Water is a shared resource among all cultures. It is necessary to life and a vital part of the environment. In honor of upcoming Earth Day and the recently popular issues surrounding Standing Rock, Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue & Organizing Support (PANDOS) will be performing an event celebrating this great life source in “Folklore in Honor of Water.”
PANDOS, is a Utah-based, non-profit organization focused on raising awareness for Native American and environmental rights through “encouraging dialogue and the protection of our shared home,” according to their mission statement. In addition to raising awareness, PANDOS also seeks to create a policy that addresses the impacts of systemic racism and environmental injustice.
Beginning in September of 2016, PANDOS originated as a response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock. “The Standing Rock struggle has brought a spotlight to the interconnected issues of environmental racism and native sovereignty that have long been ignored,” said Miriam Padilla, PANDOS Outreach Liaison. “Civic engagement is critical in this day in age and all of us have to take a part in trying to improve our world.”
PANDOS works with community leaders, tribal leaders and activists to raise awareness for Native American and environmental issues. The upcoming “Folklore in Honor of Water” event is an example of their activism.
“I [wanted] to rekindle some of that prayerful contemplation that we felt in Standing Rock, and bring it here to Salt Lake City,” Padilla said.
Taking place at the downtown Salt Lake Library on Earth Day weekend, “Folklore in Honor of Water” came about as a way to celebrate unity among cultures. “We noticed one common thread many indigenous and traditional communities have is a reverence to water…it is important to honor water for the life-giving energy it provides us,” Padilla said.
“We decided to have this event on Earth Day weekend, to take time out to give thanks to the earth for everything she provides for our existence,” Padilla explained.
“Folklore in Honor of Water” will provide an outlet to raise awareness and begin a conversation about the impact water has on our daily lives.
“We wanted to create a sense of shared responsibility to take care of our water sources,” Padilla said. “Remember that we each have a responsibility to the earth, a responsibility to each other, and a responsibility to ourselves to protect our waterways. “
The presentations and dances featured highlight the importance of communal respect and unity. “We must band together to realize that water contamination will affect all of us regardless of cultural identity and that we should honor our ancestral respect to Mother Earth and be good stewards to that which nourishes us,” Padilla said.
To ensure presentations would be ones of traditional folklore or non-colonized cultural traditions and that the cultures of local Salt Lake City residents would be represented, PANDOS organized a wide array of performers.
“Folklore in Honor of Water” will feature cultural traditions from Afro-Brazilian Candomble, Peruvian Dance, Haitian Poetry, Pacific Islander Dance, Bolivian Dance, Polish and Ukrainian Dance, Classical Indian Dance, Nigerian Storytelling Guinea Drumming and Native American Dance. Each presentation will specifically focus on honoring water or the earth and will highlight the reverence of water in traditional cultures.
All of the groups performing are local residents of Salt Lake City.
In addition to raising awareness, the event also serves as a collective meeting point for fellow community members.
“For those that have felt alone here or felt out of place, I want them to go to this event and maybe find an artist they relate to, one that they might in the future want to reach out to, to discuss a shared cultural experience,” Padilla said.
Padilla hopes those who come will “recognize the power of music and dance and storytelling in keeping cultural traditions alive… and recognize that there is a lot more that unites us than what appears when only looking superficially.”
The event will take place April 21 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Downtown Salt Lake City Library in the Nancy Tessman Auditorium. Parking is available underground or on the streets surrounding the library.
Ticket prices include an online pre-sale: children 12 and under are $7, adults are $15 and VIPs are $25 (VIP will include a PANDOS t-shirt with Turtle Logo designed by Dave John. You can also purchase tickets at the door: children 12 and under are $10, adults are $20 and VIPs are $30. All proceeds from this event will go towards supporting PANDOS in its non-profit work.