Aligning with our Power During Climate Crisis: An Indigenous Action List | NDN Collective

PennElys Droz, Sarah Sunshine Manning ¡ September 25, 2019

Aligning with our Power During Climate Crisis: An Indigenous Action List

We hold the solutions to our greatest ecological challenges, and we also hold within us the power to ensure that our future is one that is just and beautiful for future generations.

While the world engages in important conversations around the climate crisis, Indigenous people are faced with especially unique experiences, challenges and opportunities. As the result of centuries of colonialism and disenfranchisement, Indigenous lands and life ways have already been deeply impacted by environmental degradation. With the growing climate crisis, Indigenous cultures, which are inextricably connected to the land, are now being threatened in unprecedented ways.

During this critical time, our values and inherent responsibilities call upon us to take action.

Some may ask themselves, “Well, what can I do,” which is an incredibly important question to ask ourselves as Indigenous people and good relatives to our Mother Earth. But we must also be mindful to stand in our power as we reflect on this.  As we actively resist the ongoing destruction of our Mother Earth and our precious ecosystems, we must align ourselves with our personal and communal power, and take action! creating solutions for a sustainable, regenerative future.

Here are a handful of things that you can do to channel all of that valuable energy and anxt into something positive for the Earth, our communities, and all our relations: 

Engage and Resist to Protect Land, Air, Water, and Families

  • Are your lands and waters in danger of contamination and degradation?  Conduct research in order to find out what the source of this contamination or degradation is, and mobilize with like-minded people to take action.
  • Talk to your elders, peers, and community members to learn, share, and build the power of your voices!  
  • Research what other Indigenous communities have been resisting in order to protect their lands and waters.  Reach out to them to learn strategies.
  • Build creative partnerships to clean up toxic sites.  Who might be interested in protecting and cleaning up the land?  Neighboring communities? Non-Indigenous farmers, hunters, and fishers? Downstream water users?  Find your allies!
  • Support the struggles of others!  Sign that petition, make those phone calls, donate money and supplies if you can, and if you are able, join calls for action!

Reconnect to your Lands, Waters, and Community

  • Learn or re-learn traditional harvesting and land care.  Do you know any harvesters, farmers, hunters, or fishers? This will build your relationships with the spirits of the land and help to restore balance to the land.  With that knowledge, you will be able to help your community. If you don’t know people, go out on the land and begin learning the shapes, patterns, plants, and animals.  Read. Learn from whoever you can! 
  • Pray and fast on the land.  Visit your sacred sites. 
  • Imagine new economies. What do we need to provide and thrive?  How can this be done in a way that honors the land?  Don’t be afraid to dream! Talk with your friends, family, elders, community members and share ideas!
  • Localize our trade. The more local we get, the more responsible and caring we can be.
  • Reduce energy use. Talk to your Nations’ planners, housing, leadership about the absolute necessity of renewable energy. Build a team in your community to advocate for this.  Work with the schools and youth! Learn how to produce energy yourself! 
  • Learn how your ancestors built homes.  What materials did they use? What architecture did they use?  How can we make sure any new housing reflects local material use and energy saving measures?  
  • Honor water. Use a water well, and learn how to work with plants to purify water.
  • Use nontoxic cleaning supplies.  Baking soda, Oasis soap, and Citrasolv eliminate most other cleaning supply needs.
  • Plant seeds and support local food systems!  
  • Learn your language! The understandings that will help us be resilient and thrive are within our languages. 
  • Teach our children the beauty in the world and in their cultures.  Help them to feel strong, disciplined, and gentle.  Outreach and connect to other parents who are trying to do the same. Parenting is a challenge, and we need to support each other!
  • Take children outside and help them open up their creative vision to learn from the Earth.  Excessive technology removes their minds from this creativity, so try to make sure they are required to be outside without screens for periods of time throughout the day.  We are raising the next generations’ elders. 

The possibilities here are endless! 

Whatever you do, remember that as an Indigenous person and as Indigenous communities, we are uniquely equipped to create solutions that not only stem from time-honored traditions that honor the Earth and all our relations, but we also descend from some of the most innovative and resilient people on this Earth!  Our love for the land, for the ancestors we descend from, and for our communities today, can fuel us with rich inspiration.

We hold the solutions to our greatest ecological challenges, and we also hold within us the power to ensure that our future is one that is just and beautiful for future generations.

To learn more about the NDN Collective and our recommendations around climate justice, check out our Position Paper: Mobilizing an Indigenous Green New Deal.

