Red Cloud Indian School Statement on Youth Climate Crisis Panel
As you walk upon our sacred Mother Earth, treat each step as a prayer. - Black Elk
Today Red Cloud Indian School was honored to host a Youth Climate Crisis Panel, sponsored by the Lakota People’s Law Project and the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and featuring environmental justice advocate and Red Cloud student Tokata Iron Eyes and Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg. Born on Standing Rock Nation, Tokata is a dedicated indigenous activist and a water protector who protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Greta Thunberg’s climate activism has sparked a global youth movement that is demanding progressive solutions to the climate crisis.
Both Tokata and Greta remind us of the crucial importance of lifting up and celebrating the voices of young people, particularly in conversations about the future of Uŋčí Makȟá, or Mother Earth. We are extremely proud of Tokata and the many other Red Cloud students who have become strong advocates for environmental and social justice—and we are inspired by the millions of students around the world who are standing with Greta Thunberg and taking action to protect our planet.
As Tokata herself has reminded us, “...there cannot be a solution to the climate crisis that doesn’t include indigenous people." Like many indigenous peoples around the world, the Lakȟóta people have a profound and deeply spiritual interrelationship with the environment. Traditionally, Lakȟóta people did not own land individually, but instead believed in the importance of honoring the earth as our common home and sharing its resources responsibly. Today, indigenous leaders like Tokota are working tirelessly to preserve and protect the earth for future generations—and we are proud to stand with them. Because regardless of who we are and where we live, all of us have a moral responsibility to care for the gift of creation.
Photos © Red Cloud Indian School