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Editor in Chief Commentary: Water - Recognizing the Indigenous Perspective

Author(s): Jerry P. White

Journal: International Indigenous Policy Journal
ISSN 1916-5781

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: water | colonialism | social determinants | traditional knowledge | policy

Indigenous peoples have, since time immemorial, understood that water is central to the cycles of life. Yet, as many of the articles in this special issue on water in Indigenous communities point out, Indigenous peoples have real problems accessing safe water. Why?Indigenous peoples have always cared for the water and followed practices that, depending on their geography, varied by season to protect and conserve fresh safe water. They have celebrated it as witnessed by the ceremony and language used. Colonial practices have disrupted the care and knowledge passing in Indigenous communities.Cost-effective technology exists to deliver safe water to Indigenous communities. The issue is that utilization of technology and environmental sustainability rest on the social determinants of safe water. From a policy perspective, this means we have to look outside of Western technological solutions and come to listen to the other ‘story’ - the one that emanates from Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.

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