Earlier this month, the National Congress of American Indians passed a resolution supporting the rights of nature at its mid-year conference in Anchorage, Alaska.
The National Congress of American Indians, founded in 1944, is the oldest and largest group representing American Indian and Alaska Native governments and tribal communities.
The resolution, crafted by Menīkānaehkem and the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, says Indigenous peoples’ “authority and ability…to protect the natural environment is essential to our inherent sovereignty and self-determination,” an ability under threat. “by the many environmental factors. crises we face today”, and exacerbated by “the environmental laws [that] treat nature and Mother Earth as a non-living entity existing for human use.
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Additionally, the resolution references existing tribal efforts to protect and enforce the rights of nature, including the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin resolution recognizing the rights of the Menominee River; The White Earth Band of Ojibwe’s ‘Rights of Manoomin’ (wild rice); The Yurok tribe recognizing the rights of the Klamath River; and the Nez Perce recognized Snake River rights; and the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Oneida Nation Recognizing Nature’s Rights Laws and Resolutions.
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