. The standard ratio is 105 boys born for every 100 girls. Researchers suspected the sex disparity in births and high cancer rate in the area were linked to pervasive chemicals in the Valley known as endocrine disruptors, which cause disorders in the messages delivered by the reproductive hormones that guide human development.
This is one of very few pieces of hard evidence in the film. Among the others: 39 percent of Aamjiwnaang women experience miscarriages or stillbirths compared to the Canadian average of 25 percent. Twenty-three percent of Aamjiwnaang children have learning disabilities compared to 4 percent of the general Canadian population. One Aamjiwnaang woman in the movie, Sandy Kinert, had the highest amount of toxins in her body of any Canadian in the Environmental Defence 2006 national study of 68 toxins. The study found 30 carcinogens and 31 reproductive/developmental toxins in her blood and urine. Her granddaughter, 14, had 12 hormone disruptors and 17 reproductive toxins in her body.
“The city has already lost a generation of men to workplace-related cancers,” said Calvert in an online interview about the film. “Now the women are discovering a reproductive time bomb – because of their own exposure to a cluster of hormone-mimicking chemicals called ‘endocrine disruptors,’ the next generation may be at risk.”
Instead of numbers, the film tells the story of Sarnia residents, especially women, white and Indian, spearheading a movement to clean up the local environment, stop the building of future petrochemical plants and to embark on a systematic study of the impact of Chemical Valley on residents and workers.
In one horrific scene, a woman takes two frozen puppies out of her freezer that died of respiratory problems after her dog, who played in the nearby woods and presumably drank from a contaminated creek, was in labor 14 hours. One was born without ears, fur and eyes and had feet like flippers.
“I’m waiting for someone, maybe from Guelph University, to come and analyze them,” she says, putting them back in their freezer bag. “Are our grandchildren going to be playing in that water?”
Calvert’s focus on stories instead of data gives her movie a power it wouldn’t have otherwise possessed. It also underlines the importance of “the precautionary principle,” outlined by Dr. Margaret Keith, former occupational health research coordinator of Ontario Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, Inc. of Sarnia-Lambton, who participated in the panel discussion following the screening. The idea is that when human and environmental welfare is at stake, protective action should take precedence over ironclad scientific proof. The precautionary principle shifts the burden of proof to people or corporations embarking on the threatening action, not on the potential victims of the action.
“I think we already have enough evidence,” said Keith. “It’s a public health issue. I don’t know why we need a body count to stop poisoning people.”
“There are substantial bodies of evidence on every chemical used and produced in Sarnia,” said panelist Dr. Jim Brophy, retired director of Ontario Health Clinics of For Ontario Workers, Inc. of Sarnia Lambton, who appeared in the film. “How many leukemia victims do you need before you stop exposing people to benzene?”
In addition to Keith and Brophy, the post-film panel included Ada Lockridge, an Aamjiwnaang community organizer, also in the film; Dean Edwardson, representing the Sarnia-Lambton Environmental Association, a group made up of Chemical Valley petrochemical companies such as Shell, Suncor, Bayer and Dow Canada; Kristen Jurs, stormwater coordinator for the St. Clair County Health Department; and Doug Martz, who heads the Macomb County Water Quality Board.
“What we’re facing in this story of real heroes and activists is a story about our lack of democracy and control to shape the environment in which we live,” said Brophy.
The larger issue, he added, is that the unrestrained production of greenhouse gases is making our planet unsustainable. It doesn’t matter that leaders of the petrochemical plants live and raise their families in Sarnia. That’s the irony. The poisoning of Sarnia and the world can take place without malicious men and women running these companies.
“We’re driven by an economic dynamic that threatens the whole world,” he said.
Edwardson noted the industry has been doing a better job at curtailing spills and emissions, but breaches are basically inevitable.
“As long as you have these plants, you will have fugitive emissions,” Edwardson said. “You get them down as low as you can and manage them the best you can.”
Jurs pointed to the limitations of St. Clair County Health Department in issues pertaining to water quality.
