Sharon Day, Nibi Walk: Ohio River Water Walk

An Ojibwe elder, Sharon Day is leading the Ohio River Water (Nibi) Walk starting on April 22, 2014.  This walking prayer brings together a group of Indigenous Women and their allies, carrying a ceremonial copper water vessel 966 miles from Pittsburgh, PA to Cairo, IL where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi River. Their motto is “Every Step is A Prayer.”

The Ohio River Walk is aimed at drawing attention to the perils facing the Ohio River, the most polluted river in America, and encourage all people to care for and protect Nibi (water), the essence of life.

The Water Walks come out of an indigenous spiritual practice of making an offering for the water, gathering the water, and singing songs and reciting petitions to the water. Sharon believes, “Today we’re missing a spirit connection to the water because all we have to do is turn on a faucet. They are just products that we consume, as opposed to life-giving forces. We must change this idea of water as a commodity. We need to care for the water instead of merely use it.”

As Sharon and her Indigenous sisters walk from town to town along the river, they will raise awareness through local outreach to community members, educational gatherings, media. They hope to awaken a wider ecological consciousness rooted in recognizing water’s gift of life by demonstrating their love and respect for the source gift.

The funds from The Pollination Project will be used to provide materials to support the walkers on their journey. For more information on the Ohio River Water Walk, check out the Nibi Walk website and follow them on Facebook.