Curated for you by the Sustainable Dartmouth Interns Sunday, October 19th, 2020
News Indigenous Peoples Day and Month 2020
Professor Nick Reo shares a few thoughts about Indigenous health and wellness for Indigenous Peoples Day 2020. Professor Nick Reo teaches Environmental Studies and Native American Studies at Dartmouth.
When Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, he catalyzed and directly participated in a chain of “pillaging, raping and generally setting in motion a genocide of the people who were already here. That's not something we want to celebrate. That's not something anyone wants to celebrate,” says Shannon Speed, citizen of the Chickasaw nation. Invoking Columbus Day ignores this history of white supremacy and colonial violence and produces ongoing harm, especially for Indigenous peoples.
Part of the colonial project was a sweeping ecocide of what is today known as North America (Turtle Island). Indigenous scholars have long recognized that this ecocide, or the systematic destruction of land, water, and nonhuman nature, is inseparable from the genocide colonizers wrought on Native Americans–particularly because, as articulated by Kyle Whyte (Potawatomi), “the very thing that distinguishes Indigenous peoples from settler societies is their unbroken connection to ancestral homelands.” It’s important to note that colonial ecocide wasn’t a one-time event but rather continues producing environmental and climate injustices today. According to Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes), “the origin of environmental justice for Indigenous peoples is dispossession of land in all its forms; injustice is continually reproduced im what is inherently a culturally genocidal structure that systematically erases Indigenous peoples’ relationships and responsibilities to their ancestral places” (Gilio-Whitaker, 2019). Check out this infographic from Sunrise Movement for more on the linkages between colonialism and climate justice.
A celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day and Month starts with acknowledging this past, especially for those who are settler colonists on the land where they’re living. Consider using Whose Land or Native Land to learn more about the Indigenous people(s) of your home. Indigenous Peoples Day is also about spotlighting and supporting Indigenous resistance. All across the United States, Indigenous communities and organizations are leading the charge for rematriation, or the “reclaiming of ancestral remains, spirituality, culture, knowledge and resources” and returning them back to their traditional lands and communities. Others are gathering around the call land back, in reference to reparations for stolen land, the restoration of relationships of stewardship with the earth, and political sovereignty.
What’s happening at Dartmouth? The Native American Program at Dartmouth has organized an amazing lineup of Indigenous Peoples Month events running until mid-November; for a full schedule, visit their website. Coming up soon are panels on indigenous knowledge on October 21, a conversation with Well for Culture on October 29, and a jewelry event with drag performer J Miko Thomas at the Hop.
A note from NAD
Native Americans at Dartmouth’s mission is to support the wellbeing of Indigenous students on campus through a fostering of community. For many Native peoples, the second Monday of October has represented a painful reminder of harm committed against our communities and continued marginalization. Indigenous Peoples Day and month works to reclaim that history and center and celebrate the resiliency and vibrancy of our communities and cultures. As NAD, we aim for Indigenous People’s month to provide an opportunity to highlight the amazing individuals within our community and spark conversation for how non-Indigenous students can better support their presence at this school! All our programming is open to all of campus and we are always welcoming of anyone from any background coming in good faith. This year has obviously impacted our normal events in so many ways and one of those has unfortunately been limiting how we’ve been able to interact with the wonderful Abenaki community members who have built relationships with NAD. We encourage our members and all others to reflect upon them especially and consider the ways we can each honor their families as visitors here in the Upper Valley.
In Other News...
The climate crisis is at stake in the upcoming presidential election
President Donald Trump has been rolling back climate change policies and hundreds of environmental policies while downplaying the threats of climate change. Scientists are worried a second term with Trump in office would make it impossible to pass the policies needed to avert the climate crisis in time.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden says he doesn’t support the Green New Deal (GND), but offers the "Biden climate plan" instead. Even so, Biden has said that the GND acts as a “framework” for building his own plan--boiled down, both plans aim to drastically cut emissions and create millions of high-paying green jobs. Biden’s plan is still one of the most progressive climate plans that any presidential candidate has proposed–“it would target 100 percent clean electricity by 2035...it would invest $2 trillion and channel 40 percent of all federal green spending to vulnerable communities. It would retrofit millions of buildings, ramp up federal research, reorient US foreign policy around climate, beef up EPA enforcement, and on and on. It’s not the GND, but it’s a really good deal.” - David Rogers, Vox
What even is the Green New Deal, anyways?
