Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) Grandmothers and community members embarked on a three day ceremonial Waterwalk to the proposed site of a high-level nuclear waste deep geologic repository (DGR).
Mikwendaagozi Mama Aki: Remembering Mother Earth Water Walk was a grassroots initiative to pray for the water and the rock of SON Territory ahead of borehole drilling and testing at the proposed site for the DGR in Teeswater, South Bruce. In a recent media release from organizers, the walk was about remembering ancestral connections to Mother Earth and the Stewardship responsibilities of the Anishnaabeg.
“The Waterwalk was a time for healing and honouring Mother Earth. We have a nuclear waste issue in our Territory and we need a safe solution that respects Mother Earth, the water, the plants and animals,” said organizer Joanne Keeshig in correspondence with Saugeen Shores Hub. “There is a lot of work to do to find a solution. We need to address the historical and ongoing impacts of nuclear power generation on our territory and on our people. Our nation has been excluded from decisions that impact us and our territory for far too long. When we look at a solution for waste we need to be a part of the planning and look at all of the options,” Keeshig added.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is the Canadian agency mandated to locate a site for a DGR, continued the release. Two sites are tested: the one at Teeswater in SON Territory and another in Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation Territory at Ignace, Ontario.
In 2016, NWMO committed they will not select a site for Canada’s highlevel nuclear waste (used-fuel) in SON Territory without SON consent. This walk underlines this right as well as shines a light on the forever relationship SON people have with the lands and waters that have sustained life in this region.
Bzauniibiikwe, Grandmother and organizer, said, “This waterwalk is about remembering our connection to the Earth, our Mother, Shkikimaa Kwe, Mama Aki, and all that she has provided to us and continues to provide to us, without question. Our mother, Shkikimaa Kwe is in need of our help, she needs us to remember who we are Anishnaabe Bimaadizijig, we can do this by bringing her a drink of Water from the Sacred Place of Healing, Noojimowaaning. We can do this by bringing her
our Prayers for wellness and healing, not only for her but for all of earth’s children. The decisions made today will impact our future generations.”
Throughout the ceremonial journey the Waterwalkers prayed for the health and well-being of Mother Earth and for protection and healing with regards to the COVID-19 virus. All activities adhered to strict First Nations COVID-19 protocols.