November 7, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes Water Walkers. It does not have to be in the Anishinaabe tradition; in fact, it would be more interesting to see interpretations from across all nations and walks. It can be a title or used as a phrase. Go where the prompt leads!
Josephine is a respected Anishinaabe elder from Canada who began walking around Lake Superior in 2003 to raise awareness and to pray for the water. She carried in her hands a copper pail that contained lake water. When she took a break, she would lie on her stomach embracing mother earth. Then she would resume her journey.
Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. The shoreline is well over 2,500 miles. Grandmother Josephine wanted to call attention to care for our water. After all, Lake Superior contains about 20% of all the earths fresh water.
By the time her final river walk started in April 2017, there were over a thousand participants all together. She and a group of Water Walkers left from Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota. In 97 days, they followed the southern shoreline of Lake Superior, then the North and Eastern shores of Lake Huron. They then followed the northern shore of Lake Erie. After a stop at Niagara Falls, they followed the northern shore of Lake Ontario to Matane, Quebec Canada, where the Saint Lawrence River connects through the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the Labrador Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. In total, over little more than three months, they traveled 3,197 miles and over 6,394,000 footsteps for the Water. Grandmother Josephine announced that she was retiring after that walk and urged the next generation to pick up the copper vessel and carry on what she started.
Note: Josephine Mandamin passed away on February 22nd, 2019, at the age of 77.
No Water, No Walk in Life
“Dad, what is the most powerful of the five elements of nature? Metal, wood, water, fire or earth?”
“If you were deserted in an island, or a drifting boat in an ocean, what is one thing you need to survive?”
“You made a point. I guess it’s water.”
“A human can be without food for more than three weeks, but he can only go without water for a week.”
“Lost at sea could drink seawater.”
“Seawater contains salt higher than human can process and makes us thirstier.”
“Only fresh water helps us survive then.”
“You got it, Son.”