2ND ANNUAL WOMEN AND WATER COMING TOGETHER SYMPOSIUM

Scheduled for July 29th to August 2nd, 2018

at the Abiinooji - Aki  Cultural  Healing Center on the  Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation near Hayward, WI.

 

 Presenters and Biographies

 

 

PAT McCABE

  WINON

    LaDUKE

 

 

 

Winona LaDuke is a world renowned indigenous rights activist, environmentalist, economist, and author.  She lives on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is a two time vice presidential candidate for Ralph Nader on the Green Party_ticket.  A Harvard graduate, she is known as a voice for Native American rights and economic and environmental concerns across the globe.  To this end, she has helped develop such organizations as Honor the Earth, the White Earth Land Recovery Project, and the Indigenous Women’s Network.  She was involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and continues to be a leader on such issues as climate change, renewable energy, environmental justice, culturally based sustainable development, and food systems.   She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, named Ms.Woman of the Year, and nominated by Time magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders.

LaDuke’s storytelling reflects many aspects of traditional Anishinaabe culture, including a sustenance lifestyle and the importance of community, ceremony and respect for all things.  She also believes that if a people do not have control of their land, they do not control their destiny.  Underpinning much of her work is her belief in the Anishinaabe prophecy that their people are living through an age which asks them to choose whether to continue treading on “the scorched path” they have thus far pursued, or, conversely, choosing “the green path”.  For her, the green path is a post-petroleum, land-based economy which has moved on from fossil fuels and plastic, and instead focuses on a harmonious intergenerational and interspecies co-existence.



PAT McCABE

 

 

Pat McCabe, known as Woman Stands Shining, is a Dine’ (Navaho) Grandmother, Holy Surface Walker, Life-Bringer, and Life-Bearer, dedicated to upholding the deep Honor of Being Human Being, in service to the Holy Hoop of Life.  She hopes her work through song, story, art, visioning, ceremony, and inquiry can bring about global healing by fostering a commitment to create a Global community which reveres planetary well-being and the remembering of joyous and harmonious existence for all life on Mother Earth.  

What I want to do is bring people to places that human beings have visited for millennia. Mountains, valleys, water—especially water—I am such a water woman. I want to give a lot of teaching about how profound the water is. The water is really important. Water travels and has the ability to amplify our prayers and intentions. When we pray into the waters, they (prayers) travel; and I always think about them traveling through the clouds, and through the underground rivers. Every time we pray into the water it goes everywhere from the Andes mountains and the Amazon river too”, they say.

 

Her goal is that all peoples of earth "can learn from indigenous experience and remember themselves and their own birth-right relationship with this Mother Earth".



 JOSEPHINE MANDAMIN

JOSEPHINE        MANDAMIN

 

 

Grandmother Josephine Mandamin is a member of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge and founder of the annual Women’s Water Walk in 2003.  Since then, Josephine has walked more than 12,000 miles around all of the Great Lakes and other bodies of water to raise awareness of the Sacredness of water and the poor state of this precious resource due to pollution, fracking, lax laws, and apathy.  Told by a Chief in her Lodge that in 30 years an ounce of water will cost as much as an ounce of gold if we continue with our negligence, she started The Water Walk to change this outcome.

Says Grandmother Josephine, “I want to raise the collective consciousness of people about the water.  As a child I knew that water could feel, water could sense, water could hear what you’re saying to it and could carry your messages.  There is spirit in the water that we really have to pay attention to, it can really, really, speak to us.  Some songs come to us through the water.  We could learn from the traditional aboriginal view of water as a living thing that deserves to be respected rather than as a commodity that needs to be managed.  We have to understand that water is very special and precious”.

“In Anishinaabe culture, women are given the responsibility to take care of the water.  The water of Mother Earth, she carries life to us, and as women we carry life through our bodies. We as women are life-givers, protectors of the water, and that’s why we are very inclined to give mother earth the respect that she needs for the water. That’s our responsibility, our role, and our duty, to pass on the knowledge and understanding of water, to all people, not just Anishinaabe people, but people of all colors.  In the wake of extreme extractive industries such fracking, oil, and coal, access to clean water is rapidly declining.

For all of her efforts, Grandmother Josephine was honored with the Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation.  During the ceremony, one of the presenters said, "She takes care of the Lifeblood of Mother Earth.  I congratulate her.”



 

GRANDMOTHER MARGARET BEHAN

 

 Grandmother Margaret Behan is a member of The Grandmothers of the White Buffalo Lodge and is also one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, a group of elders who “…represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come.”   She is an Arapaho/Cheyenne who is also known as “Red-Spider Woman”, and is an author, poet, playwright, artist, and a substance abuse counselor.  She has been a sculptress for 30 years and creates clay figurines that have garnered many honors and awards.  She is also a Cheyenne traditional dancer who has served as a dance leader in Oklahoma and in powwows across the country.  Grandmother Margaret a leader of her tribe, a teacher of Cheyenne Culture, and the president and founder of the Cheyenne Elders Council.

