What the River Knows: Yaqui River, Sonora, Mexico

1.a. Irrigation ditch with corporate water coming from the Obregón Dam to grow wheat for export.

In this series, “What the River Knows,” by Basia Irland, the artist and water activist writes from the perspective of each river, using the first person. Installments are published in Water Currents every other week on Mondays. The first post is about the Ping River in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Other posts include the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok; Kamo-gawa River, Kyoto; Siem Reap River, Cambodia; Yaqui River, Mexico, where the eight Yaqui tribal villages do not have water due to agricultural corporations; the superfund site on the Eagle River in Colorado, polluted with heavy metal runoff from a mine; and the Virgin River as it flows through Zion National Park.

Please feel free to add your comments at the end of each post.

Yaqui River, Sonora, Mexico, as it flows (or not) through the Yaqui Nation

(Jíak Batwe, Yaqui or Yoeme language) (Río Yaqui, Spanish)

Photographs by Basia Irland

Compare and contrast:

Irrigation ditch with corporate water coming from the Obregón Dam to grow wheat for export.
1.b. Toxic pesticide runoff from the large agribusiness fields nearby slugs along in a ditch that flows into the stagnant Río in the Yaqui Village of Tórim.
Toxic pesticide runoff from the large agribusiness fields nearby slugs along in a ditch that flows into the stagnant Río in the Yaqui Village of Tórim.

My struggle as a river is interconnected with the struggle of my people, the Yaqui Indigenous Community of Mexico in the Sonoran desert, as I try to provide the ancestral source of water for drinking, everyday use, irrigation, and ceremonial purposes. Together we have had a long and complex history. Manuel Esquer Nieblas, a member of the Yaqui Defense Brigade, grew up playing in my waters during a time when there was still some flow. His relatives live in several of the —> Read More

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