Honoring Our Sacred Rivers with Anacostia Riverkeeper Emily Franc

April 15th Anacostia

Saturday April 15th Honoring Our Sacred Rivers events came to the Anacostia river to do art and heal the river through ceremony with the Anacostia riverkeeper Emily Franc.

Starting the day we did some more art to finish it up for our April 28th ceremony and April 29th Climate March. We got a lot of amazing pieces for the totem polls that artist Caryl Henry-Alexander is designing.

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After a few hours of doing art we took a brake when a few more folks showed up to the Earth Conservation Corps Building to do some ceremony. We went down to the pier and Penny Gamble-Williams & my mom Rabiah Nur did a beautiful ceremony where they did some Native prayers as well as songs and some prayers to Oshun. When they were finished they passed around the water my mom had collected from the Anacostia and we all put our prayers and good intentions into the water to heal it and send it good vibes.

Once we were done we went back to painting and had a few people just come through and make art pieces and learned more information about what we were doing. My mom and I even got interviewed by a student for her Anacostia Environmental group project.

The last thing to happen that day was Emily Franc the Anacostia riverkeeper took about 8 of us on a boat ride on the Anacostia to check out our ceremony space for the April 28th ceremony. It was awesome to take a ride down the river. We got a little tour of the river and the nature around it and city. Got to see Osprey and ducks and the most amazing sunset. While we were on the river my mom and Penny did our closer prayers by offering some fruit and water to the river. They also gave us all some tobacco to give as offerings to the river. It was really powerful and beautiful to see how the water responds to our prayers and offerings.

This day was the best way to end our three local river ceremonies before we get ready for our big ceremony on April 28th.

More Information about the Anacostia River & the Riverkeeper:

Anacostia Riverkeeper:

Anacostia Riverkeeper is an advocacy organization working to protect and restore the Anacostia River for all who live, work, and play in the watershed. We rely on law and advocacy to improve water policy. We deploy green infrastructure to improve water quality.  We create meaningful encounters with the river to change the perception of the Anacostia.

Waterkeepers Chesapeake: 

Anacostia Riverkeeper is a member of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a coalition of the full-time Waterkeepers that span the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (MD, PA, VA, and DC).

Anacostia Riverkeeper is also a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and protecting water bodies from pollution.  Waterkeeper Alliance connects and supports local Waterkeeper programs in order to provide a voice for waterways and their communities worldwide.


Five issues dominate the restoration efforts for the Anacostia Watershed.

  1. Polluted Runoff (Stormwater) – Pavement and impermeable landscapes alter the way in which rain interacts with the earth. Rain, nature’s lifeblood, gets diverted into storm drains and becomes a delivery method that carries surface pollutants into the river.
  2. Trash – Trash is more than just an eyesore. Hundreds of tons of trash load up our river and tributary streams. Plastic bottles, styrofoam, furniture, and shopping carts – these all makes the river unsafe for wildlife and humans. Trash is expensive to remove and negatively impacts the aesthetics in addition to the well-being of communities.
  3. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) – A sewer system that is over 150 years old releases two billion gallons of untreated sewage mixed with stormwater into the Anacostia River each year. This happens even when it rains half an inch to an inch in a short period of time. CSO events raise fecal coliform bacteria, trash, and sediments to unhealthy levels in the river.
  4. Toxics – Toxic chemicals such as PCBs, PAHs, and pesticides have a legacy of contaminating the river and poisoning wildlife. Up to two-thirds of the brown bullhead catfish in the river have cancerous tumors and/or lesions, and the toxins in their tissues can be passed on to humans when consumed. Of recent concern in our waterways are pharmaceutical chemicals, “endocrine disruptors,” that can cause male fish to grow eggs.
  5. Environmental Justice – Low income communities and minorities often bear the disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences that result from industrial, governmental, and commercial operations/policies. Flowing through the poorest neighborhoods in the District of Columbia, the Anacostia River has been the nation’s Forgotten River.

Play a role to help Anacostia Riverkeeper restore the Anacostia:

Become a Member: Become a member by making a $35 donation. As a member you will support our important work and receive periodic updates about what you can do for clean water.

Attend a Cleanup, Speaker’s Program, or Government HearingBy taking the time to come out for an event, you tell your neighbors, polluters, and government officials that you are serious about clean water.

Volunteer: Donate your time to Anacostia Riverkeeper either on the river or in the office.

Together, we can make a difference.

For More Info On the Anacostia Riverkeeper Visit:


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, (Wapajea Walks 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!

 “Our nation’s rivers belong to everybody, not just the people who can afford front row seats.” Anacostia Riverkeeper

Till Next Time…Rivers Are Life!


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