tansi, ka-pimotêt askiy iskwêw nitisiyihkâson, ohci niya paskwâwiyiniw, apihtawikosisan, nêwo- nakiwin, ostêsimâwasinahikan nikotwâsik nêhiyawaskiy ohci niya, maskwa nitotêm êkwa pêyak mitêhiwiniskwêw êkwa nîso mitêhiwin Minweyweywigaan Midewiwin Lodge, Baagwaanish Giiziibii ekwa Wiikwemkoong Mnidoo Mnising.
I am of nêhiyaw (Cree), Scottish-Metis, and mixed Bajan-Taino ancestry. I grew up with my mother’s nêhiyaw and Metis family in and around the nêhiyaw territories of wâskahikaniyiniwak (the House People): mistawâsis (Big Child) and atâhk-akohp (Star Blanket), as well as in the nêhiyaw-Metis territories of nêwo-nâkiwin (Mont Nebo) and Shellbrook in north central Saskatchewan. The traditional daughter of Dabaasanaquat, Low Cloud, Peter Atkinson, I am a second-degree Midewiwin woman from Minweyweywigaan Midewiwin Lodge in Roseau River First Nations, Manitoba and Wiikwemkoong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Asini-Kwe, Edna Manitowabi and Mizhakwanigiizhik, Charlie Nelson are our Ogimaa-Kwe and our Ogimaa. I belong to the Bear Clan. I am a Water Walker, kôhkom and an Aunty. These are the ties that bind me to my people, my lands, and my waters.
This site is dedicated to the Water and the movement of Water Walking. It combines both the creative final element of my PhD dissertation in Indigenous Studies titled Living Water: Walking Through Worlds with the activation of my own body as a Water Walker. If there are any errors, I take full responsibility for them.
When I first began my PhD, I wanted my work accessible to the public, particularly for my own Indigenous communities and people. Trent University’s Indigenous Studies PhD Program is unique in that it combines Indigenous knowledges, intellectual legacies, and experientially based learning, while situating students within opportunities to step outside of academia and into our own worlds as Indigenous people. The PhD Program provides an avenue to look for the doorways into those worlds; however, ultimately, it up to students as individuals to choose whether or not to step through them.
The first doorway I chose to step through was created by the late Gidigaa Migizi-Ba at the beginning of my PhD Journey. The opening he provided led me, literally, right into the Water where I discovered the Water could be both an Indigenous theory and a method; it was my first conscious meeting of the Water through an Indigenous lens. My relationship with the Water began in earnest when I had a visit from one of the Water Spirits in the Great Lakes known as Mishibiizhiw, subsequent to my experience generated by Gidigaa Migizi-Ba. Mishibiizhiw was seeking help on behalf of the Water. I bound myself to Mishibizhiiw and the Water with an offering. I didn’t fully know what kind of commitment I was actually making, but I have no regrets. With yet another doorway opened by this Water Mnidoo, I stepped through and joined Liz Osawamick, Shirley Williams, and Dorothy Taylor who invited me to Walk for Rice Lake in 2010 with Nibi Emosaawdamajig and the Sacred Water Circle. It was my first Water Walk. The late Josephine-Ba Mandamin was also present on that Walk and in subsequent years. I have Walked for the Water every year since then. A fourth doorway opened in 2014 when Liz invited me to Minweyweywiigaan Lodge’s Spring Initiation Ceremonies. I walked through and into the Mide Lodge in 2015 and my life dramatically changed for the better.
The Water, Mishibizhiiw, and the Midewiwin Lodge shifted my consciousness, heart, body, and Spirit. My academic scholarship has followed the same trajectory, cementing the importance of sharing pathways to help others find their own doors to miyo pimatisiwin or mino Bimaadiziwin. As part of the knowledge basket I carry, this website is my creative expression of my own activation as a Mide Kwe, a kôhkom, Water Walker, and an Indigenous grassroots academic dedicated to helping my Nation, other Indigenous Nations, the Lands, Waters, all future generations, and all of Creation.