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San Diego State University

Water Sovereignty and Social Justice

Desiring to contribute to raising awareness of the Peace and Dignity Journeys, teachers Sharah Nieto and Adriana Blanco documented Indigenous communities’ stories and songs and interviews with participants of the transcontinental run in 2012. As they describe for their grass roots kickstarter campaign: “Every four years, since 1992, Peace and Dignity Journey participants begin their voyage across the continent. Runners start simultaneously from both ends of the continent in Chickaloon, Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, Argentina traversing the Western Hemisphere by foot, from community to community and, joining together for a final gathering in Guatemala. The 2012 run [was] dedicated to water, reminding those who have forgotten that water is an important and shared resource for all.” We will partially screen the film Sharah Nieto edited from their footage.

Susan Williams is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and is a graduate of Radcliffe College of Harvard University (B.A., Economics, Magna Cum Laude) and of Harvard Law School. Up until recently, she practiced law in New Mexico representing numerous Indian tribes on their water rights and other matters. She recently became the General Counsel for Hopi in Arizona. Indeed, she has represented Indian tribal governmental and commercial entities for more than thirty years. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School, she joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Kampelman, where she worked in the Indian Banking and Law Department. Her experience also includes serving as the first Executive Director of the Navajo Tax Commission in Window Rock and as its Chairperson in the late 70s. In addition to being a lecturer on Indian law and water rights at Harvard and Stanford Law Schools throughout the years, Ms. Williams has served, and continues to serve, on several boards and advisory committees on state-tribal relations, resource development and environmental protection. In 1989, she successfully argued the Big Horn case before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been a lead lobbyist in several successful Indian legislative efforts. Ms. Williams has impacted legislative amendments, including the one to treat Indian Tribes as states in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water and Indian Tribal Government Tax Status Act.
Elizabeth Pantoja, is the daughter of two strong migrant parents of Nahua, Purepecha, and Wixarica ascendancy. Raised in southbay San Diego, Elizabeth is currently living in Tlamanalco Tucson, Arizona.
In 2012, the San Diego Peace and Dignity Committee sent three representatives from San Diego to run for our precious waters. Elizabeth ran as Chaskies (messenger runners) every day, in an eight month Indigenous Ceremonial run known as the Peace and Dignity Journeys. They, along with many others, helped carry the voice of many Indigenous nations and communities from Alaska, Tawantinsuyo (South America), Borinken (Puerto Rico), and Kiskeya (Dominican Republic) all the way to Guatemala in an effort to make their/our voices heard, our call to protect, save, restore, preserve, defend land, culture, existence and especially our precious WATERS from annihilation.







Event Details:


Date: March 11, 2014

Time: 7-9PM

Location:Aztec Student Union Theater



Faculty Project Directors:


Sara Giordano, Ph.D.,

Department of Women’s Studies



Irene Lara, Ph.D.,

Department of Women’s Studies