We Are Water Protectors

Stories and prophecies surrounding Mother Earth and Father Sky are abundant in indigenous folklore where Indigenous People have long protected the earth from those who would seek to abuse her resources. That’s why it is so wonderful to see that storytelling tradition carried on using today’s media outlets.

Carole Lindstrom, an Anishinaabe/Metis enrolled as a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of the Ojibwe tribe located in North Dakota has taken on the fight with her beautiful children’s book, We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade, which recalls water as “the first medicine,” the place from which we all started, a connecting and unifying force of creation. Today, water is under siege, the young protagonist in Water Protectors says, and inspired by her grandmother’s stories, she stands to lead her people to fight the Black Snake that threatens all of creation. The fight will not be easy but if she wins all of creation will benefit.

The Seven Fires Prophecy from the Anishinaabe tribe talks of two roads before mankind, one a natural path with respect for all living things, the other a paved-over highway that continues to accelerate at faster and faster speeds through technological and other advancements — much like the movie Koyaanisqatsi depicted four decades ago — one where the earth is an afterthought.

The Seven Fires Prophecy says the Black Snake is a result of the hurried path and, if left unchecked, will blanket the world in much harm and ultimate destruction. Indigenous Peoples believe the black snake is the embodiment of the oil pipelines that have spread like ley lines across our world.

In April 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stood up to the Black Snake in an attempt to block the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s been years of picketing, protesting, and legal battles for the tribe and others, the latest being a win before the U.S. Court of Appeals who said a full environmental impact statement was needed before the future fate of the pipeline could be decided. The next hearing is scheduled for April 9, 2021.

Lindstrom’s protagonist says the fight will not be easy, but it is necessary if we are to survive.  

We stand

With our songs

And our drums

We are still here

Carol Lindstrom, We Are Water Protectors

We Are Water Protectors won The Caldecott Award in 2020, given to “the most distinguished American picture book for children,” one of almost a dozen awards won by Lindstrom and Goade for this moving children’s story.

It is hard to imagine what the world would look like without these and other dedicated groups of earth keepers.

By working with native tribes, those who have held the land close to them like a mother holds a newborn, we just may be able to make our way out of our climate change mess.

It’s time to take the ancient medicine and walk the road of the natural path. It’s time to return to our Mother what belongs to her. It’s time to revere that which gives us life.

You can start by reading We Are Water Protectors.

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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25 Responses to We Are Water Protectors

  1. Pingback: We Are Water Protectors — Green Life Blue Water | Barbara Crane Navarro

  2. theburningheart says:

    The incongruency of our today, technological dichotomy, on one hand we go to Mars looking for water, the Mother of life, meanwhile here on Earth some do not give a damn about polluting it. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hadn’t heard about this book. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – my comment got zapped yesterday! Water is essential … and I’ve ordered the Carson book – your post with the comments are very informative and we all need to be better informed and relate to what’s happening today. Thanks – I’m looking forward to reading it … all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Annika Perry says:

    Pam, the book looks wonderful and with an important message for our children, us all. Fingers crossed for the hearing next month.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Susan Scott says:

    I’ve been following the Sioux at Standing Rock over the last few years. I hope this hearing next month goes well. It’s such a tough battle when the black snake wants to swallow everything up in its path. We surely need to awaken from our long sleep and be earth keepers ourselves. Thanks Pam xx

    Liked by 3 people

  7. A powerful post, my friend. Of the kind I like xxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pam, thanks for bringing this book to our attention!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve probably mentioned this before. A book that knocked me over (it’s brilliant, and beautifully written) is The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson. It is the story of water — its creation and powers.

    Liked by 3 people

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