Nokomis (Grandmother) Josephine Biidasige Mandamin, of Wiikwemkoong Unceeded Territory, dedicated her life to speaking for the Great Lakes and was an influential teacher and advocate for the Earth’s water. The impact of her conservation and advocacy work will live on for future generations.
In 2003, she began the Mother Earth Water Walkers with another Grandmother. Starting with Lake Superior, they walked the perimeter of each of the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence seaway and were joined by many along the way. The Mother Earth Water Walks inspired others, like Mary Anne Caibaiosai, to start their own water walks and spurred the Junior Water Walkers.
In 2006, Josephine Mandamin was on the committee for the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. She was a prominent leader and contributor to the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council and Chief Commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation Women’s Water Commission. In 2016 she was a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage award for her years of conservation work.
Remembered by Many
Indigenous Environmental Network: With Heavy Hearts We Mourn the Loss of Beloved Grandmother Josephine Mandamin
Ontario Native Women’s Association: The Ontario Native Women’s Association Honours the Legacy of Biidasige Josephine Mandamin
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs: Statement on the Passing of Grandmother Josephine Mandamin
Winnipeg Free Press: ‘Water Walker’ Remembered as Protector
Ontario Public Service Union: OPSEU mourns the passing of Grandmother Water Walker Josephine Mandamin