You’ve probably heard of it by now, but chances are you’re a little foggy beyond knowing the proposed policy plan supports climate change mitigation and prevention. You might have caught Trump’s comments in the recent presidential debate: “It's the dumbest, most ridiculous—where airplanes are out of business, where two-car systems are out, where they want to take out the cows, too.” (It’s not.) If you haven’t already, forget everything you might have heard about the Green New Deal and read the actual congressional resolution that Rep. Alexandria Ocacio Cortez proposed. Really, it’s not very long at all. After that, if you’re looking to learn more, check out some of these resources:
Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can, edited by Guido Girgenti and Varshini Prakash: “Two co-founders of the Sunrise Movement offer an urgent, essential collection of essays from the most prominent champions of the Green New Deal-- and a detailed playbook for how we can win it.” With essays from activists, journalists, and policymakers, this book offers the roadmap to stopping the climate crisis, confronting racism and inequality, and building a just economy for everyone.
If you don’t have time to read the book (though it’s thought-provoking and highly recommended), check out this video where six authors from the book discuss “Fighting Racism, Ending Inequality, and Winning the Green New Deal”
No, climate action can't be separated from social justice, by Julian Brave Noisecat
“How to Indigenize the Green New Deal and environmental justice,” by Dina Gilio-Whitaker
Also... (some more news!)
Welcome to The Frontline | Atmos A new climate justice newsletter!
Coming Soon at Dartmouth...
Nourishment: Experiencing Culture and Community Through Corn
The Dartmouth Sustainability Office is putting on a virtual event series this fall centering the staple ingredient of corn, which spans many cultures in many different forms. By emphasizing the importance of a single ingredient we hope to thread various experiences together into a fuller understanding of our relationships to the land and one another.
Toasted Sister Podcast, a show about Native American Food. The host, Andi Murphy, says, “after contact, Indigenous foodways and knowledge were devastated, nearly destroyed and replaced with foods that are far from the people. So today, I’m talking to Native chefs and foodies about what Indigenous cuisine is, where it comes from, where it’s headed and how it’s used to connect them and their communities to their origins and traditions.” Toasted Sister Podcast took first place for general excellence in radio and podcasting at the Native American Journalists Association 2019 National Native Media awards.
All My Relations, a podcast about “what it means to be a Native person in 2019. To be an Indigenous person is to be engaged in relationships—relationships to land and place, to people, to non-human relatives, and to one another. All My Relations is a place to explore those relationships, and to think through Indigeneity in all its complexities.”
The Daily special episode: Terry Tempest Williams’ “An Obituary for the Land”deals with grieving for the converging crises we’re experiencing in our bodies, communities, and land.
If you wanna cook...
(Photo courtesy of Jess Chen)
This time of year in the Upper Valley, you might’ve noticed that farmers markets and grocery stores are filling up with one thing: squash. Check out this incredibly easy yet delicious butternut squash soup recipe, pictured above with a slice of sourdough a sprinkle of parmesan. For just a few bucks, one large squash will feed you for days and fill your house with wonderful autumn aromas.
If you want to give/support…
Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is “an urban Indigenous women-led land trust that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.” The org’s Shuumi Land Tax encourages settlers to take responsibility for the systems of land displacement they uphold and financially support rematriation, or returning Indigenous land to Indigenous people, in the Bay Area.
Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust is “is a hybrid model land trust, bringing together a community land trust commons model for farmland preservation and a conservation land trust model to conserve and steward ecosystems with the goal of manifesting a community vision that uplifts regenerative global Indigenous, Black, and POC relationships with land, skills, and lifeways.” They connect BIPOC farmers to land, provide farmer resources and training, advocate politically, and consult Indigenous communities in the Northeast.
12 Native-Owned Food Businesses to Support on Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a wonderful list of businesses worthy of your support, particularly as you learn more about Indigenous Peoples’ Day and U.S. revisionist history.
If you want to spruce up your social media…
@third.kitchen is a student-run food project (started at Dartmouth!) focused on sourcing specific ingredients, food-knowledge sharing, and creating space for cultural cooking.
@sylvanaquafarms is a farm and collective envisioning a democratized food system in the D.C. area based on agricultural practices that support the well-being of people and the land.
@rowenwhite, a Mohawk seed steward, shares how the seeds she saves are sustenance for her family and the lifeblood of traditional indigenous foodways.
@agrowingculture is a “coalition that leverages local knowledge, innovations, and research of hundreds of millions of farmers from around the world by providing the space for small-scale producers to collaborate on a global scale.” Follow them for spotlights of individuals pursuing food sovereignty in their communities.
@artisanbryan is an Afro-Honduran baker working to dismantle the notion that sourdough is limited to the crusty French loaves that took over everyone’s feeds at the start of quarantine. His recently published cookbook New World Sourdough (and many recipes available for free on his blog!) traverses countries on this side of the Atlantic and calls on us to expand our notions of sourdough baking.