THUNDER BAY – Despite a bitter wind coming off Lake Superior more than 75 people gathered at the Spirit Garden at Prince Arthur’s Landing to celebrate an Idle No More Water Ceremony. The traditional First Nations Ceremony is held to honor water “which is life”.
The ceremony began with the traditional burning of cedar and sage for a smudging ceremony, a way to cleanse the body and mind of negativity, and the blessing of the offerings to thank the Creator for the food to be shared in the water ceremony led by Frieda McDonald and Elder Issabelle Mercier of Mishkeegamang First Nation.
The offerings were then shared to honor water for its power of life, while a woman’s song was sung because in Aboriginal culture woman are the water bearers. That means they are the keepers and protectors of water.
Following the ceremony there was a discussion about why people are concerned about the water and how the damage that has already been done can be restored.
Metis Nation of Ontario Senator Bob McKay spoke of when he was a boy living on an island not far from Thunder Bay, he told of a time when Lake Superior was not polluted and the water was clean and safe to drink without filtration.
The Idle No More water ceremony brought together a diverse group of people some of whom who had never participated in a Aboriginal ceremony before. It allowed those to experience and learn not only about the importance of water but also a little bit about First Nations culture and traditions as well.