Join Our Living Great Lakes Journey

Respecting water as “life” is not just a teaching, but a practice. Great Lakes protection  assumes the waters belong to us like property, sometimes even shared property, but we can see and feel the suicidal limits of this habit.

 What can emerge when we practice belonging to the Great Lakes?

This October 11-13, a small group of people will practice water governance that starts with the questions: “who is this water body, how does it provide for us, what do they need from us?”

This Living Great Lakes journey has been travelling in the hearts, minds, and steps of Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee water protectors and is welcoming all nations this fall to the banks of the Grand River, near Cambridge Ontario.

In the days leading up to the event, people will prepare a personal water acknowledgment that reflects on the questions above. Each participant will be a water delegate and act on behalf of the particular waterbody that nourishes them (river, lake, aquifer, etc). We see this fall gathering as another important step in activating water’s agency and connecting waterbodies across political boundaries and across water issues. Supportive meetings and materials will be shared ahead of time. 

Join us online or over the phone on Tuesday, September 10th (4-6pm ET) for a ‘Getting Ready: Living Great Lakes Meet & Greet’ event to connect with one another and to participate in the development of the October gathering. RSVP here.

Our 25 person gathering is intentionally small so we can build trusting and lasting relationships for the sacred and shared work ahead. We will create space for critical discussion, ceremony, and art-based practices that collectively reflect on and shift the rules for reciprocal water authority. Departing from current governance frameworks, this Living Great Lakes journey is non-human centred, Indigenous led, and ally supported.

 We will guide our work along these 8 principles until new possibilities emerge: 

  1. The most respectful form of water governance is helping water govern itself.

  2. We are water and so we must be the agents of water helping itself.

  3. The Great Lakes are one-interconnected body of water and so our effort must also be bio-regional, bio-logical, and bio-creative.

  4. Our life, wisdom, identity, and livelihood come from the waters and to honour this gift we must reciprocate through water protection and multi-stakeholder collaboration. 

  5. Water is sacred and so water governance must include sacred ceremony.

  6. Canada and USA are settler-states and have enclosed this water commons with capitalist and colonial rules and values. While these actions have disconnected us from the waters, we will protect them from further pollution, privatization, and transformation into a resource. 

  7. Indigenous nations, (such as the Anishinabek and member nations within the Haudenosaunee Confederacy), are the inherent leaders and water protectors for this region and with the support of non-native residents, an emergent power and vision for Great Lakes governance will be seeded. 

  8. We recognize that we will only succeed in transforming the health of our waters and ourselves if we center decolonization and anti-racism in our personal and collective practices.

Does this invitation activate your inner-waters?

Do you have the capacity to carry this work along its Great Lakes journey?

If you would like to attend in person, please let us know through this form. Travel support available with both food and accommodation provided.

If you would like to support this journey in any other way, please let us know through this form.