Meaning of H.O.P.E.
Finding our roots:
What does water mean to you? Is it just something you mindlessly drink and go about your business? Do you enjoy its elegance and sustenance on the weekends in the many places Florida has to offer, playing and relaxing in it? Do you use it as a commodity for your business in the water itself or pulling food from the waters to supply someone with a decadent meal? All of us here in Florida, no matter your relationship to water, have to be thankful for the life it gives us. Connecting to our roots means connecting to what makes us human beings. We are here for each other, just like water is here for us. Water, on the other hand, has no one here for it. We must be the people to speak for water and ensure its survival in this state, which ensures our ability to live in this beautiful area for many more years to come. We have an obligation to the earth and to each other, to set money and politics aside, and #connect2water on a daily basis, because we are all, Born of Water.
Native American Culture
Why native American culture? It is clear to most folks that the Native American cultures had a much more symbiotic relationship to water, and I feel it is essential to start at that exact point in this documentary. We must first give credit where credit is due, and also learn things we also never knew. With many legends and myths surrounding water in Native American culture, visiting the Seminole tribal lands seems a fitting place to start this re-connection to water that is essential in saving its very existence.
The Seminole Tribe, which occupied the lands in South Florida predominantly after the Seminole Wars, lived off the land trapping, fishing, and hunting. They used the "River of Grass" or as we know it, the Everglades in a symbiotic relationship that provided them essential life. As with many things, and the reason for this documentary, politics and money got in the way and after the "drain the everglades" campaign won over the support of the people, we unknowingly changed an entire earth system forever.
The Miccosukee Indians, originally thought to be part of the Creek Nation, migrated to Florida. Though a smaller tribal nation, they held their ground against integration into New World society, and after hiding and surviving in the everglades for many years, then successfully forcing the government to recognize them as a formal tribe, they are now a sovereign, domestic dependent nation state within the United States. If it wouldn't have been for their "River of Grass," which as few as 100 original tribe members held their ground and survived on, the now roughly 600 descendants of this tribe would be nothing of what it is today.
The Ais Indians occupied the lands on Central Florida, predominantly on the shores of the Indian River Lagoon. These settlers as they were, used the lagoon as a passage way for transportation as well as a food source. This is the area where I grew up, and there are times when I am on the water, and I try to imagine what it would have been like before the lands and waters were untouched. When the people who lived on them and used them had an actual relationship to them that did not begin with a dollar sign. Re-discovering this connection is the goal of this documentary.
The acronym H.O.P.E. represents the water gods or legends of prominent cultures of our human past. The way Florida treats the systems of water that gives us life, is not a representation of what ancient cultures understood water to be? We can do better and by re-connecting to the past we will appreciate the life that water gives all of us in the State of Florida.
Connect to the past. There are many cultures that connect us to our human past, these are just a few that represent our acronym of HOPE, and also happen to be some of the most ancient in the known history of the world.
- H- Hanzaki Daimyojin (Nippon)
- In Japanese culture this ancient salamander was a master of the water.
- O- Osiris (Egypt)
- In Egypt, Osiris began to be associated with the many cycles on the earth, more specifically the rise, fall, and flooding of the nile river which brought life to one of the most ancient cultures in our known history as human beings. Respecting and connecting to these life cycles, water, and in those times the gods were a center of life in these times.
- P- Poseidan (Greek)
- In ancient Greece, Poseidan was an Olympian God of the Oceans, rivers, storms, floods, drought, earthquakes, and horses. He reigned over the all the gods of the seas.
- E- Enki (Sumerian)
- Perhaps one of the oldest civilizations that written history has ever recorded, Sumerian gods deserve a place in this acronym.
- Enki was the deity of crafts, mischief, intelligence, creation, but also of sea and lake water. He is often translated as "Lord of the Earth"
A very special thanks to Jared Chambers for providing some of the beautiful photography featured on this site.