Mr. Derrick J. Slick
Graduate Student, Water Connects Communities
Water has always been a focal point in my life. I am Diné and grew up on 17.2 million acres, a place known as Diné Bikeyah. This place is also known as the Navajo reservation located in the arid southwestern United States. Growing up on the reservation and having livestock will always play a key role in my life. Having livestock involved hauling water from springs located in a canyon located 4 miles east of our family ranch. We utilized the same springs for drinking water, for washing our clothes, and to bathe once a week. After my 7th grade year, our home was finally connected to a public water system but we continued to haul water for our livestock throughout the year. Occasionally during the winter months, we would not have to haul water yet relied on ice melt from the nearest stock ponds. This life style, centered around water, stressed to me the importance of water resources and the conservation of water. Water has and remains an important element within my culture and way of life.