Manitoba Waterwalk Updates - 1998

[Cross Canada Waterwalk 1998]     [Waterwalk main page]


August 26th - WaterWalk leaves Winnipeg; will be north of Kenora on August 22nd-23rd
August 17th - more on Winnipeg and upcoming plans
August 13th - email from Eloise in Winnipeg
August 10th - walk across Winnipeg; upcoming plans
August 4th - e-mail from Waterwalk covering July 25th to August 4th (Eloise meets Bear Grandfather)
July 28th - followup email from Devin Crawley of the Virden-Empire Advance
July 27th - email from Devin Crawley of the Virden-Empire Advance re: Karin Roberts email of July 25th
July 25th - Waterwalk email from Virden, Manitoba

posted: August 26, 1998
source: rewrite of phone message from Eloise in Winnipeg

WaterWalk is planning to arrive in Ottawa during the first week of October in order to participate in four days of ceremony with native elders to be held at the back of the Parliament Buildings on Victoria Island.

WaterWalk's stay in Winnipeg extended to August 21st, although the walk itself had reached a point east of the city. Plans are to spend the weekend of August 22nd-23rd north of Kenora at a native gathering at Grassy Narrows, where Eloise will speak. Julie DeSilva will be their host.

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posted: August 17, 1998
source: email from Karin in Winnipeg

Thursday, August 13th

Eloise and Karin travelled north to the Sagkeeng Reserve at the invitation of Clem Courchene. This kind-hearted Anishnaabe man took us out for lunch and then to a sacred place on the Black River. Eloise will describe this location when she writes her update. We then drove to the Health Centre and spoke to Gerald Courchene who is the director. We had a lengthy discussion about the chemicals in the water and their effect on the people in the community. We will write more on this also. We later attended a sweat lodge ceremony and Emma went into the sweat with her Mom and Karin. Eloise talked with Red Cloud, the elder from the lodge and was given blessings and teachings. We all returned tired but fulfilled and a bit awestruck by the power of the experiences of the day.

Friday, August 14th

Eloise woke up early to call Radio Canada. After 20 minutes of searching for her contact, she discovered that Karin (forgetting about the time change) had told her to call two hours too early. Eloise was ready to ring her neck... Eloise did her interview on Radio-Canada (Vcr) at 9:50. Then, we all raced down to the Radio-Canada (Wpg) at 11:00. Finally, we travelled back home for an interview with the Winnipeg Sun. Eloise is impressing very many people and it's beautiful to watch others open up around her.

Saturday, August 15th

Today we spoke a the National Green Party Convention. All of those gathered listened as Eloise spoke of her purpose and shared her wisdom. The audience stood on their feets and applauded Eloise. I was reminded of Eloise's court appearance when all stood and applauded when she and Jack entered the courtroom. A demonstration of well-earned respect and admiration.

Kerry spoke well and finished his speech quoting Jonathon Tree Spirit "WATER you going to do?" Although nervous, I felt happy with my words and I sang a couple of chants. After our speeches many people came out to the car to sign it and we left with donations in the amount of $175. We were very grateful for the help and immediately drove to the organic food store and replenished our supplies.

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posted: August 13, 1998
source: email from Eloise in Winnipeg

...After our interview with Grassroots News, we got a call from the editor, Bruce Spence. He invited us to an Anishnaabe sweat lodge ceremony on the Sageen (sp?) Reserve. The sweat was lead by Fabian and ThunderBear. It was a powerful and supportive experience. I received a message from the Grandfathers and now will carry a ceremonial cloth till journey's end. Thursday, we are returning to the reserve to be escorted to a most sacred place at the heart of Turtle Island. We felt very much at home with all the people there.

They spoke to us about being in Ottawa in the first of October and doing a ceremony behind the legislature where I was planning to be. So we will synchronize our efforts. We met Mary Star who went to jail for two months. She called the queen whose staff hung up on her when she told them she wants to replace Her Royal Highness as the Queen of Canada on our coins and bills stating after all she doesn't even live here. Gary Raven who also attended the sweat is fighting logging in the Pine Falls area and has offered to share his teachings of the Water Ceremony.

Today, I had an interview with Radio-Canada. Friday we have three more interviews (paper and radio). I speak at the National Green Party convention on Saturday at noon. I've got 45 minutes to talk...

We're planning to head out on Monday. We'll send you more info on the past events. Just wanted to fill you in on the latest... Stay tuned for the next publication.

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posted: August 10, 1998
source: phonecall from Eloise in Winnipeg

WaterWalk, joined by Bear Grandfather and a number of children, crossed Winnipeg as planned on Saturday, August 8th. Eloise and Bear Grandfather conducted a ceremony at the statue of Louis Riel, and in the evening "wove the waters" at the Forks, where the Assiniboine River meets the Red River.

