Movement of Movements: Indigenous Rights, Immigration Reform, Environmental Justice Come Together

Indigenous peoples are standing with Muslims in opposing President Trump’s immigration restrictions.

Environmentalists are standing with indigenous peoples, supporting their efforts to recognize and remember missing and murdered indigenous women.

What might seem like unlikely allies on different issues actually is a sign of a greater understanding of how different issues are connected. The term coming into common usage is Movement of Movements. The article Awakening the Movement of Movements in Truthout gives the following description:

The “Movement of Movements” is a phrase used to describe the current profusion of social justice movements sweeping the national and global social-political landscape. Neither an umbrella nor a grand unification organization, it is rather a way of perceiving the threads of connection that link these social justice movements together.

Here are two quick examples of how the work of different movements intersect and support each other.

First, the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter is lining up support for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s March on Feb. 14. On the surface, it is not an environmental issue but look deeper and one sees a profound connection between environmental justice and justice for indigenous peoples. The indigenous group Honor the Earth put it succinctly in its Fact Sheet on Man Camps that operate in the North Dakota oil fields:

“They treat Mother Earth like they treat women… They think they can own us, buy us, sell us, trade us, rent us, poison us, rape us, destroy us, use us as entertainment and kill us. I’m happy to see that we are talking about the level of violence that is occurring against Mother Earth because it equates to us [women]. What happens to her happens to us.”

For the Sierra Club’s full blog and details on the upcoming Feb. 14 march, click here.

Second, Native American activists have joined in airport protests against President Trump’s travel bans, according to an article in the CBC:

Indigenous activists have started a social media campaign that has caught traction on both sides of the border using the slogan “no ban on stolen land.”

They joined the protests at American airports this past weekend, standing in solidarity with Muslim people and their allies against U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban, and tried to educate the public at the same time.

Healing Minnesota Stories’ friend Mark Charles (who is both Navajo and Dutch) has been writing about immigration issues for a while. He said reform proposals will be neither “comprehensive” or “just” until Native Americans are invited to the table to help find solutions. In his website Wireless Hogan he writes:

I have witnessed and am convicted that merely our presence at the table where immigration reform is being discussed fundamentally effects and alters the conversation. This is because our Native American community is a visual reminder of our country’s unjust history regarding immigration policy …

Efforts to build a Movement of Movements will get more attention in the coming years as a way to gain strength. The article Awakening the Movement of Movements offers the following advice:

● Celebrate others’ achievements; the success of one cause is the success of the whole.

● Support each others’ efforts through solidarity, encouragement, resources, media campaigns, etc.

● Take time to analyze the interconnections of the movements. Search for untapped strengths and sources of support. Identify pivot points of change and opportunities for other movements to help sway a critical element of your own movement.

● Talk with each other. Find out how your efforts overlap and look for opportunities for strategic collaboration.

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