CENTRE WELLINGTON – A group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous walkers led by Anishnaabe elder Mary Anne Caibaiosai will walk the length of the Grand River between June 15 to 21.
Participants will start their walk from near the source of the Grand River in Dundalk, Ontario.
The walkers are expected to reach the Fergus and Elora area during the morning of June 16.
The All Nations Water Walk will end at the mouth of the river, on Lake Erie at Port Maitland. The June 21 finish will also coincide with both the National Indigenous Peoples Day and the day of the summer solstice.
Organizers planned the walk as a way of honouring the river and the sacredness of water.
The first All Nations Grand River Water Walk took place in September of 2018, led by Caibaiosai.
A traditional Anishnaabe water walk involves carrying water in a copper pail from the source to the end of the river. The movement of the pail emulates the natural flow of the river and is continuous, with walkers taking turns carrying it.
Caibaiosai, who until recently lived in Kitchener, was inspired to organize the All Nations Grand River Water Walk after participating in water walks organized by the late Josephine Mandamin.
Caibaiosai has pledged to lead the water walk along the Grand for four consecutive years and hopes that over this period, people living in the Grand River watershed will come to have a greater appreciation for the river, its importance to all life, and become more thoughtful about how we use water and take care of waterways.
She is welcoming people from all nations to join her in the water walk ceremony.
On June 15 the walk will begin at 7am but on the remaining days walkers will start by 4am and walk until noon. The public is welcome to join the walkers for a short time, a whole day or even longer.
Information about the walkers’ precise locations each day will be available on the water walk website www.grandriverwaterwalk.com and FaceBook Page.
The website also has a description of the ceremonial protocols that all participants are asked to follow.
Caibaiosai is hoping that many people from all walks of life will join the journey or support the effort.
People can sign up for updates about the walk and information about how to join in and how to donate at www.grandriverwaterwalk.com.