Published November 6, 2019
WASHINGTON — The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) condemns the United States’ actions in formally withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement as reported earlier this week. NCAI stands with tribal nations’ continued support for the Paris Accord.
“By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Administration is violating its trust responsibilities and countless treaties and agreements with America’s tribal nations to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystems we all rely upon to survive,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp.
In 2017, tribal leaders from across the United States unanimously passed an NCAI resolution (MOH-17-053
) to formally support the Paris Climate Agreement. While the Agreement includes nearly 200 countries who had signed on in 2015, the United States is the only country to announce its withdrawal.
Fawn Sharp making acceptance speech Thursday.
“Faced with this existential threat, America’s tribal nations will seize the mantle of leadership, re-double our efforts to fight climate change at home and abroad, and utilize all of our sovereign authorities, rights, and resources to fight this rush to extinction,” Sharp said.
President Sharp, who also serves as the President of the Quinault Indian Nation in Tahola, Washington, is a tribal leader whose nation has been directly impacted by the adverse effects of climate change. Two of Quinault’s ancestral fishing villages, Taholah and Queets, are both facing imminent destruction by rising sea levels and forced relocation upland in the near future.
Indigenous peoples in the United States and around the world depend on the health of their ecosystems and natural resources for social, economic, and cultural vitality. The effects of climate change often disproportionately and most severely impact tribal nations, from causing relocation, the loss of hunting and fishing ecosystems, and changing weather patterns adversely affecting traditional plants and medicines.
NCAI will continue to stand firmly in advancing indigenous peoples’ interests in implementing the Paris Agreement and reinforcing its commitment to action on climate change.