The Body of Water Project reveals the sacredness of water—this essential molecule and elixir of life—while acknowledging challenges and solutions surrounding water usage and quality on a local, regional, and global scale. Science and the arts are intentionally interwoven to more powerfully inform, connect, and inspire human bodies of water to cherish and protect this precious and damaged natural resource.
Body of Water is respectfully dedicated to the North American Indian nations, honoring their native land, practices, and reverence for the territory in which they lived. This project acknowledges water as a sentient life form, and this work as a prayer to return to a right relationship with the earth—recognizing that our own success is not dependent on our abilities to control or dominate, but on our ability to harmonize and see ourselves as a part.
In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty—the duty of prayer—the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal. His daily devotions were more necessary to him than daily food. He wakes at daybreak, puts on his moccasins and steps down to the water’s edge. Here he throws handfuls of clear, cold water into his face, or plunges in bodily. After the bath, he stands erect before the advancing dawn, facing the sun as it dances upon the horizon, and offers his unspoken orison.
—Ohiyesa, the Santee Dakota physician and author, speaks in 1911 about the manner in which his people worship. Touch The Earth: A Self-Portrait of Indian Existence, compiled by T.C. McLuhan