   This Council’s mission is to “heal our own oppression.”  Grandmother Margaret says, “We need to bring our Cheyenne identity and pride back to the young people, teach them the traditional ceremonies and language.  My father would tell me how the Creator loved us so much that he gave us a star and the star was the fire, so we are the Star People.  He also told me that the Eagle is really an angel, and I should always pray to him.  These gifts from the Creator have helped me to be here now."  

   She wants to free everyone from deprivation and from alcohol, drug abuse, and addiction. She is deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth, the contamination of our air, water, and soil, the atrocities of war, the global scourge of poverty, the threat of nuclear weapons and waste, the prevailing culture of materialism, the epidemics which threaten the health of the Earth’s peoples, and the destruction of the indigenous way of life.  She believes that the ancestral ways of prayer, ceremony, peacemaking, and healing are vitally needed today.  Needed to protect the lands and water on which we depend, and to defend the Earth herself.  “I feel as a Grandmother, I am a warrior for life.”  says Grandmother Margaret. 

   She also adds, “If we want to see changes first of all we need to be in peace inside ourselves, and then we need to be patient with the ones that have not yet arrived in that place of peace.”  She adds, “We can turn back to being the very powerful people we were.  Powerful people are free and liberate people…I know the ancient ways that we bring to this table from each of our traditions will make a difference.”



 

ORALANN CALDWELL

 

   Activist, Protector of Water, Educator, Keeper of Native Traditions, and award winning Traditional Powwow Dancer, Oralann is a member of the Menominee Tribe and The Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge.   She has been talking the talk and walking the walk for many years.  Her Spirit name is Yellow Thundercloud Woman, and she is not afraid to speak out in a loud voice against injustice and harm to Mother Earth.

   This was shown when she along with other tribal members and Grandmother Josephine Mandamin organized a protest of the Back Forty Mine.  This was after Menominee tribal members and other supporters had gathered in Ceremony, prayer, and song at the mouth of the Menominee River, which is also known as the birthplace of the Menominee people.   For the first time in hundreds of years, wild rice was seeded into the waters that have given life to the Menominee since time immemorial.  Two weeks later, the Back Forty Mine applied for a mining permit, upstream from this sacred place.  A mine there threatens to contaminate the sacred water and destroy the newly seeded wild rice.

   Says Tribal Elders. “We oppose this mine, because it threatens our water, soil, animals, birds, fish and all living things in and around this water, including our new wild rice beds. We encourage all people who oppose this mine to join us in a prayerful, peaceful water walk to raise awareness and stand up for this water.”

   To this end, Oralann helped organize a protest and water walk led by Grandmother Josephine Mandamin to protest this open mine and to bring awareness to the issue and to pray for and stand up for our Sacred Water.  

 

 

 

 

 



 

MILDRED "TINKER" 

SCHUMAN

 

   Tinker Schuman's Native name is Migizikwe, or Eagle Woman.  She is a Tribal Elder, Healer, Grandmother, Pipe Carrier, teacher, poet, published author, and artist living on the Lac du Flambeau reservation in Northern Wisconsin.  She attended the prestigious Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and has a creative writing degree and a BA in Education.  She writes free-verse poetry using Native American imagery to explore universal themes. Tinker says this about her work, “Expression of life through my art, whether poetry, painting, drawing, beadwork, writing, short stories, dancing, or singing; these phrases of my experiences, my life beliefs, my spiritual life is through native tradition”.

Tinker gives back to her community by teaching writing and poetry workshops at the Woodland Indian Art Center, Lakeland Senior Center, and at Yukhika-latuhse.   Tinker hopes to “continue opening the doors for Native writers and having a place for them to pass on the knowledge and resources gained at workshops and bringing great writers to the rural reservations for them to learn from”.  She hopes to assemble a Lac du Flambeau writer’s anthology, help share online resources with local writers, and to continue to forge connections with other Native writers and educational institutions.

In honor of all that she does for her community she received the Wisconsin Indian Education Association - Indian Elder of the Year Award in 2017.



MARK DENNING

 

Mark Denning is a teacher, lecturer, artist and head dancer and leader of the Oneida Dancers.  He has devoted himself to changing stereotyped visions of Native Americans.  Mark has lectured about Native American life and demonstrated the power of traditional dance to audiences throughout the United States, Canada, and the Virgin Islands. He provided voice-over narration for the American Indian wing of Milwaukee's public museum.  Born in Neopit, a small village on the Menominee Reservation in northern Wisconsin.  Mark has been a traditional Native American dancer since the age of 17. He also serves as director of Southeast Oneida Tribal Services.

