Click here to read the report. Here’s the forward:
Colorado River Basin Native American Tribal Leaders
This is a timely and much needed report.
Clean water is fundamental to life, but many of our people have never had an opportunity to experience this basic and essential service, one that is taken for granted in most American communities. Many of our family members, our elders, and our children have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic because clean and safe water was not available. The necessity and the urgency of having access to safe water sources has been starkly demonstrated during this trying time.
Helping to provide clean water to us, throughout Indian Country, benefits everyone, and its absence correspondingly jeopardizes the health of the entire United States of America. As the pandemic has made clear, any hot spot for the virus inevitably and inexorably spreads to other areas, both neighboring and far flung. With our homes in Indian Country many times more likely than homes in white communities to lack indoor plumbing, our nation’s resources must be quickly focused on addressing this inequity for the protection of all.
The United States government has long promised all Native American Tribes a “permanent homeland,” a “livable reservation,” and a home “conducive to the health and prosperity of the Indians.” But these promises are broken when we do not have clean water to drink, to cook with, and to wash as required to avoid the spread of this deadly disease. Both the Tribes and the United States envisioned our homelands as places where our people can thrive, as they had done from time immemorial. It is long past time to make that vision a reality. Access to safe and clean water must be made available now. Promises made must be kept and access provided to this most basic of human needs—clean water.
Tó éí iiná até [Water is Life],
Jonathan Nez | President, Navajo Nation
Paatuwaqatsi [Water is Life],
Timothy Nuvangyaoma | Chairman, Hopi Tribe
Payy new aakut [Water is Life],
Manuel Heart | Chairman, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Ten Tribes Partnership
Xa ‘iipayk [Water is Life],
Jordan D. Joaquin | President, Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe