2020 Water Is Life Event Goes Virtual September 5-6th

Posted on September 4, 2020 by

A free public event centering indigeneity, water, art, and the power of community

Emmet County, MI – The Water Is Life Festival (WILF) is an annual event that celebrates our connection to the water and builds power through community so we can work towards living in a holistic way with the water and protect it from those who seek to exploit or endanger it. The festival is held each summer with a new water focused theme. This year’s theme is “Water Equity & Your Community.” Over 200 registrants are expected to participate virtually with the event moving online this year in an effort to protect public health and follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

The 2-day virtual event will be held September 5th & 6th and invites sharing and connecting among presenters and participants to explore what water equity means to each individual and what water equity means to communities and ecosystems throughout the world. By sharing examples of Indigenous art, conversations and workshops from around the world, facilitators will ignite reflection within audience members on traditional responsibilities and relationships to Mother Earth and community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on issues of water injustice that have been occurring for decades and has shown us, these systemic inequalities can be a matter of life and death. We must envision and create a safe, healthy world for all. Some of the most impacted communities by lack of water equity are Indigenous peoples and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in general. To find real solutions, we must center the voices of the people and communities most impacted. We envision a world that listens to people historically harmed to make just and healthy societies for all.

Event organizers hope participants are inspired to take action and shift the narrative away from one based in fear and violence to one of responsibility and care for Mother Earth. Attendees will be invited to actively participate and co-create actionable steps that move toward a shared vision.

The Water Is Life Festival annual event was launched by Jannan J. Cornstalk, a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, grandmother and water warrior, and Kalvin Hartwig and Megan Hess, members of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. We The People – Michigan is also helping to organize the 2020 event.

Please visit to register and to view a complete event schedule of Water Is Life Festival.


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.