in Production (2009 - present)
Tó éí ííná át'é (Water is Life) is a film illustrating environmental and social issues impacting indigenous nations in the Southwest of the United States. Two filmmakers (Peaches and Hoyungowa) guide us through the history of industry and the indigenous perspective often overlooked by mainstream media.
As young Navajo filmmakers, we’ve set out to illustrate the environmental and social impacts of industrial development and the continued struggle of the Navajo People. We also touch upon how the history of our people has impacted future generations of indigenous people in the United States and beyond. We hope our depiction of these struggles could lead to change in the Navajo/Hopi Government and most importantly, the People.
In the Navajo culture, water is sacred, without water there would be no life. So it is disheartening for many to suffer the repercussion's of companies like "Peabody Coal Mine", which for over 40 years used 1.4 billion gallons of potable water to slurry coal from Black Mesa, AZ to Laughlin, NV. Within the 273 mile stretch of pipeline, its puzzling to see how Peabody Coal was able to create a sustainable pipeline while many Navajo families are still without running water.
With the Colorado River outlining the north western region of the Navajo Nation, it would seem practical to assume that the people themselves have an entitled right to the water. Yet, through the creation of the Central Arizona Project (CAP), Black Mesa Coal Mine, Kayenta Coal Mine, Four Corners Generating Station, Mohave Generating Station, Navajo Generating Station, Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant, and Uranium Mining-have spawned greater problems for the Navajo and Hopi nations.
The use of unregulated and untreated water poses a constant health risk from uranium exposure, resulting in significant effects on the health of the Navajo people. Reproductive-organ cancers in teenage Navajo girls average 17 times higher than the average of girls in the United States yet, many Navajo people and their livestock are still drinking uranium & arsenic contaminated water.
As young Native American filmmakers, we feel obligated to document the ongoing struggles of Native Americans and the loss of their initial entitlement to the natural resources that surround their sacred boundaries. Through the production of our documentary, we hope to restore hope for future generations. Maybe the depiction of these struggles could lead to change in the Navajo/Hopi Government and most importantly, the People.
CLIP 1: In this clip members of the Navajo Nation confront John McCain and John Kyl who were invited by Navajo Nation Governance to discuss legislation of SB.2109. Many concerned citizens of the surrounding indigenous communities confront and express opposition to this bill. (not currently in legislation).