Walking for Water Long Walkers Honored by Grand Rapids American Indian Community

Lookout Hill drum provided honor song for long walkers.

Published March 25, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids American Indian community came out to honor the long walkers from the Walking for Water walk on Thursday. The Walking for Water walk is a 250-mile walk from the Straits of Mackinac to Michigan’s State Capitol in Lansing where walkers want to deliver the message to state politicians to close down the Enbridge Line 5.

Built in 1953, Line 5 travels beneath the Straits of Mackinac, the body of water that separates Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas and Lake Michigan from Lake Huron. The two pipelines lie between 100 – 270 feet below the water surface and are separated by 1,000 feet.

Many Michigan Indian tribes and environmental groups are calling for Line 5 to be closed due to the risks involved in the pipeline that has outlived its life expectancy.

To bring attention to the risks of the pipeline, Walking for Waters walkers began their journey by foot at the Straits of Mackinac on February 25, 2019 and will end up in Lansing on March 29, with a event at the State Capitol on March 30.

Along the journey to Lansing, the long walkers have stopped at several towns and cities downstate where they meet with local community members to discuss the dangers of the Enbridge Line 5.

Nancy Gallardo

“We began our walk beneath the Mackinaw Bridge. Due to high winds, the bridge was closed that day,” says Nancy Gallardo, one of the long walkers. Gallardo, who was at Standing Rock as a water protector during the fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, feels it necessary to continue the fight for clean water in Michigan.

“Along the way, we met people who think Line 5 is too political and don’t want to get involved,” says Gallardo. “Then we meet people who are affected by the contaminated waterstreams. The walk is really about bring awareness to water isses.”

Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson offered the prayer for feast and walkers.

 

Sarah Jo Shomin (Ojibwe/Odawa) says “there is no excuse” to contaminate our water supply.

Cody Bigjohn, Jr. (Ojibwe/Odawa) is one of walkers who has been on all of the walk.

 

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