“We don’t have jurisdiction over drinking water,” she said, pointing to federal and state governments, working through the local water plants. “The only drinking water we have jurisdiction over is well water.”
“Is it safe to swim in the river?” an audience member asked.
None of the panelists gave a straight-forward answer.
“We do a limited amount of e coli monitoring at our beaches,” said Jurs. “But we do no chemical monitoring. We barely have the budget to monitor for e coli.
What can be done?
Martz urged residents in southeast Michigan to call on their county and national representatives, including Rep. Candice Miller, to continue to fund the Drinking Water Protection Network at a cost of 25 cents per person. The network tests for 28 chemicals and looks at seven water quality parameters, in real time, in the water going into each of the 13 water plants between Port Huron and Wyandotte. It notifies operators further down the line of spills. It allows water plant operators to make immediate decisions about treating their water in the event of contamination, including shutting intake valves. Even though there have been more than 700 reported chemical spills in the St. Clair River since 1986, the Black Out spills of 2003 – when five days lapsed before citizens and plants were notified – and the Super Bowl spill of 2004 provided the impetus to initiate the system, combined with national security concerns flowing from Sept. 11, 2001.
Activist Lockridge urged residents to join environmental groups and make their concerns known to legislators and corporations: “Say it out loud.”
“I don’t think industry will do anything until they are forced to by the government,” said Keith, the provincial occupational health research coordinator. “Nothing will happen until there is a huge groundswell of demand… Become well informed. Start or join a group… You need coalitions pushing for change.”
The title of the movie invokes Dr. Martin Luther King’s concept of “the beloved community,” in which all people are integrated and interrelated in a society of brotherhood and mutuality, transcending race, class, tribe and nationhood.
“Dr. King spoke about The Beloved Community as a reachable goal for human society in the here and now,” said director Calvert. “Not conflict-free, not heaven, but a global condition in which simple human decency makes hunger and hate (and dare I say toxic exposure) simply unthinkable, and in which conflicts are resolved amicably but decisively on the side of justice.”
AN INVITATION: Join the Ottawa sit-in on September 26
That time is now. We must act together for the health of our planet, our air, our water, our climate, and our children.
On September 26th we need you to come to Ottawa to join a historic action to oppose the tar sands. In a large peaceful protest, many will be risking arrest to tell the Harper government that we don’t support his reckless agenda; that we want to turn away from the toxic tar sands industry; and that we oppose the direction he’s taking this country.
In the U.S., people by the thousands are taking a stand. From Aug 20th to Sept. 3rd, thousands are pledging to risk arrest in daily acts of civil disobedience to convince President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring dirty tar sands oil to the U.S. On September 26th, we will stand up to Prime Minister Harper to pressure him to stem the tar sands industry at its source.
Tar sands mining and other extreme forms of energy extraction like Arctic drilling, shale fracking, and nuclear power generation send us in the exact opposite direction that we, as a civilization, must go to ensure global survival. If we burn the tar sands, we blot our nation’s reputation; if we leave that carbon in the ground, we’ll do the world an enormous favour.
On September 26th we are asking you to come to Ottawa to participate in one of the largest acts of civil disobedience on the climate issue that Canada has ever seen.
Be a part of turning Canada away from the toxic tar sands industry. Help forge the future we all want to live in.
If you are interested and willing to take action email email@example.com or go to www.ottawaaction.ca to sign-up today. It will be a powerful day, and more powerful if you’re a part of it.
The Council of Canadians
Maude Barlow – Chair, Council of Canadians
For more information about the Council of Canadians’ tar sands campaign, visit www.canadians.org/tarsands.
On May 20th, 2011, the Mother Earth Water Walkers stopped at Victoria Island for the day. Emma Lui, Council of Canadians, shared a statement prepared by Maude Barlow.
Chi miigwech to Francine Payer and Irving Leblanc from the AFN for coordinating the event.
Photo: Emma Lui, Council of Canadians.
Victoria Island, Ottawa, Ontario, May 20th, 2011, 10am-2pm
Photos by Joanne Lamoureaux