VIDEO: Native Americans Leading on Environmental Justice

Some selected quotes from the webinar.

Dallas Goldtooth:

“[W]e know that indigenous peoples tend to be on the forefront of climate change- not just on the receiving end of sea level rising or loss of traditional habitat or impacts to what animals are still around, but we also tend to be on the front lines of extraction, so we wanted to be sure that we are there in that conversation, inside and outside of the conference to advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples to have to be acknowledged in any discussion about climate change[…] [I]t is imperative that we look to the solutions that have been developed by our communities, within our communities, solutions we have been enacting for many millennia for time in memorial as we follow our original instructions.”

“We aren’t just talking about ecological crisis that is affecting our people. We are also talking about the economic, the social, and the spiritual crisis that our communities and nations are facing because of a lot of the ecological destruction that is happening in our territories.”

Kanahus Manuel:
“Our elders have said it is life or death for our salmon, whether we let these mining companies go through in our territory…Our elders say salmon DNA is in the blood of us…We have original instructions from Creator, from creation, on our agreements with the salmon and how we are supposed to defend and protect our salmon and in turn we will get life through being able to sustain ourselves off of that salmon. So when we talk about protecting the environment we are talking about protecting our life, our whole of survival and existence as indigenous people.”

Pennie Opal Plant:

“Native American women have always been very very strong. Whether we are on our traditional territories or living in urban environments, we understand that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers had to go through horrific trials and tribulations in order for us to even be here. We all come from long lines of very strong women otherwise we wouldn’t have even been born.”

“Capitalism is something very new, it is maybe a couple of hundred years old. In comparison to indigenous people living on the belly of Mother Earth, in harmony and balance following the original instructions given to them by the Creator, all of this stuff that is destroying everything is new. And because it is new, we, all human people, all Earth people, can roll that back.”

Tara Houska:  

“It is interesting to see all these environmental advocates join us and understand that this is a very established thing that we have going on and we are very glad to see that everyone else has realized this is very, very important and our future- all of our futures- our collective future and efforts are not just for indigenous women, our efforts are for the planet and for everyone.”
[I] think we are sitting at a time now that the younger population, which is now a very significant voting electorate, is completely aware of the climate and completely aware that this is our future, I mean we are running out of water in several states. You are putting in new hydraulic fracturing projects as we are water restrictions, what are you thinking?

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