Earlier this month, the National Congress of American Indians adopted a resolution supporting the rights of nature at its mid-year conference in Anchorage, Alaska.

The National Congress of American Indians, founded in 1944, is the oldest and largest group representing American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and communities. 

The resolution, developed by Menīkānaehkem and the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, asserts that Indigenous Peoples “authority and ability…to protect the natural environment is essential to our inherent sovereignty and self-determination,” an ability at risk “from the many environmental crises that we face today,” and exacerbated by “environmental laws [that] treat nature and Mother Earth as a non-living entity existing for human use.”

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Additionally, the resolution references tribal efforts already in effect to protect and enforce the rights of nature, including the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin’s resolution recognizing rights of the Menominee River; The White Earth Band of Ojibwe’s ‘Rights of Manoomin,’ (wild rice); The Yurok Tribe recognizing the rights of the Klamath River; and the Nez Perce recognized rights of the Snake River; and both The Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Oneida Nation recognizing rights of nature laws and resolutions. 

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About The Author
Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Writer
Jenna Kunze is a staff reporter covering Indian health, the environment and breaking news for Native News Online. She is also the publication's lead reporter on stories related to Indian boarding schools and repatriation. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Tribal Business News, Smithsonian Magazine, Elle and Anchorage Daily News. Kunze is based in New York.