A New Indigenous-led Student Movement Is Protecting Sacred Waters

By Libby Leonard
Civil Eats
August 9, 2021

In the midst of the state’s water crisis, Native-led school curricula in Northern California are empowering youth to fight for the future of their waterways.

Seventeen-year-old Danielle Rey Frank was first drawn to activism in the sixth grade. As a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in what is now Humboldt County, California, she grew up on the Trinity River, which isn’t just a part of her Tribe’s food systems and livelihood, it’s also a sacred place that’s central to their ceremonies and traditions.

The Trinity and other area rivers have been consistently under threat from pipeline projects, along with rising water temperatures, pollution, and fish kills due to damming and water diversions from reservoirs and tunnels. All of which have been compounded by increasingly dire drought conditions.

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