Plans are in place to greet a small group of Native American and Canadian First Nations women who are bearing Pacific Ocean water on a long walk to the Great Lakes.
A welcome is planned for 4:30 pm Friday near the totem pole on Canada Island in Riverfront Park, says local water activist Rachael Paschal Osborn of the Center for Environmental Law Policy. The the group of water bearers is on foot, covering roughly 35 miles each day.
The walk, which began in Aberdeen, Wash., in early April, is part of an effort begun in 2003 by three First Nations grandmothers, who walked all they way around Lake Superior in an attempt to bring awareness to the myriad of threats to clean water, from industrial pollution to runoff to overuse.
The walks now cover much of America and Canada. Walkers depart from the four directions and meet at Lake Superior on the Bad River reservation in Wisconsin.
One of the grandmothers, Josephine Mandamin, Ojibway, accompanied the West group until Saturday. She traveled to Mississippi to lead the South group when it started from the Gulf Coast Wednesday, the anniversary of the BP oil disaster.
On Friday evening, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has tentatively committed to attend, Osborn says, and other city officials have been invited.