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Water Walk to honor water resources

This year, distance participation is encouraged

BARAGA — The People of the Heart Water Walkers will host its second annual Water Walk to honor water resources from Oct. 10 to Oct. 12.

Water Walkers will walk nearly 90 miles through the Keweenaw Peninsula along Gichigami. The route this year will be reversed from the previous year, beginning at Sandpoint Lighthouse in Baraga, MI, and concluding at the Copper Harbor Lighthouse at Astor Shipwreck Park, Copper Harbor, MI.

This year, because of the rise in COVID cases in the region, distance participation is encouraged. A core group of walkers will undertake the main route. Others interested in doing this work for water may share their personal Water Walk experiences virtually through the group’s Facebook page @peopleoftheheart or through Google sites at https://sites.google.com/view/people-of-the-heartwater-walk.

The Water Walk is conducted through Anishinaabe ceremonial protocol with traditional understandings of the natural environment. Anishinaabekweg from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, will assist in the walk. In this work, women lead the ceremony carrying a copper vessel filled with nibi, the Anishinaabe word for water. The water continually moves through the 1842 ceded territory throughout the day beginning at sunrise and into the afternoon. An eagle staff is carried beside them as protector.

The conclusion of the three-day event coincides with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This annual day of celebration, which falls on Monday, Oct. 12, honors the peoples, histories, and cultures of Indigenous populations across the Americas.

Sponsors of the Walk include the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Campaign of Upper Michigan, the Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region, the Copper Harbor Improvement Association, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

People of the Heart Water Walkers joins those of all colors, faiths, and philosophies to work together for life’s most precious resource: nibi.

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