On March, 22nd, 2019 the ‘Feasting the Forgotten Rivers’ water walk took place in Toronto, beginning at Evergreen Brickworks and ending at the Queens Quay harbour in honour of World Water Day. This water walk was led by traditional life practitioner, Dr. Debby Wilson Danard. On this walk, the intention was to find ways through water paths and life paths, uncovering and paying respect to the ancient waters in Toronto.
Around 10:00 am the walkers gathered at the Children’s garden at the Brickworks and Debby began with a territory acknowledgement and ceremonial collection of water from the Brickworks and sang the water song before the walk commenced. From there, everyone walked to Queen’s park which took about one hour.
Women took turns holding the copper pot and men took turns holding the eagle staff. After a quick break at Queen’s Park, Debby did a food offering. From there everyone walked to Daniel’s school of Architecture where another food offering was given and a traditional Anishnaabe story about the serpent was shared. From there everyone finally walked to Queen’s Quay where Debby returned the water gathered from the Brickworks into Lake Ontario, performed the final food offering with some closing words and recited a song, in honour of late Grandmother Josephine Mandamin (Iban).
Once the water walk concluded, people gathered at New College at University of Toronto, where the film “Water Warriors” was viewed and facilitated by Nicole Latulippe (Algonquin) who is a PhD and assistant professor in the Departments of Human Geography and Physical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough. People had a chance to eat, rest and share thoughts about the day and experience of participating in the water walk, while also facilitating discussion about the film.
Everyone respected the protocols while leading the way forward to honor the water. A big thanks to Debby Wilson Danard for leading the event and co-sponsors: Water Allies and the IEJ project for working together to make this event possible.
Blog written by: Nasreen Hussain