Negotiating the Middle Waters: Oil and Water Among the Osage and Standing Rock Sioux


By Kevin Briceland:

The case of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma during the early nineteenth century illustrates how the expropriation and erosion of Indigenous landbases pose irrevocable threats to the sovereignty and survival of Indigenous peoples. Nearly a century after avaricious non-Osages murdered Osage tribal members over oil headrights, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation of North and South Dakota protested the dangers oil extraction and pipelines posed to the tribe’s water supply and sacred sites. (more…)

Water: The Flow of Life in Cherokee History

By Nichole Sparks:

Water is a sustaining element for the survival of the human race. For indigenous communities the struggles to obtain and possess natural resources like water have been a continuous battle throughout history. With technological advances, these struggles to possess water have changed as people are less dependent on primitive ways of obtaining water and more focused on creating clean water access and ownership for communities. The Cherokee have faced struggles with ownership and possession of water over the years; however, the Cherokee as a community have combated these struggles in key situations to help their nation and others (more…)

Taos Pueblo Reacquisition of Blue Lake

Alexandria Uhl:


The Taos Pueblo reservation is located in northern New Mexico and contains approximately 300,000 acres. Part of this land is home to a sacred site, Blue Lake, whose ownership was withheld from the Taos Pueblo people in 1906. After a sixty-four year bout with the U.S. Government, the tribe regained ownership of Blue Lake, which was a significant reclamation for the Pueblo nation. (more…)

Zuni Indian Tribe Water Settlement

Zuni Lake

James Kunkel:

One of the enduring consequences of the encounter between the people of the United States and the Indigenous population of North America has been the contest over the right to land and the resources that are present on that land.  One case is of the Zuni Indian Tribe of New Mexico, which highlights the contest and struggle between the property and cultural rights of Indigenous peoples in competition with the economic and developmental interests of newcomers from the United States.  (more…)

Water Running by Melissa Michal

Water Running

Until I moved to Arizona, I hadn’t thought about water and how the liquid gives us life and connection and cleared spirits. The east coast is plentiful with water. Growing up in Western New York, there was a lake at the edge of our town, creeks in my grandparents’ backyards, waterfalls at Letchworth State Park, the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, all within driving distance. My other grandparents had a cottage along the St. Lawrence River at the 1000 Islands. Water literally surrounded me, not only in bathtubs, kitchen sinks, showers, pools, and garden hoses, but everywhere we visited. I had no worries or concerns.

The Hohokam, original Indigenous peoples of Arizona, built over 500 miles of canals which sustained approximately 80,000 people, and probably more, using what is now the Gila and Salt Rivers. Those rivers have since been diverted by Arizona for man-made lakes, drying them nearly to dust.