 Says Mark, “My Anishinaabe name is Nodaway Benaise and I am Sturgeon Clan.  I am enrolled in the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, and my ancestry includes Menominee, Mille Lacs Ojibwe, Stockbridge-Munsee, French and English.  My experience as an educator, lecturer and curriculum specialist in American Indian history and culture has taken me all over the world, working with people, communities and organizations.  As a parent of four children, I was fortunate to serve on the board to bring about Milwaukee’s Indian Community School, a flagship institution of Urban American Indian education.  I have served as an advisor on the Gates Millenium Educational Foundation and I am a board member of Indian Summer Festival.  When I am not in the classroom or working on a commercial project or speaking engagement – I lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in the school of continuing education.  I also work as a consultant and trainer with Boeing Corporation and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  My passion is helping teachers, students and businesses understand and appreciate Native American culture from a historical and contemporary point of view, to create greater understanding, teamwork and communication."


There is a 'fog' through which American society perceives Native Americans.  I want to help lift this fog by sharing ideas with people who aren't normally exposed to such ideas such as Native value systems, our history, our contributions to America, and our commonality with all people."  Mark uses honor, storytelling, and dance to challenge stereotypes and help people better understand American Indians, past, present, and future.



GREG & ANN HERMAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg and Ann Hermann <waiting for input>



KATERI BAKER

 

  I am Kateri Baker, an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and first generation descendent of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe.  My Oneida name is Yakotshanunihati, meaning, “She goes along happy.”  I am turtle clan and was raised by my Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, and the Oneida Community.   

   Waterfalling and I found each other just this last year and it was love at first experience!  We found each other when we needed each other the most.  She came to me when I was most stripped down and feeling defeated.  There I was, early in sobriety, newly divorced, digging deep, and wondering who I was when I came to cross my first waterfall. The way I was thinking, I had 3 young beings that were depending on me and I needed to get to healing and get to it quick! She helped me restore my spirit and power by transferring me some of Hers.  Waterfalling helped me heal rapidly and intensely; just as She is, in this state.  I came to Her in a time that She is being taken for granted the most.  I am doing what I can to inspire hope, appreciation, gratitude, and spread Her messages.

   Oh, the energy created by Waterfalls!!  They are powerful and dangerous, exciting and terrifying, and so too, were the lessons that came with Her teachings!  I couldn’t just let go of fear without having to face it, over and over, through practice with Her.  I couldn’t love myself without having to learn gratitude, over and over, through practice with Her.  I couldn’t learn my balance without having been NOT in balance.  I couldn’t learn patience without it being tested.  With each Waterfall, I practiced and practiced.  I, also, risked and risked.  Each one has given me a different lesson, with a different energy, and a different message.

   Waterfalling can be for anybody!!  You must first discover your level of comfort with this powerful Spirit.  Always be careful what you ask for and take into account all measures of life that bring us balance!  It does not require you to immerse yourself in the intense waters the way I did.  You only need to be near the Water to experience Her power.  You can also practice gratitude for this power, in just the same places as you can practice gratitude for any power, medicine, and gift; ANYWHERE!  She brings you Her medicines everywhere.  After all… you are, in fact, the same medicines!!



 

JOHN FRANCIS

 

 

 

For almost 30 years, John Francis has been a planetwalker, traveling the globe by foot and sail with a message of environmental responsibility, respect, sustainable development, and respect for our planet and each other.  Along the way he was named a United Nations Environmental Program Goodwill ambassador, has written oil spill legislation, became the National Geographic Society’s first Education Fellow, and is the author of “Planetwalker: How to Change Your World One Step at a Time.”   He has also founded Planetwalk, an environmental awareness non-profit whose goal is to save the planet one step at a time.

John views each new day as an adventure in its own right.   

In 1972, after witnessing the devastation caused by the San Francisco Bay oil spill, John was so disturbed by the half a million gallons of oil spilling into the bay he decided to give up riding and driving in motorized vehicles, a vow that lasted for 22 years until 1994.  From 1973 until 1990 he also did not speak.  This came about because he would encounter argumentative drivers and friends angry about his decision to go on foot.  To avoid arguing, John decided to stop talking for just one day and listen instead.  Says John, “It was a very moving experience because for the first time, I began listening,”  He found this so valuable that he continued to be silent another day.  This continued and he ended up not speaking for 17 years.  

John began talking again because after all of his listening and thinking, he had an important message to spread.   “We need to listen to each other.”  He also adds, “…all the things about saving the animals and saving endangered species and pollution are all very important…but equally important was that if people were part of the environment, then our first chance and our first opportunity to treat the environment in a sustainable way was to understand what our relationship was with each other.”   Say John, “,,,how we treat each other is really how were going to treat the environment.”

John started riding in motor vehicles again because, “In my heart I had become a prisoner.  I was a prisoner that needed to escape.  The prison that I was in was the fact that I did not drive or use motorized vehicles.  Now how could that be, because when I started it seemed very appropriate to me not to use motorized vehicles….I realized I had a responsibility to more than just me.  And that I was going to have to change…and we kind of have to leave behind the security of who we’ve become and go to the place we are becoming.  And so I want to encourage you to go to that next place, to let yourself out of any prison that you might find yourself in, as comfortable as it may be, because we have to do something now, we have to change now…we have to become activists.”