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Biibaayawawag Nibiing Naandwetowad Bmaadziwiin – They Paddle to Heal Life

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Shining Water Paddle, a grassroots collective from Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, paddled around Lake Simcoe to create awareness of concerns affecting waterways and offering healing prayers.

By Johnny Hawke

CHIPPEWAS OF GEORGINA ISLAND FIRST NATION — “We are exercising our inherent rights to raise awareness about the concerns affecting our waters by being visible and conducting ceremony throughout our Territory,” says Vicky Wolske, organizer of Shining Water Paddle.

Shining Water Paddle, a grassroots collective of Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, held its third annual ceremonial journey on June 5 as they paddled around Lake Simcoe, which had them completing the shoreline perimeter of 303 km within a two-week period.

Vicky Wolsky, Sydney Erwood, Nicolas Charles, George Snache, and Travis Charles Assance, along with Phillip Russell from British Columbia, completed the journey, thanking and protecting the lake through singing, drumming, healing prayers, and ceremonies.

Azhoonyang, or Shining Waters, is the Anishinaabe name for Lake Simcoe, located in Southern Ontario in the Territory of the Chippewa Tri-Council (Chippewas of Georgina Island, Chippewas of Rama, and Beausoleil First Nations). Chippewas of Georgina Island is located in the southern shore of Lake Simcoe.

Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation has been living under a long-term boil water advisory for years. A $2.6-million investment from Indigenous Services Canada in 2017 was implemented to upgrade the community’s water treatment plant; however, residents in the eastern and southern part of the community still do not have access to treated drinking water.

Lake Simcoe is also being threatened these days from many sides — development, proposed highways, and sewage demands, and believes this is a matter that should be of importance for all, says Wolske.

“As women, it is our responsibility to speak for the Water as we have that special connection as life-givers, but the health of the lake and all waters is everyone’s concern, not just First Nations.”

The Shining Water Paddle has been invited to participate in the 29th Annual Intertribal Canoe Journey, Paddle to Muckleshoot, from July 31 to August 6, in Seattle, Washington. This journey is where an estimated 120 Canoes from Pacific Northwest Coastal Nations come together annually from their communities to meet up and paddle to a host community. This year’s host community is Muckleshoot Indian Tribe in Auburn, Washington.

“To be able to be part of this tribal canoe journey with our relations out west would be such a valuable experience in creating healthy relationships, culture sharing, creating allies. To be able to see the customs and the work on the ocean waters will be an experience to bring home and share and possibly creating future opportunities for others,” adds Wolske.

Shining Water Paddle is seeking funding, donations to secure flights and accommodations to be able to part of this journey. Donations can be made to their Go Fund Me account or directly to shiningwaterpaddle@yahoo.com.

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Lead Facilitator – Circle Process

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ANISHINABEK NATION “To give a voice to the vision of the Anishinabek Nation and to preserve  Anishinaabe Bimaadziwin while advancing our goal of Nationhood.” Employment Opportunity LEAD FACILITATOR – CIRCLE […]

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Rice will serve as a mentor for program featuring budding Indigenous writers

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By Sam Laskaris SUDBURY – When Anishinabek writer Waubgeshig Rice found out he had a chance to serve as a mentor for young Indigenous writers he jumped at the opportunity. […]

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Inherent rights highlighted at the 8th annual Anishinabek Nation Lands and Resources Forum

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By Kelly Anne Smith NORTH BAY— Concerns of climate change, extreme mining claims, and the health of the Great Lakes were heard over three days at the 8th annual Anishinabek […]

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