Sustainability Tip: Connecting with the Indigenous land you inhabit and what you can do to heal it

This evocative picture of the Northern lights is a reminder of the awe Indigenous people have held for thousands of years on their Native lands. It can help us remember that the lands we inhabit once were theirs and we have a lot to learn and a need to both hold them in a more sacred way and act to address the harms we've caused. Credit: Native Land Information System

If you are inspired by our Food for Thought about the importance of an Indigenous worldview and want to assist Indigenous communities in restoring a right relationship with the earth, here are some steps you can take as recommended by UUWorld. First, “begin with educating yourself about the land you inhabit. Whose ancestral homelands are you reading this article from? What, if any, Indigenous-held land remains in your state or region?”

Second, ask “how can land be returned to Indigenous stewardship in your area?” Third, consider “what other forms of liberatory actions can we as a society engage in? For example, shareholder activism is gaining momentum and we can all learn more about how to divest our finances from institutions that support and engage in destructive resource extraction. See Banking on Climate Chaos Fossil Fuel Finance Report 2022.

Can the Indigenous Worldview Build a Better Future? We talk with researchers Wahinkpe Topa and Darcia Narvaez about their new book, Restoring the Kinship Worldview”

Understanding Our Environment Requires an Indigenous Worldview As geoscience and policy-making communities begin to recognize the importance of including Indigenous knowledge into their work, we must place the proper value on it through equitable time and funding.”

More Reading Suggestions from UUWorld:

Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest, Richard K. Nelson (Univ. of Chicago, 1983)

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions, 2013)

We Are Dancing for You: Native Feminisms & The Revitalization of Women’s Coming-of-Age Ceremonies, Cutcha Risling Baldy (Univ. of Washington, 2018).

Our History is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, Nick Estes (Verso, 2019).

As Long as The Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock, Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Beacon Press, 2019).

Data for Progress, Indigenous-Led Conservation: A Pathway Towards 30×30,” Julia Jeanty (November 2021):

Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report,” Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs (May 2022):

Indigenous Peoples’ Leadership and Free, Prior and Informed Consent are Fundamental to 30×30 Initiative,” (Cultural Survival, June 25, 2021) 

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