The global assault on Indigenous nations is not just something from the past, but continues on in countries around the world. This often takes place through the violation of treaty rights and the exploitation of native lands by extractive industries, including fossil fuel companies. Indigenous communities and their allies around the world have joined together with the rallying cry “Idle No More” and have created a global activist network dedicated to protecting the rights of Mother Earth and stopping the degradation of native lands. This movement began in Canada, where treaty rights are being violated to extract tar sands, leaving surrounding wastelands. The movement has now spread around the world.
The Idle No More movement is based on the rights of Indigenous people and the rights of Mother Earth.
The Indigenous Environmental Network also works with native communities and allies around the world for the rights of Indigenous communities and for economic and environmental justice.
Celebration of Healing and Amends to Mother Earth
Earth Justice Ministries organized a ritual of amends and healing for Mother Earth on November 2, 2014 at a commercially logged site just beyond Cascade Shores in Nevada County. The purpose of this ritual was to affirm the inherent rights of Mother Earth, to make amends for harm done, and to empower human beings to defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings.
The ritual was based on the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, which was affirmed at the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22nd, 2010, in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Our primary focus was on the following words from the Declaration: “We, the peoples of Earth are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny. Each human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.”
This ritual took place in an area that Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) clearcut in 2010, treated with herbicides to prevent undesired native species from growing back, and replanted it selectively with trees to create an “even-aged forest.” According to Forests Forever, “More of the Sierra Nevada has been clearcut by SPI than anyone else—and the company plans to clearcut 50 to 60 percent of its holdings over the next century, denuding 750,000 to 900,000 acres of Sierra forests… The clearcuts left by SPI are turned into even-aged tree plantations, an agricultural approach to forestry that leans heavily on application of pesticides to clear competitive species that might slow the growth of commercially valuable trees…. These single-species plantations lack completely the biodiversity found in a natural forest. Because of this, plantations make poor wildlife habitat.”
This was an amazing and inspiring event in which we affirmed the inherent rights of Mother Earth and all her creatures. The event included words, prayer, music, dance, and the planting of seeds.
Earth Justice Ministries then created an altar for this year's Altar Show, held in November at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. The altar displayed photographs of the Ritual of Amends and Healing of Mother Earth, which included spoken word, prayer, music, dance, and the planting of seeds. The Ritual and the Altar were both based on the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. See more pictures of the altar here. See Sharon’s blog posting, “Amends and Healing for Mother Earth.”