Living Water: ᑭᓯᐢᑳᒋᐊᐧᓂᓭᐱᕀ kisiskâciwani-sîpiy (Saskatchewan River) Water Walk
“When you see someone walking with a pail of water, you wonder, ‘where is she going with that water? So the message is, water is very precious, and I will go to any lengths to and direction to carry the water to the people.” “As women, we are carriers of the water. We carry life for the people.” Biidaasige-Ba/Josephine-Ba Mandamin Sep 25, 2014
From July to August/September of 2021, Minweyweywigaan Lodge Mide Kwe Water Walker Tasha Beeds will conduct a Ceremonial Water Walk in a Covid-safe manner for the Saskatchewan River. Following the North tributary, it will be the first of 4 Water Walks she must commit to as per the protocols of the Ceremony. Of nêhiyaw, Scottish-Metis, and Bajan ancestry, Tasha will be Walking in her maternal ancestral territories for the Water she grew up alongside. The Water Walk will be approximately 1900 kms and take 2 to 3 months.
Mentored under the respected Anishinaabe Grandmother and late Three Fires Lodge Mide Kwe Water Walker, Biidaasige-Ba or Josephine-Ba Mandamin (the ba is a marker of one who is deceased), Tasha also learnt from other Anishinaabe Elders and Knowledge Holders such as Charlie Nelson and Edna Manitowabi, the Chief Headman and Head Woman of Minweyweywigaan Midewiwin Lodge; Anishinaabe language teacher and Water Walker Dr. Shirley Williams and her niece Liz Osawamick; in addition to the Anishinaabe men who have supported the Water Walks for many years, Waasekom, Abitoonse Gisis, and Andrew Mandamin. Tasha has Walked for the Water for 10 years and for approximately 7000 km, walking alongside each of the Great Lakes in addition to all of the Kawartha Lakes and the Otonabee River in Southern Ontario. She just finished conducting (taking spiritual responsibility) for the first time, a 4 day Water Walk covering 135 kms in the Anishinaabe territories of N’Swakamok or Sudbury Ontario for a body of water known as Junction Creek. The Water from that Creek flows beside Spanish Residential School and the Water Walkers honoured the survivors, their families, and the children who did not return home with the help of the Midewiwin of Minweyweywigaan and Three Fires Lodges with a Ceremony at the site where they took the boys. Planned since last fall, the Water brought the people together in a way that foreshadowed the latest news releases from across Turtle Island.
The Saskatchewan River Headwaters begin in the Rocky Mountains and flow eastward eventually joining Lake Winnipeg. The length of the River following the roadways is approximately 1900kms. Carrying Josephine-ba’s legacy forward, and accompanied by an Eagle Water Staff, Tasha and a predetermined group of core Walkers will lift the Water inside a Copper Pail from a location close to the Headwaters of the Saskatchewan River. She, and a core group, will ceremonially carry the Water and the Eagle Water Staff along the highways, staying as close as possible to the River. Other core Water Walk members include Kahtéraks Quinney-Goodleaf, Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawake and nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) from Onion Lake; Michaela Merasty, Woodlands Cree and Scottish and AnishinaabeKwe (Ojibway woman) Linda Manitowabi from Wiikwemkoong and Two Spirit Metis artist Marjorie Beauchamp. Under the umbrella of truth and reconciliation, Settler and Unitarian Minister Karen Fraser-Gitlitz is joining the Water Walk as a core Walker.
The movement is, first and foremost, for the Water. Tasha and the other Walkers of Plains Cree ancestry are enacting their sovereign right to move in Ceremony for their Ancestral body of Water. Their presence recognizes and reaffirms kisiskâciwani-sîpiy as a water significant to all the Indigenous Nations who historically have relied upon the River for life and movement. They will retrace their Ancestors steps, expressing gratitude for the Water that has allowed them, as the grandchildren of those Ancestors, to exist today. The movement also generates the opportunity for active truth and reconciliation not just from non-Indigenous people to Indigenous people, but for all people to reconcile our negligence and improve our relationships with the Waters, Lands, and all of Creation. The ceremonial movement of the Water Walk is in honor of nipiy’s (the Water’s) gift of life for all of Creation. The Water Walkers move to remember how without Water, nothing would survive, including us. They move to remind others of the need to protect the Water for future generations. They move because Water is Life.
As the Water Walkers move, Covid safety guidelines will be followed for ensuring everyone’s health during these turbulent times. They will adjust to new policies accordingly. There will be plenty of opportunities for public engagement remotely. The Water Walk will be documented virtually, over various social media platforms, and the public will be able to follow the Walk from the comfort of their own homes. There will also be opportunity for those people who would like to Walk for the Water, in support of the core group.
The Water Walkers are still actively fundraising for the 2 to 3 month journey that will see them walking 30 to 40 kms. One “Water Walker wish” is for an RV rental or donation so they can move within their covid bubble safely without reliance on hotel rooms or interaction with too many people. Other costs include Elder honorariums, nourishment, walking supplies and earth friendly PPE. Please contact us for in-kind sponsorship or consider making a financial donation through e-transfer; we do have a fiscal sponsor who can provide a charitable tax receipt if needed. Be sure to join Living Water: ᑭᓯᐢᑳᒋᐊᐧᓂᓭᐱᕀ kisiskâciwani-sîpiy (Saskatchewan River) Water Walk on our social media pages and visit our linktree https://linktr.ee/SaskRiverWaterWalk for updates, education, links and how to get involved.
We would like to say kinanaskômitinawaw/gchi’miigwech (extend deep gratitude) to our supporters: Indigenous Screen Office; Groundswell Community Justice Trust Fund; Na’ah Illahee Fund; Kent Monkman; Indigenize.ca; Minisinook Canoe Journey; Idle No More; and the Saskatoon Unitarians.
As we move and conduct gatherings, we will respect provincial safety guidelines for ensuring everyone’s health during these turbulent times and we will adjust to new policies accordingly. There will be plenty of opportunity for public engagement remotely. There is also opportunity for helpers who may want to walk a few hours, a day or two, or so on. There will be protocols both ceremonial and covid19 ones that anyone joining will have to follow. Please contact Tasha Beeds if you are interested in joining as a Water Walker.
The Water Walk will also be documented virtually, over various social media platforms, and the public will be able to follow the Walk from the comfort of their own homes.
We are actively fundraising for the Water Walk to support the core Walkers and Elders with accommodations, nourishment, walking supplies and earth friendly PPE.
Join us and say: Nga-zhichige Nibi Onji “I will do it for the water!”
Tasha Beeds, Lead Water Walker [phone redacted] or email [email redacted]
Triecial Anonychuk, Ground Support, [phone redacted]
DonationsSee top donations
- Brenda Swalm
- Lynda Ross
- Ian Erza
- Sharissa Hantke
- Susan Pederson
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more