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Article: 6 Indigenous Creators Leading The Charge Against Climate Change

6 Indigenous Creators Leading the Charge Against Climate Change

6 Indigenous Creators Leading The Charge Against Climate Change

Indigenous people around the world have long been stewards of the land, accessing centuries of traditional ecological knowledge to manage resources sustainably. Today, as the climate crisis reaches alarming peaks, Indigenous activists are brandishing their creativity, passion, and sharp intellect on social media to bring awareness to climate-related issues. Many of them are also leveraging their reach to discuss issues beyond the climate, such as contemporary systemic challenges facing Native communities and how to show respect for Indigenous cultures.

With April being Earth month, we wanted to highlight a few of the Indigenous creators using their platforms to promote the environmental movement. Here are six incredible Indigenous creators leading the charge against climate change:

1. Quannah Chasinghorse, Han Gwich'in and Lakota Sioux, U.S.

Quannah Chasinghorse in a field of sunflowers

Alaskan activist and model Quannah Chasinghorse rose to international stardom for her high-profile work in raising awareness about issues affecting Indigenous communities, particularly those related to climate change and land conservation. She is a vocal critic of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, which would threaten the region's delicate ecosystem and the Indigenous communities that depend on it. In addition to her activism, Chasinghorse is a wildly successful model and is frequently featured in campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein and Vogue.

Photo: Rodney Evans

2. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Aztec, U.S. and Mexico

Indigenous environmental climate activist Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh Martinez

Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh began his environmental activism at six years old and he hasn’t stopped since. As a prominent voice for youth climate justice, Tonatiuh has spoken at events like the United Nations General Assembly and the People's Climate March. He also serves as the youth director of the Earth Guardians organization, which he co-founded with his siblings, and works to empower young people to become environmental leaders in their communities. In addition to his activism, Tonatiuh is also a talented musician, using his music to promote environmental awareness and inspire social change.

Photo: Robin Loznak

3. Winona LaDuke, Ojibwe, U.S.

Environmental indigenous climate activist Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke is the founder of several organizations, including the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Honor the Earth, which work to protect Indigenous lands and promote sustainable development practices. In addition to her activism, LaDuke is a prolific writer and has authored several books and articles on Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and sustainable development. She is also in the midst of launching a local green economy, which includes local artisan gifts and foods.

Photo: Sarah Kalmanson

4. Nikita Kahpeaysewat, Nēhiyaw (Plains Cree), Canada

indigenous environmental activist nikita elyse

Environmental scientist, researcher, and model Nikita Kahpeaysewat’s stunning Instagram profile is a reminder that her rich culture and activism go hand in hand. She studies environmental science at Mount Royal University, which is located in the Treaty 7 region of Alberta, Canada in the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi people. Here, her research concentrates on investigating water quality in Indigenous communities, environmental injustice, and enhancing the comprehension of traditional ecological knowledge. Nikita firmly advocates that both Indigenous knowledge and western science are valid sources of knowledge that can be utilized for environmental conservation and protection. She is also a model, makeup artist, social media influencer, brand ambassador, and powwow dance instructor.

Photo: Featherstone Photography

5. Autumn Peltier, Wiikwemkoong First Nation, Canada

indigenous environmental activist Autume Peltier

Autumn Peltier is a fierce advocate for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities. She has spoken at numerous international events, including the United Nations General Assembly, where she has called on world leaders to take action to address issues such as water pollution and climate change. Peltier has been recognized for her activism and was named the Chief Water Commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation in 2019. Her activism inspired the documentary “The Water Walker,” which was featured at the Toronto Film Festival in 2019.

Photo: Maryam Southam Family Photography

6. Dallas Goldtooth, Dakota and Diné, U.S.

indigenous environmental activist dallas goldtooth

Dallas Goldtooth is living proof that comedy and climate activism go hand in hand. He’s a founder of the 1491s, an Indigenous comedy group, which performs sketch comedy to showcase modern Native American lifestyle and address current issues. He is also a staunch climate activist, engaging in campaigns to stop pipelines, protect sacred lands, and promote renewable energy.

Photo: Shane Brown

Cecilia Seiter
Cecilia is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She writes largely about sustainability, especially as it applies to beauty, wellness, and the future of technology. She is a graduate of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is based in Oakland, CA.

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