“Our Ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. Back then, this was hard to believe, since the water was so plentiful, so pure, and so full of energy, nutrition, and spirit.
Today we have to buy pure water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it’s just empty liquid. Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford.”
The Lakota prophecy that “one day water will be more precious than anything” terrifies me. Am I next on the list of less-than-humans to be denied clean water? What does my future look like? Will the water be black, unsafe, unavailable?
It was in Bulgaria where I began to really understand the value of water, and the meaning of access to it. Springs spouting clear fresh water dot the neighborhoods of Bulgarian villages. Local residents line up to fill bottles of drinking water, not because they couldn’t just get it out of the tap, but because they love to drink fresh spring water. To fill their bodies, quench their thirst with it. I realized how delicious water can be, how a mountain spring tastes different from the valley, and what a gift it was to have it flowing freely for all to take from it.
Dana Lone Hill challenges us to go 24 hours without water. No toilet flushing, no washing anything, no drinking anything that contains water (i.e. no drinking), no eating anything that required water to grow (i.e. no eating), no water. How long could we last before we’re consumed by thoughts of water, until our every cell began to ache for it?
How easy it is to say, “water is sacred,” how difficult it is to imagine being without it. To sacrifice water, that’s prayer, that’s committment, cellular living of one’s beliefs.
Water is home to manoomin, to bird and fish and medicine. Water is the first medicine. Water used to cover the land that my great-grandparents settled, where my grandfather, my mother, where I was raised and where I live now. Water fills every one of my cells, it fills every cell of the food that becomes me, it fills the air, it runs beneath us, it rules the climate, the weather. Water is life, and I want to keep living.
In solidarity with the humans of Standing Rock and all of this earth, in an effort to educate myself and draw my voice back in shape, I vow to speak/reflect/investigate/act every day of December on the issues entangling the Dakota Excess Pipeline.