PennElys Droz
PennElys Droz

Dr. PennElys Droz, NDN Collective Director of Fellowship & Prize, is Anishinaabe/Wyandot from the US-Canadian border. Droz directs the planning, execution and evaluation of the NDN Fellowship & Prize. Droz brings two decades experience in the Indigenous environmental and regenerative Nation building movements to re-develop ecologically, culturally and economically thriving and resilient Native Nations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Technology and a Master’s degree in Environmental Resource Engineering from Humboldt State University and a PhD in Biocultural Engineering Design, American Indian Studies from University of Arizona.

Sarah Sunshine Manning
Sarah Sunshine Manning

Sarah Sunshine Manning, NDN Collective Director of Communications, is a citizen of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Idaho and Nevada, and Chippewa-Cree of Rocky Boy, Montana. Manning directs NDN Collective’s communications strategy and impact. She also serves as producer of the NDN Podcast While Indigenous and as editor of the NDN blog. Manning has Bachelor’s degrees in American Indian Studies, Social Science-History, and licensure in Secondary Education. She has a Master’s degree in journalism and mass communication.

July 2021 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.

Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Posted 9 months ago NDN Collective Selects Ten Indigenous Radical Imagination Artists from Across Turtle Island
Over the next year, each selected artist will receive a grant up to $50,000 to support their community embedded project that envisions the future world we are striving towards.
Posted 2 days ago Memo: The Climate and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Crises: Intersections, root causes, and immediate steps towards ending both
In collaboration with partners, NDN Collective’s Climate Justice and Racial Equity Campaigns provided this memo as guidance to the federal government on how to equitably address the interlocking crisis of Climate Change and the MMIWR+ epidemic
Posted 3 days ago Art as Activism: NDN Collective Collabs with Artists to DEFUND the Line 3 Pipeline

Brandi Douglas

Artists create and call others to join the fight to stop Line 3. Nationwide wheatpasting action occurs with some 6,000 Defund Line 3 newspapers making their way to over 400 groups and activists.
Posted 1 week ago Red Road To D.C.: NDN Welcomes Totem Pole Journey to Hesapa

Brandi Douglas , Brandy Calabaza

NDN Collective had the honor of hosting and offering blessings to the groups responsible for leading this year’s Totem Pole Journey creating space for rest, healing and community.
Posted 4 weeks ago Four Arrested after NDN LANDBACK Campaign Mounts Upside-Down Flag From 100-Ft Grain Silo
Action Calls Out Hypocrisy of July 4th, Uplifts Demand for Reparations and Justice 
Posted 4 weeks ago NICk Tilsen Files Motion to Dismiss Case, Citing Prosecutorial Misconduct and Constitutional Violations
The motion filed by Tilsen states that the Pennington County Attorney's Office's actions to punish Tilsen for his constitutionally-protected free speech violated his rights to due process and equal protection, chilled his First Amendment rights, and violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.
Posted 1 month ago Application Phase Now Open for NDN Changemaker Fellowship
The NDN Changemaker Fellowship is a 12-month opportunity for Indigenous leaders to articulate their vision for social change, to identify the support they will need to get there and to invest in their own development, health, healing and wellbeing.
Posted 1 month ago Meet the 2021 Cohort of NDN Changemaker Fellows
Meet all 21 of the 2021 NDN Changemakers from Turtle Island and surrounding island nations who are actively making radical change and transforming their communities.
Posted 1 month ago "We carry the spirit of a People who are victorious!": Honoring the Battle of Greasy Grass

Brandy Calabaza

In a victory that transcends time, the Battle of Little Bighorn would become one of the most studied in history. Known as the “Battle of Greasy Grass” to the Lakota, and as "Victory Day" to many Native people today, this battle would also become a symbol of the continued plight of Indigenous Peoples to retain our traditional homelands, culture, and lifeways.
Posted 1 month ago "Our families deserve justice": NDN Collective on Haaland’s Announcement of US Investigation into Native Boarding Schools
“We applaud Sec. Haaland’s leadership in creating a concentrated effort to continue uncovering the dark history of Native boarding schools in this country. Secretary Haaland knows that the United States government cannot treat these horrifying discoveries as a Canadian problem, when the same practices took place here for decades."
Posted 1 month ago Disrupting Rainbow Capitalism: ‘We will not be commodified or erased.”

Brandi Douglas , Steph Viera

"Commodification of the rainbow flag and Queer culture does little to nothing to benefit those within the 2SLGBTQ+ community itself, nor does it address the violence continually directed towards these relatives."
NDN Collective
408 Knollwood Dr
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2021 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.