Remembering …

Carol A. Hand


Gichi-ode’ Akiing (Ojibwe for “A Grand Heart Place”), Duluth, Minnesota – October 28, 2019


Walking in two worlds




and honoring


what is really important


“Ojibwe and non-Natives alike, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans, are all governed by the great leveler—nature. If we befoul our water, we poison ourselves” (Mary Annette Pember, 2016, September 15)

For more information about the Protect Our Water (Stop Enbridge Line 3) Demonstration in Duluth, Minnesota on September 28, 2019, you can visit the following links:

Northlanders Protest Enbridge Line 3 in Gichi-ode’ Akiing Park

For information about the place where the event was held:

For more information about the role of Ojibwe women as water protectors, you can visit the following link:

For Native Women, It’s All About the Water



Water has always been so important in my life. Perhaps the time of my birth on the cusp of Pisces (two fish swimming in opposite directions) and Aquarius (the water-bearer) presaged my sense of wonder and connection to water.

As Nichols (2014, p. xiii) observes,

“One of the many possible ways to describe life would be as a series of encounters with various bodies of water. Time spent in, on, under, or near water interspersed with the periods thinking about where, when, and how to reach it next.”

My life has been blessed by positive connections to water. As a child of two profoundly different cultures, my safe places were the brook and pond near my New Jersey home, and the interconnected lakes I visited in summers on the Ojibwe reservation where my mother was born in northern Wisconsin. Summers also meant trips to the Atlantic Ocean where I learned how to gather clams with my toes, and camping by Lake Welch in the Ramapo Mountains of New York State. The Allegheny River provided solace during my high school years in northwestern Pennsylvania, and Lake Michigan did likewise during my early college years in Chicago, Illinois. Now, I live near the southwestern shore of Lake Superior to be closer to my daughter and grandchildren who are drawn to the water as well.

I wasn’t conscious of the importance of water throughout my life a year ago when I decided to focus the research class I teach on the connections between access to clean water and healthy communities. I am grateful that my family and students are helping me continue to learn about the increasing importance of this issue for the future world they will inherit. It is heartening to witness so many people of all ages around the globe awakening and unifying to protect the indispensable resources that are a necessity for all life.

Work Cited:

Wallace J. Nichols (2014). Blue mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

21 thoughts on “Remembering …

  1. A good reminder, carol. Climate change is not conducive to guaranteeing safe sources of potable water for most. If people used their intelligence they would know, beyond any doubt now that as far as clean air and water are concerned we’re way past the crisis point but as the crisis looms larger and closer people just enter into deeper denial.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Sometimes it’s either laugh… or cry… Often, as I contemplate the break and entry man has perpetrated upon this earth I repeat the line of some poet who came home to find his house vandalized: “The thieves left the moon in the window.”

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Such important observations, Sha’Tara. I am encouraged by the work students have been doing to learn about the issues and at least partial local solutions.


  2. Water truly is the source…I was introduced to this through surfing…not the web…peace, tranquility…absolute power. How much of the earth is captured by water…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah, surfing! That explains the focus on water in some of your stories, Graham! Your observations about water are important. You might find a book by Wallace Nichols (2015) interesting, “Blue mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do.” Sending my best wishes to you. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s an interesting book that I used to gain background information on water for the research class I am teaching undergraduates. Students are learning about research by reviewing studies that focus on some aspect of the connection between access to clean water and community health, and then planning and conducting their own local studies. Thus far, it has been a fascinating experiment. Students have done some incredible work!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That sounds like quite a project. My wife is from Kenya (so I’ve been there a bit). There is a very clear connection with water and health (for the people and the environment)…sadly they have the rain, but not the resources to capture it, so it shows its devastating side too. FYI…my local libray has the book so I should have it in my hands in a couple of days. Best wishes wirh the project.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, so many people who do forget about how important clear water is. One of my students shared a quote from a research study – “People only think about water when they are thirsty.” Many people around the globe are face-to-face with this reality every day.


  3. Water situation in my country is very bad, the government consumed approximately all water sources under the ground in last 50 years.
    We live in a dry country but the government is looking forward money from farming, so they use the war sources under the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing such important information about challenges in your country with the wise use of water, Ehsan. Access to clean water is a serious issue around the globe. Problems in the U.S. are serious as well and are also affected by privileging economic uses that over-consume and contaminate water sources.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: