Water Wars - The Flooded Homelands Along the Missouri River
My novel, Land of Three Houses, was inspired by a dream about the Lenape people living in a spirit world beneath Lake Nockamixon. I researched the Tohickon Valley from the time of the Walking Purchase until its flooding. Lake Nockamixon was man-made by the Army Corps of Engineers by denuding the Tohickon Valley and damming the Tohickon Creek to create a recreational park. Indigenous peoples of Native nations forewarned of environmental damage caused by the damming of rivers in the West and environmentalists are only now beginning to catch up and undo it. Trickery and tilted legislation still remain. DAPL is part of a larger story.
Janet Alkire, Chairwoman of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, writes:
From Nebraska, through the Dakotas, and into Montana, seven dams flooded the sacred lands of Native nations. Here at Standing Rock, we have the Oahe Dam. Its construction resulted in Lake Oahe, which sits at the northern border of our reservation. And today, DAPL crosses directly beneath it, posing an existential threat to us by jeopardizing our drinking water.
It’s difficult to properly express the amount of loss the Oahe Dam inflicted on our people. The vast majority of our timberlands and animal life perished. Sacred plants and traditional medicines were gone in an instant. Many of us were forced to relocate from our homes in a lush landscape filled with life to unknown grounds with no access to many of the food sources and natural splendors we’d known and valued our entire lives. (end quote)