Day 12: Support Indigenous land rights
Today's action: Learning to be an ally to Indigenous peoples
Today’s action is to learn more about Indigenous land rights and to explore ways that you can support Indigenous rights in the US and across the globe. For those of us in the US who are not Indigenous, learning how we can be better allies often means re-learning our history and finding ways to listen and learn. This is tough stuff, and requires a much longer journey than what a 10-minute daily action can provide.
So let’s start with some baby steps! Take 10 minutes to dig into whichever of these resources speak to you:
Read this brief explanation of why protecting Indigenous land rights is an important climate solution.
Look at this short list of ways to be an ally to Indigenous Peoples.
Watch the 3-minute video on Indigenous climate justice, from NDN Collective’s Climate Justice Campaign.
Add your name to the petition to protect the Arctic Refuge (Why? Read this to learn more about the threat to the Arctic, watch this 5-minute video about the Gwich’in who live in the region, and check out the Gwich’in Steering Committee’s website).
If you have more time, we’ve got lots more resources and ideas below! If you’ve got some spare change, we’ve also flagged a few great places you can donate to.
Why this action? Research shows that supporting Indigenous peoples’ land rights is an important climate solution. Among other reasons, Indigenous peoples have long been on the front lines of protecting against deforestation, which prevents land-based carbon emissions and is critical for carbon sequestration. Realizing Indigenous rights is also an important aspect of climate justice. This type of action doesn’t often show up on lists of “quick ways you can help with climate change” because it’s complicated and not necessarily quick or straightforward. But the topic is super important, so we needed to raise it. And we’re not afraid of complicated things, right?!
Looking for more? Read on for more info and actions.
Learn and reflect:
Read Required Reading: Climate Justice, Adaptation and Investing in Indigenous Power, a book curated by NDN Collective that focuses on “why Indigenous peoples must lead through the heart of the climate crisis." Looking for another great read? Try Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Listen to this podcast on “The Tribe that's Moving Earth (and Water) to Solve the Climate Crisis.”
Watch Tara Houska’s TedTalk on “The Standing Rock resistance and our fight for Indigenous rights.”
Watch this 38-second video about how land & environmental defenders are the last line of defense against climate breakdown, read about how murders of environmental and land defenders hit a record high in 2021, and check out the work of Indigenous Peoples Rights International, which focuses on the threats against Indigenous peoples around the globe and pushes for a human-rights-based approach to conservation.
Explore the work of Indigenous organizations focused on climate action, including the Indigenous Environmental Network and Indigenous Climate Action. You may also be interested in these resources on decolonizing advocacy pulled together by Native Movement.
Support Indigenous peoples whose rights stand to be affected by lithium mining in Nevada, by visiting the Protect Thacker Pass website and taking one of its suggested actions. Indigenous peoples in the US and around the world have been leaders on climate action, from opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure to protecting and conserving existing ecosystems, yet their rights and sacred lands are also at risk from lithium mining, which is used for electric vehicles, solar batteries, and more. To learn more about how this is occurring in Nevada, read this Guardian article or check out the accompanying 10-minute video.
Sign the statement of opposition to Line 3, an oil pipeline that brings tar sands oil from Canada to the US through Anishinaabe treaty territory. (Learn more about it here and here.) You can also sign the petition to the Minnesota governor asking him to drop criminal charges against water protectors who were arrested protesting the pipeline. To learn more about the rationale for their protests, read Heated’s article.
We’re generally trying to avoid actions that cost money, but if you feel inspired to donate to support Indigenous rights, consider the following:
Indigenous Peoples Rights International, which works to address threats against Indigenous Peoples. This organization was started by two Indigenous activists who are absolute rockstars in their space; one of them, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, was the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples between 2014-2020, and the other, Joan Carling, was awarded the UN’s Champion of the Earth Award.
Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, which supports Native grassroots initiatives.
Native Conservancy, which protects and preserves native lands in Alaska.
Sacred Earth Solar, which provides solar power to Indigenous land defenders opposing fossil fuel projects.