First Advisor

Todd Harwell

Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science and University Honors


Environmental Science and Management




environmental justice, water justice, Indigenous, water management, Warm Springs, water insecurity




Indigenous people are particularly at risk of water scarcity in the U.S. and abroad, and face high rates of nonexistent or failing water infrastructure, water pollution, pipeline proposals that threaten water resources, and water-related climate change impacts. They also are often unequipped, politically and economically, to react and adapt to these impacts, resulting in devastating health impacts. Due to this widespread insecurity, many scholars are calling for the application of a theory and set of principles known as water justice. However, Indigenous people have pointed out that water justice literature does not focus enough on Indigenous issues, often neglecting the issues specific to their communities when implemented in a management setting. Some scholars have started using the term 'Indigenous water justice' to refer to a loose set of principles that better represent Indigenous experiences and values around water and water scarcity. This thesis reviews the existing literature on water injustices facing Indigenous people in the United States and globally, and how Indigenous water justice builds off of traditional water justice theory to reflect a wider scope of Indigenous world views, histories, experiences, and cultures. I conclude with recommendations for future research and how to practically integrate Indigenous water justice into water management in order to address Indigenous water scarcity and promote more community-centered, equitable water outcomes.


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