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Changing Currents: Tribal Water Summit

  • University of Washington | wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House 4249 Whitman Court Seattle, WA, 98105 (map)
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About the 2018 Tribal Water Summit:


The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and the University of Washington’s (UW) Information School (iSchool) are hosting a two-day Tribal Water Summit at the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ - Intellectual House on UW’s Seattle campus on June 28 and 29, 2018.  The goals of the 2018 Tribal Water Summit are to bring together a diverse group of leaders, scientists, policy analysts, and community citizens to exchange knowledge about water challenges experienced in the Pacific Northwest and to hold discussions about potential solutions in the 21st Century.  

Why a Tribal Water Summit?

Recognizing that water is a highly critical and invaluable resource for many tribal communities and is a resource that is at the heart of tribal culture, spirituality, and society.   Tribal communities view their relationship to the water and other natural resources as one of stewardship.  This stewardship is a legacy that has been handed down from one generation to the next for countless generations.  The key principle in the stewardship approach is “to leave the resource better than when you found it.”  Today, stewardship to water and natural resources is becoming difficult as the demands and pressures on these resources increases. 

About the Changing Currents Project:

The Changing Currents: Tribal Water Summit began as a pilot project in 2017 between ATNI, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, and the University of Oregon. The project included a two-day summit and final video report.  The project goal was to assess the potential for developing intertribal coordination and collaboration on water issues at the state-level, specifically amongst Oregon tribes and later expanded to include regional considerations. The project was successful and captured the interest of the regional tribes and partners. 

What was the vision and reasons?

To date, the goal is to bring together like-minded individuals and partners around a common concern for our precious water resources. Changing Currents: Tribal Water Summit began as a few tribal water leaders idea and concept, inspired by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs leadership with the Deschutes River Conservancy. The thought being, if divergent interests such as those found on the Deschutes River could come together and work on common interests in that basin; why not replicate that on a state, regional and national level.  Changing Currents is growing beyond a mere pilot project to an annual event, a hub connecting NW tribal water leaders, and hopefully a movement.