March 09, 2008

Indians for the environment

Coast Salish leaders commit to environmental action"Our objective here is to turn the tide on all the environmental destruction that the white society has heaped upon us over the past 150 years. Our objective is to speak with one voice as Coast Salish people, and to adopt action plans that will make a difference," said Tom Sampson of the Tsartlip First Nation in British Columbia.

Cladoosby also pointed out that over the past 150 years of environmental deterioration, there has been a philosophy that people must make as much money as they can without regard for the environment. Thus, he said, we have seen a destruction of the air, water and plants. "Mother Earth is not a commodity to be dominated and exploited, but rather a gift to be loved and respected."

"We're on a journey here that has no end," Frank said. "We're the only ones who are willing to do it. The other governments haven't done it. We are the Indian people, people of the land. We know what the problems are and we're trying to address them in an honorable way. If we have to take things into our own hands, that's what we will do," he said. "Action is needed right now if we are to have any hope to have a healthy environment for the future.

"We tell the truth. The U.S. government does not tell the truth. The Canadian government does not tell the truth. The states don't tell the truth. They lie to their people. They say, 'It'll scare the people and hurt the economy, so let's just lie to them.' Well, we won't lie to our people, and the other governments cannot fool us. We know where our trail is, and we've got to stay on that trail--together."
Comment:  With recent books such as The Ecological Indian by Shepard Krech III and Collapse by Jared Diamond, there's a growing backlash against the idea of Indians as the first environmentalists. But compared to today's Americans, they still look pretty good to me.

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