Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label climate change. Show all posts

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Greta Thunberg at Standing Rock

On October 9 Greta Thunberg spoke at the Indigenized Climate Forum in Fort Yates, North Dakota. As you likely know, Thunberg comes from Sweden, where, at 15, she began protesting a lack of climate action in Parliament. From there, she quickly rose to worldwide prominence, organizing school climate strikes, giving a TED Talk, and appearing on the cover of Time magazine. In September Thunberg received an invitation to speak at a UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Since then she has made it a point to travel throughout North America to spread her message.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, opened the event with a prayer.

"The old ones tell us through our ceremonies and everyday life we walk with the spirits, and everything has a spirit, we do our ceremonies everyday year round and that's our way of life -- so our prayers and our sacred language is all about the environment," Looking Horse said.

"I am so honored and grateful to be here to visit you in your homelands, to visit Standing Rock, this symbolic place of resistance," Thunberg said. "There was one moment that changed everything. It was a slow process. I started to educate myself about the climate and ecological climate. I just started to understand the urgency. When I understood that, I became furious because I realized that countless people are already suffering and have been for a very long time. These people are being ignored. This is going to affect every one of us in the future, myself included. It is already affecting us in many different ways. I just thought the only right thing to do was to stand back against this and to take a stand and I never regretted doing it."

"It's been very educational I must say, because you get so much experience from meeting all of these different cultures. The basic problem is the same everywhere. It is greed, ignorance, and unawareness -- and basically, nothing is being done to protect our common future. Nothing is being done to save the planet. We as teenagers shouldn't be the ones taking the responsibility, it should be those who are in power... and also it is because you here at Standing Rock, you are on the front line. You are the true warriors. You are the ones standing up for everyone else's future and I have so much respect for you and I am so grateful that you have taken this fight. Just so you know, we look up to you a lot."

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Indigenous Youth Excluded from UN Climate Summit

On September 21 the United Nations held its first-ever Youth Climate Summit, but Indigenous youth were excluded from the sessions. They were given their own event, which was poorly attended. Makasa Looking Horse was invited to open the youth summit with a blessing. The 25-year-old leader is Lakota and Mohawk from Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. She is the daughter of Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th generation keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman pipe.

"I did not come here to play, or this isn't for show," she said, holding the pipe ahead of her prayer.

Looking Horse told youth delegates that the White Buffalo Calf Woman "declared we treat all of creation with respect to honor our mother," adding "she warned my people of the time we are in today, and that she would return to help us as a white buffalo calf."

She said that prophesy has begun. "I will honor her today for asking, honor her today for her blessing to guide us, the seventh generation."

Beyond the blessing, the Indigenous youth felt excluded from the summit and left feeling dejected, they said.

"They need to provide space and get Indigenous people there in those spaces to truly make a difference, I think, because we already have the knowledge, we already know what we're doing. We know what we want," Looking Horse told APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) News.

"There was a disconnect," she said, adding the global youth and Indigenous youth were "both talking about the same thing, and we're in two different rooms. And I think that speaks volumes about how this topic is treated regarding Indigenous people."

Looking Horse said she valued the time she was given to open the youth summit with a blessing, but said knowledge like the teachings of the White Buffalo Calf Woman pipe will not be heard if Indigenous peoples aren't meaningfully included in plans for climate action.

"The message that the White Buffalo Calf Woman gave us was to always work in unity and keep praying together with our bundles, our pipes, because that's the only way that we will get through the tough times that are coming," she said.