Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform

June 21st, 2020 - by Tom BK Goldtooth / Indigenous Environmental Network Newsletter

A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy

Tom BK Goldtooth / Indigenous Environmental Network Newsletter


Since occupation and colonization of the Indigenous lands and territories of North America (Turtle Island), American Indian and Alaska Natives in the United States and First Nations and Aboriginal people in Canada have been fighting for our inherent rights to our lands, our rights for self-determination and sovereignty. The moment is now to stand strong and in solidarity in defense of our treaty territories, land, water, air and protection of the Circle of All Life. 

Now is the moment to break the cycle of the US and Canadian governments consistently pressuring Indigenous nations and our communities to choose between western forms of economic development and our responsibilities as “guardians” for protecting the sacredness and territorial integrity of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

New forms of United States federal energy legislation with false incentives and the executive order allowing major infrastructure projects and energy projects to move forward without rigorous environmental review are designed to encourage the expansion of extraction and industrial-scale development on and near our Indigenous lands and territories. Once again, the dominant system is putting economics first; an economy that is not regenerative, does not respect the vital life-giving systems of exchange and reciprocity.   

A People’s Orientation of a Regenerative Economy ends a Legacy of Exploitation, Ecocide and Environmental, Energy, Climate and Economic Injustice

We are calling out for systemic change for an entirely different governance and legal framework that recognizes that Earth’s living systems are not the enslaved property of humans. Just as it is wrong for men to consider women property or one race to consider another race as property, it is wrong for humans to see nature as property; a concept that came from white Eurocentric settlers called dominion. 

This launch of A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy: Protect, Repair, Invest and Transform guides us collectively into a sustainable future, wherein Indigenous sovereignty and values are front and center. This is important because in order to visualize a better path forward, we must reconceptualize our framing away from the capitalistic systems that harm our Grandmother Earth, our Father Sky, our communities, our families, and our futures.

A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy has 14 Planks entailing over 80 policy ideas.  Leading the planks is Indigenous and Tribal Sovereignty, with other Planks incorporating Indigenous positions for action.

 Our Indigenous Principles of Just Transition is our platform for any US economic policy including Green New Deal, that will lead us into a Regenerative Economy, reorienting us away from the colonized frames that only replicate the problems we are seeking to solve. 

 Over the last year, IEN and members have worked in coalition to create a policy framework that centers the visionary and powerful solutions of frontline communities who have faced the brunt of social and environmental injustices and climate change impacts.

Any Green New Deal must center Indigenous nations and communities; in solidarity with Black, Brown, Yellow and poor white communities and labor for it to be effective. 

 Following a summit held in Detroit last summer with 64 grassroots and allied organizations and 80 leaders, including Indigenous peoples, the United Frontline Table (UFT) was formed. The UFT continues to center frontline voices in national conversations about Green New Deal organizing and policy interventions.

 Today, we’re sharing this to our Indigenous and non-Indigenous relatives, as a labor of love, with you as a tool to advocate for a Just Transition as the vehicle to a Regenerative Economy.

 A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy: Protect, Repair, Invest and Transform

 We invite you to bring this orientation into your work and your lives. This tool is for anyone who wants to create life-affirming and transformative policy changes.

 It articulates the necessary questions to ask and steps to take– in 14 policy planks and 80+ policy ideas – to achieve a world that values and sustains our lives and relationships.

 Over the summer and fall of 2020, we, along with other United Frontline Table members, will engage in organizing work around the 14 policy planks. The planks will also be featured on our social media platforms and websites. With your help amplifying, we can build momentum together for vetted policy priorities we demand from decision makers, our community members and each other.

 Justice for Indigenous nations and communities, one of 14 planks in the tool, must be a central policy priority in any regenerative economy in this country. This tool lays out how to begin with a series of concrete recommendations for lawmakers that can be advanced right away:

•   Strengthen and Protect the Inherent Rights and Sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples

•   Strengthen US policies of consultation with Indigenous nations with a more rigorous standard of obtaining the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous nations for all decisions that affect Indigenous peoples and their traditional lands and territories.

•   Demand the US government initiate an independent review and determination of all effects of its broken treaties and other agreements with Indigenous nations.

•   The US government fulfills its trust responsibilities and duties to Indigenous nations and its peoples to invest in economic Just Transition. 

•   Improve and Expand Healthcare Systems and Housing for All Indigenous nations, including urban Indigenous communities.

•   Eliminate Subsidies and Tax Breaks to the Fossil Fuel Industry.

•   Divest from Extraction & Invest in Indigenous nations and community 

 You and your communities are welcome to join the Regenerative Economy. The Protect, Repair, Invest and Transform framework puts us on a trajectory toward collective justice, rooted in a living Regenerative Economy that is intersectional—anti-racist and feminist. 

Over the summer, our policy and organizing teams will continue to outreach and invite our allies. 

In our defense of our rights as Indigenous peoples, we must and will continue to fight for racial and social justice. The building of a just and safe society can’t be achieved without centering the most oppressed. We must continue to fight for an economic system that doesn’t fail us and Mother Earth. 

Consistent with the Indigenous prophecies, a reawakening to our true human nature is sweeping through both indigenous and non-indigenous societies. For millennia, the wisdom keepers of our many Indigenous nations kept alive the deep wisdom of our Indigenous knowledge, passed down by our understanding of the Original Instructions, from generation to generation. 

I urge all of you, all humanity, to join with us in transforming the economic and social structures, institutions and power relations that underpin conditions of oppression and exploitation. 
Tom BK Goldtooth is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The United Frontline Table (UFT) is comprised of the following networks, alliances, coalitions, and their members, with the cooperation of movement support organizations: Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Center for Economic Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Dēmos, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, Indigenous Environmental Network, It Takes Roots, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Labor Network for Sustainability, New Economy Coalition, People’s Action, Right to the City Alliance, The Rising Majority, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, and UPROSE. This is a subsector of groups that were present at the Detroit Frontline GND Meeting.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.