For more than 30 days, a pint of Nibi (water) has been carried hundreds of miles around Minnesota, through walking, biking, running and canoeing, in a movement titled “Relay for Our Water.”
At the end of August, local group Northeast Metro Climate Action (NEMCA) had the honor of hosting the water for a 24-hour period. NEMCA members transported the water around North Oaks via kayak, bicycle, and electric car with a solidified commitment to these three points:
• Relay for Our Water connects people to Nibi, the source of all life;
• Relay for Our Water raises environmental awareness that the water needs protection; and
• Relay for Our Water brings awareness about the risks tar sands oil poses to our waters—from extraction and delivery, to combustion.
Inspired by the Mother Earth Water Walkers, the water began her journey with a ceremony at the Mississippi Headwaters Aug. 3. The water has since been passed from Water Protector to Water Protector. In Northern Minnesota, groups like the RISE (Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging) Coalition and Bemi’ji350 carried the water for miles. The water was carried south to Stillwater via canoe before coming to the Twin Cities. NEMCA, along with other grassroots organizations like Youth Sunrise Movement, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, Youth Climate Striker and the organization MN350, will receive the water and focus on the celebration, expression of gratitude and action toward the water to stand in solidarity with Anishinaabeg and Dakota who are protecting the wetlands, waterways, and manoomin (wild rice) for the protection of all beings. After continuing to southern Minnesota and back to Minneapolis, the water will return to the headwaters during the wild rice harvest season.
NEMCA joined the Relay to highlight that Minnesota waters are currently threatened by Enbridge Energy’s proposed Line 3 pipeline expansion project. The new rerouted Line 3 pipeline would cross over 200 of Minnesota’s cleanest bodies of water, including crossing the Mississippi twice, and would violate Native People’s 1854 and 1855 treaty lands. People who care about water, who are concerned with climate change, and who understand that the pipeline violates treaties with Native People, have been saying “No” to this pipeline for six years.
NEMCA’s mission is “to broaden awareness of the reality and implications of the changing climate to our neighbors, community, and elected officials so we can preserve a livable Earth for ourselves and the next generation.” For more information about Northeast Metro Climate Action, please visit their website (northeastmetroclimateaction.org) or their Facebook page.
To follow the path of the water, visit the Relay for Our Water Facebook page.
—From press release, Northeast Metro Climate Action