My English name is Mary Anne Caibaiosai. I am bear clan Anishnaabe kwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Manitoulin Island. I have received and follow traditional teachings passed from my Elders from my territory and from the Midewewin lodge. I currently reside in Kitchener, Ontario.
I am being led to walk along the Grand River, following in the footsteps of Josephine Mandamin, an Anishnaabe Elder, the original water walker. She has honoured the water by walking around the Great Lakes.
This journey on both sides of the Grand River will start mid-September. We will honour the Grand River by praying for, singing for, and carrying her with a ceremonial pail. We will follow our beliefs and teachings that water is life; 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 when we sing for her, offer her good words and prayers, that she will become clean. It is important that men and women of all ages and color will 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 walkers who will need: food, clean water for drinking, snacks, gas and accommodations. You can also donate to help us on this journey. We plan to camp and/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