My English name is Mary Anne Caibaiosai
I am bear clan Anishnaabe kwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. I have received and follow the traditional teachings passed from my Elders from my territory and from the Midewewin lodge. I currently reside in Peterborough, Ontario.
I am being led to walk along the Grand River, following in the footsteps of Josephine-Baa Mandamin, an Anishnaabe Elder — the original water walker. She honoured the water by walking around the Great Lakes.
This journey along the Grand River will start in mid-September. We will honour the Grand River by praying for, singing for, and carrying her in a ceremonial pail. We will follow our beliefs and teachings that water is life, water has spirit, and without her, we would not be here. Our word for water is “Nibi” and we say “Nga Zichiige Nibi Onji" — we do it for the water.
This walk is not just a walk; it is a ceremony. We are walking to help the water. We believe that when we sing for her and offer her good words and prayers, she will become clean. It is important that men and women of all ages and colours come to walk for her.
If people cannot walk but want to help the water walk in some way, there are other ways to help! They can help organize fund-raising events for the core walkers, who will need food, drinking water, snacks, gas and accommodations. You can also donate to help us on this journey. We plan to camp or stay at other accommodations along the route.
There are traditional protocols to be followed for this walk and these will be given to those who commit to the walk.
Mary Anne Caibaiosai