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.
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, is happening to the places and peoples from where the water is taken?
‘What is ours to learn, witness and do?’
When: Nov 17th & 18th 2023
Where: Los Angeles City, exact location TBD
Guides: Kyndall Noah, Rossana Marujo, Paul Huette, Orland Bishop & Kate Bunney
Cost: We welcome donations/gift for organizational costs – No one turned away for lack of funds
More Info: Email Kate Bunney