In Native communities and indigenous thinking, water is much more than a resource. Water is part of the “body” of the universe and Mother Earth. It covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and also is the major make-up of almost all life forms. Water is life.
There are many compelling issues that have come to the forefront in the last few months. Some have drawn worldwide attention such as the Standing Rock Sioux struggle to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline and protect the North Dakota watershed and its people. Others are not as well known such as protecting the everglades from new fracking and drilling techniques in southwest Florida that pose risks to groundwater, from which the Seminole tribe derive their entire source of water.
There is a saying in Native Hawaiian culture that says Mohala I ka wai ka maka o ka pua, which means Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers. The flowers are the metaphors for all life. People thrive where there is clean water and good living conditions. Tiokasin Ghosthorse is one of NACF’s 2016 national music fellows and wrote a beautiful article on an indigenous Lakota perspective of water, that I highly encourage you to read here.
Lulani Arquette, NACF President and CEO