Sep 27, 2022
More than 100 people attended the Sept. 25 opening ceremony of an Ojibwe Nibi (Water) Walk hosted by First Congregational United Church of Christ, Menomonie. Participating in an Ojibwe Nibi (Water) Walk is a way to embrace Native American knowledge and wisdom and express your concern, care, and gratitude for the waters of the Red Cedar River and Lake Menomin.
What is a Water Walk?
A Nibi Walk is a modern ceremonial practice where water is carried from the headwaters to the mouth of the river or lake to pray for the health and future of the waterways. The walks are an acknowledgment of water as a life giver. They’re focused on and implemented in faith: faith in the water spirits, faith in the earth, faith in humankind and faith in the power of love. Every step taken is done in prayer and gratitude for water.
The Sept. 25 Red Cedar River/Lake Menomin Nibi Walk was led by Sharon Day [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Day_(activist) ], an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. Sharon’s spiritual life is to care for water. Women have taken care of the water since time immemorial and believe it is the blood of Mother Earth. In 2003, Sharon joined the late Ojibwe elder Josephine Mandamin to begin Mother Earth Water Walks to raise awareness about water issues. Today, Sharon continues to carry forward this modern ceremonial tradition with Nibi, or Water Walks. Sharon has led more than a dozen walks along the Missouri River, Mississippi River, Ohio River, Seneca Lake, and many others in the last ten years. You can learn about Nibi Walk protocols at www.nibiwalk.org.
Sharon’s loving message to the water might also be a healing prayer for all people: “This is how you started off, this is how we wish for you to be again. Remember that at one time you were pure and clean at the source.”
Why a Water Walk?
Research indicates that the Red Cedar watershed is affected by “eutrophication” – phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, causing blue-green algae blooms and dissolved oxygen levels. We all know what that means to our local health, recreation and economic culture. Local entities along with state and federal authorities have had some success. But we need to do more. The sponsors of the Nibi Walk hope the modern ceremony will help and grow the number of citizens who are committed to love and care for these waters!
Spirit Aligned Leadership, Bozeman, MT at https://spiritaligned.org/cultural-atlas-circle-2/sharon-day-asabiikone-zaagaiganiing-2/ Retrieved September 4, 2022.