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Aboriginals march to raise awareness of nation's fresh water supply

It was a cold morning for a long walk.

It was a cold morning for a long walk.

But more than 50 people, most from First Nations communities, faced the wind and persistent flurries for a lap around Lake Banook yesterday. It was one of nine walks and 25 ceremonies across Canada to raise concerns about the country’s water supply.

“The Creator only created so much water. We’re the stewards on this planet of the water and we’re polluting it,” said Geri LeBlanc, one of the organizers for yesterday’s event.

Called the National Aboriginal Water Day of Action, the genesis of the event comes from a grandmother in Thunder Bay, Ont. In 2003, Josephine Mandamin began walking to tell people the Great Lakes were sick. She has since walked around all five Great Lakes, totalling more than 17,000 kilometres.

This spring, Mandamin will walk along the St. Lawrence River. She started yesterday and is scheduled to walk until April 29.

Yesterday’s event in Dartmouth began at 10 a.m. with everyone gathering in a circle for an opening ceremony. Participants ranged from elders to small children.

Aside from encouraging less pollution, demonstrators also want to raise awareness on First Nations water concerns.

“There’s close to 100 First Nations communities in Canada that are under boil water advisories,” LeBlanc said. “They’ve been under boil water advisories, some of them for 15 years. So we need the government to clean up the water. No other communities that are not First Nations would ever be under boil water advisories for 15 years.”

 
 
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