Greenpeace USA Indigenous Peoples Policy
Greenpeace USA has adopted an Indigenous Peoples Policy. The policy is one way to demonstrate both our respect for Indigenous communities and our intention to improve the way our organization interacts and works with them.
© Ian Willms / Greenpeace
Recognizing that the Indigenous right to self-determination and land is unique with a complex history; that the right to the use of and jurisdiction over a nation’s ancestral territories belongs to the Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of their land; that the right is not granted from an external source, but is a result of Indigenous Peoples’ relationship to their home territories, their ongoing social structures, and political and legal systems;
Recognizing that the current state of environmental, economic and social unsustainability has, in great part, been caused by the heedless exploitation and dispossession of traditional territories where Indigenous Peoples have been ignored and their authority eroded;
Recognizing that the natural world is the basis of many Indigenous Peoples’ traditional way of life, that they depend on seasonal availability to fish, hunt, gather, harvest first foods and medicinals in order live in balance, and that they are now not only among the most affected by unsustainable environmental degradation, including climate change, but also among the most disproportionately affected by it;
Recognizing that the long term health of the environment is intrinsically linked to healthy and just communities; that human injustice and colonial oppression, particularly with regard to Indigenous Peoples, represents a pressing threat to both healthy, self-determining communities and to global ecosystems; and that any progress made on limiting human activity to within ecosystem limits must never come at the expense of the rights of others and must be met by equal to greater gains to the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other affected communities;
The Staff and Board of Greenpeace USA agree that:
Greenpeace USA works in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples to support their efforts for autonomy and self-determination; we recognize customary legal systems and traditions of Indigenous Nations, including decision-making authority. Greenpeace USA will conduct its campaigns in a manner that respects and reinforces their authority and autonomy. Wherever disagreements occur, Greenpeace will adhere to this commitment while reserving the right to taking opposing positions.
Greenpeace USA adheres to established processes within Indigenous Peoples’ communities and commits to transparency regarding issues or activities that pertain to or would affect the local Indigenous communities. We seek input and guidance early in our planning process around events and/or actions that will take place on their traditional territories and spiritually significant sites.
Greenpeace USA recognizes and respects the various forms of leadership in many tribal communities and acknowledges that authority is held by traditional leadership, the hereditary chiefs, the council system, Elders, and grassroots leaders.
Greenpeace USA respects the right of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination and recognizes that relations with the United States government and Indigenous Peoples in the United States are on a nation-to-nation basis.
Greenpeace USA affirms that, under international law, Indigenous Peoples have the right to free, prior, and informed consent regarding decisions that will affect their interests, including any development on traditional territory, as recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Greenpeace USA respects Indigenous rights and supports the just settlement of outstanding land, rights and title issues with the U.S. and other colonial governments, with each Indigenous nation deciding for themselves how best to do so. Treaties and interim measures agreements are one part of the process of developing an ecologically and socially sustainable society with equitable outcomes for all.
Greenpeace USA recognizes the right of Indigenous Peoples to carry out traditional activities, such as sustainably fishing, hunting, trapping, gathering first foods and medicine, on their traditional territories and waters. Accordingly, Greenpeace USA recognizes that any land designations by external governments, including protected areas, must meet the needs of Indigenous Peoples.
Greenpeace USA will advance to other parties the need to fully recognize and respect Indigenous rights to the use of and jurisdiction over a nation’s ancestral territories.