Call Us: 570 483 8194

The Growing Indigenous Spiritual Movement That is Shaping Activism

A Lakota Sioux and her 5-year-old son pose for a photo at a protest camp erected to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. CREDIT: AP Photo/James MacPherson

A Lakota Sioux and her 5-year-old son pose for a photo at a protest camp erected to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. CREDIT: AP Photo/James MacPherson

For many indigenous people in North America, their relation to the earth is something that I think European settlers with our values of capitalistic/profit motive/commodification of resources can learn from.

This is some of the reason why I personally am so interested in the effects of Global Warming on Indigenous Populations.

Various indigenous groups do not typically view the earth as separate, as something to be harvested and to be used for profit. Often their spiritual beliefs, though extremely varied are based on the belief that the earth itself is sacred and should be treated as such. They look for and work for balance in their relationship with their environment.

Jack Jenkins at Think Progress writes about this in his piece, The growing indigenous spiritual movement that could save the planet: North Dakota is just the beginning.

It would be a mistake to characterize the new wave of indigenous activism as emanating from a uniform, codified theology. All of the activists ThinkProgress interviewed insisted they spoke only for themselves when discussing faith, explaining that each tribe harbors its own unique spiritual traditions, practices, and customs forged over the course of centuries, if not millennia.

But for all their differences, the various indigenous populations share a common theological belief typical of what Joshua Lanakila Mangauil, a Native Hawaiian activist, called “earth-based” cultures: that the environment, at least in parts, is sacred in and of itself.

“Earth-based cultures are tied to places,” Mangauil, whose current Facebook profile picture reads “Solidarity with Standing Rock,” said. “There is no separation from our spirituality and our environment — they are one and the same.”

CREDIT: Dylan Petrohilos/ThinkProgress

CREDIT: Dylan Petrohilos/ThinkProgress

See the full interactive map above read the article for yourself: The growing indigenous spiritual movement that could save the planet: North Dakota is just the beginning

Featured image: A Native American prayer stick is held near the capital during a Keystone XL protest in 2014. CREDIT: AP Photos/Manuel Balce Cenata

Tags:
Prescott Allen Hazeltine

Author: Prescott Allen Hazeltine

Prescott grew up in the hills of western Massachusetts, and still feels most at home out in the wild. He went on to graduate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with his undergraduate degree and has done post graduate studies at the University of Houston as well as the Gemological Institute in New York City. While hiking is a major passion, as is snowshoeing, he also love to read, research and learn, and can just as easily get lost in internet information as he can photographing the wilderness.

Leave a Comment