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?
2012 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Bell Waterline Project. Spearheaded by Wilma Mankiller and Charlie Soap the waterline project was the tribe's most ambition and lauded experiment to that date in time. See more