INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous peoples’ general worldview is to live in harmony with nature, and to steward and preserve their land. Native Americans did just this — preserving their natural landscape for 14,000 years until the European settlers came and cleared the land. And, while Indigenous peoples contribute the least to climate change and have the smallest ecological footprints on earth, they are disproportionately affected due to their close relationship with the environment and dependence upon its resources.

In the U.S., there are 567 federally recognized tribal entities, comprised mainly of American Indian peoples and Alaska Native peoples. NOAA’s 2019 Arctic report card details a major loss of sea ice in Alaska’s Bering Sea — that has led to dying wildlife, food scarcity, and animal migration — profoundly affecting over 70 local indigenous communities. In Louisiana, sea-level rise and coastal erosion are drowning burial sites and threatening their source of food. In northern Arizona, the Hopi tribesmen have seen their traditional indigenous farming practices fail in the face of climate change disrupted seasons; these are only a few examples.

In response, tribes are developing and implementing climate adaptation plans. At least 50 tribes have created plans which are available in a database via the Tribal Climate Change Project. And, with tribes controlling over 50 million combined acres nationally, these climate plans could be a crucial resource for their uniquely deep ecological knowledge and community-based approach.

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CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

A Report From The National Tribal Air Association And Moms Clean Air Force

08/11/21
The total numberof Indigenous people in the United States is between 2.5 and 6 million, of which 20% live on Tribal lands or in Alaska Native villages. There are 574 federally recognized Tribes, but this…

Addressing Links Between Climate and Public Health in Alaska Native Villages

08/11/21
As emissions of heat-trapping bases accumulate in our atmosphere, Earth's polar regions are warming more quickly than at lower latitudes. The rapid environmental changes that result from this warming can have a significant impact on…

Decolonize climate adaptation research

06/23/21
Climate-forced population displacement is among the greatest human rights issues of our time, presenting unprecedented challenges to communities and the governments responsible for protecting them. Sea level rise, heat, drought, and wildfires will cause people…

Climate Change

05/11/21
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that Indigenous peoples of North America are disproportionately vulnerable to climate change. The most vulnerable industries, settlements, and societies are generally those in coastal and river flood plains;…

Climate Change and the Health of Indigenous Populations

05/11/21
Understanding the threats that climate change poses to human health can help us work together to lower risks and be prepared. Climate change threatens human health, including mental health, and access to clean air, safe…

Climate change threatens traditional ways of life

05/11/21
Climate change threatens indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and economies. Its impacts are projected to be especially severe for many of the 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States that depend on traditional places, foods, and…

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: A Synthesis of Current Impacts and Experiences

05/11/21
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited…

Climate Change Vulnerability of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in the Southwest

05/11/21
Native Americans are one of the most vulnerable populations to climate change in the United States because of their reliance upon the natural environment for food, livelihood, and cultural traditions. In the Southwest, where the…

OnePlanet

01/03/20
To partner with indigenous and traditional communities to build a more sustainable, empowered, and just future through community-based projects, outreach, and technical assistance.

Indigenous Environmental Network

12/23/19
Established in 1990 within the United States, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal…

MORE NEWS

How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change

By Kyle Whyte  Photo: Dominique David-Chavez   02/07/20  
Indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the effects of climate change. This is due to a mix of cultural, economic, policy and historical factors. Some Native American tribal…

Indigenous community votes down proposed nuclear waste bunker near Lake Huron

02/01/20  
An Indigenous community has overwhelmingly rejected a proposed underground storage facility for nuclear waste near Lake Huron, likely spelling the end for a multibillion-dollar, politically fraught project years in the making. ...

Study: Native Americans Barely Impacted Landscape for 14,000 Years. Europeans Came and Changed Everything

01/22/20  
There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory...

Louisiana tribes file complaint with United Nations over US inaction on climate change

01/17/20  
Four coastal Louisiana tribes claim the U.S. government has violated their human rights by failing to take action on climate change....

