Environment | Opinion

Valerie Goodness: Climate change can unite our tribal nations

Valerie Goodness. Photo from University at Buffalo

Valerie Goodness calls on tribes to rally together on climate change:
While Native Nations are far from being monolithic, there is one thing that forced assimilation cannot take from us, as Natives; our coevolved connection to nature. We all know that there is a settler colonialist darkness hovering like a vulture, set out to divide us for one purpose; to take. From creating blood quantum rules and silencing strong Indian voices to intellectual property theft, the chipping away of our identity and everything that makes us who we are is, by design, to take our lands and resources. Here is why I believe Climate Change can be one catalyst in uniting Tribal Nations of Turtle Island.

In order to understand how Native Americans recognize climate change, where so many non-Natives cannot, we have to acknowledge that coevolution and sacred place matters. Native Americans are genetically connected to their ecosystems within their sacred space and that space is Turtle Island. That is the largest difference between Indigenous people and those who are new arrivals; thousands of years of belonging here. It takes thousands of years to become genetically connected to ecosystems and their services. Our women are even closer to nature within that sacred temporal and spatial realm. The givers of life, Indigenous women and our Earth Mother are even more aware to the minute changes within our ecosystems. Through this connection our women brought these changes to the attention of our communities and Tribal Nations. The Tribal Nations have been trying to bring climate change to the attention of the occupying colonizers, decades before Al Gore made his movie An Inconvenient Truth.

Get the Story:
Valerie Goodness: Why There Are No Climate Change Deniers on Indian Reservations (Indian Country Today 1/10)

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