News releases

June 18, 2024

Posted in News Releases

New stamp pays tribute to Anishinaabe Elder and world-renowned water-rights activist Josephine Mandamin

Mandamin co-founded the Mother Earth Water Walk movement to promote water rights for Indigenous communities

June 18, 2024

Posted in News Releases

THUNDER BAY, Ontario – Today at an event in Thunder Bay, Canada Post unveiled a stamp honouring Anishinaabe Elder and world-renowned water-rights activist, Josephine Mandamin. 

Known as Grandmother Water Walker, Mandamin (1942-2019) trekked more than 25,000 kilometres to draw attention to issues of water pollution and environmental degradation in the Great Lakes and on First Nations reserves across the country.

This stamp is one of three Indigenous Leaders stamps that will be released on June 21. The set is the third in Canada Post’s multi-year Indigenous Leaders series.

Mandamin’s life and legacy

Born in 1942 on the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island, Ont., Mandamin was a residential school Survivor who attended St. Joseph’s School for Girls. In 1979, she and her husband moved to Thunder Bay, where she worked providing support to Indigenous youth and to women and children escaping domestic violence.

Mandamin was a fourth-degree member of the Three Fires Midewiwin Healing Society and its Grandmothers Council, where she served as a spiritual adviser and healer. She performed healing ceremonies and taught others about Anishinaabe language and culture, and how to maintain a respectful relationship with Mother Earth. She also spent many years as the Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner.

In 2002, Mandamin and a group of other Anishinaabeg founded the Mother Earth Water Walk movement to encourage people to protect water from pollution and other threats. Between 2003 and 2017, she led walks along the shores of waterways in Canada and the United States where she sang, prayed and shared the traditional ceremonies and knowledge of her people.

Since her passing in 2019, Mandamin’s legacy lives on through community water walks and the efforts of the Anishinaabe women she mentored. Her many honours included the Meritorious Service Cross – Civil Division (2017) for her contributions to Indigenous leadership and reconciliation, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation (2015).

About the stamp

Cancelled in Wiikwemkoong, Ont. (Mandamin’s birthplace), this stamp features a photo of Mandamin. Along the bottom of the stamp is a stylized illustration of water.

The cancellation mark is a stylized image of the ripples emanating from a droplet of water. The dynamic rings reference Mandamin’s work to protect water, rippling outward from the centre in the same way that her legacy continues to inspire. 

About the Indigenous Leaders stamp series

Launched in 2022, the multi-year Indigenous Leaders series highlights First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders who dedicated their lives to preserving their culture and improving the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

This year, Canada Post will issue three stamps on National Indigenous Peoples Day in honour of Indigenous leaders Elisapie, Josephine Mandamin and Christi Belcourt. There are two other stamp events this month:

  • On Thursday, June 13, the stamp honouring Elisapie was unveiled at an event in Montréal.
  • On Tuesday, June 25, the stamp recognizing Christi Belcourt will be celebrated at an event in Ottawa.

The new stamps and collectibles will be available at and postal outlets across Canada starting June 21.

For links to images of the stamps and other products:

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