Josephine Mandamin has walked more than 17,000 kilometres to raise consciousness of Great Lakes
She is known as grandmother water walker. In effort to raise awareness about pollution, laws and any issues that impact water, First Nations elder Josephine Mandamin has walked the shorelines of all five Great Lakes. That’s more than 17,000 kilometres of coastline and equal to nearly half the earth’s circumference. This week Mandamin left her home in Thunder Bay for southwest Ontario to speak at the 5 p.m. opening of Museum London’s Water Rights festival.
Before the opening, we spoke with her about her experiences. Here’s a portion of the conversation:
Q: Why did you set out to walk around the Great Lakes?
A:I think we need to raise consciousness. We need to be aware of the polluted waters we see. We are all of water. We need to protect this water as much as we can.
Q: Protect it from what?
A: The fracking, the pollution . . . the mining where waters are coming in. Corporations are selling off the water, prostituting our mother the earth. It’s the big corporations that need to be understanding.
Q:Where is the worst evidence of pollution and what did it look like?
A:In terms of looking at Northeastern Ontario there are a lot of small lakes in that area around the highways we walked on with green slime on the waters. The water is very still, it doesn’t move.
Q:What about the Great Lakes?
A: Lake Ontario . . . You could almost see the shimmering when you got to the New York side of it. We didn’t even touch the water, we usually take our shoes off at least and put our feet in. We swam in lake Michigan almost every day. But we didn’t touch Lake Ontario.
Lake Erie was brown. When we were on the U.S. side, it looked very dirty and very brown.
Q:How long did it take to walk around Lake Superior?
A: 32 days.
Q:What was your routine?
A: We’d get up at 2:30 or 3 a.m., and walk until the sun goes down. We’d have an orange or fruit along the way or juice. You have to walk with a pail as if you are walking with a water stream. It’s very important to keep the water moving because you’ve made that promise to keep it moving while you are walking. People would put us up in homes or if we had funds we’d stay in motels.
Q: What was the biggest challenge?
A: Our walkers were always having blisters but our feet got used to callouses after a while.
Q: Which Great Lake do you like best?
A:I think Lake Superior was the one we really respected a lot in terms of it’s majestic length and coolness of the water. It was very nice. You couldn’t swim in it because it was so cold. Lake Huron is my home water and I really have a lot of personal attachment to the water there. I’m from Manitoulin Island and Georgian Bay was pristine waters when I was there.
Q: What was your worst experience?
A: Lake Erie was a place where we were called down. On the American side, people were driving by saying ‘Crazy indians’ when we walked through Detroit, it was really scary. When we got back (over the Ambassador Bridge) to Windsor my son said ‘it’s good to be back home.’
Q: You’ve mentioned the pollution. Did anything give you reason for hope?
A:Lake Michigan is a beautiful lake and it flows into Lake Superior and there’s hope that we can still keep our waters pristine if we keep the motor boats and the gas out and get back to canoes. Where there are motorized boats, you can see the oil and gas in the water.
Q: What else?
A: One of the nicest things about people though was when they knew we were coming, people would come and help us out, they’d have supper for us, or give us money for hotel rooms. When we crossed (into Windsor) there was a committee of people and stopped and said the church was open for us.
If you go:
What: Water Rights Festival at Museum London, includes several documentaries about water
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday (film times listed at http://waterrightsfilmfestival.wordpress.com/)
“They really promoted the waters as being our most powerful medicine on this planet and to honor our waters as such. In the teachings we were told to never place anything in the water that would destroy the energy and the teaching was that if we did our practices, ceremonial and otherwise, to enhance the frequency in the waters at source, that the frequency in the water would carry down off of the mountains, through the creek beds, through the river beds and to our lakes and then on to its mother, the ocean, and then get recycled again. So we needed to make the water as strong as possible so it could reach the ocean along its journey and so the energy in the water would produce energy for everything that drinks of the water including all the plants, the animals, the fish obviously, and us as humans.”
So says Marshall ‘Golden Eagle’ Jack, founder of Golden Eagle Ceremonies, a 501(c)3 non-profit company dedicated to impart knowledge to people of all cultures around the world, to introduce to them the Native American prophecies by providing healing ceremonies for all life forms that live on Mother Earth, and to educate the people on how to conduct sacred healing ceremonies for Mother Earth.
Considered a Spiritual Leader, Advisor, Ceremonial Leader and Healer, Marshall is a member of the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada. Born in Bishop, California, he was raised in a small community called Bridgeport, California, up in the high Sierras. Family history includes great-grandparents and grandparents who were medicine people and healers. Most of his lineage on the Paiute side is in and around the Mono Lake region including Yosemite and Lake Tahoe areas and Inyo Valley of the Bishop region. His great-grandfather was born in Damascus so he is of Lebanese descent on his mother’s side. Marshall is one of the few medicine people who carry the original teachings passed down through many generations of ancestors.
There is a flow to everything in the universe. A movement exists in the center of creation, vibrating like the ebb and flow of the tides of the oceans. The energy created by the Water Wheel is what brings thought form into manifestation. Water Wheels are activated by our thoughts, intentions, and clear quartz crystals to create an energy field, or vortex of consciousness, for energizing water. The more love and energy the Water Wheel receives from us, the more energy goes out to help our source waters from which all living things are fed.
A Water Wheel is the sacred geometry design based on a Native American medicine wheel. Its purpose is to energize, celebrate, and honor water. It is also a place to deepen our relationship with the spirit of water. This energy is created by walking clockwise (or deasil) around the center of the wheel and then walking counter-clockwise (or widdershins). This activates the energies to flow and creates a vortex or whirlpool effect. It emphasizes a grid using crystals to energize the water with thought-forms. In this way Water Wheels are a generator of the energy of our thoughts. In creating a Water Wheel, keep in mind all of the waters in your homelands.
Keep in mind where is the source water, where are the lakes, where are the dams, anything that intrudes into our water and bring that knowledge and intentions into the center of the Water Wheel structure. The center of the Water Wheel is what we call the Altar Area, a Crystalline Altar. We produce our energy, that is, our intention through the crystals used in the crystal altar and also place crystals that will work in the lands that hold that frequency that we have. We have a vortex ceremony with drums and songs to infuse our energy into that crystal altar in the center of the Water Wheel placing other crystals for the lands in the center altar.
Once the energy has been produced, we transfer that energy into the crystals of the lands which we call the ‘worker bees’. We then distribute these crystals to the people in those areas for their lands and ask them to go to their source waters and bring their intention not only as individuals but also as a group energy field, along with them to put that energy into the source water. We ask that, if possible, they follow the source water all the way down to where it enters into the ocean and place crystals along that gridline or tributary of that river. By doing the crystalline work it makes that river very, very powerful.
This is called ancient alchemy or geomancy. By doing this, we reintroduced our authority as humans on this Earth to do this kind of work for the enhancement of our waters. When we enhance our waters, we are enhancing everything that drinks of those waters automatically. So, in a nutshell that’s what the Water Wheel Ceremonies are about. We go into communities that are in need of the information.
A Water Wheel can be a personal altar in your home (Water Wheel Kit), or the design can be laid on the earth like a medicine wheel using corn meal, flowers, or stones. For more information and instructions on how to make your own Water Wheel, please see our website at www.goldeneagleceremonies.com. We welcome your involvement in helping to heal our waters and our relationship with water. Get involved – click here.
Here is a video of Marshall: CREATING A SACRED WATER WHEEL ALTAR