Our Perspective on WHAT is
based upon the work done within the
framework of the Indigenous Environmental Network http://www.ienearth.org/index.html
To Aboriginal peoples, native
to the land they live in since time immemorial, the term
"environmental justice" goes beyond the issue of
disproportionate toxic and nuclear contamination and health
exposure of our elders, men, women, youth, children and our
traditional food web.
It includes issues of
exploitation, ecological damage, restoration of natural
resources, compensation for victims of exposures and
protection and healing of biological diversity that sustains
us and allows us to practice our culture, language, and
It includes the protection of
all areas that are sacred and that are culturally and
historically significant to our peoples.
It addresses economic
development and social justice issues towards building
sustainable communities with safe and sustainable jobs and
Environmental justice means the
de-colonization of our minds and recognition of traditional
knowledge as the foundation of who we are.
It addresses ethical and policy
issues concerning biotechnology, ownership of life,
introduction of genetically modified organisms into the
environment and policy issues on intellectual property rights
of Indigenous knowledge.
It means developing and
maintaining education and language programs that teaches
adults and the younger generation what their relationship is
to the sacredness of our Earth Mother.
It means understanding and
defending our treaties and to exercise our right to
self-determination as Indigenous peoples.
It means to claim our inherent
right to protect our traditional land, water, air and our
It means the right to develop
our own tribal environmental protection programs with our own
water and air quality standards, and seek delegated authority
to implement our own environmental programs - which
strengthens our sovereignty.
It means to have the right to
fully protect our environment and all natural resources in our
traditional territories, reserves and reservations by applying,
monitoring and enforcing our own tribal-based environmental,
historical, sacred areas, endangered species and conservation
- Environmental justice means to
be active - from the grassroots to tribal government - in all
policy decisions from the local, tribal, state, national and
international levels where policy development is being made
that would affect our future generations and all life that
sustains us and our Earth Mother