World Religions Summit set to open with a call to honor water and Mother Earth

(June 18, 2010) – Anishnabe elder and spiritual leader, Dave Courchene, will open the World Religions Summit 2010 – Interfaith Leaders in the G8 Nations with a message of peace, prayer and a call to action.

The summit is being held from June 21 to 23 at the University of Winnipeg.

Dave Courchene, also known as Neeghani Aki Innini (Leading Earth Man), is the founder of the Turtle Lodge, an indigenous place of learning, healing and sharing for all people located on the Sagkeeng First Nation.

About 100 high profile religious leaders from around the world will listen and report to one another during the summit – but most importantly collaborate on sending a unified message to government leaders of the G8/G20 nations.

The message will press governments to remain true to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ratified by the 192 member states of the U.N. ten years ago.

The goals aim to halve global poverty by 2015.

The G8 nations – including Canada – pledged assistance in achieving the goals, but are well behind in meeting the promised deadline.

Dave Courchene has traveled internationally, carrying a message of hope and peace, and sharing ancient indigenous knowledge that is the foundation of mankind’s relationship to the Mother Earth.

“What we are presently witnessing in the Gulf of Mexico is truly tragic,” said Courchene.

“Nature has a way of showing us the brutality that can be found in man. We cannot continue to treat the Earth with disrespect. Together we must find a way to live in this world that reflects love and respect for all life. We must find a way to connect with spirit that can show us, teach us, inspire us, and guide each of us in how we should walk on the Earth,” he added.

The interfaith summit will feature some high profile speakers: Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire, whose global warning about an impending Rwandan genocide was largely ignored; Rev. Jim Wallis (USA) of Sojourners magazine and long time activist for social justice; Rwandan Dr. Andre Karamaga, President of the All Africa Conference of Churches, H.E. Sheikh Shaban Mubaje, Grand Mufti of Uganda, and John McArthur (USA), CEO of Millennium Promise, an international non-profit organization solely committed to supporting the achievement of the MDGs.

Dave Courchene has warned that the greed reflected in our societies and economic structures has had detrimental impacts on the Earth, the animals and the people.

These impacts, he says, have created a great imbalance that is affecting the water on which all life depends.

“On June 21, I ask that we use the element of water to carry the spirit of our dreams of hope and peace into this world. We must together offer our gratitude to the Earth and all the blessings we receive to support all life.”

“I propose we do a water ceremony – that each of us get a bottle of clean water, hold it close to our hearts and offer a prayer. Through the water, send a message of gratitude to the Earth, and to all water of the Earth that has been affected and contaminated. Send your love to the water and to Mother Earth. We owe our existence to the Earth,” he added.

Opening Ceremonies and the entire summit proceedings will air streamlining live online at