Protocol Phase—2019 SacredWater is Life Walk—and a Tribute to Grandmother Josephine

Uncí Carole is preparing for her 9th annual SacredWater Water is Life Walk.

Called by Spirit, Carole Bubar-Blodgett was inspired and blessed by Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, the renowned Anishinaabe grandmother, elder and water activist who transitioned to the realm of the Ancestors on February 22, 2019 at the age of 77. Learn more about her extraordinary life here: She Walked the Talk: Farewell to Water Warrior Grandmother Josephine Mandamin.

Two Grandmothers: Josephine and Carole

After Sundancing from 1999 at Leonard Crow Dog’s Sun Dance, Spirit took Uncí Carole to the SacredWater in 2011. There’s a story about how a white earwig appeared in an unusual location at a very particular moment… this and many other stories are a regular feature of accompanying Carole on her annual 28-day moon-cycle prayer for the SacredWater.

In 2011, Grandmother Josephine was in Olympia WA to collect water from the West Coast for the Four Directions Walk. Carole wanted her very first SacredWater Walk to be with Grandmother Josephine and had expected to join for the gathering of this water. However, that morning Carole became ill. At first distraught, Carole went into prayer thinking she would get better and be able to catch up with the Walkers. However, during this period of prayerful consideration, Carole remembered the words of many Elders. In particular she recalled Grandmother Mona Polacca’s plea for “all women to come back to the Water” and Grandmother Josephine asking everyone “to pick up the stewardship for the Waters in your own lands.”

Carole came to understand that Spirit was calling her to do her own SacredWater Walk. So her first Water is Life Walk in 2011 was from Ti’Swaq to Bus-Chut-Whut (Mt Rainier to Capital Lake in Olympia WA) to encourage a dam removal from the Deschutes River in order to help heal the Deschutes Estuary (which is now called Capital Lake).

The following year, Grandmother Josephine returned to join the Paddle to Squaxin canoe journey. She spoke at the Longhouse at Evergreen College, sharing pictures and information about the 4 Directions Walk. While mingling afterwards, Carole shared about her first walk and that she was leaving for a Coast to Coast Journey for the SacredWater. Grandmother Josephine requested Carole delay the start of her 2012 Sacred Journey in order to be present for the convergence of sea canoes in Olympia WA. Grandmother Josephine had asked all the paddlers to bring waters from their homelands. When everyone had arrived, Grandmother Josephine conducted a Unity Ceremony with all these waters; she wanted Carole to collect some of the merged waters to carry during her walk linking 28 sacred sites from west to east across Turtle Island, which Carole did.

Later that year, at the end of the 28 Sacred Sites Walk in the far reaches of Maine, Joseph Sapiel Sr. (Passamaquoddy) called Carole and asked if she could get to Machais Point. Hurrying to get there, Carole joined Grandmother Josephine and Grandmother Joanna Dana in Maliseet/Passamaquoddy territory, where they performed Ceremony at Machais Point, spent special time together at Jasper Beach, and then Grandmother Josephine performed Moon Ceremony at Grandmother Dana’s that evening.

As Uncí Carole conducts the Protocol Phase for the 2019 SacredWater Walk, she carries lessons and inspiration from Grandmother Josephine:

Let’s walk our talk in her honor.”

The Protocol Phase

Grandmother Carole follows the protocol she was taught; she accepts and acknowledges the need for everyone to follow their own protocol. Uncí Carole is directed to a river or bodies of water by Spirit. Once this guidance has been received,  she seeks permission to conduct the special prayer for the water from the traditional leadership of the Native Nations who historically carried the stewardship responsibility for tending the water in their ancestral territory.

Once the proper protocol is completed and authorization received, Uncí Carole will announce the river for the 2019 SacredWater is Life Walk.

In the meantime, please help by filling out our volunteer form (which includes many ways to help, such as donating materials or supplies) or make a direct contribution.

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