The Walk to Remember, Summer 2000, was lived as a sacred journey
around Lake Superior to bring forth community visions to protect the air, land and water for the Seven Generations yet to
At the closing of the Walk, during some of our final ceremonies
together, I stood holding our sacred Eagle staff, formerly belonging to Walt Bresette, and brought out and so valiantly
cared for by Walk leader Al Hunter, and understood what we had, together, become: The Village of Remembering People. When
I voiced those words, given to my heart by Creator, our family smiled. No longer were we simply from "x" or "y" reservation,
band, tribe, village, town--we, forever, are from the Village of Remembering People. To be part of that village
is an honor, and a sacred responsibility.
Together, living in a migrating village, in the traditional Anishinabe way, we had
remembered our past, remembered our obligations to the future, remembered our obligations to the Earth, and the waters, and,
as we dispersed, we all knew that our remembering had just begun. While walking and struggling forward in the physical
world, we lit sacred fires in the spiritual world that now radiate outwards, lighting new fires, new efforts, new
beginnings, new returns to the old ways that sustain us all.
Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world,
is an important source of food, livelihood and drinking water. Lake Superior is also an important part of the spirituality
of the Anishinabeg. It is now threatened due to contamination, global warming caused by over-development, and a growing,global
water crisis that further threatens the sanctity of its waters and many life forms that depend on clean waters.
This historic journey, both environmental and spiritual,
was coordinated by a group of people from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ontario, and Michigan, beginning in April of 1999. With
no financial support, no beginning other than a faith in visions and Mother Earth's needs, the Walk became a living essence
of the power of spirt.
Its ripple effect also enlarged the connections between
Great Lakes sustainability and what Native peoples' spirituality, culture, and sovereignty, have to offer for its future.
One of the most fervent spokesmen for those shared connections was the late activist, Walt Bresette, a Lake Superior
Chippewa from the Red Cliff Reservation, in northern Wisconsin, who passed away in February of 1999.
"We need to bring all the people of Lake Superior together,"
he often said. "We need to talk to each other about what is happening in our villages and our communities, to share our experiences,
our concerns, and our hopes for the future. We need to meet our neighbors and learn from them."
The Walk to Remember,
led by Walt's eagle staff, became a living circle of fire, a Village of Remembering People who carried the old ways into the
new millennium. Along the way, we were astonished to find ourselves being called "The Sacred Walkers."
To us, the
journey, the sharing, the responsibility, and that which still lies before is, is what is sacred. We have only just begun,
and we hope that you, in whatever way you can, will join us. We journey onward for Lake Superior, for Mother Earth, for our
ancestors and the traditional ways, for the Seven Generations to come, and for you. We are all related.
--Niibii Ikwe, walker & website manager
Lake Superior at the dawn of a new day
Esther Nahgahnub of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior
Chippewa celebrates the beginning of the historic 1,400 mile walk around Lake Superior.
Update: Esther, our "Walk Granny," suffered a heart attack in 2004. Please
add your prayers for her full recovery.
The Walk to Remember goals still live, as we move forward
on this continuing spiritual journey, a pilgrimage, a healing journey, to undo some of the damage done to Mother Earth and
her waters, and to bring healing to her people by communicating and listening to one another.
We continue to travel
and share, and to meet and learn from all who know and understand the waters, beaches, forests, hills, routes, commerce, communities,
and spirit of the lake. Our work is a journey that transcends the notions of borders and boundaries. We will seek to bring
people together in a common community of sharing and insight. We will make note of what we hear, see and feel. We will conscientiously
carry what we learn and share it with each new person and every community that we visit.
As the original journey progressed
around the lake, some common stories and themes emerged. By late summer, after every village and community was visited, and
all who have wanted to be heard were heard the ended, where it began, closing the circle on the Bad River Reservation.
the walk, a set of common principles, commitments and standards were realized towards a common vision that ensures all that
is special about Lake Superior will be protected and nurtured for present and future generations.
The circle has now
expanded, and will continue to grow. We hope you will add to the vision, and the dreams yet to be realized for our common
We thank you for the gift of your time in visiting these pages. If you have suggestions or concerns
about issues of clean water within your community, feel free to contact us via the guestbook. Our circle of knowledge continues
to grow, and someone may have the answer you seek. What affects one of us, affects all of us, for how shall we, and our descendants,
survive, without clean water, clean air, healthy food, and a healthy spiritual life? It is time to join together,
to honor the sacred gift of life.
And the circle grows outward: the Migration Project
followed the Walk to Remember. Several of the original Walk to Remember participants undertook a 2001 journey, which follows
the Aninishabeg migration route from east to west. Their updates on the tragedies that have befallen our waters, must be read.
With bespoiled water, what is there to drink? With poisoned waters, how can you eat fish? Their stories and photos will make
it clear: the vision and goals of the Walk to Remember live on, for they will be desperately needed in the days ahead.
Would you like to help out in our ongoing work? It's easy to do! If you're shopping for books, DVDs, or other times, click
the link above to Amazon.com Any purchases made via this link gift us with a small percentage of your purchase. Miigwech!
The route of the Walk To Remember around Lake Superior, highlighted with communities we visited. Borders no longer existed
for the shared Lake Superior community.