It was the meeting of many traditions as the Rainbow Warrior received her name today. As with any ship, there was the bottle of champagne and the naming. But in Greenpeace fashion, one of our Climate and Energy campaigners from Canada, a member of the Cree community, took on the role of name-giver. She reminded us that while this ship may be made of new steel and canvass, she's part of a longer story, back beyond her two predecessors and deep into the past, where the legend she is named for was born:



Tansi Kiya. Niya Melina Miyowapan Laboucan-Massimo. Niya Nehiyaw. Kinaskomitinow.

Hello. My name is Melina Miyowapan Laboucan-Massimo. I come from a northern Cree community in Alberta, Canada. I have come here today to talk about the prophecy from which the Rainbow Warrior gets its name.

The Warriors of the Rainbow prophecy stems from a number of Indigenous nations in North America including the Cree and Hopi nations.

The prophecy speaks of a time when the blue sky and waters turn black and green things turn brown and die. Animals and fish will disappear and birds will drop from the sky. This devastation will come as a result of man's greed and disrespect of Mother Earth.

This time my friends, is upon us.

Where I come we see our watershed becoming polluted, the air being poisoned and the land being destroyed by mines the size of entire cities. In the tar sands in Alberta we see our landscape drastically changing from a once pristine and beautiful boreal forest to an increasingly industrial and toxic terrain.

Animals and fish have become sick with tumors and caribou are listed as a threatened species that are predicted to disappear entirely from our traditional territory in my lifetime. People no longer feel safe to harvest traditional medicines, teas or berries because they have become contaminated. People young and old have started to die of rare forms of cancers that we have never seen before.

I come from a community that until my generation, my family was able to live sustainably off the land.

More than any other time in our history the earth is being contaminated and destroyed at an unparalleled rate and people and animals alike are being sacrificed for the benefit of a few.

We are not only in an ecological crisis but we are in a moral human crisis. All around the world, we see people’s homes and traditional territories being turned into industrial landscapes or mono-crop plantations. We see people’s drinking water turned into radiated and toxic dumpsites for industrial and nuclear facilities.

The warriors of the rainbow prophecy speaks of a time when people will gather from the four sacred directions, all distinctly separate but forever connected in the circle of life. And those who have kept their ancient knowledge, ceremonies, and stories alive shall be our teachers.

People from diverse backgrounds and creed must truly begin to work together in honesty and respect - with a deep sense of solidarity with one another.

The tasks are many and great for the warriors of the rainbow. There will be terrifying mountains of ignorance to conquer and they shall find prejudice and hatred. They must be dedicated, unwavering in their strength, and strong in spirit. They will find willing hearts and minds that will follow them on this road of returning to Mother Earth.

And when we venture into the vast seas and enter the traditional territories of people that have lived in harmony with our Mother for thousands of years. I pray we enter in acknowledgement and respect of this sacred connection that they held with the land for time immemorial.

For if we don’t enter with that knowledge and respect, how can we expect them to acknowledge and trust us to work in good faith with one another.

For Indigenous people on the west coast of Canada, there are traditional welcoming songs where the incoming vessel is invited to come shore. They are welcomed in a good way. So too I hope the Rainbow Warrior will be guided and welcomed in these ways.

The time has come for us to rise like the thunderbird and hear the stories that remind us of ancient truths.

The prophecy speaks of a time when people must come together to heal the earth.

A time when people from the Four Directions come together to work for Justice, Peace, Freedom and recognition of the Great Spirit and the sacredness of our Mother Earth.

This is what I pray the Rainbow Warrior will bring to our work.

I pray the Rainbow Warrior will touch the lives of people of all walks of life, all creeds, and all nations and inspire us to create the change we need in the world.

Hiy Hiy – Danke schön - Thank you.

Melina and Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo


Catch our web video series "Stories from the Rainbow Warrior" and see the maiden voyage through the eyes of our newest activists, the New Hands on Deck: If you were one of the 100,000 donors who bought a piece of this ship, thank you -- you just might see the cleat, bolt, sail, or wheelhouse you bought.
Photos: Top:Alex Yallop, Bottom:John Novis