32 min

The Source As She Rises

    • Society & Culture

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Lake Powell is long and thin. It snakes through the red-desert, running southwest through Utah, ending at the top of Arizona. From above, it looks like a human artery. From the inside, it's idyllic. The water is crystalline. Every year, millions of people flock to the lake to fish, canoe, and hike. Today, Lake Powell is around a fifth of its original size. Pools that used to be deep enough to dive into have turned into puddles of mud. And as the water disappears, the forgotten canyon beneath reemerges.

We’re starting our journey just south of Lake Powell, in the Navajo Nation. Over the years, the U.S. government has signed a number of treaties with the Navajo Nation, promising certain amounts of water, and water infrastructure. But, as they struggle to reallocate water in the face of drought, the government still tends to leave indigenous communities out of the conversation.

Poet Kinsale Drake reads her poem, “after Sacred Water,” about how the U.S. government drowned an ecosystem to create a dam that is now shrinking fast. Emma Robbins, director of the Navajo Water Project, explains how her organization ensures households have running water, and that the Navajo Nation has a seat at the table.

Lake Powell is long and thin. It snakes through the red-desert, running southwest through Utah, ending at the top of Arizona. From above, it looks like a human artery. From the inside, it's idyllic. The water is crystalline. Every year, millions of people flock to the lake to fish, canoe, and hike. Today, Lake Powell is around a fifth of its original size. Pools that used to be deep enough to dive into have turned into puddles of mud. And as the water disappears, the forgotten canyon beneath reemerges.

We’re starting our journey just south of Lake Powell, in the Navajo Nation. Over the years, the U.S. government has signed a number of treaties with the Navajo Nation, promising certain amounts of water, and water infrastructure. But, as they struggle to reallocate water in the face of drought, the government still tends to leave indigenous communities out of the conversation.

Poet Kinsale Drake reads her poem, “after Sacred Water,” about how the U.S. government drowned an ecosystem to create a dam that is now shrinking fast. Emma Robbins, director of the Navajo Water Project, explains how her organization ensures households have running water, and that the Navajo Nation has a seat at the table.

32 min

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