Last year the Oregon Water Futures project, in partnership with Unite Oregon, the Chinook Indian Nation and other organizations, conducted a series of water-focused conversations with Native, Black, Latinx, and migrant communities around the state to learn about their cultural connections to water and their concerns when it comes to water education, access, and advocacy. And earlier this week the project released a report of their findings from those conversations to Oregon policy and decision-makers.
So for this week’s episode of Footnotes, we wanted to talk with Alai Reyes-Santos. She’s the lead author of the Oregon Water Futures Project Report. She’s also a professor at the University of Oregon in its Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies department. In this interview, we talk about the Oregon Water Futures Project Report, how COVID and the wildfires of 2020 shaped the report and its finds, and the steps we can take now to help bring underrepresented communities into our conversations about water.