From July 14-17, hundreds are expected to gather at Ojibway Park in Garden River First Nation, ON for the Great Lakes Gathering. The event is a gathering inviting both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to discuss and collaborate on ideas to protect watersheds in the Great Lakes basin.
Garden River First Nation is located along the St. Mary’s River, and the gathering at Ojibway Park will be held on the shores of Lake Huron. An open invitation was issued on Feb 18 for “all Anishinaabeg, Metis and supporters to come to the shores of Lake Huron to meet, discuss, and hold ceremony together for the waters of the Great Lakes and for future generations.”
According to SaultOnline, issues discussed at the gathering will include “nuclear waste burial at the Kincardine site, the aging Enbridge Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Makinac, and Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s proposed sites for a deep geological depository site along the north shore of Lake Huron,” in addition to “the health and well being of the Great Lakes, as well as their value and import for Indigenous nations in the Great Lakes region.”
The open invitation promised a variety of cultural activities, including a sacred fire, water offerings, an Elders Council meeting, traditional healing, a ceremonial lacrosse game, storytelling, and Anishinaabemowin immersion.
Currently, there are three canoe teams headed toward the event, including a group of women from Wahnapitae First Nations who dub their passage the Water Keepers Journey. CBC reported that paddlers set out from Wahnapitae Lake near Sudbury on June 26, and are expected to paddle 458km for 19 days to reach Sault Ste. Marie. Their ultimate destination is the Great Lakes Gathering, and they’ll be travelling 20-30 km per day.
CBC reported that two of the women on the trip would make the entire journey: Stephanie Recollet and Josie Langelier. The other paddlers will join them at stops along the way. To keep up with the Water Keepers Journey, click here.
If you’re in the area, participate in the Great Lakes Gathering and demonstrate productive, respectful support for its causes July 14-17.