On Saturday April 1st, 2017 Dean Naujoks the Potomac riverkeeper, Rabiah Nur with Spring of Light and Caryl Henry-Alexander a local artist and part of Ecoheremanas came together to do a fun filled day of education, art totems & water ceremony at Hains Point.
Hains Point is located at the southern tip of East Potomac Park between the main branch of the Potomac River and the Washington Channel in southwest Washington, D.C. The land on which the park is located is sometimes described as a peninsula but is actually an island: the Washington Channel connects with the Tidal Basin north of the park and the Jefferson Memorial. The island is artificial: it was built up from Potomac dredging material from 1880 to 1892.
Hains Point was formerly known as the location of a sculpture called The Awakening, which was installed at the Point in 1980. The Awakening (1980) is a 72-foot (22 m) statue of a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. However, the sculpture was moved to the National Harbor, Maryland development on February 19, 2008.
The day started off with my mom Rabiah, Penny Gamble Williams, Dean, and myself went to check out the Potomac river which because it had rained the night before was coming in over the fence up towards the trees. The waves were crashing and the tide was high. We ended up talking to a lady who was from Latin America who was fishing for catfish which were huge but actually looked kind of sick which coming from the Potomac makes scene as it is a very polluted river. After that we started to set up for the day once Caryl showed up. I helped my mom and Penny get the water from the river for the ceremony which because it was so close to the shore it was very easy to collect it.
After setting up some more of the art supplies and a few more people showed up we got started. It started with Dean giving a quick educational listen on what the Potomac Riverkeeper Network is some information on the river itself. He also talked about the Climate March and how happy he was that we were working together to bring water to the table when it comes to climate justice. Something he said that resonated with me was that water and climate justice go hand in hand and if you think it doesn’t your wrong. He then introduced my mom & Penny to do the water ceremony.
To start the water ceremony Penny and my mom introduced themselves and each did a prayer. They talked about how important water is and what it means to each of them. Then my mom passed the vial of water she had gathered from the Potomac around the circle and had everyone put their energy and good thoughts into the water. Then they ended the opening with some drumming & prayers with my mom, Penny and my mom’s friend Claudia.
Once the opening water blessing was finished Caryl started the art portion of the day. For the art portion Caryl explained that we were going to make art totems that are going to used in the big Climate March on April 29th as well the water ceremony the night before on the 28th. The totems were at the top a water drop, in the middle the name of the river we were at and the bottom a circle. For the top and bottom we could add whatever kind of picture or words we want to get across about our rivers. I put Rios Son La Vida or Rivers Are Life on my water drop on the right side with affirmations of water on the left side. Others drew boats, people and animals on theirs. After we were all finished with the totems Caryl’s friend who was helping her with the art helped to put the totems on sticks.
The last thing we did was we did our closing ceremony. My mother put some of the water that was in the vial into a tall blue vial that we would take with us to use at the other water ceremonies we were doing then she put the rest of it with our beautiful energy into it back into the river. Then we did a quick and simple round dance were Penny sang a song. Afterwords we cleaned up & then we all took pictures together to commemorate this day.
This day was a lot of fun and I learned a lot more about the river and what being a riverkeeper is like. Dean the Potomac Riverkeeper seemed to have had a blast and was very grateful we were able to do this and making the art totems was a lot of fun. I’m excited to see what the energy is like for the next 2 events and the big water ceremony on the 28th.
I look foreword to doing more with Dean the Potomac Riverkeeper and helping to clean up our local water ways.
More Information about the Potomac River & the Riverkeepers:
Riverkeepers are the eyes and ears of the water, protecting the public’s right to clean water in their rivers and streams. Encompassing the skills of scientists, teachers, law officers, fishermen and paddlers, Riverkeepers combine a profound knowledge of their waterway, matched with a relentless commitment to protecting your rights and the rule of law. Potomac Riverkeeper Network is the only nonprofit dedicated to protecting the entire Potomac Watershed through legal advocacy.
Our Riverkeepers are “boots-on-the-ground” and “boats-in-the-water”, tracking down pollution single-handedly, bringing a voice to the people through educational presentations and community involvement, and speaking out for change in the courtroom to create stronger environmental protections. As a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, we provide a way for communities to stand up to anyone who threatens their right to clean water—from law-breaking corporate polluters to irresponsible governments.
MAJOR POLLUTERS: “Major Polluters” are how we categorize the biggest polluters in the Potomac Watershed that discharge directly into our waterways through a pipe. They include power plants, waste-water and drinking water treatment plants, coal-ash storage facilities, industrial and manufacturing facilities, and chemical storage and transportation.
POSITION: Facilities that discharge into the Potomac Watershed should be in compliance with legal pollution limits, and our regulatory agencies should take every opportunity to reduce the discharges coming from these sources.
OBJECTIVE: Protect water quality by ensuring that these facilities are in compliance with their permitted pollution limits and that regulatory agencies create and enforce responsible discharge limits.
PRKN is using litigation and grassroots political outreach to push for a full cleanup of Possum Point’s coal ash pollution, investigation of Dominion’s handling of coal ash, and the excavation and removal of all coal ash at the site to a lined landfill away from the Potomac River. Our goal is to make sure these toxic coal ash ponds are no longer a threat to Quantico Creek, the Potomac and public drinking water supplies.
To learn more about the Potomac Riverkeepers Network please visit: http://www.potomacriverkeepernetwork.org/
Rabiah Nur, Spring of Light:
Rabiah is a healer whose Native American roots frame her work as she is called upon to use her gifts for ceremonies, teaching intuitive counseling, retreats and healings. Due to her ability to connect with spirit she has worked with Indigenous communities from the Mayan, African, Maori and other traditions. She continues to share her gifts with others privately as well as individually. http://rabiahsol.wixsite.com/springoflight
Caryl Henry Alexander:
Caryl conceives and directs visual arts projects with a focus on creative literacy, community collaboration and arts integrated academic curriculum. Her projects have been successful with multi generational, multicultural and interfaith communities in diverse settings. Her paintings and installations are exhibited internationally. She is also a certified Urban Farmer and grows organic veggies for her family. http://www.carylhenryalexander.com/
A community of women that weaves and reconnects communities to Mother Earth. Together they create a bold sisterhood culture of awareness, energy, and flow around place-based environmental issues, cultivating community and contributing to the greater co-fulfillment of our potential as a whole. http://www.ecohermanas.org/
Daughters of the Future Moon:
Spring of light, (Rabiah Nur. Blackfoot & Powhattan)
Womb Work, (WapajeaWalks On Water, Mississippi Choctaw/Creek),
(Penny Gambles-Williams, (Chappaquiddick/Wampanoag and Choctaw), Moonwoman Spirit Art Productions,
have worked individually, and collectively on healing and spiritually uplifting people, protecting Mother Earth, and all of creation. As Daughters of the Future Moon, they are honoring their commitment to bring forth the healing of the water at this critical time. Drawing from the teachings of the natural world, they regularly perform ceremonies at waterways, and for Mother Earth. Water is a living organism that responds, as any other being would, to outside stimuli. Toxic dumping, trash, neglect, and negative speech impacts not only the physical body. It also causes sickness and the killing of vibrant life energy leaving behind the woeful conditions we face today. We have an obligation to continue to uplift and heal this dire situation, by infusing the critical spiritual life essence back into our water.
We are made of water, we can not survive without it. Save our water, save ourselves!
Till Next Time…Rivers Are Life So Honor Your Sacred Rivers!