Writings from the Treaty 8 Caravan: Take Me to the Water

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Water has always connected to me in an infinite number of ways, it has shown me things without words, it has spoken to me in the language of my grandmothers, and it has healed me without asking for anything in return.

How do I explain it in this cold language? A language that comes from a people who never understood us the day they brought it in their mouths on ships over 500 years ago.

How do I explain it myself when I don’t have the language of my Grandmothers living on my tongue any longer? The words have been washed away from my family’s mouth before I was even born.

But I have reclaimed the words relating to water.

Choo. Saghii Nachii, Woanchii, Tse Lingay, Mingay.

I may not know how to speak the language fully but it is a language that navigates my blood like the birch bark canoes navigated the river ways. It is a language that is inherent in my bones.

I am still trying to remember who I am as a Dane Zaa and Nehiyaw woman who’s Great Grandfathers roamed the land and the waters. That memory is tied to the land and the water.

I am on a journey with everyone on this Treaty 8 Justice of the Peace Caravan trying to protect the land that holds the living memory of who we were, who we are, and who we are meant to continue to be.

Yesterday we, the Treaty 8 Justice for the Peace Caravan, spent the day in Winnipeg. After a long bus ride and a two am arrival we kept pushing through to talk to others about Site C the hydroelectric mega dam. We went for breakfast with a Liberal MP, we sat in circle with community members, and then we went to an event at Meet Me at the Bell Tower in the North End, which is a weekly event started for community to stand together to stop the violence.

The circle stirred a lot of emotions within me and throughout the day I could feel the big cry trying to surface from deep within my belly. I cried over pancakes as we talked with the MP about the Peace River, I cried holding the megaphone at the Bell Tower. My first instinct was, I need to go to the water. I need someone to take me to the river so I could give this grief away and find my grounding again to continue forward on this emotional journey. And then I thought.. What happens if they build this dam? What will I do then? Will I take myself to the dam to find healing? Will the reservoir hold my grief? And then I wanted to cry more.

I was very grateful for the people of Treaty One and the Home of the Metis for the love and open doors that they showed us. We were all very grateful to stand in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters against violence, because what happens to one of us, happens to all of us.

We drove all night last night and awoke in Thunder Bay for a pit stop, breakfast and rest for the Driver. We ended up in the Walmart parking lot needing to smudge and pray before we continued our journey so we set up circle on the side parking lot. As our group stood in circle, waiting for the smudge to make it’s rounds and bless and cleanse each of us a funny thing happened. First, another brother showed up silently taking off his jacket and finding his place in our circle standing with us. Then another brother showed up and stood in the circle with us. Then a sister showed up and stood in circle with us and these strangers all prayed with us. A reminder that this all happened outside of Walmart and was … slightly magical. Medicine and prayer requires no introduction.

We are now somewhere in Ontario, approaching Wawa and headed to Sault Ste Marie. The people are drumming and singing on the bus and my spirit is full.

We are on a journey and it is one that Creator has set out for each of us.


Side Note: If Obama can stop the Dakota Access Pipeline why can’t Trudeau grow some, keep his promises, and stop Site C?


  1. Many Blessings on your journey to protect the waters. Lovely writing, makes me stop and say a little prayer through tears.

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