3rd Annual Water Ethics Symposium!


Monday, October 22, 2018 - 7:30am


Indigenous Water Ethics: Sacred Waters Connecting Culture, People, & Place

October 22, 2018 ENR2 S107 University of Arizona

“The whole system of water management and allocation was set up in a backward way, with the idea that water is being wasted if it’s not being utilized for human needs...plants, animals, ultimately serve people so it’s a huge question...There needs to be some solid policy change, a shift in the way people think about water.” –Tribal Member (LaCroix, 2016)


Western societies have manipulated the supply and distribution of water for consumption, development, mining, industry and other purposes to meet an immediate and every growing water demand and changing climate. Water ethics is a growing area of dialogue focused on managing water based on values, culture, and beliefs and co-existence with nature. For indigenous people, the fundamentals of “water ethics” are the foundation of how indigenous peoples value water as a sacred entity connecting culture, people and place. To Indigenous peoples “Mni Wiconi” or “Water is Life” and those who rise up to defend her right are “water protectors.” Recently, the rise of indigenous peoples to defend the rights of water has grabbed national attention, with “NoDAPL at Standing Rock;” Honor the Earth’s campaign against Keystone XL which would impact indigenous lands; and “Stand with the Gwich’in to Defend the Artic against artic drilling among many more water protectors rising to defend sacred waters. What is indigenous water ethics and how can western societies learn from these fundamental values in water decisions? How can indigenous water ethics inform the growing field of water ethics? What are the rights and roles of Indigenous Peoples in recognition of their fundamental ancestral connections to water and environment? What does water sovereignty mean for indigens people? How is this sovereignty being impacted by new technologies and corporate strategies for mining, energy production, and agriculture? How might a new “ethics for water” be formulated to acknowledge the rights of Indigenous Peoples? This symposium brings together Indigenous water protectors to share their perspectives on water ethics and the impacts they face to protect sacred water and to create a dialogues to discuss synergistic advocacy and action towards changing the way western water is managed and perceived.



7:30 am Registration & Continental Breakfast


8:00 am Acknowledgement of Tohono Traditional Homelands

Tohono O’odham Blessing and Welcome


8:30 am Background to the Water Ethics Symposium Series

Glenn Schrader (UA Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering), and David Groenfeldt (Water-Culture Institute)


8:50 am Opening Keynote:

"Paatuaqatsi: Water is Life and the declaration for water" Vernon Masayesva (Hopi), Black Mesa Trust

Discussion: What is indigenous water ethics? What does an indigenous declaration for water look like? What are the indigenous values which lay the foundation for a water declaration? How does an indigenous water for declaration inform water decisions?


9:30 am UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP), Seanna

Howard, Professor, UA Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program (Invited)

Discussion: What are the components of the DRIP and how does it relate to indigenous water ethics? How does it protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to water and the environment?


10:00 am Panel 1: International Indigenous Advocacy

• Mona Polacca (Havasupai), Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers

• Janene Yazzie (Diné), Sixth World Solutions

• James Hopkins (First Nations), Yaqui Water Protectors

Discussion: What are water protectors doing at the international level to advocate for indigenous water ethics? What is the climate towards to indigenous water ethics?


11:00 am Panel 2: Water protectors against Proposed Mining

• Wendsler Nosie Sr. (San Carlos Apache), Proposed Copper Mining on Oak Flats

• Carleta Tilousi (Havasupai Tribal Council), Proposed Uranium on Havasupai Lands

• Petuche Gilbert (Acoma), Proposed Uranium on Mt. Taylor

Discussion: What are the indigenous water ethics that drive the work of indigenous water protectors? How can indigenous water ethics play a role in the work of water protectors against proposed mining? How can indigenous water ethics inform water decisions?


12:00 pm Lunch Provided (Please RSVP)


1:00 pm Panel 3: Indigenous Water Ethics in Water Sovereignty

• Austin Nunez (Tohono O’odham), CAP Water for irrigation & water recharge

• Kern Collymore, Little Colorado River Watershed Chapter Association

• Ted Jojola (Isleta Pueblo), Indigenous Design Planning Institute

Discussion: What is indigenous water sovereignty? How are indigenous water protectors exercising water sovereignty to elevate indigenous water protectors?


2:00 pm Panel 4: Natural rights of water

• David Groenfeldt (Water Culture Institute), Water Ethics Network and Water Ethics Charter

• Jolene Catron (Rio Grande Pueblo Council), Rio Grande River Management

Discussion: What is water ethics? What are current water policies that align with consideration of water ethics?


3:00 pm Panel 5: Cultural values of water

• Karletta Chief (Dine’), Cultural values of water in considering the impacts of the Gold King Mine Spill

• Mike Johnson (Hopi), Ecosystem services and cultural values of water in traditional Hopi Agriculture

Discussion: How are the cultural values of water being considered in water policy and management? How are cultural values quantified?


3:30 pm Protecting Indigenous Water Sovereignty: Lessons Learned

• Open Dialogue

• Report back themes from Panels: What are the promising lessons learned? What are the challenges?


3rd Annual Water Ethics Symposium!

• Discussion on Water statements, declarations, and charters. Are they useful or needed for indigenous water protectors? What are the challenges and the barriers

• Where do we go from here? Action items and next steps to inform indigenous water policy and management?


4:30 pm Developing the Field of Water Ethics

• Open Dialogue

• How can Indigenous experience inform the field of water ethics, and how can the field of water ethics support Indigenous water sovereignty?

• Suggestions for shaping the field of water ethics

• Ideas for next year's 4th Annual Water Ethics Symposium


5:15 pm Native American Prayer & Conclude


5:30pm Reception & Networking Mixer

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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