Water Back: A review centering rematriation and Indigenous Water research sovereignty

Kelsey Leonard
(Shinnecock Nation)*, School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; kelsey.leonard@uwaterloo.ca

Dominique David-Chavez
(Arawak Taino), Colorado State University, Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Deondre Smiles
(Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Department of Geography, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Lydia Jennings
(Pascua Yaqui & Wixárika), College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Rosanna ʻAnolani Alegado
(kanaka ʻōiwi), Department of Oceanography and Hawaiʻi Sea Grant Program, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, USA

Lani Tsinnajinnie
(Diné), Department of Community and Regional Planning, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Joshua Manitowabi
(Potawatomi) Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation, History Department, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Rachel Arsenault
(Odawa and Ojibwe) Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Rene L. Begay
(Diné), Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA

Aurora Kagawa-Viviani
(kanaka ʻōiwi), Water Resources Research Center/Department of Geography & Environment, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻi, USA

Dawn D. Davis
(Newe, Shoshone-Bannock), NativeSci, LLC., Fort Hall, Idaho, USA

Vincent (Billy) van Uitregt
(Ngā Rauru, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngai Tūhoe, Nederlander), Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Hawlii Pichette
(Mushkego Cree, Treaty 9), Visual Artist and Illustrator, London, Ontario, Canada

Max Liboiron
(Red River Métis), Department of Geography, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, Canada

Bradley Moggridge
(Kamilaroi) Associate Professor in Indigenous Water Science, Centre for Applied Water Science, University of Canberra, ACT Australia

Stephanie Russo Carroll
(Native Village of Kluti-Kaah), College of Public Health and the Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Ranalda L. Tsosie
(Diné), Department of Earth & Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, Socorro, NM, USA

Andrea Gomez
(Laguna Pueblo), Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA

ABSTRACT: The recent Land Back movement has catalysed global solidarity towards addressing the oppression and dispossession of Indigenous Peoples’ Lands and territories. Largely absent from the discourse, however, is a discussion of the alienation of Indigenous Peoples from Water by settler-colonial states. Some Indigenous Water Protectors argue that there cannot be Land Back without Water Back. In response to this emergent movement of Water Back, this review of research by Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers traces the discursive patterns of Indigenous Water relationships and rematriation across themes of colonialism, climate change, justice, health, rights, responsibilities, governance and cosmology. It advances a holistic conceptualization of Water Back as a framework for future research sovereignty, focusing mainly on instances in Canada, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the United States. We present the findings on the current global Waterscape of Indigenous-led research on Indigenous Water issues. Water Back offers an important framework centring Indigenous way of knowing, doing, and being as a foundation for advancing Indigenous Water research.

KEYWORDS: Water Back, Indigenous Peoples, climate change, water governance, water health, water justice