Why Indigenous Authority is Important to You

Photo: Unist’ot’en Camp/Facebook

What if one country, with massive economic control and a police force, invaded a land, installed its own government, and then arrested the representatives of the true government when they protested the plans of the country that colonized them. Imagine the Canadian outrage.

Why, then, is there no outrage when Canada does this to Indigenous Peoples?

In fact, the outrage is directed against those who try to pursue self-determination for their nation and people. Could it be that well-cultivated and widespread prejudice interferes with the moral capacity of the general population?

The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, pictured here in 2018. Photo: Unist’ot’en Camp/Facebook

It must be said: Indigenous authority over their lands is important—important to all Canadians, important to you. Today, it is estimated that over a quarter of the world’s usable land, including the Amazon, is under Indigenous authority, governance and stewardship.  Though often ignored or unrecognized by colonial governments, this oversight has kept the land safe and productive for centuries. If the planet is to be saved from catastrophe, the authority of the People of the Land, the Indigenous Peoples, must be recognized and affirmed by the nations of this world.

In the Arctic, Indigenous authority is hindered in many ways, even when the territorial governments are largely run by Indigenous Peoples themselves. The full authority of traditional forms of oversight and stewardship have been minimized by the way outside governments, extractive industries and broader economic authorities and interests still determine the overall workings related to the land’s integrity and well-being.

If the collapse of our ecosystems is to be avoided, the strength of Indigenous authority must be returned. The moral framework is now the survival framework for our planet. There is no healthy future for our planet without the full recognition of Indigenous rights.

I will repeat it.

There is no healthy future for our planet without the full recognition of Indigenous rights.

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