7 Lessons From Native Like Water And What They Can Teach You About The Environment

In the year 2000, people came together to amplify Indigenous culture and reconnect humans to the power of water, forming Native Like Water (NLW). Beginning in San Diego, they have expanded their reach into Mexico, Panama, and Hawaii with curriculum and programs encouraging connection to the local environment, generational connection, and importance of mental and physical health. NLW uses food, adventure travel, surfing, and music as a way to rebalance the mind and body with others that join them while emphasizing indigenous inclusive education programs.


Indigenous People Hold Essential Power And Knowledge 

European colonization was not only detrimental to the human Indigenous population but also the native flora and fauna. This gravely impacted the natural balance of the land resulting in the increasing struggles we see today such as dry wells. We can reintegrate the people who will have a hand in rebalancing the ecosystem, which will have rippling benefits for everyone. 


Water Is The Base Of All Life On Earth

To reclaim a relationship with water is to reclaim a relationship with yourself. California in particularly is in a midst of a catastrophic drought that is changing everything known in the environment. NLW offers multiple programs to foster the relationship and respect between people and this basic building block of life.


Traditional Ecological Knowledge Holds Vital Answers

Natural resources are increasingly scarce and humans are witnessing the devastating impacts of depletion. It has been increasingly accepted among scholars that Indigenous communities hold the key to halt environmental devastation top researchers and scientists have been looking for.

Integrating this valuable knowledge into school systems and government policies has power to provide alleviation on the population as a whole. NLW works to expand access to TEK and increase the number of Native scientists


Human Suffering Is Parallel To That Of Environmental Struggle

Surf and water therapy along with a nourishing diet opens doors to solutions for mental health repair, intergenerational trauma depressions and PTSD. Reconnecting people to the environment ignites comfort in the individual and encourages the individual's connection to everything around them.

When people connect to their surroundings and surrender to the interconnectedness of environmental well being, a cycle is created from people to the environment reciprocation. A NLW program named Surf and Food as Medicine is a “co-investment strategy in self…building one’s immunity, and in strengthening mental, physical, and spiritual wellness.”


Discriminating Against People Bleeds Into Discriminating Against Other Species And Environmental Spaces

Discriminating against people bleeds into discriminating against other species and environmental spaces. Untying generational susceptibility that holds prejudiced beliefs will take time and effort, but people are willing to put in for it.

This is an overall mission of NLW‘s programs and curriculums. Colonization deemed certain people and places invaluable. Today, we see the repercussions of this detrimental thought process in environmental racism in unfair distribution of pollution, lack of natural resources, and extinction of many species.


NLW is working to untie the knots of oppression on people and the environment with connection to the water and self-resiliency. 

Key Takeaways