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Building Bridges

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Hello – Tansi

Lysette Neckoway

My name is Lysette Neckoway and I come from the treaty 5 territory in northern Manitoba, the Nisichawayshik Cree Nation to be exact. It is important you know where I come from in order to proceed with the story I am about to tell; it’s about building bridges. My intention is to explore the reality in which I live; one that allows me to interconnect with the world around me.

The land is an important aspect of who I am and it is important that we begin to make sustainable environmental changes. The lakes surrounding my community used to be fresh and pure no less than 40 years ago. I am 27 – this isn’t much of a time difference. How can we collectively work together to create and establish effective environmental changes to ensure the future? This is a very complex question to ask and this is one of many reasons I would like to explore this topic with you.

Josephine Mandamin

Indigenous peoples throughout Canada have established and sustained environmentally friendly ways of living with the land, stemming from a deep respect for the earth. When I close my eyes and imagine “home” I see the beautiful and endless tree line, rough and rugged as the territory in which I come from. The area surrounding my community is filled with vast water systems that interconnect with one another. I think it is important we protect the water and the eco systems, which depend on the vast waterways that connect us.

The waterways in which we are interconnected have brought us women who have begun to heal the waters. This may not make sense to some, but the work that the late Josephine Mandamin has done impacted not only me, but also thousands of others. Josephine Mandamin is an Indigenous woman who cared for the Great Lakes, and walked around 5 of them.

Autumn Peltier. Photo creditLinda Roy of Ireva Photography

Autumn Peltier is niece of the late water walker Josephine. She has picked up her late aunt’s water walks and is the next generation of water protectors; I believe this is important in 2022 in Canada as we all need water to survive. Water is life. Without water, life on earth would cease to exist. This means protecting the waters and land for our future generations is crucial, and should be a concern of all Canadians.

These women are Anishinaabe from the Ontario regions of Canada. Their work in protecting the water stems from teachings passed down since time immemorial and will continue long after we have left this earth.

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Lysette Neckoway

ysette Neckoway is from the Nisichawayshik Cree Nation, located in the treaty 5 territory of northern Manitoba. Currently residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Lysette attends the University of Saskatchewan where she is working to obtain her 3-year B.A in indigenous studies, after which she plans on working towards her law degree. She is the mother of two boys ages 2 and 12 and in her spare time she enjoys creative writing, beading and reading.

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