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Updated: Aug 27, 2022
Cory Maria Dack and Espoir DelMain, two women who are educators, activists, and dear friends, are through-paddling the entire Mississippi River this fall. We will start our journey at Lake Itasca (the headwaters of the Mississippi River) in Northern Minnesota and canoe all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Through Storytelling and documentation, we will show how our journey embodies our values of decolonization, decarbonization, representation, environmental stewardship, and bridging equity gaps in the wilderness. By highlighting the intersectional identities we hold (i.e. we are both women; Cory is an Indigenous woman, a Latina, an Immigrant, and a transracial transnational adoptee; Espoir is a white queer woman) we will decolonize the concept of “through-paddling” to empower and inspire others from underrepresented demographics to see the wilderness as a place where they belong as well. We will decarbonize our trip by traversing the length of the United States, using only the muscles in our body and the river’s current. After our trip we will give talks to schools, youth groups, and community groups, highlighting these values while we share photos, videos, and stories from our journey. The project will consist of multi-media content as we document our paddle of the Mississippi River. By focusing on decarbonizing and decolonizing our journey we will share our narratives, not in a vacuum of time and history, but in honor of it. We are by no means the first women to paddle these waters. Cory may be the first Indigenous Latina Transracial Adoptee; she will not be the last.