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The Cherokee Word for Water
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The Cherokee Word for Water
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Based on the true story of the Bell Waterline Project, THE CHEROKEE WORD FOR WATER shares the struggle for, opposition to, and ultimate success of a rural Cherokee community to bring running water to their families by using the traditional concept of "gadugi "- working together to solve a problem.

Set in the early 1980s, the film begins in the homes of a small town in rural Oklahoma where many houses lack running water and others are little more than shacks. Told from the perspective of Wilma Mankiller and full-blood Cherokee organizer Charlie Soap, these leaders join forces to battle opposition and build a 16-mile waterline system using a community of volunteers.

In the process, they inspire the townspeople to trust each other, to trust their way of thinking, and to spark a reawakening of the universal indigenous values of reciprocity and interconnectedness. This project also inspired a self-help movement in Indian Country that continues to this day. The movie is dedicated to Wilma Mankiller's vision, compassion and incredible grace.

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