What are Indigenous Environmental Justice Issues?


When you hear the term indigenous environmental justice issues what comes to mind? What do you think of?

Land rights? Water rights?

In this video, Tom B.K. Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, answers those questions.

He focuses on helping others to understand what contemporary issues concern and effect indigenous peoples. Environmental justice goes deep and touches on many issues.

Some issues include:

  1. Biological colonization
  2. Ownership rights, collective and individual
  3. Patents of heirloom seeds, herbs, medicinal information
  4. Determination of traditional lands
  5. Bio-piracy – taking of DNA and genetic information
  6. Artifact theft
  7. Cultural appropriation
  8. Mining and Man Camps
  9. Rights to exist for rivers, animals, and humans in healthy places
  10. Rights to clean water, air, and healthy ecosystems

Environmental Justice Issues and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge

Environmental justice is for all peoples of the world, not just indigenous people. We stand together for clean air, clean water, healthy soil. Environmental sustainability is a concept that all people throughout the world should practice.

Indeed, Traditional Indigenous Knowledge is a common understanding among the indigenous peoples of Mother Earth.

Traditional Indigenous Knowledge is about the sacredness of all life. It is about gratitude for the gifts of Mother Earth. It is about developing reciprocal relationships with the land and other humans.


Environmental Justice Issues For All

We have to all work together to save ourselves. We can deepen our relationship with Mother Earth. We can reclaim our sacred connection to our Mother. Reciting the Words Before All Else is a good start.

“We are the five-finger clan of two-leggeds, the human beings.” – Tom B.K. Goldtooth

If we are to survive, we must practice sensible land ethics to survive. We need to help each other and respect each other.

For all of us, our survival depends on making environmental justice everyday justice.

Previously, oppressed communities had unhealthy and dangerous operations forced on their communities. Now pipelines are being built through wealthy suburbs.

Now You Know

I share this video, as a help to those who wish to expand their thinking about what needs to be done. Maybe from the video we can find something we can add our voices and skills to a cause.


Indigenous and Environmental Justice Organizations


Native Plant Deniers and Setting the Record Straight

United Nations for Indigenous Peoples 

Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples http://www.7genfund.org/

More Posts on Indigenous Ecological Knowledge

Biodiversity, Indigenous Peoples, and the Future

Colonialism vs. Conservation: National Parks and Indigenous Peoples

Colonization, Fire Suppression, and Indigenous Resurgence 

How the Ojibwe Indigenous Horse is Being Saved

The Importance of Birds to Indigenous American Peoples (video)

Disconnection from the Earth: The Biggest Con

Words Before All Else

Speak of the Land

Homeland Relationships (quote)


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