chapter  20
13 Pages

Indigenous environmental justice

Anti-colonial action through kinship
WithKyle Whyte

Indigenous peoples have ancient traditions of conceptualizing and practicing environmental justice. Today, they face some of the most severe environmental injustices due to pollution and land dispossession. Many such injustices stem from the impacts of colonialism that Indigenous people endure globally, whether these impacts are connected to legacies of historic colonialism or colonialism that is ongoing today. From a North American Indigenous perspective, this chapter describes some of the environmental injustices that Indigenous peoples withstand today, focusing on U.S. and Canadian contexts, but making global links too. Indigenous peoples, in some of these struggles, often express their own solutions to injustice as calling for the establishment or repair of kin relations. Kin relations can be understood as moral bonds connecting humans and non-humans that are modeled after certain ideals of family life and friendship. Kinship represents a central approach to environmental justice that has its own place among other leading theories and practices.