Tribes and Native communities are uniquely positioned to advance their sovereign, legal, cultural, and basic human right to clean water.
Changing Currents fosters intertribal collaboration and shared learning opportunities to develop, advance, and implement a shared water policy agenda in Northwest U.S. states.
Changing Currents convenes important Intertribal & Native perspectives on water resource issues and builds connection to non-Native neighbors, Communities of Color, partners, and stakeholders that have shared concerns.
Changing Currents was founded upon the idea that water is a highly critical and invaluable resource for many tribal communities and is an inherent part of tribal culture, spirituality, and society. Tribes and Native communities view their relationship to the water and the inter-relation of natural resources as one of stewardship and reverence. This relationship to water is rooted in creation stories, prayer, and traditions that have been handed down from one generation to the next for countless generations. Tribes embrace a philosophy and responsibility “to leave the resource better than when you found it.” Today, the relationship and stewardship to water and natural resources is becoming difficult as the demands and pressures on these resources increases.
In August 2017, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and several partners convened the first Changing Currents: Tribal Water Summit at the University of Oregon’s Knight Law Center. The summit brought together staff and leadership from Tribes across the Northwest to begin a dialogue around common water interests and opportunities at the state level.
Since that inaugural summit, Changing Currents as a project of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) has continued build interest and to create on-going summits focused on water resource protection topics and to develop a shared understanding of “common interests” or priorities.
The four-major common intertribal interests:
1) Healthy Waters (Water quality & Quantity)
2) Cultural & Spiritual Connection to Water
3) Document & Share Tribal Water Stories
4) Protection of Tribal Water Rights
Thank you to the following partners and project allies! The organizations below have hosted summits, contributed content and shared stories, traveled with us to visit tribal governments, and funded this work.