How Long are we going to let others determine the future for our children. Are we not warriors? When our ancestors went into battle they did not know what the consequences were going to be. All they knew was that if they did nothing, things would not go well for their children Do not operate out of a place of fear, operate from a place of hope. With hope everything is possible. The time is now.
In our Anishinaabe prophecies, this is called the time of the Seventh Fire. This is a time when our people will have two roads ahead of us - one miikina, or path, which is well-worn - but scorched - and another path which is green. It will be our choice upon which path to embark. That is where we are.
Honor the Earth uses indigenous wisdom, music, art, and the media to raise awareness and support for Indigenous Environmental Issues. We leverage this awareness and support to develop financial and political capital for Indigenous struggles for land and life.
Our mission is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard.
As a unique national Native initiative, Honor the Earth works to a) raise public awareness and b) raise and direct funds to grassroots Native environmental groups. We are the only Native organization that provides both financial support and organizing support to Native environmental initiatives. This model is based on strategic analysis of what is needed to forge change in Indian country, and it is based deep in our communities, histories, and long-term struggles to protect the earth.
Honor the Earth was established by Winona LaDuke and Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, in 1993. In our 20+ years of operation, we have re-granted over two million dollars to over 200 Native American communities.
We believe a sustainable world is predicated on transforming economic, social, and political relationships that have been based on systems of conquest toward systems based on just relationships with each other and with the natural world. As our mission states, we are committed to restoring a paradigm that recognizes our collective humanity and our joint dependence on the Earth.
We have seen the rise of a highly inefficient American industrial society on our lands. The largest mining companies in the world began in the heart of Anishinaabe territory- the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Mesabi Iron Range and then traveled the world.
The society which has been created is highly extractive and highly inefficient, where today material resources and water become wasted and toxic, and we waste 60% or more of the energy between the point of origin and point of consumption. This highly destructive economy has reached material limits and is now resorting to extreme extraction. Whether the removal of 500 mountaintops in Appalachia (largely for foreign coal contracts), extreme mining proposals in the Great Lakes region, to Fracking and tar sands extraction, we are clearly on a scorched path.
Choosing the Green Path
Honor the Earth is interested in the transition from this destructive economy and way of life, back towards land-based economics. In this land-based economics, we see that intergenerational and inter-species equity are valued, that cyclical systems are reaffirmed, that not all “natural resources” are up for extraction, and that we behave responsibly. We recognize the wealth of a land-based economy because we have lived it, and we will continue to work to keep these waters for wild rice, these trees for maple syrup, our lakes for fish, and our land and aquifers present for all relatives.
Native people are in a pivotal position in this time and region. It is essential that we affirm principled and culturally-driven agency. That is to say that, tribal communities often conflicted over extraction as a result of a historic set of decisions forced upon us, are able to be essential agents of change in this time. Honor the Earth will work in the next two years, with first nations, Indigenous communities, and tribal governments to oppose extraction, support a tribal regulatory push for environmental protection, strengthen renewable energy and food systems work in our region, and create a curriculum and learning tool for tribal youth in Indigenous Economics.