As a result of settler colonialism, Indigenous peoples and colony residents have experienced histories of violence, genocide, cultural erasure, occupied land, marginalization, intellectual theft, and subordination. This has led to intergenerational traumas of many kinds. Colonialism is a current ongoing process that perpetuates imperialism systemic and continued injustices for many Indigenous peoples and non-self-governing territories within the US, such as Puerto Rico -the oldest colony in the world-, Guam, the Commonweatlh of the Northern Marianas, American Samoa and the U.S Virgin Islands.
While the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007 with more than 90% majority vote of states, the US voted against it. In 2010, President Obama announced US support for this declaration; however, as the Senate has never voted this declaration into law, it is viewed as a Resolution - guiding all within the US to act in the spirit of the UN declaration but not mandating implementation.
In solidarity with the Indigenous nations and communities of these lands, we would like to ground our own work together in the articles of UNDRIP, acknowledging that Indigenous peoples have the right to free, prior and informed consent on all aspects of human activity within their ancestral territories; their current communities; and their political, social, cultural, scientific, educational, and other organizations and practices. These rights, and others, are outlined in UNDRIP, and we ask everyone involved in our joint work to take time to familiarize yourself with them. While we seek guidance from many who are part of Tribal nations and communities as we move forward on ACE work within the US, it is their right to participate or not in this effort.
Resources for those unfamiliar with indigenous rights, histories, or movements around cultural and political resurgence are provided below; please take time to educate yourself as we engage in our joint work together. It is not the responsibility of Indigenous people to have to teach you, it is a gift given freely if so chosen.
Solidarity with BlackLivesMatter
The history of settler colonialism in the US is not the only history of oppression; our founding documents dehumanized Black peoples brought to these lands against their will and subjected to violence of all kinds. Such histories have also led to intergenerational traumas and continued injustices. More broadly, we recognize that the histories of colonialism and anti-Blackness have been fostered by white supremacy which has unjustly impacted and continues to unjustly impact People of Color in many different positionalities. In solidarity with BlackLivesMatter, we acknowledge past and current racial violence as well as multiple forms of colonization against Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Color (BIPOC) and take responsibility to desettle and abolish continued social, economic, and political injustices.
We affirm the need for ourselves, our government, our communities, and our institutions to center those among us who are most vulnerable and marginalized so that we may reimagine our social structures with justice as a core principle.
As we create this space we work to honor the knowledges, practices, and worldviews that are gifts to the field of climate resilience from Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. We make an agreement to work to avoid transactional relationships, instead respecting principles of reciprocity and relationality in this work as we endeavor to develop lasting partnerships that may foster a more just future guided by equitable decision making processes.