Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. For many people, it is an important source of food, livelihood and drinking water. Lake Superior is also an important part of the spirituality of the Anishinabeg as passed down by our ancestors and oral histories. 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 it, including, people.
"A Walk To Remember" is a journey around Lake Superior that is being coordinated by a group of people from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ontario, and Michigan. The idea was borne out of a gathering in Sault Ste. Marie, in April of 1999, when Native and Non-Native people met to discuss issues pertaining to the Great Lakes. This walk, this journey, is the result of people's dreams and visions that were brought forward at this meeting. It is also an effort to carry out the visions concerning the connections between Great Lakes sustainability and what Native peoples' spirituality, culture, and sovereignty, have to offer for its future, as voiced by 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."
This summer, the 1200 mile journey will begin on the south shore of Lake Superior at Waverly Beach on the Bad River Reservation at sunrise on June 28, 2000. It will then continue on to the Fourth of July Pow-Wow at the Red Cliff Reservation. The journey will end full-circle at the Bad River Pow-Wow in late August.
This walk is also a 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.
Enroute we will seek to meet and learn from all who know and understand the waters, beaches, forests, hills, routes, commerce, communities, and spirit of the lake. It will be 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. Almost simultaneously, "A Walk To Remember" will be reproduced on the internet to share the sights, sounds and ideas from Lake Superior to the rest of the world.
As the journey progresses around the lake, some common stories and themes will emerge. By late summer, after every village and community has been visited, and all who have wanted to be heard have been heard — the walk will end, where it began, on the Bad River Reservation. The journey will carry back many common stories, themes, purposes, concerns, and visions that will have been revealed and carried forward.
It is hoped that from the walk, a set of common principles, commitments and standards can be realized towards a common vision that ensures all that is special about Lake Superior will be protected and nurtured for present and future generations. Please join us on this once in a lifetime journey for the Seven Generations yet to come.
For further information about how you can participate or help in making "A WALK TO REMEMBER" contact one the organizers. Donations small and large will be appreciated and may be sent to Anishinabe Ogitchidda, %Northern State Bank, P.O. Box 617, Ashland, WI 54806