Centering Mni Waconi in Water Law: The Nature of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma's Water Rights and Potential Methods to Ascertain Them
Citation13 ARIZ. J. ENVTL. L. & POL’Y 24 (2023)
AbstractWater is not a natural resource. Water is a source of life that every being on this planet has an inalienable right to. For that reason, we say “Mni Waconi” which means “Water is Life.” The law of the United States, however, ignores this fact and attempts to create a means of dominion over a source of life that is sacred and gifted with the intention that it be shared and protected. Therefore, this note attempts to aid the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma in the war against environmental genocide by discerning the nature of their reserved water rights and methods to ascertain them. To ensure that the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma has access to clean water for the next seven generations and beyond, this note refutes aspects of the Winters doctrine and argues that a breach of trust claim against the federal government is the best course of action.