In May 2024, Tekaherha Logan Lazore, Environment Field Technician for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program, embarked on an exciting, albeit lengthy journey to Bali, Indonesia. For Logan, this was not merely a leisurely trip; it was an eye opening and inspiring experience, which delved into her identity as to who she is as an Onkwehonwe, as well as her life-long mission to protect our sacred waters.
As a Youth Delegate representing Akwesasne and Canada, Logan attended the 6th General Assembly World Youth Summit and the 10th World Water Forum. These platforms weren’t merely spaces to talk; they were arenas for diverse voices to come together to envision a healthier and happier future for our waters. Despite limited Indigenous representation, Logan stood proud as an Akwesasronon. Attendees representing small and large communities gathered to share not only their challenges, but also to propose solutions. Regardless of where the individuals came from, everyone present had a common purpose: to enhance the well-being of our waters.
Logan’s days in Bali were filled with a whirlwind of activities, each leaving a lasting impression. While some moments were inspiring and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as releasing young and adult turtles back into the sea, others were less glamorous. Logan noted how heartbroken she was when she participated in a mangrove cleanup, where every inch of the site was covered in garbage. Regardless if the moments were positive or negative, every encounter reinforced her commitment to her cause.
Throughout the summit and forum, Logan delivered numerous presentations and also engaged in various panel discussions. She spoke of the erosion on Yellow Island, of chemical pollution in the St. Lawrence, and the delicate balance between tradition and modernity. She began each session with an introduction in Kanienkeha and the Ohen:ten Kariwatehkwen. Logan didn’t just articulate her thoughts and ideas, she sang them too. The crowd was treated to her beautiful and melodic rendition of the water song in Kanienkeha. Along with work requirements, Logan also found moments of serenity. As a self-described “fish girl”, she found snorkelling mesmerizing. It served as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all life forms, emphasizing that humans are not the center of the universe. This is a message that she also frequently conveyed in her speeches.
Throughout the entire journey, Logan remained connected to Akwesasne. She wrapped herself in her mother’s beautiful ribbon skirts, held her father’s basket, grasped her brother’s rattle, and was decorated by her sister’s earrings – a reminder of who she is and the community she represents. And through it all, she emphasized one simple truth: water is sacred, water is beautiful, water is life.