A canoe journey through the territorial waters of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation was launched on Miin-giizis (Berry Moon) July 5, 2020, from Aazhoodena.
The ceremonial journey will head along the shores of Lake Huron to the northern point of the Saugeen Peninsula and then to the southern shores of Georgian Bay. It is expected that the journey will take approximately 23 days to complete.
Waasekom, leader of the canoe journey and member of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), says, “This journey is about honouring these waters and bringing attention to the impacts of resource development and climate change on Lake Huron. It is about sharing our story as Anishnaabek and being with our Ancestors, praying and making offerings. We plan to visit our sacred, cultural and heritage sites along the way”.
This is the third canoe journey Waasekom has embarked upon. The ‘Picking Up the Bundles Canoe Journey’ saw him paddle alongside the ‘For the Earth and Water Walk’ led by Josephine Mandamin, from Duluth, Minnesota to Matane, Quebec in 2017.
Waasekom also wants to bring awareness to Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s Aboriginal Title Claim to the territorial waters surrounding the Saugeen peninsula. The claim has been in the courts since April 25, 2019. This is the first time title to lands under water is being claimed through the Canadian court system. The trial could take up to three years (or longer with the ongoing pandemic). If successful the lake will see its rightful jurisdiction back with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation who have lived among and cared for these waters since time immemorial.
Community members are able to canoe with the journey as long as they are self-contained and independent.