Indigenous Water Wisdom

Water Wisdom from the Ancestors

Indigenous, inspired land and water management techniques, often referred to as Traditional Ecological Knowledge, have been used by native people for millennia to respond to a changing climate. Short-sighted land management historically has not fully appreciated the wisdom of indigenous land and water protectors. Due to competition for the use of natural resources, good land and water management have often been sacrificed to prioritize human needs or protect financial interests. The urgent need for an indigenous-centered view on land and water management is evident in the face of the severe impacts we are now seeing in watersheds around the globe.

Indigenous-inspired rainwater harvesting consists of a variety of low-impact earth works that work to recharge aquifers, balance water cycles, restore watersheds, build healthy soil, and return basic ecological function to the natural system. Many of these indigenous-inspired techniques are advocated by permaculture designers and wise land and water managers. Unfortunately, widespread use of these powerful solutions has been hindered by a policy and legal landscape that prevents the widespread adoption of these ancient technologies. Much of the land and water management policy was developed during a time when the scientific community understood much less about how water really functions in the natural system. Fortunately, through the work of eminent permaculture designers and indigenous communities, these techniques are gaining an audience among policy makers, decision makers, and trained professionals working in the environmental field. 

Carmen Gonzales has often experienced that many people, even those working in the environmental field, are unaware about indigenous-inspired technologies and solutions that exist to addresses the monumental problem of climate change. Just knowing that there are solutions starts many people on the path of discovery and hope that there are things we can do to heal our Mother Earth.