Across Turtle Island (an Anishinaabe name for North America) and the world, indigenous communities are at the front lines of industrial and environmental destruction. They are among the most threatened by both the impacts of climate change and its causes, namely oil and gas pipelines and drilling sites, and other energy pollution such as radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. In the Dakotas, man camps – where the mostly White, male pipeline and fracking workers live – are rampant with sexual trafficking and rape of Native women. First Nation parents l
iving near tar sands extraction in Athabasca have been forced to choose between feeding their children food that they know is cancerous and not feeding them at all. For the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, traditional food sources have been polluted with carcinogenic runoff from tar-sands mining. Food in stores is often unhealthy and unaffordable for families, many of whom live in poverty. At the same time, indigenous people and nations are leading the fight against fossil-fueled colonialism. The Unist’ot’en in so-called British Columbia are holding a blockade to protect their traditional land from multiple tar sands and fracked gas pipelines that threaten to poison food and water. The Rosebud Sioux tribe and many other Native Americans have been instrumental in the recent defeat of the Keystone XL Pipeline. By celebrating Indigenous People’s Day at Tufts, we can honor the long and ongoing Native tradition of powerful resistance against the fossil fuel industry’s continuation of genocide and colonialism.