What We’re Reading: How the Indigenous Land Back Movement is Poised to Change Conservation

“When we fight pipelines, when we fight oil projects, when we fight all of the extractive development that harms our mother, we don’t do that just for ourselves,” Krystal Two Bulls says, director of the LANDBACK Campaign within the Indigenous advocacy organization NDN Collective in Grist. Elaborating, “We do that so we can all actually have an earth to live on in the future. So that future generations that aren’t even born yet have an earth to come to.”

Ultimately, she believes that opposition to Landback and what it will mean for the descendants of settlers comes from a place of guilt. “Your fear is rooted in the fact that you think, when we get our land back, we will treat you the way that you have treated us.”

Replicating systems of oppression has never been part of the plan, and proponents of the movement say they could use some help from white people in dispelling that knee-jerk fear and explaining why this solution will benefit everyone. “A lot of our allies and accomplices could play a really important role in helping lead some of those conversations,” Tilsen says, “so that we, as Indigenous people, can focus on getting our damn land back.”

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