Good Day. We hope that everyone is remaining safe and diligent as we move closer to safer times after a year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
March 22nd, 2021 is World Water Day according to the United Nations (UN). It goes back to 1992 when the UN held a conference on Environment and Development and passed a resolution that March 22nd would be known as World Water Day; however, First Nations and Indigenous peoples understand that Nibi should be conserved, protected, and recognized each and every day because it is sacred. It gives us life. It sustains us.
FNT2T Life Long Learning shared a two posts on the work of water protector, Autumn Peltier (Anishinaabe) who is from Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. It was on March 22nd, 2018 that Peltier spoke at the United Nations World Water Day. And in a speech to the Global Landscapes Forum, Peltier wisely stated: “Our first water teaching comes from within our own mother. We literally live in water for nine months, floating in that sacred water that gives us life. We cannot live in our mother’s womb without water…The sacred significance is that my mother comes from her mother’s water, my grandmother comes from her mother’s water, and my great-great grandmother comes from her mother’s water….Mother Earth’s power is the life blood of Mother Earth which is our water. Mother Earth has the power to destroy us and if we keep harming her one day she may decide to destroy everything...” Here is a link to her full speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGDH0y8AwTk.
Many First Nations and Indigenous women have organized Water Walks to raise awareness, protect, and pray for Nibi. Joanne Robertson (Anishinaabe) is one of those individuals. She has written and illustrated two books on Nibi including Nibi Emosaawdang / The Water Walker (2017) and Nibi Emosaawdang / The Water Walker (2020) published by Second Story Press. They can be purchased on the publisher website. Both books have the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) language within it. Robertson’s emphasis in both of her books is to respect, love, and protect Nibi.
There is also a website called Mother Earth Water Walk, which Robertson is also part of. There is a beautiful water song on the website called the Nibi song. It was written by Doreen Day for her grandson and they gave permission for it to be shared and sung to the water everyday. On the website, it is written in English and Anishinaabemowin:
Water, we love you.
We thank you.
We respect you
Ne-be Gee Zah- gay- e- goo
Gee Me-gwetch -wayn ne- me – goo
Gee Zah Wayn ne- me- goo
The song can be heard on the Mother Earth Water Walk website: http://www.motherearthwaterwalk.com/?attachment_id=2244
Miigwetch! Renew and revitalize.
*Notes: Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) words, spellings and translations will vary by Nation, speaker, and dialect. Image source is Second Story Press.