The Water Walker written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson

Joanne Robertson’s The Water Walker weaves the author’s deep Ojibwe history with current challenges facing the Great Lakes. Learn more about the people and places who created this intergenerational story below.


The story of a determined Ojibwe Grandmother (Nokomis) Josephine-ba Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect Nibi for future generations, and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men and youth, has walked around all the Great Lakes from the four salt waters, or oceans, to Lake Superior. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine-ba invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.

Book discussion guide (from Second Story Press)


Join the Junior Water Walker movement  


Portrait by Ben Jonah

Joanne Robertson is Anishinaabe kwe, bald eagle clan, and a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. She was adopted as a baby by her French/German/Canadian parents and raised on a farm in Southern Ontario. She was reunited with her Anishinaabe family in her twenties, and began helping Grandmother Josephine-ba Mandamin, The Water Walker, in 2011. Joanne received her degree in fine arts from Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig at age 50.  She continues to support water walks through live GPS spotting to ensure the water and walkers are safe. She is also currently working on two new books. Joanne lives, writes and draws beside the Goulais River in Ontario, Canada.


English language edition:

The Water Walker written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Second Story Press, 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-77260-038-4

The dual language edition, in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) and English:

Nibi Emosaawdang / The Water Walker written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson, translated by Shirley Williams.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Second Story Press, 2019.
ISBN: 978-1- 77260-100-8

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