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Climate Solutions: Toolbox on Nature-Based Solutions and Native/Indigenous Perspectives
As concerns over global warming, the endangerment of plant and animal species, and water rights escalate, many environmentalists are turning to Indigenous people for guidance. Longtime stewards of the world’s forests, jungles and waterways, Native people have promoted sustainability and balance as a way to keep precious ecosystems safe and in harmony with humans. Below are some resources to learn more about their practices. Plus, watch in coming weeks for a special tipsheet with more coverage ideas and be sure to register for a Sept. 28 webinar on covering Indigenous communities and nature-based climate solutions.
National Museum of the American Indian: Responses to Environmental Challenges
This site was developed between the NMAI and four North American tribes who are contending with environmental challenges: the Lummi are working to save their salmon; the Leech Lake Ojibwe are exploring how best to protect a traditional staple, wild rice; the Akwesasne Mohawk are protecting the threatened black ash tree which is essential for their baskets; and the Campo Kumeyaay are developing ways to restore water to an area harmed by cattle grazing.
Center for Indigenous Environmental Resources
A First Nations site outlining important projects involving renewable energy, food sovereignty and biodiversity conservation, all incorporating Indigenous knowledge.
Native American Environmental Protection Coalition
A California-based, nonprofit group dedicated to providing technical assistance, environmental education, professional training, information networking and intertribal coordination for tribes interested in the spirit of tribal sovereignty. Programs include helping tribes acquire clean vehicles, or undergo hazardous waste operations and emergency response training.
EPA: Environmental Justice for Tribes and Indigenous Peoples
Now in its 30th year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Program has expanded to include a roster of territorial advisors, recurring webinars and other resources to help tribes work with the federal government in protecting its environmental assets, while also incorporating traditional ecological knowledge. There’s even an archive of past webinars.
Native American Rights Fund: Protect Tribal Natural Resources
The Native American Rights Fund uses legal experts and resources to help enforce and preserve treaty rights, and to develop strategies for tribes to protect important resources on their territories, including water, minerals, timber, gas and agricultural commodities. This extends to hunting and fishing rights, and the site has cases listed where NARF has worked to help tribal nations assert their ownership of resources.
Native American Rights Fund: Commitment to Environmental Sustainability
NARF’s summary of how their organization has worked to reduce waste and cut the usage of paper and energy, which also includes C02 offsets. A fascinating look at how one group can make a positive impact through measured yet simple actions.
Nonprofit Quarterly: Indigenous Communities and Environmental Justice
Nonprofit Quarterly’s series on how Indigenous communities are pushing back against efforts to exploit and extract valuable resources from their lands, such as coal, uranium and oil, while also promoting more Earth-friendly ways to manage said resources. It also outlines how Indigenous environmental causes are not as robustly funded by philanthropy and how allies can help reverse this trend.
Indigenous Environmental Network
Developed in 1990 by a grassroots gathering of Indigenous activists and leaders, IEN was to “discuss our common experiences regarding environmental assaults on our lands, waters, communities and villages. At that time, a significant number of our tribal communities and villages were targeted for large toxic municipal and hazardous waste dumps and nuclear waste storage facilities and with industrial and mineral development in Indian country literally leaking and oozing out of the ground with toxic poisons.” Since then, IEN has expanded its alliances and coordinates programs including carbon trading and offsets, and has helped organize against major pipeline projects such as Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
AISES: Combating Climate Change
A proactive approach geared towards empowering Native youth interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and related careers, including environmental engineers, climatologists and foresters. Education is seen as key to helping tribal communities tackle issues that affect them and the world at large.
Planet Forward: Recipes for Food Security Q&A: “Indigenous Peoples’ Liaison Set Her Sights on Youth, Food Security, and the Land”
An interview with Mikaila Way, Indigenous peoples’ liaison for North America with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, on her work to develop intercultural education about Indigenous youth and food systems, and supporting efforts to cultivate healthy and traditional diets.
These resources were compiled for this special report by Brian Bull, currently co-interim news director and reporter for KLCC, a public radio station in Eugene, Oregon. Bull is also a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and has reported on traditional foods, cultural burns and efforts to save endangered salmon across the state.