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🗣️ "Decolonizing Water Part 1"

Water Talk

Photo by Jon Flobrant / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Drs. Mallika Nocco, Faith Kearns & Sam Sandoval
Guest: Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy | Associate Professor & Department Chair of Native American Studies | Humboldt State University
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:40] “I'm […] Hoopa, Yurok, and Karuk and enrolled in the Hoopa Valley tribe, which is up here in Northern California. […] I like working with people and communities to do things that can radically change our futures so that we can all live better lives. And lately, I've been saying so that we can all breathe. […] And that can mean so many things in several different social justice circles. […] I primarily do a lot of my work with California Indians and California being communities in what is currently called the state of California, […] and just trying to find ways to call attention to the political issues that we still face. Because I think a lot of people think of us only in the past […] or as people who are only really of the past. [But] there are so many things that we are leading the way on when it comes to climate change politics, culture, cultural revitalization, land use, and what the future can look like.”

[6:18] “Decolonization [doesn’t have] a set definition, […] because it's it is a complex theory. It's a theory of what we're supposed to be doing, to move in new directions to build like radical imagined futures, and to make the impossible possible. […] Decolonization helps us to put into praxis this theory, which says, there's a better way for this world to function. […] Decolonization is […] we're going to come in and do something else. And that's something else is going to be based on knowledges, […] truly value things like respect and reciprocity, long term thinking, […] moving out of the dehumanization of Indigenous peoples, which has been fundamental to the system that we live under, pushing back against […] hetero patriarchy. […] And then, I think, the future theorists who are coming into the decolonization are saying, at the heart of what we're signing up for is land return. […] And a lot of that is really centered around land, life and water. Because for us, water is land, land is water, they're all tied so closely together.”

[11:54] “When we're talking about Indigenous ways of knowing, […] and these just basic knowing and being, […] we always conceptualize the world is in relationship. So, everything's in relationship, you can't divorce one thing of another. […] I always say to people, […] you're not going to solve climate change, if you don't start thinking […] actually, we have to save the fish. Or the fish need to be centered in this. And when we talk about water policy, […] I always ask […] if the rule is whoever's the oldest gets the first rights to the water, […] then who's the oldest? […] It's fish. They've been around for millions of years, they should have first rights to the water. And we can't apologize for that point of view, because we are their voice, we are the people who are responsible for them, that's our relationship. […] We are not the center of the universe here.”

[23:24] “Water is life. [It] is pretty central to a lot of Indigenous people’s spaces. […] Water is what we need to remember is centered in what we do. And then we center it in our culture and our ceremonies, in the way we talk in our languages. So in the Hoopa language, we have different words for water depending on what it's for. We have the water we drink, we have the water we see like in a river, but we also have like the water we pray to. And so, we have these different ways of talking about water because we have centralized this understanding of how important it is to life. And we want people to have that value. I think we've, we've grown up understanding this space is so important to us, our directions in Hoopa […] are the point of view of the water. So, it's either upriver or downriver away from the river or toward the river. And that's how we view the world.”

[25:49] “Our theorizing about water [is] across borders, across lives and times. And we think about the way it feeds the entirety of the land, and […] we've always conceptualized our river. So, we get taught from the time we're very little, that river is like the vein, it is the artery of our land, it carries everything that we need to make this land work well. So, if the river is sick, the land will be sick, the people will be sick, animals will be sick, so we take care of the water.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 30 min | 🗓️ 05/07/2021
✅ Time saved: 28 min

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