Indigenous Activist Sherri Mitchell is Fighting For Environmental Justice

By NowThis   01/17/20  
Sherri Mitchell is an Indigenous rights lawyer and activist who has fought for environmental justice for more than 25 years. Mitchell was born and raised in the Penobscot Nation, a federally-recognized native tribe in Maine,…

Brazil’s Indigenous Communities Resist Jair Bolsonaro

By Deutsche Welle  Photo: Cris Faga / NurPhoto / Getty Images   01/17/20  
Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10 percent of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5…

How Australia’s Indigenous Experts Could Help Deal With Devastating Wildfires

By Aarti Betigeri  Photo: Brett Hemmings—Getty Images   01/14/20  
Australia has always had bushfires, the result of being the driest inhabited continent on earth combined with high temperatures. Its indigenous people, who predate European colonization by some 40,000 years, learned to manage and mitigate…

First all-Indigenous NSW firefighting crews protecting sacred sites, remote communities

By Jessie Davies  Photo: ABC Western Plains: Jessie Davies   01/12/20  
For the first time in the state's history, the NSW Rural Fire Service has created two all-Indigenous firefighting crews.

What indigenous design could teach us about surviving climate change

By Evan Nicole Brown  Photo: Enrique Castro-Mendivi/courtesy Taschen   01/10/20  
Australia’s wildfires—which, since September, have burned 17.9 million acres of the continent—have not only turned skies vermillion and made breathing the air a health hazard, they have also claimed the lives of an estimated 27…

Why Indigenous Youth Were 2019’s Climate Warriors

By Yessenia Funes   12/27/19  
If there was any year to honor the youth, 2019 sure as hell would be it. Around the world this year, young people took to the streets and demanded their governments take action to address…

Exclusive: Canada police prepared to shoot Indigenous activists, documents show

12/23/19  
Notes from strategy session for raid on Wet'suwet'en nation's ancestral lands show commanders argued for 'lethal overwatch.'

Young Indigenous activists lead climate justice action in Alaska

By Tripp J Crouse   12/20/19  
Two Alaska Native teenagers pushed for a resolution declaring a climate emergency – and decision-makers listened.

The Disproportionate Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Communities

By Paige Bardolph  Photo: Rob Stapleton, Creative Commons   12/19/19  
The case studies, images, and content for this article are drawn from the exhibition "Climate Stories," curated by the author and on view at the Global Museum at San Francisco State University through May 22,…

Too hot for humans? First Nations people fear becoming Australia’s first climate refugees

By Lorena Allam and Nick Evershed  Photo: Mike Bowers   12/18/19  
As the big dry bites and temperature records tumble, Aboriginal people in Alice Springs say global heating threatens their culture and very survival.

The murders of Indigenous activists in the Amazon continue to rise

12/18/19  
The violence is centered largely in the state of Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil, where the Guajajara tribe has fiercely resisted illegal logging and the Bolsonaro administration's pro-industry agenda in the Amazon....

Young indigenous activists are leading on climate justice in Alaska

By Tripp J Crouse  Photo: Andrew Burton / Getty Images   12/18/19  
“We do not want to stop our ways of life. That’s why we’re here.” Seventeen-year-old Quannah Chasing Horse’s voice broke as she stood on stage in front of a sea of delegates at the Alaska…

Indigenous Climate Letter delivered at COP25

12/12/19  
By Sucena Shkrada Resk, translated from Portuguese. In parallel to the 25th United Nations Climate Talks (COP25), Indigenous leaders and activists gathered for MINGA, an Indigenous Summit, where they co-authored and finalized demands for an…

‘We Fear for Our Children:’ Alaska Natives Speak out in Climate Change Report

By Maddie Stone   12/11/19  
For the first time, NOAA's annual report on the devastating effects of climate change in the Arctic is highlighting the unsettling changes to the lives of the people who live there.

Torres Strait doctors issue call to arms over climate change impact on Indigenous health

12/07/19  
Low-lying islands and high rates of chronic disease make population particularly vulnerable, statement says A group of 23 doctors from the Torres Strait and northern Cape York is demanding action to protect remote Indigenous communities…

How a resurgence in Indigenous governance is leading to better conservation

11/28/19  
A new era of Indigenous-led conservation is not only better at protecting wild places but embraces the communities and cultures that have stewarded these lands since time immemorial....

Indigenous Climate Leaders to Celebrate this Thanksgiving

11/25/19  
As the Thanksgiving Holiday approaches, we must remember the fact that the US was built on stolen land and Indigenous genocide. These truths live on today. There is no shortage of examples of Native lands…

Climate policy needs to reflect resilience of northern indigenous communities

Photo: Movilh Chile/Flickr   11/25/19  
Indigenous groups in Canada have developed societal structures to cope with climate change without relying on federal policies. We need to learn from them The post Climate policy needs to reflect resilience of northern indigenous…

How indigenous peoples can help the world meet its climate goals

By Julia Rosen  Photo: Greenpeace   11/05/19  
The first time Mandy Gull visited Canada’s Broadback Forest, she was struck by the displays of delicate lichen. By the dense, ancient trees. By the moss-covered floor, which rose and fell like a rumpled green…

Union workers and tribal leaders protest Trump’s support of fracking in Pennsylvania

10/25/19  
PITTSBURGH—On Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump spoke in support of fracking at the Shale Insight Convention here, where he praised the industry for creating jobs and giving America "energy independence."Trump was flanked by industry workers…

Climate change is killing thousands of years of indigenous wisdom

10/15/19  
Farmers around the world rely on millennia-old wisdom to guide their planting. Scrambled weather and seasons are forcing them into uncharted territory....

