Day walks along the LA river to explore what it would mean for Los Angeles to be water independent.
About this Event
In partnership with members of the Tongva community, Owens Valley Indian Water Commission and Youth Passageways, Walking Water will hold three, 1 day walks in Los Angeles City in June 2022 to explore what it would mean for Los Angeles to be water independent, what it has meant for both the Paiute people and the Tongva people that Los Angeles is not and how we can all play a part in creating a resilient and accountable LA, in support of resilient communities everywhere. We will invite the LA Mayor’s office of Infrastructure, other elected officials and experts to join to both share and listen. We hope you will invite any and all who need to be there.
The City of Los Angeles (situated on Tongva territory, California, is one of the most populous cities in the United States and has one of the largest metropolitan economies in the world. It is also dependent on other areas of California to provide 85% of its water. The 3 main imported sources of water to LA county are: The State Water Project, The Colorado River, and the LA Aqueduct.
The first LA Aqueduct was built in 1913, it stretched nearly 250 miles up to Payahuunadu, the “Place Where The Water Flows”, also known as Owens Valley, Eastern Sierras. The deliberate elimination of the Paiute Shoshone, Nuumü/Newé peoples of Payahuunadü had already begun in the late 1880’s. By the 1920’s, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power had taken much of the land and claimed water rights and is still the main landowner today. The tribe’s water rights are still unresolved.
The building of the aqueduct perpetuated the loss of a sustainable environment, the loss of a once thriving environment, and contributed to the growing mutually dependent, colonial relationship with Los Angeles … a relationship, though appreciated by some, left the local peoples without voice. This has borne much conflict and legal actions over broken agreements and animosity for over 140 years now.
We invite all to understand that water cannot neatly be separated from the lived history of people, their culture, and values. Water is shaped by shared lived histories and a solution to understanding how vital our part is can be viewed through critical reflection on the historical injustices that continue to manifest in tribal contemporary water issues. Without critical reflection, we inadvertently constrain our options for innovative approaches to sustainable water futures for all.
With the impacts of climate change becoming ever more obvious: severe drought, high risks of earthquakes, year round fire risk, extreme heat and flooding, the need for LA and all peoples of place, to be accountable and responsible is ever increasing.
“As people of this land, our ancestral lineage, culture, values, and our perspectives on water sustainability and futures, constitute an invitation to have dialogue on the values and vision that will lean on the resilience and indigenous ways of being, which provides valuable instruction for thinking and living sustainably.” Kyndall Noah, Owens Valley Indian Water Commission.
We walk with these essential questions…
‘Where does our water come from?”Why does LA water not come from local sources?”What has happened and is happening to the places and peoples from where the water is taken?”What is ours to learn, witness and do?’
When: June 17, 18, 19 2022
June 17 – We invite young community activists (by invitation)
June 18 – Open to All
June 19 – Open to All – Family Day
Where: Los Angeles City, exact location TBD
Guides: Gigi Coyle, Annie Mendoza, Orland Bishop & Kate Bunney
Cost: We welcome donations/gift for organizational costs.
No one turned away for lack of funds.
More Info: Kate Bunney