February 27, 2020 — In the spirit of goodwill, collaboration and reconciliation, the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge Authority (IBA) will close the bridge from noon to approximately 2:30 p.m. today, Feb. 27, to facilitate a First Nations water ceremony.
Tribal elders will conduct the ceremony at the bridge midpoint.
The bridge will be closed to northbound and southbound traffic for the duration of the ceremony. Travelers are advised to adjust their plans accordingly and cross prior to noon if possible. Law enforcement agencies will assist with traffic control on both U.S. and Canadian sides of the bridge when traffic resumes.
In an additional twist, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians supports today’s action to conduct a water ceremony halfway across the International Bridge and peaceful protests. Although the majority of Sault Tribe leadership is presently in Lansing negotiating a new fishing agreement with the other 1836 Treaty tribes, the state and the federal government, they are with us is spirit, supporting those participating the walk and ceremony today.
Tribal Chairperson Aaron Payment said, “The Tribal Board urges our fellow Sault Tribe citizens to remember these are our relatives. Please join the protests if you can but do so peaceably. If you cannot be there in person, please put your tobacco down and pray for peace and understanding of our preeminent and inherent sovereignty right to be here, to protect our Aki (Mother Earth), Nibii (waters) and our very existence as Anishinaabe and Indigenous people of this continent who have been here since time immemorial. Chi Miigwech, Neegee!”
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