Water Back: A Review Centering Rematriation and Indigenous Water Research Sovereignty

Kelsey Leonard, Dominique David-Chavez, Deondre Smiles, Lydia Jennings, Rosanna ʻAnolani Alegado, Lani Tsinnajinnie, Joshua Manitowabi, Rachel Arsenault, Rene L. Begay, Aurora Kagawa-Viviani, Dawn D. Davis, Vincent van Uitregt, Hawlii Pichette, Max Liboiron, Bradley Moggridge, Stephanie Russo Carroll, Ranalda L. Tsosie, Andrea Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The recent Land Back movement has catalysed global solidarity towards addressing the oppression and dispossession of Indigenous Peoples’ Lands and territories. Largely absent from the discourse, however, is a discussion of the alienation of Indigenous Peoples from Water by settler-colonial states. Some Indigenous Water Protectors argue that there cannot be Land Back without Water Back. In response to this emergent movement of Water Back, this review of research by Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers traces the discursive patterns of Indigenous Water relationships and rematriation across themes of colonialism, climate change, justice, health, rights, responsibilities, governance and cosmology. It advances a holistic conceptualization of Water Back as a framework for future research sovereignty, focusing mainly on instances in Canada, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the United States. We present the findings on the current global Waterscape of Indigenous-led research on Indigenous Water issues. Water Back offers an important framework centring Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and being as a foundation for advancing Indigenous Water research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-428
Number of pages55
JournalWater Alternatives
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Water Back
  • climate change
  • water governance
  • water health
  • water justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Water Back: A Review Centering Rematriation and Indigenous Water Research Sovereignty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this