Mi’kmaq Walk for the Water starts September 16, 9 am: at the Kouchibouguac River and Hwy 11

Starting September 16 and continuing to September 24, walkers concerned about protecting the water will cover a distance of almost 80 kilometers in central Kent County, New Brunswick, crossing thirty rivers, streams, wetlands (swamps), and ponds. The route is shown on this map.

Overleaf is more logistical information, including details on daily stop/start locations.

The organizing group is Kopit Lodge at Elsipogtog First Nation (EFN). “Kopit” means “beaver” and the mission of the Lodge is to protect the water. EFN has mandated Kopit Lodge with the responsibility to speak for the community on industrial proposals and protection of the environment.

In Mi’kmaq culture, women have special responsibilities to care for the water. Serena Francis, a retired educator and a founding member of Kopit Lodge, says she is “simply fulfilling my responsibility as a protector of water. Water is my life blood. It connects my ancestors with my children. Water ways give me peace when my life is in turmoil. By organizing this Walk I feel Creation will know I have not forgotten my responsibilities to the water.”

The Walk is supported by the Kent County NB Chapter of the Council of Canadians. Chapter chairperson Ann Pohl says, “When we were protecting our area from getting fracked, we saw how strong we can be when we all stand together. It was a tough fight, and I hope walking together will re-energize people. We are on the verge of bringing our planet earth to an ecoapocalypse. It is so important it is to take action for the sake of all life, and water is life.”

This is the second Walk for the Water in Mi’kma’ki in 2016. There are seven districts in Mi’kma’ki, which cover from Cape Breton to the Gaspe peninsula, including Prince Edward Island. The June 2016 walk was in Sipekne’katik District, in central/west Nova Scotia. Organizers hope to have a Walk for the Water in each district in coming months.

Dorene Bernard will be a honoured guest on September 16th, the first day of this walk in Sikniktuk District, which includes Kent County. Ms. Bernard initiated these Water Walks in Mi’kma’ki, which has never been ceded. She has been centrally involved in a grassroots campaign to protect the Shubenacadie and Stewiacke rivers from the harm of concentrated salt brine. Alton Gas plans to clean out and repurpose salt caverns, in order to have a storage area for their excess fracked gas.

Mi’kmaq opposition to the Alton Gas plan has been gaining momentum in recent weeks.

Walk-Map


LOGISTICAL DETAILS FOR KOPIT LODGE’S WALK FOR THE WATER

Friday September 16th, and each morning after that up to the 24th, we will gather at 9 am to walk. The points of assembly are shown on the map, but here is more information:

  • Friday 16: Kouchibouguac River where it crosses 134/11 near the Park, in the church parking lot
  • Saturday 17: at the bridge over the Kouchibouguacis River in Saint Louis-de-Kent
  • Sunday 18: where Rte 134 crosses the St. Charles River
  • Monday 19: at the water by the Tim Hortons in Richibucto, right near the ramp onto the Hwy 11
  • Tuesday 20: outside Rexton, going south/west on Rte 495
  • Wednesday 21: near junction of Rte’s 470 and 510 in Mundleville
  • Thursday 22: in Targettville on Rte 510, a ways east of the Targettville Rec Centre
  • Friday 23: Brownsyard Bridge, on Rte. 490, where it crosses the Main (Richibucto) River (near Fords Mills and Bass River)
  • Saturday 24: Bass River Point Rd near Shipyard Lane (just 5.5 km to bridge over River on Graham Road — then we are off to a feast in the community)

Everyone is welcome to join the small core group who are committed to completing the Walk. People from the area as well as surrounding provinces are already planning to take part.

We are walking for 9 days, an average of 7.5 km each day. We will be stopping at all of the 30 streams, ponds, rivers and wetlands we cross. A Walker will offer a prayer or a reflection at each waterway, in Respect and Gratitude to the Water. Walkers are also invited to collect and label a small vial of water from a natural water source you love and respect, so we can add it to the Ceremonial Copper Water Pot.

When we arrive at our stop for each day, we will post a sign like this one.walk-for-the-water

This will show our start point for the next day.

More info is on this FB page.

We need to realize how important it is to take action to preserve our world. We need to realize how important it is to take action to preserve our world. We need to realize how important it is to take action to preserve our world.


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