Greta and Tokata at the Front Lines

By Talli Nauman & Tatyana Novikova  Photo: Tatyana Noviko   10/08/19  
On a world tour for climate justice, Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg visited Native America Oct. 6-8, attracting a gymnasium full of enthusiasts at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, leading a march on Rapid City Hall…

This Teen Climate Activist Is Fighting To Ensure Indigenous And Marginalized Voices Are Being Heard

By Anna Lucente Sterling   09/25/19  
Xiye Bastida has experienced the global effects of climate change firsthand. Now, she’s working to bring diverse people together to fight it. ...

Indigenous people are already working “green jobs”

By Nick Estes  Photo: Alyssa Schukar/The New York Times   09/24/19  
From Standing Rock to the Unist’ot’en Camp, land defense and water protection are necessary for the continuation of life on a planet teetering on collapse....

The Tribe that Brought a Damaged Shoreline Back to Life

By Anuradha Varanasi  Photo: Anuradha Varanasi   09/18/19  
On a sunny Monday afternoon in August, the Shinnecock Indian Reservation’s beach in Long Island, New York, resembled one of the postcard-perfect beaches in the nearby Hamptons. Except, there weren’t any sunbathing tourists around. The…

Trump pushes to allow new logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

08/28/19  
The policy shift would reverse a 2001 rule curbing development in the world’s largest temperate forest.

Indigenous and Green Groups Fighting Pipeline Urge 2020 Democrats to Take ‘NoKXL Pledge’

08/14/19  
By Jessica CorbettIndigenous, environmental and landowner groups fighting to block the Keystone XL pipeline sent a letter Tuesday to the two dozen 2020 Democratic presidential primary...

Amazon gold miners invade indigenous village in Brazil after its leader is killed

07/29/19  
Illegal gold mining is at epidemic proportions in the Amazon and the heavily polluting activities of garimpeiros – as miners are called – devastate forests and poison rivers with mercury....

‘Historic Moment’ for Indigenous People at Climate Talks, New Climate Leader Says

06/25/19  
By Sarah Steffen With a profound understanding of their environmental surroundings, indigenous communities around the world are often cited as being pivotal to tackling climate change. None   During the 2015 Paris agreement, the parties…

Indigenous mobilization wins battle in President Bolsonaro’s war on indigenous peoples

05/03/19  
By Steve SchwartzmanIndigenous people mobilizing for land rights during the Free Land Encampment (Acampamento Terra Livre) in Brasilia, Brazil on April 25, 2019. Photo: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado via Flickr Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s personal…

American Climate Rebels Episode 2 – Minnesota: Stop Line 3

04/21/19  
Enbridge have received the go-ahead to build a replacement - actually a brand new - pipeline through Minnesota to shift tar sands oil out of the USA, hoping to make as much money as possible…

Indigenous rights: the pathway to a livable planet

By Nicole DeSantis  Photo by Kyrre Lien   03/21/19  
Today is International Day of Forests, a perfect time to recognize the essential role of healthy forests in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including securing livelihoods, providing clean water, protecting biodiversity and meeting our climate…

European colonization of Americas killed so many it cooled Earth’s climate

By Oliver Milman  Photo by WH Jackson   01/31/19  
Research finds killing of native people indirectly contributed to a colder period by causing deaths of around 56 million by 1600.

Report: Alaska Native communities will face the brunt of climate change

By Krysti Shallenberger  Photo by Katie Basile   11/30/18  
Jones is also the CEO of Quinhagak’s Qanirtuuq Corporation. The community is trying to save artifacts from an ancient village nearby because they feared their heritage would wash out to the sea from erosion, caused…

Native Americans Sue Frackers Over Manmade Earthquakes

By Ross Kenneth Urken   07/06/17  
Oklahoma has become one of the world’s most notorious earthquake hubs. In fact, in 2014 for the first time, the number of magnitude 3 or greater quakes in the state surpassed California’s total.