River Rites - Reading The River

Three lectures will be presented in the 22 communities on the project themes: rights, realities, and rites based on an anthology of Colorado River readings. Three book discussion groups in each of 22 communities will focus on the literary arts of the river. The Colorado River has symbolic meaning for many people who experience it. Many of the earliest inhabitants, explorers, poets, writers, painters, and tourists who experienced the river depicted their experience in symbolic ways. "River Rites" is an opportunity to compare and contrast the symbolic meanings attached to the Colorado River as it flows through space and time. It will juxtapose the language used to describe the river, explore the interconnectedness of creation myths and geologic time, highlight the collective consciousness of the river, and map its mythic meanings. "River Rites" is an opportunity to reflect back on the river as myth, for the project itself is an attempt to create an interpretive framework for understanding ourselves. We customarily look to the Colorado River and the West to reveal "natural" intricate webs of ecological history and relationships.

Humanities issues will include the question, "Recognizing that the river is part of our western psyche, how is that realization reflected in the stories we tell ourselves about the West, and how do those stories influence our understanding of ourselves?"