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RIVER LIFE

Sad Story Reminds Us that the River is a Hazard as well as Asset

March 31, 2015Patrick NunnallyRiversComments Off on Sad Story Reminds Us that the River is a Hazard as well as Asset

At the University of Minnesota, we have been saddened this week by the story that University senior student Jennifer Houle went into the river near campus late Thursday night/Friday morning.  The surveillance camera on the bridge did not give a clear indication whether she jumped or fell; she was reported to be alone at the time.  A recovery effort is under way.  Our usual practice is to offer links in a blog post; those links are everywhere.  Readers wanting to know more of this painful story can do their own search.

We spend a lot of time celebrating the Mississippi, spreading the word about what a multidimensional asset the river is to our city, campus, neighborhoods, and the world.  But the river is also a tragic place, both historically and continuing, literally, to this day.

It is important to recognize the tragedy of the river’s history and the long trajectory we have marked by trauma both for the river itself and by many who come into unfortunate contact with it.  But the river also heals, and heals us.  As the process of reciprocal healing takes place–we heal the river and in turn it heals us–we move forward.

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A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.