Lake Winnipeg should be 'recognized as a person,' says advocate

Katherine Sinclair embarks on 1,300 kilometre walk around Lake Winnipeg. She wants the lake to be given legal title, recognized as a person, with legal rights.

Katherine Sinclair is walking 1,300 kilometres to raise awareness about health of world's 10th largest lake

Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair says she's optimistic her walk around Lake Winnipeg will result in people taking action to help heal the lake. (Supplied by Dené Sinclair)

Katherine Sinclair is on a mission. Starting Saturday, Sinclair will begin a journey to walk around Lake Winnipeg. 

But her goal is not just to finish the 28-day journey over often rough terrain, she has set her sights on an even bigger fight. Sinclair wants Lake Winnipeg to be recognized as a person. 

"The lake has a spirit. The lake has a spirit just as you have a spirit. It is alive. It has life. Everything has life and she needs to be protected. Obviously, right now she hasn’t been." 

Sinclair says she came up with the plan after reading that the lake was nominated as one of the most threatened lakes in the world.

"Ten years from now if something isn’t done to halt what’s going on, this is going to be a dead freshwater lake...Come on, let’s wake up here. Let’s start taking some action to protect her and to help her regain her strength."

West shore of Lake Winnipeg north of Gimli on Monday afternoon, April 9, 2012. (Richard Romanow/CBC)

Sinclair says she has received support from communities around the lake and will be joined by walkers throughout her journey. 

But Sinclair recognizes her goal of having Lake Winnipeg recognized as a person and given legal title may be harder than the walk she is starting today.

"It’s not going to be easy. I’m not naive. It’s going to be a challenge and it will take a lot of determination but I believe it’s going to happen. I have to because I need my grandchildren seven generations from now to have clean water to drink. Water equals life and we’ve got to start protecting our waterways from the corporations that continue to pollute her, the industries that continue to rob the water and bottle and sell it."

Sinclair will be joined on her journey by two helpers and her husband Justice Murray Sinclair.