Karin Roberts is now leaving WaterWalk, as scheduled. Eloise and Kerry will start walking east from Winnipeg this week, and will drive back to Winnipeg in the FlowMobile to attend the Green Party National Convention next weekend, where Eloise is scheduled to speak.

Bear Grandfather will soon head west towards Regina, Saskatchewan.

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posted: August 4th, 1998
source: e-mail from WaterWalk

Saturday, July 25:

Karin and Kerry left Moosemin and crossed the Saskatchewan - Manitoba border on this day. Kerry arranged an excellent campsite 6 kms into Manitoba at a Tourist Information Centre. Parked at the information centre, we met tourists from all parts of Canada and were able to inform many about the water issues. We learned a great deal about other Canadian's concerns and shared ours. We also met a Japanese man who was biking across Canada. He gave us two Snicker bars in exchange for his signature on the car. He wrote a beautiful message on the car in Chinese symbols: "For the world; for the people; for the water; for every path you walk." His nickname was Tash and he told us about the Pow Wow near Portage la Prairie.

Sunday, July 26:

Karin and Kerry walked to Brandon from close to the Manitoba border. When they arrived in Brandon, Karin went to the local YWCA residence to request free accomodation. We met Joel and William at the Y and were invited to Joel's place for supper. Unable to provide Karin a bed without charge, the staff at the Y provided a church contact. Karin and Kerry attended a church service and were provided with a place to sleep for the night.

Monday, July 27:

Kerry and Karin made contacts with people in Brandon. They spoke to many young people outside of Timothy McBeans and had interested individuals sign the car. Kerry also contracted to make jewelry for a local store. Later that day, Kerry and Karin set up camp at the Curran Park campsite just north of Brandon.

Tuesday, July 28:

Kerry made hemp jewelry by the side of the road and both he and Karin spoke to curious passers-by. Many people stopped to talk with us because they noticed the car. Karin had a lengthy discussion with an 88 year old woman by the name of Ann Faucett who was very well-informed about the environmental concerns facing Canadians. Before Karin had a chance to tell Ann where she was from, Ann told Karin about the detrimental effects of clear-cut logging. She had plans to write the premier of BC and try to talk some sense into him! Ann also informed us as did many others that the greatest concern of Brandon's residents was the projected building of a hog plant upstream from the city. She told us that they were planning to kill 5000 swine a day. We also learned about pharmaceutical companies putting P.M.U. in the rivers. Later Karin made calls to local press and a local TV station to arrange media coverage for when Eloise arrived in Brandon.

Wednesday, July 29:

Kerry and Karin spent the morning at the campsite. They found out that the Wheat Pool was having a barbeque for the farmers to thank them. Karin pulled out her guitar and wondered into the middle of the event. After a few songs which were enjoyed by the attendees, an organizer walked up to Karin to ask who she was. After a short discussion, she asked Karin to leave. Maybe the farmers were enjoying themselves too much!! Kerry spoke to another organizer who indicated that the farmers are being forced to go organic because their wheat is dying due to the overuse of pesticides and chemicals on their fields.

Later that day, Kerry spent time with Bob and other people he had met at Bob's Headquarters in Brandon. Karin met with and spoke to Andy, a kind physically challenged man who lived in the penthouse of the tallest building in Brandon. It was a day off in some respects because we had hoped to be heading out that day and were delayed. Kerry continued to make hemp jewelry which was very well-received by the staff and customers of Bob's store.

Thursday, July 30:

Kerry and Karin were waiting in Brandon for Eloise to arrive. Worried, Kerry called Barra who told him that Eloise had called looking for them last night. Kerry rushed out to the Rosser Avenue, the main street in Brandon and hung out on the corner while Karin packed up and said good-bye to her host, Andy. Karin picked up the car and drove to the main street and parked it. A few minutes later, Karin heard Eloise calling from a VW van. Reunited at long last!! Eloise, Karin and Kerry walked east of Brandon towards Portage la Prairie.

In the later afternoon, the three were making sandwiches by the side of the road when a police car stopped. The officer stepped out of the car and asked us if someone from our group had been walking with a sandwich board over their body. Eloise told the officer that at different points we all carried the board. He wanted to know specifically WHO had been wearing the sandwich board about 20 minutes ago. Karin confessed that she had been wearing it. He then told us the police station had received a report that the person wearing the board was nude underneath. We all laughed and Eloise said "Karin doesn't even like to pee by the side of the road!" The officer relaxed and warned us to be very cautious because many people drink and drive on the long weekend. We agreed to be careful. We laughed good and hard about that one!!

