The Water Remembers

My Indigenous Family's Fight to Save a River and a Way of Life


By Amy Bowers Cordalis

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$39.00 CAD

The Yurok Tribe and an Indigenous family share a moving multigenerational story of their fight to undam the Klamath river—the largest river restoration project in history—and save the planet.

The Water Remembers is the story of Indigenous resistance and an American family’s fight to preserve its legacy.

For more than half a century, between 1905 and 1962, the Federal government constructed one of the largest reclamation projects in the country at the headwaters of the Klamath River, comprised of four dams. They did not include salmon ladders and this denied fish access to hundreds of miles of historical habitat. This one oversight led to increased water temperatures and toxic algae pollution, which killed hundreds of thousands of salmon while negatively impacting the ecosystem. It also destroyed the fishing, hunting, and gathering lifestyle of the Yurok Tribe—the largest in Northern California—preventing them from making a dignified living.

A perfect blend of memoir and history, The Water Remembers speaks passionately to environmental justice and conservation, as well as responsible stewardship. Engrossing, Amy Bowers Cordalis recounts her twenty-year fight against the United States government, chronicling how she evolved from a naïve Westernized 22-year-old to an advocate for her people. As General Counsel for the Yurok Tribe, she ensured the removal of the dams in December 2024.  

She also shares her family’s generational fight for Indigenous respect that resulted in federal recognition of their cultural and ceremonial water rights. Her great uncle sued the State of California for the Yurok people to retain fishing rights and jurisdiction to regulate its own fishery. A case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court and involved the federal government putting a moratorium on all Yurok fishing, and the arrival of federal Marshalls to enforce.  

The Water Remembers involves genocide, assimilation, and oppression, but victory, in protecting one’s home, environment, and way of life.  


On Sale
Oct 7, 2025
Page Count
320 pages

Amy Bowers Cordalis

About the Author

Amy Bowers Cordalis is a mother, fisherwoman, attorney, and a member and former General Counsel of the Yurok Tribe—the largest tribe in California.  Formerly a staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund, she is the currently the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Ridges to Riffles Conservation Indigenous Group, a nonprofit representing Native American tribes in natural and cultural resource matters where she works on advancing tribal sovereignty, water rights, fisheries, and the undamming of the Klamath River.

Learn more about this author