Table of contents

Table of Contents

Introduction:  Re-storying Waters, Re-storying Relations /  Rita Wong and Dorothy Christian

Part I: Contexts for Knowing and Unknowing Water

1. Planetary Distress Signals / Alanna Mitchell

2. Water / Lee Maracle

3. Interweaving Water: The Incremental Transformation of Sovereign Knowledge into Collaborative Knowledge / Michael D. Blackstock

4. Water and Knowledge / Astrida Neimanis

5. Excerpts from “a child’s fable” / Baco Ohama 

Part II: Water Testimonies: Witness, Worry, and Work

6. Water: The First Foundation of Life / Mona Polacca 

7. From Our Homelands to the Tar Sands / Melina Laboucan Massimo 

8. Keepers of the Water: Nishnaabe-kwewag Speaking for the Water / Renee Elizabeth Mzinegiizhigo-kwe Bedard 

9. Water Walk Pedagogy / Violet Caibaiosai

10. A Response to Pascua Lama / Cecilia Vicuna 

Part III: Shared Ethical and Embodied Practices

11. Moving with Water: Relationship and Responsibilities / Alannah Young Leon and Denise Marie Nadeau 

12. Bodies of Water: Meaning in Movement / Seonagh Odhiambo Horne

13. Upstream: A Conversation with Water / Cathy Stubington

14. Ice Receding, Books Reseeding / Basia Irland 

15. Tsunami Chant / Wang Ping 

Part IV: A Respectful Co-existence in Common: Water Perspectives

16. Listening to the Elders at the Keepers of the Water Gathering /Radha D’Souza 

17. Coastal Waters in Distress from Excessive Nutrients / Paul J. Harrison 

18. Bodies of Water: Asian Canadians In/Action with Water /Janey Lew

19. Permeable Toronto: A Hydro-Eutopia / Janine MacLeod 

20. Saturate/Dissolve: Water for Itself, Un-Settler Responsibilities, and Radical Humility / Larissa Lai 

21. Bring Me Back / Janet Rogers 


This book explores the key roles that culture, arts, and the humanities play in supporting healthy water-based ecology and provides local, global, and Indigenous perspectives on water that help to guide our societies in a time of global warming. The contributions range from practical to visionary, and each of the four sections closes with a poem to encourage personal freedom along with collective care. Downstream illuminates how water teaches us interdependence with other humans and living creatures, both near and far.


  • Short-listed, Alanna Bondar Memorial Book Prize 2018


Downstream stakes out a bold and creative claim to collaborative and cross-cultural eco-spiritual-neo-traditional knowing and, with it, new approaches to policy and action.

A timely read that lends depth and resonance to some of the material and voices [in other books on the subject].

- Heather Menzies

"This collection of works successfully expands our knowledge of and experience with water by merging natural science, social science, arts, and humanities approaches to water. It offers new, innovative, and engaging ways to think about and experience water, especially as it relates to life and vitality. "

- Sara Beth Keough

This rich collection brings together the work of artists, writers, scientists, scholars, environmentalists, and activists, all focusing on the looming global water crisis. . .. Writing styles vary from piece to piece throughout the book—poetic, personal, journalistic, and academic—but the shifts between each are well worth navigating for any reader interested in human futures on Earth.

- Publishers Weekly