The Biden-Harris Administration's Day 1 Executive Actions broadly address the pandemic and climate crisis and aim to forward racial equity and economic recovery. Several of the administration’s executive orders have immediate impact on Indigenous Peoples in the U.S.:
"Revoking the Presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL pipeline" recognizes the sovereignty of First Nations and Native peoples, specifically the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Fort Belknap Indian Community.
The "temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" provides opportunity to mitigate the former administration's deeply flawed, destructive and potentially unlawful sale of sacred lands of the Gwich'in and other Indigenous communities in the Arctic Refuge.
Review of the boundaries and conditions of public lands opened to development includes Bears Ear, the first tribally requested national monument, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante, which has deep historical and modern-day connection to the Hopi, Zuni, Dine/Navajo, San Juan Southern Paiute, Kaibab Paiute, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Acoma nations.
These executive actions are steps that acknowledge the growing political and human rights risks attendant to development that proceeds without the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.
All development must be consonant with Indigenous Peoples’ rights and self-determined goals. In addition to the action described above, the priority around listening to and responding to Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples must extend to all peoples defending their rights and resources in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Arizona, southern Alaska, and elsewhere in the U.S.
Throughout the process, the United States should continue to fully acknowledge reconciliation and justice in all systems. This includes recognition of the history of the land and the history of the people on the land. Where Indigenous Peoples' resources have been commodified in the past without regard to the value or benefit they provide Indigenous communities, these actions take a small step in a movement towards buidling a regenerative economy and more equitable systems.
First Peoples Worldwide stands with and is grateful for the water and land protectors and human rights defenders who put themselves at great risk to defend their lands, territories and resources and ensure wellbeing of communities. We are committed to the urgent work ahead to encourage a just transition, and to align sustainable development with the rights of Indigenous Peoples.