For Native Americans, a river is more than a ‘person,’ it is also a sacred place

For Native Americans, a river is more than a ‘person,’ it is also a sacred place

The environmental group Deep Green Resistance recently filed a first-of-its-kind legal suit against the state of Colorado asking for personhood rights for the Colorado River.

If successful, it would mean lawsuits can brought on behalf of the river for any harm done to it, as if it were a person.

In the past, several environmental groups in IndiaBoliviaEcuadorColombia and New Zealand have successfully sought protection for rivers and landscapes based on this argument. As a Native American scholar of environment and religion, I seek to understand the relationship between people and the natural world.

Native Americans view nature through their belief systems. A river or water does not only sustain life – it is sacred.

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