Hydrologic Science and Indigenous Voices - Water is Life, Water in Language

May 18, 2022 / 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

Venue/Location: Virtual


Grandmother Margaret Behan
Cheyenne-Arapaho Elder and Medicine Healer, Oklahoma

In this series, indigenous leaders in water knowledge and hydrologic science explore how hydrological sciences are defined and who is included in that definition. Throughout the series, we explore how Native American people relate to water, what water issues are important for us to reflect on, how we can increase inclusivity in the hydrologic sciences community, and what challenges and opportunities we face as scientists and community members when finding resilient solutions to climate change.

Great Grandmother Margaret Behan/Red Spider
woman is a Native American woman who is Cheyenne Arapaho and a fourth-generation descendant of a survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre. Margaret is of the Kit Fox Clan of the Cheyenne Nation on her mother’s side, and “Rabbit Lodge” on her father’s side. Margaret is an award-winning artist and sculptress of traditional clay Storyteller dolls and bead work shared with her by her Cochiti Pueblo mother-in-law. In addition, she is a Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor and has led retreats for children and co-dependents of alcoholics to help First Nation people. Through recognition of her vast community leadership and work with addiction, in 2004 Margaret was invited to join the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. In 2012, she hosted the 11th gathering of the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. During this time Margaret and 18 people rode horses from Oklahoma to Montana commemorating the Northern Cheyenne Exodus of 1878; this journey was documented and is the focus of the film The Ride Home. Margaret is the founder of The Cheyenne Elders Council formed in 2007 with the mission to heal the oppression of First Nations people from within the community. She seeks to make peace with her Cheyenne community, focusing on her own generation. In addition, Margaret founded the Tsistsistas Sacred School near her home in Calumet Oklahoma to teach youth about Cheyenne identify, ceremony, and way of life. Margaret has an Associate Degree in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.