Set in the early 1980s, The Cherokee Word for Water begins in the homes of a small town in rural Oklahoma where many houses lack running water and others are little more than shacks. The movie is told from the perspective of Wilma Mankiller and full-blood Cherokee organizer Charlie Soap who 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.
Never underestimate the power of a community.
Motion Picture Rating
Rated PG for thematic elements and some language
Did You Know?
Charlie Soap is known as a quiet but highly effective "Cherokee powerhouse". Soap has focused his efforts on development projects for several low-income Cherokee communities. He also directs a community-based program designed to assist needy children in rural areas. And to this day, he is still helping communities build waterlines. At the time of filming "The Cherokee Word for Water", Soap was simultaneously working on a 30+ mile pipeline. See more