“We’re not leading from way back when. We’re leading from right now. What are we dealing with right now? What are the solutions right now? We’re using that incredible [ancestral] knowledge in a very contemporary way.”
~ Casey Camp Horinek
Ponca traditional drumkeeper, 2022 U.S. Grassroots Accelerator Leader
For generations, Indigenous women have led the way in efforts to protect Earth’s most ecologically diverse areas. They have carried and preserved the critical Indigenous knowledge and lifeways that are key to the survival of humankind. And yet, Indigenous communities are some of the first to suffer the consequences of the climate emergency. As community caretakers, guardians of future generations, and resource stewards, Indigenous women’s leadership has never been more critical.
WEA acts in solidarity with Indigenous women-led initiatives to uplift traditional ecological knowledge, lifeways, and frontline actions to honor and protect our communities and the earth. This year’s Women’s Earth Alliance U.S. Grassroots Accelerator Program supports the initiatives and visions of Indigenous women in the following sectors:
Food and Water Sovereignty
At the Alliance of Native Seedkeepers, Jane Jacobs helps protect and provide access to clean water and healthy food for Cherokee communities in North Carolina. Not only does this improve the physical and mental wellbeing of the community, it also reintroduces Indigenous food systems and practices that were threatened by colonization.
Law and Policy
Juliette Anne Jackson is launching a legal advocacy program to increase access to pro bono legal and policy support for Indigenous communities. This project answers the need for qualified representation for tribal land rematriation efforts, and aims to support Indigenous land rematriation for sustainable ecological stewardship and Indigenous lifeways preservation.
Sacred Land Protection
Morning Star Gali combines frontline action and litigation to
protect Medicine Lake on Pit River and Modoc land (now
known as Oregon) from industrial development. Defending these sacred waters is vital to passing environmental and cultural knowledge down to new generations of Indigenous water protectors.
Cultural Preservation and Restoration
Casey Camp Horinek’s plans for the construction of a traditional earthen lodge within the Ponca Nation weaves ancestral knowledge into the lives of future generations. Building the lodge renews Indigenous practices threatened by colonization, while also creating a place for gathering, ceremony, and for grassroots organizing in her community.
Nikila Badua employs Indigenous ecology-based teaching as
a foundation for educational reform. By rooting curriculum in Indigenous values, Nikila’s Cultural Community Arts for
Educational Reform Initiative restructures the current colonial education system to center around humanity’s collective
WEA is honored to work alongside and support these powerful leaders to cultivate community- and climate-resilience for generations to come.
Written by Lila Rubin, WEA Intern