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The Powers of Peterborough and Pembroke

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

With the support of Dorothy Taylor from Curve Lake First Nation, CSJ Blue Communities Coordinator Paul Baines, presented in Peterborough on October 24th to about 20 Sisters and Associates.

We started with a drum song by Dorothy and then Paul led a Drinking Water Mindfully activity that was created by Development and Peace. You can download it from the Blue Resources page of this website. 10 short reflections on the value and mystery of water, each followed by a reflective sip of water.

Paul presented the CSJ Blue Communities slides and videos that he's done at other locations, with a few maps of the area to help 'place' our work in this Otonabee River watershed. After some sweet snacks, Dorothy told part of the Anishinaabe creation story as it relates to water and she talked about her involvement in the local Sacred Water Circle -- a group made up of native and non-native water protectors. After some discussion about the project and next steps, Dorothy led us in the Nibi (water) Song and even brought and passed out business card-sized lyrics so everyone could sing along.

Ne-be Gee Zah- gay- e- goo
Gee Me-gwetch -wayn ne- me -- goo
Gee Zah Wayn ne- me- goo

(English translation: Water, we love you. We thank you. We respect you.)

A week later, Paul drove up to Pembroke on the Ottawa River without any guest presenters and about 25 Sisters and Associates came out.

We followed the same presentation format as previous events and because we had more time, it was more conversational throughout the slide show and videos. We talked about the new water treatment plant in town and its associated monthly costs to residents as well as the ongoing concern about nuclear contamination in the watershed from Chalk River laboratories and the risks of new plans for long-term waste storage.

Just one day before this event, Ottawa Riverkeeper published an important update re. the plans to store nuclear waste near the river. It's a great update worth reading in full. One expert to highlight:

Despite the Canadian Government’s rhetoric about the importance of a Nation to Nation relationship, there has been no consultation with Indigenous Governments to develop a radioactive waste policy on terms that would be acceptable to indigenous peoples. Likewise, there has been no consultation with the Algonquin Anishinaabe people about consolidating all federal radioactive wastes within their traditional, unsurrendered territory.

As usual, the event included making connections within the Ottawa River and Great Lakes watersheds, the Treaties and Treaty responsibilities of Canadians, and the integration of various forms of water injustices. (we only got 2 photos this time and that was thanks to Sr. Pauline).

Leave a comment to let us know your experience at one of these events or to follow up with a question or water justice action.

By Paul Baines
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