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Indigenous Environmental Network, Haskell host first Indigenous Just Transition assembly

LAWRENCE, Kansas — The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Haskell Indian Nations University gathered Indigenous leaders from across Turtle Island and Haskell students at the first-ever Indigenous Just Transition Assembly in October.

“This is the first convergence of Indigenous peoples on Just Transition. The Indigenous Environmental Network felt the need to compile a set of Indigenous-based principles of what Just Transition means to Indigenous Peoples in North America. Just Transition is a vision-led, place-based set of principles, processes and practices that build spiritual, cultural, social and economic power based upon Indigenous Original Instructions,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network.

Haskell hosted the two and half-day assembly followed by the first It Takes Roots Encuentro on their campus.

The Indigenous Just Transition assembly is the beginning of a relationship between IEN and Haskell to develop a Just Transition curriculum for Haskell students.

Scenes from the first Indigenous Just Transition Assembly at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas. (Courtesy photos)

“Indigenous Peoples understand that justice is at the center of all the features of our daily lives. Given the deep experience of injustice in the lives of our Peoples and the power of our own justice-centered intellectual traditions, I believe this IJTA will help guide the difficult work of moving to economies that enhance all life on our Mother Earth,” said Dr. Daniel Wildcat, Haskell Indian Nations University Indigenous and American Indian Studies interim president.

IEN contracted Lakota artist Arlo Iron Cloud to draw illustrated interviews that resulted in artwork telling the story of what an Indigenous Just Transition means to six assembly attendees.

Haskell students were a pivotal part of the conversation at the assembly and prepared a southern traditional style meal that included buffalo roast, hand-harvest wild rice, salmon, Wojapa, fry bread, and Ponca silver tea.

“It is important for Indigenous communities to come together and have a dialogue about how do we define Just Transition,” said Marie Gladue, Just Transition campaigner. “Creating spaces for these dialogues with Indigenous peoples and allies will bring forth how we see our work going forward, what projects are people doing, and learning about issues that impact our environment.

I look forward to having a conversation about the importance of Natural Law, healing, and action.’