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We Are All Over The Map


October 4 - 6 is the Great Lakes Public Forum in Toronto Ontario. The Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada hosts these forums every 3 years to share and hear progress on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. 

Imagine if we had a large forum to highlight the quality of our relationship to water (our social bond) rather than just water quality (the chemical bond)? Imagine how this agenda would be different if designed by true Great Lakes waterkeepers -- clan mothers from Indigenous nations from the basin. American and Canadian state representatives and industry, science, and advocacy leaders could attend and present how they are being honorable guests in these territories. What sources of knowledge of would inform this list below and which new agenda items would be added?
  • Restoring Great Lakes Areas of Concern
  • Reducing Risks from Harmful Chemicals
  • Understanding Groundwater Impacts to Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health
  • Tackling Algal Blooms in the Great Lakes
  • Protecting and Restoring Native Species and their Habitats
  • Understanding the Impacts of Climate Change on the Great Lakes
  • The Importance of Science to the Protection of the Great Lakes 
  • Public input to the International Joint Commission


End of the Line Concert: Great Lakes Commons Charter
At the End of the Line event, 6 volunteers read the Great Lakes Commons Charter. One side of the paper is a section of the Charter and on the other is ONE of their words that speaks the most truth.
We were part of 5 events in Duluth in a past few weeks -- all very different efforts for being a good ancestor. Traveling by sail, foot, bike, and even by performance, these events shared the Great Lakes Commons vision with hundreds of people in Duluth.

We were on a sailboat taking water samples for microplastics for the Exxpedition Great Lakes project (August 20th).

We were celebrating with 3 journeys that walked and rode bikes and horses along oil pipelines routes for the End of the Line event (August 21).

We joined Shawna Weaver's 9-day run of 310 miles along the Superior Hiking Trail (August 25).

We supported a Body Commoning workshop that explored collaboration and wilding through movement (September 3rd).

We gathered with Shawna, Children of the Wild, and Ben Weaver for a Common Waters evening of stories, music, and poetry inspired by Great Lakes journeys (September 4th).

We were the topic of discussion after another Wastelands Opera performance, exploring ecological grief and gratitude (September 9-11).

See our
Water Journey page for more details on all these Duluth events.


From July 14-17, over 300 people met at the Great Lakes Gathering. This Anishinaabek lead event was a ceremony and people's council for water protection. We united through rituals, games, songs, meals, prayers, speeches, and discussion circles (from 2 to 200 people) and finally came away with a summary of actions presented by the Elder's Council.

Read about these actions in our Great Lakes Commons Map post. 


On July 23rd and 24th we were between Lakes Michigan and Huron -- the Straights of Mackinaw.

Children of the Wild performed their Wastelands opera using the backdrops of both an Enbridge pumping station for Line 5 (a 60 year old tar sands pipeline running through the heart of the Great Lakes) and waters of lake Michigan. The final scene was actually IN the late.

On next day was reserved to unpack the performance and connect the audience and invited guests -- such as the Bike the Line crew (they were travelling the Line 5 pipeline to raise awareness with homeowners) and Frank Ettewageshik (United Tribes of Michigan). A commons convergence discussion lasted or 3 hours to hear stories and feedback from everyone with then a shared reading of the Great Lakes Commons Charter


August 7th marked the 3rd annual We Are Water event hosted by Milwaukee Water Commons. It was a celebration of the city's connection with water (3 rivers and Lake Michigan). There are so many summer events BY the water, yet few ABOUT the water. This was a special event uniting spoken word and visual artists, water leaders, and musicians. Participants joined the interactive art project with their lights while learning a host of new words in Anishinaabemowin with language teacher Margaret Noodin.


3 stories read by hundreds of people in our community include:

A Compass of Care: searching for water ethics (a resource for educators)

The Waukesha Decision: diverting our attention from being a water commoner (what's been missing from all the coverage of this city's water struggle)

Who's Counting: mapping bottled water in the Great Lakes (a map that shows what is taken, consumed, and hidden from our understanding of bottled water)

If you have an idea for a GLC blog post, get in touch.


Check out where some of our water journey projects happened in the Great Lakes. We've got 7 new stories up and more coming this fall. Add your comments and even post your own stories to help protect the waters forever. 
Copyright © 2016 Great Lakes Commons, All rights reserved.


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