Skip to content Skip to main navigation
STORIES / Josephine Mandamin

Josephine Mandamin

Anishinaabe Elder, Josephine Madamin, was a revolutionary leader in the fight to protect water rights for Indigenous peoples.

A portrait illustration of Josephine Mandamin.

Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner and Water Rights Advocate

Josephine Mandamin, also known as “Grandmother Water Walker ” and Biidaasige-ba (”the one who comes with the light”), was an environmental activist from Wikwemikong First Nation. From 2003 to 2017, she walked around the Great Lakes, raising awareness about water pollution and environmental degradation in the region and on Indigenous reserves. Inspired by her Ojibwe spiritual worldview, which honoured water as a living being, Mandamin’s activism earned her the Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) and the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross (2018).

As a woman, elder, “lifegiver,” and “water-keeper,” Mandamin felt a sacred duty to pass on her water knowledge (nibi giikendaaswin) to present and future generations, leaving a lasting legacy of inspiring others to protect and preserve water resources.

Explore more women who transformed Toronto.

Further Resources
Read more about Mandamin’s work in The Canadian Encyclopedia

Myseum is your
Toronto museum.

Our engaging programs and experiences showcase the history, spaces, culture(s), architecture, and the people, that represent Toronto’s unique place in the world.


Sign up and be the first to hear about upcoming events and experiences presented by Myseum.