OPAL is proud to celebrate Native American Heritage Month and to uplift the history of indigenous leadership in the movement for Environmental Justice.
The struggle of Indigenous people for self-determination, and the right to traditional lands, is the first struggle for Environmental Justice on this continent, and that struggle continues. Native people are fighting injustice and unequal environmental burdens, from the struggle at Standing Rock, to the Navajo nation cleaning up uranium mines, to urban Native communities’ struggle to achieve economic opportunity after centuries of displacement.
While the movement today is multiracial, we must always honor the first inhabitants of this land for their leadership, and their many contributions to the movement for justice. Recently a panel of local indigenous leaders spoke at City Club’s Friday Forum. The panel connected the Sioux struggle for water rights at Standing Rock to local environmental justice issues affecting Oregon’s tribal, rural, and urban Native communities. The panel featured Kathleen George, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Tribal Councilwoman, and Direlle Calica, J.D., Warm Springs, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. OPAL’s Community Engagement Coordinator Shawn Fleek, Northern Arapaho, was also a part of the panel. Paul Lumley, Yakama, Executive Director of the Native American Youth and Family Center, moderated the panel.
Watch the City Club panel here: