Please join Laura Waterman Wittstock on Wednesday, March 5 2014, as she talks with Sharon M. Day, Founder and Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force in Minneapolis. She is a nationally recognized Native leader on women's and GLBT rights/issues and she is also known well beyond the Native world for her environmental work. She is an Ojibwe woman enrolled in the Bois Forte Band of the Ojibwe Nation, is an artist and an activist who uses the arts to convey her messages. She has taken on the issue of pollution of the Mississippi River, about which she says, "Today we’re missing a spiritual connection to the water because all we have to do is turn on a faucet. It’s like going to the store and buying a loaf of bread. We don’t have a relationship with our water, and we don’t have a relationship with our food. They are just products that we consume, as opposed to life-giving forces.
We must change this idea of water as a commodity. When we see the water as something that lives, then it’s hard to think of it simply as a commodity. We need to care for the water instead of merely use it. If we can do that it will change so many things. For starters, we wouldn’t allow our cities and corporations to dump waste in the water. Here in Minnesota the water is still blue. The lakes and rivers are still blue, and I believe that’s a sign of the water’s purity and high oxygen content."
Day and many others walked the length of the Mississippi River from March 1, 2013 to May 3, a trek of 2,320 miles. The group carried a pail of fresh water from the headwaters of the Mississippi to its end point in the Gulf of Mexico, where they poured the water back into the river to remind everyone how pure the water could be, if cared for.