By Jeff Corntassel, posted in – Voices Rising on November 27th, 2013
What happens when the salmon people can no longer catch salmon in their rivers? Or when the medicines, waters, and traditional foods that Indigenous people have relied on for millennia to sustain their communities become contaminated with toxins? And how will future generations view our efforts to protect and respect the places and relationships we value? It’s no accident that in places where Indigenous nations thrive on their homelands and exercise their self-determining authority, those natural environments are biologically diverse and healthy. State-run environments, on the other hand, are often sites of unlimited extraction, freshwater depletion, desertification, deforestation, and the overall destruction of genetic and biological diversity. The fact that over eighty percent of the world’s biodiversity thrives on Indigenous lands is not a coincidence.
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