SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE 3 months just 99¢/month

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

'A Walk to Remember'

Walkers for "A Walk to Remember" rounded the "nose" of Lake Superior at Endion Station Sunday morning in needle-like rain whipped by winds from the big lake.

Walkers for "A Walk to Remember" rounded the "nose" of Lake Superior at Endion Station Sunday morning in needle-like rain whipped by winds from the big lake.
But they marched on, undaunted, carrying the "Earth Eagle Feather staff," a symbol of the spiritual connections of the trip, despite the rain and wind.
Slimmed down considerably from the 50 or more who launched the 1,200-mile journey around Lake Superior from Waverly Beach on the Bad River Reservation in Wisconsin on Thursday, the group of students, activists and environmentalists hoped to reach Two Harbors by evening.
The journey has already been an adventure. On Saturday, two of the participants, Diane Heck and her friend, Brandie Cheatham, decided to carry the staff and run. They jogged for miles, arriving with the staff at Wisconsin Point about 6 p.m.
There, a canoe and a boat were awaiting the group, and two of the walkers paddled across to Minnesota Point.
Ellie Schoenfeld, who had arranged for the boat and took it across the opening of the St. Louis River to Wisconsin, said when they crossed the inlet the lake was rough.
But it calmed for the staff, she said. The walkers had no problem covering the distance.
They landed near the airport and ended the walk for the day.
At 8:30 a.m. the next morning, Al Hunter, an Anishinaabe from Canada who is leading the walk, held a pipe ceremony to start the day of walking.
"We pray for courage, we pray for strength, we pray for endurance," he said.
Frank Koehn, one of the organizers of the walk, said the "Walk to Remember" will take the group around the entire circumference of the lake, with community gatherings and meetings organized in the major towns.
"There are some things by their very nature that can't be owned," he said. "Air, water -- they belong to future generations."
And although the lake can heal itself, "we have to stop throwing garbage in it," he said. "Let's develop a constituency of communities around the lake. That's what ties us together."
Butch Stone, an Ogitchidaa, or "Protector of the People," who stood on the tracks of the Bad River Reservation a few years ago to stop trains carrying sulfuric acid to a mine in White Pine, Mich., is also on the walk.
"Four years ago we stood on the tracks," Stone said. "Then, it was the question of sulfuric acid and what it was going to do to our lake and our watershed."
The "Walk to Remember" is also about protecting the water as well as supporting the idea of zero discharge of all pollutants into the lake, he said.
"It's also to protect the things that cannot speak for themselves, like the water," Stone said. "They're poisoning it and all the things that live in the water. Just when they float to the top, that's when the dominant society will take a look at it. How many areas in the country right now are drinking bottled water? People aren't even questioning why they're drinking bottled water any more."
Paul Sugar Bear Smith, an Oneida who is also walking, said he, as a native person, feels that he needs to walk to show indigenous support for a toxic-free Lake Superior.
"All of this impacts us in some way," he said. "We have responsibilities as indigenous people to all living things. Fish are an important part of our ceremonies, but we can't eat our fish. We need to bring awareness to what are persistent organic pollutants. It's an issue all over the world, especially for indigenous hunting and gathering people. It's also an issue in my own backyard. That's why I have a responsibility to participate."
The walkers have considerable support throughout the region.
In Duluth, for example, activists held a potluck for the walkers on Sunday at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. On Monday, Rick Smith organized an event at Fitger's followed by a meeting at the church.
Koehn said these type of gatherings will be organized in communities around the lake.
People are concerned about the future of Lake Superior, he said, noting that as he walks, he frequently stops to discuss the issues with passersby or people sitting on their porches.
Anyone is welcome to join the walkers as they make their two-month journey around the lake. In fact, on Sunday, the walkers stopped at the Lester River, where they arrived about 1:30 p.m., thinking that would be the distance for the day.
But as they stood there, two young men in a pickup stopped and asked if they could join the walk.
Hunter nodded to the tired group that had walked through the rain from Park Point. Go back to the potluck, he told them, then took the staff and with the young men, continued the journey.
For more information about the walk, call (715) 774-3333.

What to read next
Officers found an unconscious man on the floor who was later pronounced dead at the scene
Bygones is researched and written by David Ouse, retired reference librarian from the Duluth Public Library. He can be contacted at djouse49@gmail.com.
Bygones is researched and written by David Ouse, retired reference librarian from the Duluth Public Library. He can be contacted at djouse49@gmail.com.
Bygones is researched and written by David Ouse, retired reference librarian from the Duluth Public Library. He can be contacted at djouse49@gmail.com.