Area First Nations holding cross-county Water Walk

Shoreline of St, Clair River near Blue Water Bridge Aug. 2020 (BlackburnNews.com photo by Dave Dentinger)

Local First Nations are making a cross-county trek this weekend to raise awareness about the importance of clean drinking water.

Kettle & Stony Point, Aamjiwnaang, and Walpole Island First Nations will begin a Water Walk Saturday morning at sunrise and complete a second leg Sunday afternoon.

Organizer Stephen Saelens of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation at Manitoulin Island said all are welcome to attend.

“It’s not a protest, it’s just a prayer for the water and it’s also to raise awareness for the importance of water and the importance especially of clean water, seeing that we’re right in the middle of the largest freshwater basin in the world.”

Saelens said due to the pandemic, there’s been a void in cultural things going on across the three communities.

“I saw this as an opportunity to do something, and because it’s outside, it can easily be done within the COVID-19 restrictions.”

Saelens said it’s been a few years since a water walk took place in the Lambton County area.

“We’ll be walking along Lakeshore, we’re going to cut past the old Lamrecton campground for lunch on Egremont Road, and then we’ll be cutting back up to Lakeshore. We’re going to be keeping to the side of the road — we’ll have a vehicle behind us for our safety and to let traffic know that there’s a procession ahead of them.”

Saelens said they should be arriving at the Blue Water Bridge by around 4 p.m Saturday before carrying on to Aamjiwnaang for the night. The trek will continue at sunrise Sunday, heading south down St. Clair Parkway to Walpole Island.

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