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One of my first projects Healing Waters became a book.
The 2004 Pilgrimage is now run by Aboriginal and Metis people from western Canadian Provinces and territories which this year takes place between July 24 and 29th with mass blessings of the lake on the 25th and 27th. In May of this year, the Lac Ste. Anne Site got a national historic designation from the federal government, marking 115 sacred pilgrimages of Native peoples. 

The following is from my book, Healing Waters, published in 1995 by University of Alberta Press. 

"I believe in the water because water is God to us, 
without water there is no life."
		Alfred Billette
		Dillon, Saskatchewan

	Every year, thousands of people make their way to the water. On a hot July day, a seemingly endless stream of buses, pick-up trucks,  and cars with campers in tow, bump down the dusty, gravel road that leads to Lac Ste. Anne in northwestern Alberta. 
	Grandmothers, many too weak to make it on their own, grasp rosary beads as they hold the arms of their children and slowly wade through the shallow water. Mothers and fathers with small children stand near shore and pray, the water gently and rhythmically lapping over their feet. There are many stories of people being healed here. These murky waters are said to have miraculous healing powers. This healing force is one reason thousands are drawn here. They come to be healed; physically, spiritually and emotionally. 
	Native people make the journey walking, many barefoot, as a sacrifice and means of retribution. Tradition is what calls some people to the lake, others come because of their religious beliefs. They socialize, spend time with relatives and renew old friendships. For this one week in July every year, a 40-acre Alberta shoreline is transformed into a magical tent city, the bright colors of tents and teepees dotting the meadow. On top of the open-air shrine, a neon cross emits a ghostly glow, symbolizing the long standing presence of the Roman Catholic Church here. 
	Whatever their reasons, the faithful have made a pz.jpWoman At Statue Of Stz.Priest Under Tentzhealingwater049healing 29healing 163healingwater051healing 2healing 7

Healing Waters

$ 25.00

For more than 100 summers and time unknown before, native people have journeyed great distances to gather at a peaceful lake in north-central Alberta. It has been said the waters of Lac Ste. Anne have miraculous healing powers. Documentary photographer Steve Simon’s compelling and evocative photographs combine with quotes from the people gathered at the lake to tell a powerful story of faith and hope.

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For one week in July every year, as many as 30,000 people transform a 40-acre shoreline in North-Central Alberta into a pilgrims’ city. The believers-some of whom travel to Lac Ste. Anne by foot-wade slowly into the shallows to pray. They come to be healed-physically, spiritually and emotionally. The Cree people traditionally call the sacred body of water Manito Sakahigan or Lake of the Spirit. Even before the arrival of Catholic missionaries to the site in 1843, it was considered a place of great spiritual significance, a “power spot”.

The modern pilgrimage is an event in which Native spiritual traditions of many nations coexist with the Catholic faith. It is a place where many people come seeking harmony-a healing place.
In Healing Waters, documentary photographer Steve Simon tells a powerful story of faith, hope and mystery through the immediacy of his photographs and a text told mostly in the words of those seeking their own understanding of this singular event.
Healing Title Page-1

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