Indigenous organizations stewarding land and protecting our planet
Despite being our planet’s greatest protectors, Indigenous voices and wisdom have long been silenced by violence and systematic oppression. In order to make meaningful and lasting environmental action, it is imperative that we honor and uplift Indigenous people and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).
The landscape of the United States covers diverse ecosystems that stretch across five biomes – aquatic, grassland, forest, desert and tundra. We reached out to our network of Indigenous-led environmental partners in the United States to see how they are using Traditional Ecological Knowledge to protect and preserve the five different biomes:
5 biomes where environmental organizations are leading the way
Consisting of 73 First Nations and Tribes, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) is an Indigenous grassroots environmental organization working to protect and preserve the Yukon River Watershed. YRITWC works directly alongside Yukon First Nations and Alaskan Tribes to aid with aquatic research efforts, awareness programs and watershed health classes, all rooted in Traditional Knowledge.
To support the YRITWC, read their recent reports on recent workshops, community meetings and climate adaptation strategies.
The Piikani Lodge Health Institute (PLHI) is an Indigenous-founded and led nonprofit organization focused on promoting the health and well-being of Amskapi Piikani Blackfeet people and lands. PLHI is based in Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation on Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) Traditional Territory. Through an intersection of knowledge and action, PLHI uses Indigenous planning and applied research to steward the land which consists greatly of Montana’s grasslands.
Their Regenerative Agriculture & Food Sovereignty programs utilizes grazing to improve the economic and ecological sustainability of the Blackfeet Nation and surrounding prairie lands. PLHI actively works to educate the nearby community on land use, agriculture, conservation, nutrition and traditional land-use food biochemistry.
To support the Piikani Lodge Health Institute, check out their Blackfeet Nation Producer Directory – a resource connecting local producers to buyers in the community.
The Native Land Conservancy is a Native-run land conservation group that preserves healthy landscapes and restores land back to its original state by drawing on traditional cultural knowledge. The group uses generations of direct experience in the woodlands, coastlines and waterways of New England to offer educational programs on the act of giving land back to local Indigenous communities.
The Hózhó Center is led by three Diné women working to support the local community on around 2,000 acres of traditional Diné homeland. Their mission is to revitalize the Diné traditional economy by offering direct and indirect services to the Diné people by using the philosophy of Hózhóo (to exist sustainability within the natural environment) and K’é (to exist for the benefit of the community).
The Native Conservancy empowers Alaska Native peoples to protect and preserve endangered habitats on their ancestral homelands. The organization has geared much of their efforts towards building resilient communities and regenerative economies to help fight climate change.
One of their most pivotal milestones occurred when the Native Conservancy and their sister organization – the Eyak Preservation Council – successfully protected an area of Alaska’s coastal temperate rainforest habitats.