Friday, August 23, 2013

Winnipeg Water Wednesdays

A few months back I was speaking about my work in Iraqi Kurdistan with a friend from Grassy Narrows First Nation  (3 hours north east from Winnipeg). Her first question to me was, "How is the water there"? This was surprising to me because no one else had ever asked me such a question. But it was also not surprising because the community of Absubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) has had their health and livelihood stolen from them by the poisoning of the English River system by corporations deliberately dumping mercury into the water.

For six weeks this summer Winnipeg has celebrated 'Winnipeg Water Wednesdays". This has been a part of Idle No More and led by Michael Champagne of North End Winnipeg. 'These events are not protests and are not only for Indigenous people, it is a community gathering for all people who drink water. Many cultures have their own customs and practices to honor water.'

On Wednesday 21 August I was finally in the city on a Wednesday. So my good friends Peter, Brad and I headed down to Memorial Park in downtown Winnipeg to see what was going on and to celebrate water. Apparently this week the gathering was smaller than the week before but as 5 pm came people wandered into the site. The wind sprayed water droplets from the fountains and Mr Golden Boy on the top of the legislature looked over us. I wondered if the MLAs who work in the huge stone building knew of this gathering and whether they cared at all about it.

                                     Brad added his talent to the large (22 x 9 Kelly feet) mural.

                                       We all  need to  to pray for and celebrate the water where ever we are.

'The last Water Wednesday is August 28th. We will gather at 5pm in Memorial Park  and then have a WATER MARCH at 6pm down to the Forks where the water’s meet. We will also be putting together a TIME CAPSULE to be opened in 100 years so our children will know that we were thinking of them in the work we do today. If we all get involved, your great grandchildren will open that capsule and see that we were successful in our fight to protect our waters. It gives all of us an opportunity to answer, with action, the question ‘What kind of an ancestor will you be?’

                                     . We can figure out a way to live without petroleum products.
                                          There is no substitute for water in the continuation of life.

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