The following is a statement from The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Quinault Indian Nation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.
Four Native Nations from across North America announced today that they will continue to uphold and support the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Quinault Indian Nation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska have committed to aggressively address climate change in their respective homelands in response to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the agreement.
Since time immemorial Native Americans, the First Americans, have responsibly cared for Mother Earth. Chairman Cladoosby affirmed, “As sovereign nations, we stand with the countries around the world to support the Paris Climate Change Agreement and we join with them to protect this precious place we all call home.”
The failure of the U.S. to confront the urgent and existential threat of climate change makes it a moral and practical necessity for tribal, state, and local governments, in collaboration with average citizens everywhere, to fill the leadership vacuum and redouble their climate change avoidance, mitigation, and resiliency efforts. Every domestic climate change initiative launched must be bold, aggressively funded, comprehensive, and tailored to confront the dire scientific forecasts of the challenges we face, not the political establishment’s consensus of what is reasonable.
“Indigenous communities around the world are among those being most quickly and severely affected by climate change. Regardless of the official position of the United States administration, we will continue to stand together in agreement with the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” states Standing Rock Chairman, David Archambault.
“Our tribe is actively working to move away from fossil fuels and we continue to battle those who disregard our efforts to protect our water and lands.”
“For hundreds of years the pollution based economy has degraded our home,” states Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby. “We can no longer allow a failed system to continue to destroy the planet. The Paris Climate Change Agreement reflects the global consensus that we must act together and we must act now.”
“From the beginning of time, Quinault has honored our sacred instructions to protect and care for the natural world and all things living,” states Quinault President Fawn Sharp, “Our timeless teachings, values, and culture are intertwined in laws that govern our Nation. We find balance and harmony in decisions that sustain a way of life and ensure that not only is the future of our children sustained; but the future of all children of this Great Nation are sustained in a healthy and safe way.”
“Alaska tribal governments are living with the early but significant effects of climate change. Our traditional knowledge learned over millennia within our aboriginal lands leaves us with no doubt that immediate action to reduce the impacts of climate change is our duty as sovereign indigenous governments,” states Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska President Richard Peterson, “Such, we will seek to participate in the Paris Climate Change Agreement.”
Climate change touches all aspects of life, from those who have no voice, the salmon, buffalo, seals and polar bears, to those who are suffering the impacts of water loss, shoreline erosion, drought and loss of homelands and waters. This continued destruction of our planet requires us to change our behaviors for future generations.
Native Nations stand together to support the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and as sovereign nations we urge the United Nations to invite other Indian Tribes to make this important commitment to our planet.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Swinomish, Debra Lekanof at 360-391-5296 or email at [email protected], Standing Rock, Steve Sitting Bear, 701-854-8500 Quinault, Steve Robinson, 360-528-4347