rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Support the Anishinaabe water walk to protect water from Energy East pipeline

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

From August 3-7, people will be walking along the proposed Energy East pipeline route from Eagle Lake to Shoal Lake, drawing attention to the threats posed by TransCanada's proposed 1.1-million-barrel-per-day Energy East pipeline.

Following the existing path of a natural gas pipeline proposed for conversion to carry oil, the walk is in the beautiful Anishinaabek Treaty 3 territory of northern Ontario and Manitoba. Treaty 3 territory has 30 per cent of Ontario's fresh water and supplies Winnipeg with its drinking water.

The Anishinaabe walk is coordinated by the Grassroots Indigenous Water Defence that formed after Anishinaabe women in Treaty 3 territory saw a need to reach Anishinaabek communities about the risks presented by the project in a way that resonates with their world view as stewards of the land and protectors of water.

Participation from people of all nations is welcomed, native and non-native, for the whole duration of the walk, for one day, or even a couple hours. For up-to-date opportunities to participate, please see their Facebook event.  Please also consider donating to the water walk --the money goes  towards walk logistics including food, housing and needed support. 

"For myself, this is about water protection," described water walker Chrissy Swain when I recently spoke to her. "There has already been too much industry through Treaty 3 territory that has done a lot of damage. We hear about oil spills and tanker car explosions. We know this is an old pipeline. In my eyes, a small chance of a spill is still unacceptable." Chrissy will be joined by her son (20 years) and two daughters (14 and 9 years old) on the 175-km walk.

"I'm also joining because I believe in our ceremonies," adds Chrissy. "This is part of getting spiritual help and guidance in protecting our water."

Indeed, the prospect of a spill in any of the over 1,000 waterways this massive pipeline would cross is enough to keep me awake at night. The sheer capacity of the pipe means that a spill threatens to be one of the worst Canada has ever seen.

More than one million litres could spill in just 10 minutes. This adds to the oil that remains between valves that can leak once the pumping stops. The rocky and hilly terrain and remote nature of much of the Treaty 3 territory would make quickly responding to a spill challenging.

Energy East would ship a variety of crude oils, including diluted bitumen. Diluted bitumen has proven to sink when spilled in water. Five years and over $1 billion spent, submerged bitumen still remains in the Kalamazoo River.

The Anishinaabe water walk is a clear example of Indigenous people leading the charge against tar sands pipelines. In the wake of Harper's omnibus bills that gutted federal environmental protections, Indigenous and treaty rights are a critical stumbling block to industry's extreme energy ambitions in Canada. This includes their assertion on the front lines such as the Unist'ot'en Camp and in court challenges, such Beaver Lake Cree Nation vs Alberta and Canada

Current walking schedule -- see the facebook event for updates:

Sunday August 2, 2015 Start at Eagle Lake Pow wow grounds to Eagle Lake Bypass Distance : 16 kms. Camping at eagle lake pow wow grounds. People are invited to arrive early at the Eagle Lake powwow (July 31-Aug 2) to spend time at the powwow and met up before leaving as a group on Monday morning. There will be an honor song forthe water walkers. 

Monday August 3, 2105 Start at Eagle Lake By pass to 30 km (Vermillion Bay Area) Distance : 30 km. Camping at Eagle Lake

Tuesday August 4, 2015 Start at 30 km to Dixie lake ( call Williard lake ) Distance : 30 km. Possibly camping at Williard Lake –

Wednesday August 5, 2015 Start at Dixie lake to Kenora By pass ( rushing river ) Distance : 30 km. Camping at Rushing River-

Thursday August 6, 2015 Start at Kenora by pass east to Kenora by pass west Distance : 30 km. Camping at Grand Council Treaty Three

Friday August 7, 2015 start at Kenora by pass west to shoal lake junction Distance : 30 km. Camping at Shoal Lake Pow wow Grounds

Saturday August, 8 2015 start at shoal lake junction finishing at Shoal Lake Pow wow Grounds Distance : 9 km Camping at Shoal Lake Pow wow Grounds.

Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.