Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
Tomorrow is Earth Day. Many American Indians have either celebrated Earth Day already or are planning activities to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow.
“The environment isn't over here. The environment isn't over there. You are the environment,”
writes the great Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Satellite View of the San Francisco Peaks
As an American Indian, I think it would be difficult to think about Earth Day and the environment from the Native perspective without realizing we are taught that we must preserve Mother Earth for the next seven generations.
Corporations generally do not make management decisions with the next seven generations in mind. Congress certainly does not make policy decisions with the next seven generations in mind. Typically, decisions made in corporate board rooms or in the halls of Congress are made for the short-term with monetary profits in mind.
Earlier this year during the Republican presidential debates, several candidates were quick to denounce the Environmental Protections Agency. As a matter of fact, the EPA was usually the first federal agency or department that the candidates said they would eliminate. Even Texas Governor Rick Perry could remember the EPA as one of the three parts of the federal government he wanted gone as he fumbled to remember the three he wanted eliminated.
The thought process is that too much governmental regulation is put on corporations by the EPA. Of course, the corporate interests who care less about contaminating Mother Earth were writing big checks to the candidate's campaign chests.
Today with the Internet, it is easy to get into candidates' federal campaign reports. Earth Day is a good day to follow the money that flows into presidential and congressional candidates' campaign funds.
During Native Vote 2012, American Indians must take a close look at candidates' positions on environmental issues. For instance, take a long at Congressmen who voted in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline this past Wednesday. Environmentalists and American Indians adamantly oppose the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Look at the politicians who approved the desecration of 74 acres of rare alpine forest terrain in the San Francisco Peaks that are considered sacred to the American Indian tribes. The approval will allow for recycled sewage water to make fake snow for the pleasure of skiers.
Throughout history, corporations have contaminated American Indian lands through horrible environmental policies and practices. Corporations have historically contaminated water supplies in Indian Country. They have contaminated lands with closed down uranium mines.
Subsequently, American Indians have suffered ill health, have developed cancer and died. This came so that corporations could come onto Indian reservations to make monetary profits and elected officials allowed it.
Earth Day 2012 is a good day to look closely at candidates' environmental positions. It is a good year to vote them out of office. The election is less than 200 days away.
posted April 21, 2012 8:59 am edt
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