Second Annual Mni Ki Wakan Decade of Water Summit August 8-9

Autumn Peltier, Anishinaabe (Screen capture from CBC News You Tube video.)

The Second Annual Mni Ki Wakan World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water Summit, an indigenous-led event, will be held at Neighborhood House, 179 Robie St. E., St Paul, on Wednesday and Thursday, August 8-9.

Autumn Peltier, a 13-year-old Anishinaabe teen from Wimwemikong First Nation will give the keynote address. On March 22, Peltier addressed the United Nations during its Action Water Decade: 2018-2028, calling on members to “Warrior Up.” (CBC story here.) Peltier is calling for the recognition of water’s personhood and for a future of healthy and clean water. (Here is a five-minute video of her speech.)

Comment: Anyone who does a double take at the mention of giving water “personhood” should consider that we give corporations “personhood” and water is more important to our survival than corporations.

On Day Two of the Summit, Julia Faye Muñoz of Guam will give a Pacific Islander perspective on the access, availability, and sustainability of water. The Summit also will include a workshop on digital storytelling, where people can record their stories of water.

Registration for the two-day event is $150 per person. To register, go to the event’s website, which gives the following background:

The Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit is an indigenous-led initiative that is dedicated to the protection of water and human rights. Each year, it will convene indigenous peoples, youth, and allies from the international community in Minnesota, USA, Ancestral homeland of the Dakota, the land of 10,000 lakes, and is part of one of the richest aquatic regions in the world.

Indigenous peoples, youth, and supporters will help co-create and design an indigenous-centered, youth-oriented, and decade-long water summit that reflects the diverse tributaries of values and confluences of indigenous wisdom and knowledge. Indigenous peoples will convene to envision what will happen at our summit for the future of water.

Organizers include Wakinyan, Thorne, and Tiana LaPointe, who are Lakota. I attended last year and recommend it. I found it to be a very powerful and engaging event.

Pre-Event Fundraiser

A pre-event fundraiser will be held Wednesday, July 25, at First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Ave. S. in Minneapolis. The church has supported the Decade of Water Summit and hosted the inaugural event in 2017. The fundraiser will include indigenous guest speakers and artists. If you would like to donate in advance, or for more information, click here.

Pre-Event Canoe Trip

This summit grew out indigenous youth canoe trips. According to the website:

The Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade Water Summit emerged from humble beginnings. With minimal or no funding support, a local youth program resolved to embark upon multi-day canoe expeditions. Paddling the ancient water ways of Dakota ancestors, our indigenous youth paddled every twist and turn of the original maps known to our predecessors since time immemorial.

So it is fitting that a canoe trip will precede the Water Summit:

The Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit will commence with a vital August 6-7 pre-summit canoe paddle, when and where a 30-person dialogue upon Okizu Wakpa (the St. Croix River) will occur in three groups. … [P]articipants will reflect upon the sacred water way of Okizu as they canoe towards a horizon of previously unknown possibilities up to the commencement of the Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit.


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