There is no single effort that can write a new story for the Great Lakes. It will take a bundle of ideas and action to move from a 'resource' story that manages water between colonial borders towards a 'source of life' story with water cared for as a relative by great ancestors.

We are in the process of gathering a set of useful gifts that can honour this new story. If you have articles, videos, workshop outlines, curriculum plans, campaign examples, ceremony protocols, language and literacy resources, skill-building methods, legal strategies, and nourishment for our heads, hearts, and hands -- then please get in touch. We will organize and share these gifts here in the coming months. 

To help further this change in the Great Lakes story, we are offering several tools that can aid communities and individuals in their work and bring the Great Lakes Commons Charter to life. Launching in late February. Sign up for email notification.

Great Lakes Commons Glossary

We have a cause, now let’s look at what it means to be a Great Lakes Commons. What does it mean to be a commoner? What are our principles? This Glossary will explain how to define Great Lakes Commons work.

Great Lakes Water Governance Fact Sheets

This practical guide will explain how the Great Lakes waters are currently managed. It will look at the regulatory system, players, and key laws that impact Great Lakes waters. Included will be introductions to Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee clan governance systems. These will be a comprehensive and an accessible guides on this complex and daunting watershed. 

Workshop Outlines

These workshop outlines will include resource and process notes. Topics include: improvisation to reclaim the body from colonial and commercialized enclosure; lessons of media making as a tool for reclaiming our shared stories for commoning; and practicing various forms of water-care. These are for people of all ages.

Plastics in the Great Lakes Commons

This action kit that connects people throughout the basin with data, resources, stories, and action steps. Unlike other resources on this topic, this kit will have a bioregional focus connect bodies to water bodies and will advance several commons principles.

Community Leadership

Best practices and examples for supporting new water leadership locally. How to reconnect people to their water cycle and the decision making processes and patterns that matter.

Message in a Bottle

A framework for water-commoning using the problems of bottled water and the community, ethical, legal, and consumer practices for fighting for accessible and safe drinking water. 


The Commission For Environmental Cooperation's North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action program has provided the funding for this project.

Photo: Sinéad Ó Raifeartaigh

Photo: Sinéad Ó Raifeartaigh