Jello swimmers. I want to talk to you about water. This weekend I got to experience something I wasn't expecting, an event Mother Earth Water Walk. Water from the Pacific, Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic were walked to Lake Superior. It is being done to raise awareness of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.
Starting out as early as April 10th, four groups were walking (and one train ride from the Arctic) carrying water to meet here. As I write this, tomorrow the water will be joined and put into Lake Superior, to help purify the lake. It is a call to the people of area and the world that we need to protect our lakes and other water sources from pollution and from being drained to water other peoples wants and not their needs.
I say that as I remember from college that one thing the states in the SW want to do is run a pipe from the Great Lakes to their land. They forget that they live in the desert and in the desert grass does not normally grow, so they must rely on their water sources to grow their grass and wash their cars when the water should be for drinking. They have already caused such damage that the Colorado River no longer flows to the ocean. Instead is dries up in a desert.
This walk is being done by the elders of the Anishinaabe, groups of Native Americans from the Odawa, Potawatomi, and the Ojibwe. I am not as familiar with the first two, but it is Ojibwe reservation land that I am on right now. The Ojibwe people stretch from here along the South Shore of Lake Superior up to Canada. All of this land was theirs before the white men came and took it from them and claimed it as their own. I say theirs but the Native Americans knew that the land and the lakes did not belong to them, they did not own it. Instead they are part of Mother Earth, and they are the children of the Mother, and they need to take care of her and all that she is.
As I was telling one of the little girls, Ricki, who is here for the ceremony, the white men, my ancestors, are more of the approach of “Mine Mine Mine Mine”. I explained to her that my ancestors believed that land was more valuable than money, not from a standpoint of being able live off of it (though a good use), but land meant power. The more land, the more power. The more money, the more power. The more money, the more land. She then asked me why money was so important to them. I told her that back then and today, people believe that money buys happiness. I could tell that she understood what I said, but also that she knew that money does not buy happiness.
This nine year old knows what others do not. Its not money that makes you truly happy, its friends and family that does, and for her, Stranger, her dog. The neighbors, who I will write about soon, know this, living of the grid with just what they need and some toys. The Native Americans also knew this for thousands of years and even today.
Happiness also comes from being one with Earth. Listening to the loons call for their mates, the wolf howl to their friends. The leaves rustle at the slightest winds, the waves break along the shore. This happiness has been known for so long by the Native Americans, by others who share this love for nature, and my best friend, Jeniqua, who, if it was not for being friends with her in college, I would not have learned this same happiness, and probably not even being doing this entire trip.
It is this happiness the Anishinaabe are walking for. Just like ships and countries would fight to protect their gold and other valuables, the Anishinaabe are doing their own fight, not for what is theirs, but what brings life to all of us up here and around the world...Lake Superior and Mother Earth.
If you want to learn more, visit www.motherearthwaterwalk.com
From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard