Victoria Cummings Producer Statement
The first night that I met Grandmother Nancy Andry, she taught me how to sing the Water Song, and for four years, I’ve been singing it almost every morning up on the hill in the grove of cedar trees above my barn. At first, it was a simple way to say thank you to Mother Earth for allowing my family and my two horses to live on a verdant, lush piece of land that backs up to a pond and 140 acres of protected forest. Gradually, I felt a change in myself, a centering where my strength and confidence was reawakened.
During the next three years, I had the honor to help Grandma Nancy perform water ceremonies in many places where she was asked to help heal the water and join people’s hearts together. Remarkable women began to appear in the circle. young, hopeful and energetic women of many colors and backgrounds, older women who were accomplished and ready to share what they had learned with love and generosity. When we taught the Water Song, many of them wanted a copy of it so that they could remember the Algonquin lyrics.
Recently, in 2017, although Grandfather William and Grandmother Louise have crossed over, Grandmother Nancy met with the Elders again in Canada and asked the remaining members of the Wawatie and Commanda families for their permission, and they were unified in agreement that a video of the song should be made to hasten the teaching and widen the circle of women singing it because of the increasingly grave dangers our waters are facing.
We hoped that creating the video would also be a good way for older and younger women to come together, mentoring and forming bonds across generations. Many years ago, I was one of the founding members of New York Women in Film and Television, so I turned to some of my talented friends that I have known for a long time to help me with this project. We brought in young women filmmakers from many countries for our crew and invited a group of women, aged 8 to 80, to sing the song for the recording and participate in the video. Grandmother Margaret Behan, a Cheyenne elder who is teacher, activist and one of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, and Grandmother Clara Soaring Hawk, a Rammapough/Lenappe clan leader who has been tirelessly working to stop a pipeline from being built down the Hudson River, joined Grandmother Nancy to lead us in ceremony and song.
In Native American and indigenous cultures, women are the Keepers of the Water, and men are the Keepers of the Fire. As the givers of life, women have a natural understanding of the sacred and essential qualities of water. We offer this video as a gift to all women, After learning the song, we are inviting women to post their own videos from wherever they live, circling the globe with the positive energy and celebration of clean water and feminine strength.