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The Lakota phrase “Mní wičhóni,” or “Water is life,” has become a new national protest anthem. It was chanted by 5,000 marchers at the Native Nations March in Washington, D.C. on March 10, and during hundreds of protests across the United States in the last year. “Mní wičhóni” became the anthem of the almost year-long struggle to stop the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River in North Dakota.
In 1999, I read in a newspaper about the contentious Three Gorges Dam project. China’s leaders had a grand vision of transforming the Yangtze River into the biggest artificial lake in the world in an attempt to control recurring floods and to generate an estimated 10 percent increase in hydropower energy…
National Parks are often referred to as “America’s best idea.” Recent scholarship and well-publicized difficulties within the agency have shown that, perhaps inevitably, the National Park Service and the extensive system that it manages, has taken on important characteristics of the society of which it is a part, for better or worse.
Angie Tillges is the Great River Passage Fellow. She is a public space artist and educator who is skilled at working with public institutions and community organizations on projects of social, artistic, and ecological importance. She leads projects that provide people the opportunity to make personal and lasting connections with public spaces in their communities.
We recognize the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., mainly through its associated landscape, whether of gloriously blooming cherry trees or the famous monuments surrounding it. It is a famous place largely because of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws a large number of visitors to the capital.