Dedication ceremony and native planting event planned for Blue Water River Walk art installation

What’s happening: It was July 2021 when the “Seven Grandfather Teachings” sculptures were first installed along the Blue Water River Walk, the work of artist Garrett Nahdee of the Ojibwe Tribe of Walpole Island. Now the Friends of the St. Clair River organization is preparing to plant a new River Walk Garden (Giitigan) to complement the public art project. A public art dedication and planting event is scheduled to celebrate both.

What’s planned: A dedication ceremony for the “Seven Grandfather Teachings” is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 21, at 51 Court St. in Port Huron. It’s recommended that guests park at the Great Lakes Maritime Center and walk to the River Walk site. Following the dedication ceremony, there will be a luncheon and then guests are invited to help plant the Giitigan, which is the Anishinaabe word for “garden.” The Giitigan will consist of native plants important to our local indigenous peoples.

A little background: The “Seven Grandfather Teachings” series of sculptures was installed as part of the Blue Water River Walk Native American Art Project and supported financially by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. The seven oak wood-carved sculptures depict seven animals, each representing a different teaching: The bear (courage), the bison (respect), the wolf (humility), the eagle (love), the beaver (wisdom), the turtle (truth), and the raven (honesty).

What they’re saying: “The seven grandfather teachings are leadership traits passed on from our elders,” Garrett Nahdee told The Keel’s Liz Fredendall in July 2021. “It teaches us to be humble with others and respectful to mother earth and to love unconditionally all that is around us.”

Details: The Blue Water River Walk Sculpture Dedication and Giitigan Planting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, along the Blue Water River Walk at 51 Court St. in Port Huron. The event is free and open to the public with refreshments and planting tools provided.


Related: 'All that live and die, live again': Public art in Port Huron honors Native American culture