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 spirituality.
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 livelihoods.
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
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
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
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