GIFTS FOR THE RIVER

A living notebook of testimony, art, image, experience, observation and conservation of and for the river.

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Dresses by the River

by Alexis Syrette


When I think about the river I think about how beautiful and powerful it is, but I also think about how we as humans need to treat the water with more respect and love. I also think the same about our Indigenous women. We are beautiful, we are powerful and we need to be treated with respect. As an Anishinaabe woman, I was always told that we are the protectors of water. But how can we indigenous women protect the water when our own lives aren't valued and taken at immensely high rates. I am no artist but I wanted to draw pictures to represent how I feel about how humans treat water and Indigenous women and the connection between the two. The first drawing shows a woman and younger girl by the river with copper pales to collect clean water. The second drawing shows how the water has been dirtied and the dresses are hanging, a symbol of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The drawings are meant to represent the destructive change that has occurred to both spirits over time. I am also no poet but I wanted to write a poem that expressed my feelings of how interconnected and interdependent women and water are. The poem is below. Enjoy.


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Womb, woman, warrior for water

Acknowledge the connection and see

That our women and our water are

Essential for all life to be.

Respect the givers of life Indigenous woman water bearer our mother earth her

Sacred strength

Living in every womb.

Indigenous woman water bearer

For every life to be beautiful, strong, healthy and free

Every drop must be revered, protected, healthy and clean.


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