Chuush iwa waq’ishwit: Water is Life

Chuush iwa waq’ishwit. Water is life. Our rivers function not only hydrologically but also in a cultural context. They have been dramatically altered since the first white people ventured here. With their arrival, forests were logged. Early newcomers tried to eradicate beavers. They introduced nonnative fish and other species. Rivers were dammed and water diverted. The people who already called this place home were displaced, often brutally. The colonization of people, and the monetization of land and water, go hand in hand. We must dismantle both if future generations are to inherit a just society and livable planet. I am Carina. I belong to this land and its rivers. My ancestors lived along the Columbia River and its tributaries, practicing subsistence fishing and hunting. My grandparents ranched on today’s Warm Springs Reservation. My family instilled in me the importance of using traditional knowledge to benefit all, and to think of … Read more

Song of the River

Just over four years ago, we created the Coalition for the Deschutes so the river would have a voice, so that it would be seen as more than an extension of urban and agricultural infrastructure, a utility to be tapped. We can’t talk about restoring rivers without talking about how we all use them, from farming to recreation to household use. And so, I was drawn into Central Oregon “Water World.” Discussions revolve around projects, policies, politics, often with conflicting narratives in a milieu of misinformation and mistrust. To enter into Water World is to be drawn away from the river, diverted just as the river is diverted. For me, it has meant willingly entering into a place of personal sorrow. But with that has come conversations and with conversations has come hope. Hope that we will get to know our neighbors and hear each others’ stories. Hope that we … Read more