Every year Americans travel across the sea to experience the ancient architectural wonders of the world such as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Great Wall of China, and the Roman Aqueducts. Few realize that North America is also home to great architectural wonders. The Hohokam built canals to feed what is now the City of Phoenix in order to create a habitable environment. The Paiutes also built ditches that connected the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to Owens Valley, California. Most of these architectural achievements are lost in history, as America has chosen to forget its Indigenous past.
We attended the screening of PAYA: The Water Story of the Paiute (the work of filmmaker Jenna Cavelle, many Paiute community members, and others) at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont on March 22, 2016. Learn more about the film at PAYAtheMovie.com. The forty-five minute film was followed by a panel discussion with Environmental Mission Scholar Jacklyn Velasquez, Native Water Activist for the Bishop Paiute Tribe Harry Williams, and Environmental Director of Big Pine Paiute Tribe Sally Manning.
Happy International Water Day and Indigenous World Water Day!
International Water Day is an observance of water, which is understood as the source of life. The event was created by the United Nations in 1992, and has been celebrated every year on March 22 to create awareness about global water issues and concerns. Events, such as symposiums, film screenings, and art exhibits are held around the world to promote sustainable management of fresh water.
Welcome to the “Water River Life-Giver” Blog!
In Navajo, we introduce ourselves by clans. My mother is American of Irish and English descent, and my father is Navajo. Through my father, I am born for the Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House clan). My family history has inspired me to pursue Native American Studies. Since I was a child, I loved to hear my family stories, and that passion has carried me to this time in my life. I am currently the Charles Eastman Fellow in Native American Studies at Dartmouth College where I have finished my dissertation to earn my Ph.D. in U.S. History from Arizona State University.
When I moved to Vermont near Dartmouth, I received news of the Gold King Mine Waste Water Spill. I felt shock and had to sit down. I felt helpless. I could not run home, because I lived across the country. I felt so far away and powerless. I was scared. I was worried for my Navajo family, people, and homeland. I was frustrated, as I thought to myself, “What can I do?”
Entering: Everyone is invited to submit a blog post; the Water is Life blog contest is open to any United States resident age 18 and up. For full rules and prizes see the contest rules.
Voting: Come back later to vote for your favorite blog posts. Voting closes 11:59PM EDT on April 27, 2016.