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Walkers carry water over 900 km from Sask. River system's source to raise awareness about pollution

Prince Albert -

Water taken from the source of the Saskatchewan River system is being carried over 900 kilometres across the Prairies to raise awareness about water security and pollution.

The Saskatchewan River Water Walk began in June. A group of eleven are participating in the Indigenous ceremonial water walk.

“The river is very sick and water is the only source of life that we all depend upon. It doesn't matter how old you are. It doesn't matter what culture you're from. We need that water to live,” said Tasha Beeds.

The water was taken from the base of glaciers in the Rocky Mountains and placed in a small copper pail. The water walkers then carry the water along the highways and roads near the North Saskatchewan River to generate interest in their journey and their conservation messages.

Beeds says the North Saskatchewan River was chosen to highlight the damage done to the watershed by the Husky Oil spill in 2016.

“It's concerning, we are just asking people to think about the water. Would you drink the water out of the Saskatchewan River? At one point, you could.”

She also wants people to consider their carbon footprint on the land and says climate change is having a negative impact on watersheds and land.

“We’ve seen extreme drought. We’ve seen extreme fires and we’re here to think about the future,” said Beeds.

She says farmers have given the walkers a great deal of support along their journey and share many of their same concerns.

People along the highways and communities along the way have joined the walk.

Paydahbin Aby came out to show her support for the water walkers while they were in Prince Albert.

“Water is life, and with the climate crisis that’s happening right now, with the world burning as it is, praying for the water and doing water ceremonies is really important,” said Aby.

The walkers reached their destination for the 2021 leg of the walk on Sunday at the Saskatchewan River Forks east of Prince Albert. There, they returned the water from the copper vessel to the river system and concluded their journey with a private ceremony.

“Until it directly impacts people they tend to have an apathetic attitude,” said Beed. She says walkers have noted a lot of a lot of garbage dumped in the river and on the land surrounding the river.

The group will return to the Saskatchewan River Forks in 2022 and continue the walk for the Saskatchewan River system for the next three years.

Beeds is a former university professor and has been a traditional water carrier for 11 years and has walked over 7,000 km. Her journeys have included the Great Lakes, Kawartha Lakes and Otonabee River in Ontario.

She was mentored by the late Josephine Henrietta Mandamin, an Anishinaabe water rights advocate and Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner.

Mandamin walked around the Great Lakes from 2003 to 2017 to bring awareness to pollution and environmental degradation. Top Stories

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