In the United States, Indigenous groups have lived on the lands for thousands of years, long before any European Settlement. The United States government has forced Indigenous tribes off their lands countless times, disregarded centuries-old cultural relations with lands, and indigenous Americans are disproportionately affected by environmental issues while contributing minimally. Indigenous communities today disproportionally face environmental, health, and economic problems as a result of this displacement.
When European settlers arrived in North America in the late 15th century, indigenous tribes were met with violence and brutalization and exposed to European diseases such as smallpox, which decimated many communities. During the first century of The United States, the government seized more than 1.5 billion acres of Indigenous ancestral lands and forced communities into reservations. Today, Indigenous Americans have less than 5% of their homelands. If you live in the United States, chances are you live in native ancestral lands.
This displacement impacted the lives and livelihoods of Indigenous Americans, who have long-standing environmental stewardship practices and lives structured around particular ecosystems. They have centuries of experience with responsible land management and relationships. Historically, most tribes depended on hunting and fishing for economic and cultural purposes. Compounded with the effects of anthropogenic climate change, Indigenous groups continue to face environmental issues and environmental racism. Indigenous Americans hold long-standing relationships with our lands, and because of that, they disproportionately face the effects of climate change. It looks different for every tribe and region, but there are countless examples.
Currently, in Minnesota, the Anishinaabe tribe and environmentalists are fighting Line 3, a proposed pipeline expansion that would put Anishinaabe lands at risk. In the Pacific Northwest, In changing waters threaten the salmon population many historically rely on, and sacred lands are disregarded even today across the U.S.
Due to their close connection to the environment, Indigenous peoples are most affected by climate change, despite their minimal carbon footprint. Due to centuries of systematic oppression, Indigenous voices most needed are often underrepresented and ignored in Indian law, environmental policy, and land management. Indigenous American voices are vital to understanding environmental justice, environmental racism, land management, and climate policy.
Today Indigenous Americans have less than 5% of their homelands. If you live in the United States, chances are you live in native ancestral lands.
Indigenous Americans are disproportionately affected by climate change because of long-standing cultural traditions, sustainable stewardship practices, and livelihoods that rely on the lands.
Currently, in Minnesota, the Anishinaabe tribe and environmentalists are fighting Line 3, a proposed pipeline expansion that would put Anishinaabe lands at risk of depleted watersheds, harvests, oil spills, and more.
Indigenous American voices are vital when understanding environmental justice, environmental racism, land management, and climate policy.
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