Skip to content

🗣️ "Decolonizing Water Part 2"

Water Talk

Photo by Jack Anstey / 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:

[5:47] “In 2002, there was a massive fish kill in our region, as a result of the continued […] seizure of water by the Klamath dams that were happening. And so the Klamath River was very, very sick, the salmon got really sick and thousands upon thousands of salmon died on the shores of the Klamath River. And when you see that, as an indigenous person who grew up with this river, as so centered to who you are, […] it's a devastation […] that I can't really describe.”

[10:21] “So we knew the river was toxic, [so we can’t do a traditional] ceremony, [because] we can't go in the river. […] So [by] this ceremony [not] happening, you are disconnecting us from our community, and you are causing these massive problems. […] When we're talking about like our suicide rates, or what's happening in our schools, these are the things that helped them. […] I can't think about other generations not having that because the river is toxic. And as a result of protest, they did release water into the Trinity River to try to stave off what was a fish kill, and it didn't happen.”

[12:59] “We actually compiled a report of land returned in California and the ways in which multiple ways people have approached wetland return looks like to indigenous peoples. I will say this, it has been proven through studies, that land that is under the control of indigenous peoples tends to have more biodiversity, tends to have a better forest system, tends to be more cared for and tends to be used in a way that people value, in terms of it's not just being used for extractive industries. And they've shown that across the world, if you look at where the indigenous land holdings are.”

[14:15] “What we found out about land return in California especially is that it’s looked many different ways. Private owners have given land back to indigenous tribes, public agencies like PG&E have given land back to tribes, governments have given land back to tribes, city governments have given land back to tribe, the state has started to give land back to tribes. […] Governor Newsom recently passed […] [something], where he's basically saying that the state lands should first be considered for return to indigenous peoples before anything else.”

[23:26] “The thing I also like to remind people about with water policy especially, is we often think about it as a use policy. We rely on statistics for that and […] sort of […] looking at water usage wise. But when we think about indigenous communities, we are the communities really most affected by water policy, in terms of water that's being used from our communities to support other areas, primarily the agricultural industry. […] We can all take really short showers, but until we make different decisions about what we do with our agricultural industry, it's not really going to make much of a difference.”

[24:51] “When we can start to have a conversation that's based on […] a knowledge of history, I think it changes what people understand when we walk into rooms […] as indigenous people, [explaining] what's going on in our communities. What I love about indigenous movements [is] we're saying, everybody needs water. If you spill oil into your water, because your pipeline breaks, if you dam up the water and you can't get in it, or use it, or drink it, that's going to affect everyone. […] And it was the same thing with […] our world renewal ceremonies, […] we're not just doing those for our peoples, that's for the whole world. […] This is something we should all care about. The state of our water [is] going to make a big difference in how we're able to live in the future, and we all have to think about that together.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 28 min | 🗓️ 05/14/2021
✅ Time saved: 26 min