Friday, July 31:

Eloise, Karin and Kerry spent the day in Winnipeg. Karin accessed her e-mail and Eloise and Kerry went with Danny, Pasang's father, to see and plan the route for the WaterWalk through Winnipeg on Saturday, August 8th. It was decided that we would start at Grant's Old Mill on Sturgeon Creek at 10 a.m. and walk along Portage. We will then have a water weaving ceremony at the Louis Riel Statue behind the Legislature at 3 p.m. and another ceremony at the Forks at 7:00 that evening. Karin prepared a press release and e-mailed it to the Winnipeg Free Press.

Saturday, August 1:

Eloise, Emma, Sara, Pasang and Karin drove to just west of Portage la Prairie to attend the Long Plain Pow Wow. They set up camp and attended the dance competition. This was the first Pow Wow for everyone except Karin. The outfits worn by the various Nations were outstanding with brilliant colours and a variety of feathers, bones and beadwork. Eloise approached the Grand Stand to see if she could speak to the people gathered and was told that another person - a man - had already spoken to them about the same issues and was scheduled to speak that evening. Eloise was confused and decided to wait to hear this other person speak. When no one else spoke, we wondered if the security guard from the night before had planned to speak briefly on our behalf.

Sunday, August 2:

Eloise et al walked from west of Portage la Prairie to a few miles outside of the city and then returned to the POW WOW. Eloise, Emma, and Karin danced during the Inter-tribal dances. Pasang wanted Karin to buy him an outfit so he could dance, too. In the afternoon, Eloise and Karin met with Grant Woods, a Sioux elder, to discuss the contamination of the pure water sources. He is sympathetic and suggests people for us to speak with.

Later in the evening, everyone returned to the dances and Karin found herself sitting next to Angela from the Ojibway Nation. Shortly into the discussion, Angela told Karin that she was hosting a man who was also walking across Canada to raise awareness about water issues. To the amazement of everyone, it was none other than Bear Grandfather! At 11:45 p.m., Eloise and Karin followed Angela to her home in Portage La Prairie and met Bear Grandfather. Needless to say we got very little sleep that night. Bear Grandfather told us that he had just that day prayed to connect with the white race to help him get his message out and that his elders had told him he needed to return to Winnipeg to do more networking. He decided that he would walk with Eloise on the walk planned for August 8th in Winnipeg. Great Spirit is once again working magically for the good of the whole! And because Bear Grandfather had not spoken the night before, we had met him at the very last moment possible.

Monday, August 3:

Eloise's Nepalese daughter Sara and her delightful three-year-old son Pasang, Karin and Emma accompany Eloise to Angela's home to speak with Bear Grandfather. Pat and her son Matthew arrived Monday from Texas. All of us are staying at Sara's place. Thank goodness she has a large home!

Tuesday, August 4:

The car is overheating and needs fluid in the radiator. Eloise and Bear Grandfather drove to Portage La Prairie for a radio interview on water issues. Kerry, Pat and Matthew accompanied them and later they will walk east from Portage towards Winnipeg. Karin stayed behind to make contacts with environmental organizations and media.

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posted: July 28, 1998
source: email from Devin Crawley of the Virden Empire-Advance

Further to: Virden's water"

I didn't mean to sound like too much of an old crank; I just thought it's important to give credit where credit is due when it comes to water quality. The fact that Virden is such a small town and still managed to install a water treatment plant (with the help of the provincial and federal governments) should be seen as a positive development. Karin herself said that not every story she's come across on the subject of water is a horror story.



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posted: July 27, 1998
source: email from Devin Crawley of the Virden Empire-Advance


I am Devin Crawley, the reporter from the Virden Empire-Advance who interviewed Karin and Kerry on Friday, July 24. I just wanted to respond to two things Karin wrote in her email update.

In speaking about the water treatment plant here, I mentioned that the cost of water is going up, because of the higher cost to produce treated, as opposed to untreated water. The water treatment plant has resulted in no direct tax increase so far. Also, I said the plant has only been in operation a few months, and has not been fully calibrated yet. I didn't say residents are still unhappy with the water, although some are. The Town went to great pains over nearly 20 years to have the water treatment plant installed. It's probably a good thing that they did so.



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posted: July 25, 1998
source: email from Karin Roberts of WaterWalk in Virden, Manitoba

Kerry and I are in Virden, Manitoba. I was able to find us a complimentary hotel room at the Central in downtown Virden (the second most beautiful town in the world!!). We had fun in Moosomin a couple of days ago. The local newspaper man, Kevin, opened his home to us and Kerry got to watch his first video in a long while. I sang in the local Country Esquire and passed a hat around. We got $70.! The owner of the Squire, Diane, gave us complimentary meals and we felt royally spoiled.

...As in Moosomin, the reporter here at the Advance came and took our picture and interviewed us. He told us that Virden has a new water treatment centre funded in partnership with federal and provincial governments. The town people will have to pay more taxes and they're still not satisfied with the water quality.

We plan to go half way to Brandon today and to arrive in Brandon on Sunday...

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