Thirty years after the Tar Creek was designated for federal cleanup, its residents are still fighting for decontamination and environmental justice. Cherokee elders believe that what happens to water happens to us. It is our job to protect it. We must teach our children to honor water. Without it, we cannot move culture forward and we cannot exist here.                      

Loren Waters

Loren Waters, 27, is an accomplished filmmaker and storyteller from the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in Norman, Oklahoma and spent summers on the reservation where she fostered her love for her community, passion for storytelling, and environmental activism. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, she found a way to combine her passions through filmmaking.

She is dedicated to combating the underrepresentation of Native voices and stifling of environmental injustice coverage. By bringing together Indigenous environmental activitsts and showcasing Indigenous environmental films, including “ᏗᏂᏠᎯ ᎤᏪᏯ (Meet Me At The Creek)”  – a documentary highlighting Cherokee elder Rebecca Jim’s fight to restore Tar Creek, Loren will inspire her community to fight for clean water rights, demand visibility, revitalize Native culture, and tell their own stories.

“We are disproportionately affected by environmental disasters. The Tar Creek Superfund Site is a prime example of a large mining operation coming into Oklahoma, polluting the land, and then leaving. Now the community is responsible for cleaning it up.”


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