Water has long played an important role in my life. In fact, it played a role in my very beginning. Like all of you, I first lived in a water environment, then was born into this world. A few weeks later, I was baptized with water. This sacrament joins me with many others that share my faith traditions, and water is sacred in many traditions.
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Water can be described as a molecule, a solvent, a relative, a healer, and a force that both gives and takes life. Reader, what is water to you? If any article in this issue brings you into deeper understanding of the answer to this question, then we have succeeded. Like the We Are Water MN project as a whole, the goal of this issue is to share multiple ways of knowing water and to deepen your relationship with and responsibility to water.
A couple of summers ago, the University hosted an international graduate student workshop on the environmental humanities, that is, interdisciplinary examination of environmental questions from scholars of literature, philosophy, language disciplines, and the like. Not surprisingly, the group wanted to take a Mississippi River boat tour and I was invited along as the University’s resident “river guy.”
Mille Lacs Lake is the second largest lake in Minnesota and archaeological evidence suggests that it was one of the first areas that humans settled in the region. Many different groups of people have called the area around the lake home. A number of Native American tribes have lived around the lake throughout time.
A project of the Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), in collaboration with the Minnesota Departments of Health, Natural Resources, and Agriculture as well as the Minnesota Historical Society, We Are Water MN strives to bridge the disconnect between scientific knowledges about water and human practices and engagements with water.
An unassuming email with the subject line “possible to talk about hosting a water-community exhibit in LES?” came through my inbox midday on February 27, 2018. Little did I know this email would change the way I looked at my work at the Institute on the Environment (IonE) and spark my drive for collaborations within and outside the University community in respect to absent narratives.
This year, 2019, marks the Centennial Anniversary of Whitewater State Park located in Winona County in the southeast Minnesota blufflands region. The story of how this place evolved into the popular tourist destination it is today is both fascinating and frightening and the park naturalists are working to make sure that story is not forgotten.
Stewardship, then, is the dialogue we have with stakeholders about their lived experiences with the same things we are studying, developing shared language and concepts, and incorporating that knowledge into our future research and outreach activities. Over time, we all see ourselves as Water People.