Seeding the Hill with Indigenous FreeThinkers

I’ve written a lot about why I believe a Green New Deal is our best hope to try to tackle evolving environmental collapse. And why I feel it is so important for a developing Green New Deal to be led by Native peoples. I recently came upon the following which expresses why.

How it came to be

Only the Indian people are the original people of America. Our roots are buried deep in the soils of America. We are the only people who have continued with the oldest beliefs of this country. We are the people who still yet speak the languages given to us by the Creator. This is our homeland. We came from no other country. We have always looked at ourselves as human beings . . . Every tribe has a trail of tears. We wonder when it is going to end.
PHILLIP DEERE (1929–1985)

Harjo, Joy. Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems (p. 1). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

In the following video Chase Iron Eyes and others from the Lakota People’s Law Project talk about indigenous leadership for a Green New Deal.

I am excited to learn about “SHIFT. Seeding the Hill with Indigenous FreeThinkers.”

SHIFT is Seeding Sovereignty’s political engagement program launched to empower the political voice of Indigenous Peoples in order to impact the 2020 Presidential election. This enterprise was developed by Indigenous FreeThinkers determined to create long term change by decolonizing the American colonial-capitalist political system. SHIFT’s mission is motivated by the ceaseless assault on Indigenous communities,  disproportionately coveted by the extraction industry and poisoned by insatiable greed for oil, gas, coal, uranium, timber, dams, Big-Ag, CAFOs and more. Along with violence to the earth comes danger to our people–we and our cultures are in crisis with the highest rates of poverty, illness, youth suicide, missing and murdered people in this country.

Our Mother Earth is also in crisis and Indigenous people have long recognized this. For hundreds of years we have fought at the frontlines of environmental threats that are now leading us to climate catastrophe. We have long spoken of the repercussions of colonial-capitalism, the need for a regenerative economy, land stewardship for the generations to come, and the important role of women.  Enter the  Green New Deal. This paradigm shifting movement is where we can plant our experience, grow our diverse networks and  build a collective vision for a thriving future for everyone. At this time our world needs the tangible example of Indigenous stewardship of our planet to change the world’s ecological and socio-economic trajectory and turn the tide on the climate crisis, poverty, and ongoing systemic inequities. David Suzuki says it, Noam Chomsky says it, the Drawdown team says it— but most importantly, our ancestors lived it and our own tribal experts say it.

SHIFT’s goals:

  • Empowering the Indigenous role in the Green New Deal to raise the voice and leadership of Indigenous, Black, Immigrant, LGBTQ, Women, Youth, Latinos and Refugees.
  • Discussing tribal sovereignty and respect for treaties to SHIFT the political landscape beyond the tokenization of our tribal nations and to end the notion of domestic dependent nations.
  • Catalyzing Indigenous political engagement by discussing and publicizing issues affecting Indian Country on all our media platforms.
  • Galvanizing Indigenous voter registration and turnout for a population that is historically disenfranchised by supporting the work of voter advocacy groups and grassroots actions.
  • Shining light on the historic election of two Indigenous congresswomen and the many other people of color that are making great legislative change.
  • Education and grassroots organizing, direct actions, art builds, youth leadership development, candidate convenings, and cultural events with the goal to diversify the political movement.

To contact Christine Nobiss, SHIFT Director, email

With the DNC debates starting tonight, our SHIFT director, Christine Nobiss, has a few things to say.

Firstly, we all know that none of the candidates are going to speak about Indigenous sovereignty and the fact that we need more control over our territories to protect ourselves and our land from the destruction and mayhem caused by colonized industry. Also, the the candidates will most likely not mention any of the treaties this country is founded on and the fact that the DNC is hosting its debate on occupied land. Miami rests on stolen land. Florida is home to the Miccosukee and Creek tribes in the north and countless nations to the south that were genocides. And let’s not forget the Seminoles that spent a lot of time in that area retreating from settler vigilantes.

Then there’s the fact that Tom Perez, chair of the DNC, has put a halt on a climate debate because the party does not want to focus on any issue specifically because that might allow certain candidates to dictate the flow of the event. They’ve gone so far is to threaten to bar any candidates from future DNC debates if they organize their own climate debates.

All we have to say about this is “whaaat”? The sunrise movement is currently rallying outside of the DNC headquarters because of this debate failure. As and Indigenous and womxn lead organization, Seeding Sovereignty takes a hard stance on climate change and the environment. Colonization is the cause of climate change and environmental destruction everywhere, and, we see no other option but to solve both these issues together as they are intrinsic to each other.

The state of the economy and jobs for blue-collar people won’t matter if we cannot grow food or drink water. None of these capitalist-based economic issues will matter at all if the world is on fire and our cities are drowning.

Christine Nobiss walked on the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, so I was able to get to know her a little. One of the goals of that March was to create a small group of Native and non-Native people who could work together on things of common interest. One of the first things a small group of us from the March, that included Christine, did was to meet with Senator Chuck Grassley’s Des Moines staff, both to introduce ourselves and to talk about two pieces of legislation before Congress related to Native Americans, Savannah’s Act and the SURVIVE Act.

Jeff, Fox, Shazi, Christine, Shari and Sid

It was great to see my friends Trisha and Lakasha on the program when the Green New Deal Tour came to Des Moines, a great step in the direction of an indigenous led Green New Deal.

This entry was posted in #NDAPL, climate change, Green New Deal, Indigenous, Sunrise Movement, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Seeding the Hill with Indigenous FreeThinkers

  1. Peter Clay says:

    Thanks Jeff! This convergence is so critical now. The daily work for each of us in decolonizing our own minds is essential for us to see how all our paths come together and to see where leadership needs to come from. I agree completely that Indigenous Peoples need to be leading us towards a rebirth of consciousness of our relationship to Mother Earth.

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