Indigenous communities in the West and across the U.S. are some of the most affected by climate change. In recent years, news media have finally focused on bringing their voices to the forefront. What is emerging from such stories is that Native communities are stepping up with their own solutions to climate change, solutions steeped in traditional wisdom, previously-discounted practices, and innovative approaches. From a return to prescribed burning to conservation projects that aid struggling salmon populations to regenerative farming techniques, indigenous people in rural and urban areas hold wisdom that can be useful to all of us as we try to imagine the future of our planet. In recent months, I’ve held several important conversations with indigenous leaders about what climate justice means and what type of solutions Native communities can offer. In the midst of the COP26 UN climate summit, these ideas bring hope to what may sometimes seem a pretty hopeless situation.
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