Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Our Human Relationship with Water: A Narrative Exploration of Indigenous Wisdom and Critical Consciousness
by Scott, John, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2019, 197; 13882311
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focuses on the thesis question, What is our human relationship with water? It explores this question using a transdisciplinary approach, engaging in the discussion: sociology, spirituality, gender studies, and indigenous studies and knowledge. It discusses power, privilege, the legacy of colonialism, and how they impact issues of environment and relationship. The literature review also discusses how water policy and indigenous knowledge intersect. It examines the potentiality of integrating dominant Western practices with more subjugated knowledge, including indigenous ritual and wisdom. By presenting critically conscious theory and practice, the literature review illuminates current and past research, finding differences, similarities and vital places of intersection. These intersections include how water’s subjugation has been similar to historically (and currently) oppressed individuals and cultural groups.

The methodology section speaks to the narrative design and the indigenous perspective employed to explore the research question. I address my approach to participants’ selection as well as the audiences that will benefit from the research. I also illuminate my relationship to this inquiry and trace the arc of my interest of the research topic. I interviewed 8 diverse participants for this research that included Native American, Maori, East African, and African American people.

I provide a data analysis that offers insights, interpretations, and analysis of all participant narratives, surfacing themes, differences, and shared values. Some of the themes include a deep value placed on historical context, a commitment to advocating with and for the environment in any way possible, how human relationships also mirror our relationship with the environment, and a commitment to providing direct environmental experiences for younger generations to strengthen their relationship with water and the natural world.

I conclude by speaking about limitations and possibilities of further research and community engagement with this work. I communicate that my continued work would include engaging with young people and specifically marginalized communities to provide access, education, and relationship building with water.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Deslauriers, Daniel
Commitee: Fahim, Urusa, Fernandez, Flor
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Transformative Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ecology, Environmental philosophy, Environmental Justice, Native American studies, Womens studies
Keywords: Colonization, Feminism, Indigenous knowledge, Relational ecology, Social justice, Water
Publication Number: 13882311
ISBN: 978-1-392-19787-5
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