A group, led by Indigenous Grassroots Grandmothers, that is walking from Nova Scotia to Maine to protect waters and raise awareness of the effects of climate change are making their way through New Brunswick.
The Wabanaki Water Walkers left Fort Ellis, N.S. May 20 and are hoping to arrive in Passadumkeag, Maine, July 11.
The ceremonial walk is a way to protect the water and raise awareness of global climate concerns.
“Many people now have awakened to the crisis that our Mother Earth is in, and the sacredness of water,” says Dorene Bernard, a Grassroots Grandmother and water protector.
The main group of walkers consists of Bernard, Mike Nadjiwon and Justine Kerr.
They carry a pail filled with water from many locations around the world.
Nadjiwon, who came from Ontario to make sure Bernard had an Eagle staff, realized there were no men taking part in the route and wanted to provide his support.
“We hear the women kind of saying the same thing, voicing what the earth is voicing, voicing what the whales are voicing, what the fish are voicing, what the trees are voicing,” he says. “They’ve had enough.”
It’s a long road that the walkers are helping each other and rotating roles.
Kerr says she’s been able to connect with herself and spirits along the way as part of the powerful journey.
“I’m starting to see more clearly what’s really out there,” she says. “I’m feeling that water and I’m praying and I’m singing.”
Bernard says the Alton Gas project and Northern Pulp effluent concerns in Pictou Co., N.S., are two environmental concerns. They’re also paying attention to the recently-announced lifting of the fracking moratorium in the Sussex region and activity at the Sisson mine in central New Brunswick.
“Following the (United Nations) declaration, they are supposed to consult with the Indigenous people,” Bernard says.
The group was joined by another activist who is also hoping to raise awareness about climate issues.
Jill Carr-Harris has lived in India, and will take part in a global campaign – and a 10,000-kilometre march – to try to preserve land, forests and water.
She says those taking part in Jai Jagat 2020 have similar feelings as those taking part in the Wabanaki Water Walk.
“Many of our people are raising similar issues, and want to walk those issues to Geneva to where the UN is,” Carr-Harris says. “We feel that the way that world development is going, many people are left invisible.”