No. 4: A River Connected: stories about river, race, home, and climate

12 Noon, Thursday, April 21, 2022

All communities, every state

Gathering and Welcome

Introduction: Who are you, where are you, and what is the river to you?

River—Climate: Terry Eagle and John Koch

Two voices from Muscatine, Iowa working to put vital natural resources back into action reshaping the environment.

Q&A: How are you contributing to your community’s environment?

Climate—Race: Kathryn Gonzalez, Laura Seter, Ann Skoe

Three voices of Bemidji unite in advocacy and activism around this landscape where water should not be taken for granted but often is.

Q&A: Why do we make our homes in threatened environments?

Race—Home: Mel Losh and Sally Fineday

Listening to the indigenous traditions of bead and quillwork with Mel Losh as well as native connections to water in these sacred lands through Sally’s voice.

Q&A: How does race and ethnicity play a role in your community?

In memory of a great friend of the river, we revisit Michael’s voice and commitment to place and healing and how he shared that with so many others.

Q&A: How does the river shape your sense of home?

click here to watch video

We went a little long this week, but only because so many who joined us had so much to say. What a welcome deviation! Thanks to Sarah Drake and Kathy Vance, also Ruth Alliband and as always my parents who loyally attend these sessions. Also, to Jennifer Larson who made it right at the end—we hope you got the recording and enjoyed the discussions and presentation.

This week was extra special because Kathy, who had visited for a session before this, returned with a thought on her mind. She even emailed just in advance with her thoughts about the question “why do we make our homes in threatened environments?” — she says,

“That‘s where the beauty is…on the edge of a cliff, in the middle of the trees…

  • Sometimes it’s cheap….the slums end up there…poor areas of big cities are in flood plains
  • Fertile and verdant….have to live there because it’s better for….my livestock, my garden, my lungs…
  • It probably won’t happen to me – denial about the threats
  • Fear of change – I am there because my parents were there….why would I move?

And she goes on to complete the thought with, “Isn’t it interesting that nomadic people understood the threats and moved from place to place to avoid certain locations during the times of greatest threat at THAT location?  Clever weren’t they?!” Indeed.

And in our conversation, that’s exactly where we landed. Nearly every place we can live is threatened, but how can we adapt through the way we live in that place or respond to danger to make it less threatening. Like the nomads being nomadic. Maybe we are too settled to return to that lifestyle, but perhaps there are other ways. Food for thought for another conversation.

Speaking of, please join us next time on May 19th at Noon for the next A River Connected. Registration HERE.

The river is magical for Freda Hall in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, whereas it shapes an industry for Mitch Jurisich along the Gulf Coast in Empire, Louisiana. These two stories then lead us into the heart of the Delta, where the river shapes culture, cuisine, and social history. Rebecca Hutchison in Memphis and Jeremiah Smith in Rosedale, Mississippi will shed some light on reshaping home and invigorating the next generation of Black leaders.

Finally, don’t forget that the new interactive website with complete stories and much improved audio and video will be coming out this fall, so do stay tuned for that. We hope you’ll tune in and spread the word.