Ontario Regional Chief Day – The Women Walk for Water It is a Message of Respecting Life

Waasayaa putting tobacco in the water in Serpent River
Waasayaa putting tobacco in the water in Serpent River

Waasayaa putting tobacco in the water in Serpent River
Waasayaa putting tobacco in the water in Serpent River

TIMMINS – A group of Anishinaabe women from Treaty 3 are walking a 125km trek from Eagle Lake First Nation to Shoal Lake First Nation to express their concern for water safety and sustainability.

The trek, even though not aimed at the signing of a “engagement” agreement between Treaty 3 and TransCanada, is a walk that is primarily being done due to concerns about the proposal to convert a natural gas pipeline into infrastructure that will transport oil east from the Alberta tar-sands.

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini has two perspectives on this.

First, Chief Day says, “It is the Anishinabe way that when the women speak about the water and the sacredness of the life that water supports; the message must be received with the utmost respect and sanctity; I support the concerns being raised, and think that it is important for First Nations not to get detracted from our traditional values that we stand firmly upon, when it comes to the environment.”

Secondly, Regional Chief Day states, “in the grand picture of environmental ‘cost-impact,’ pipelines and the fossil fuel industry doesn’t weigh in our favour today and certainly doesn’t factor into to protecting the future for our children. The carbon footprint and the rate of climate change is a staggering combination that clearly is not worth the risk and real impacts that cannot be denied.”

As the Ontario Regional Chief, Isadore Day says that he cannot infringe upon any regions process or proposed approach to engagement – The Regional Chief for Ontario, acknowledges the decisions of Treaty 3 Grand Council.

Chief Day says that he doesn’t have the same respect for the divisive manner in which both the federal government and industry are approaching the First Nations whose lands are going to be affected by the approval of such a development. Day says that he cannot imagine what anyone can ever say in defence of spilled oil that destroys an eco-system and affects both the environment and human health.

“As with any infrastructure that is contiguous in nature, the ‘buy-in’ from one end to the other is an exclusive sell that must be achieved with everyone. I’m not so sure its going to be that easy for this project to obtain full support that it needs from all First Nations,” concludes Chief Day.