Indigenous Climate Justice in a Warming Arctic
By Amelia Browne
March 14, 2022
We are beginning to recognise the climate crisis as a real and emerging problem around the world; but for some communities this has been detrimental to their ways of life for decades. In the Arctic, temperatures are rising far more rapidly than many of us can imagine, and is leaving Indigenous peoples with melting homes and a decrease in food supply. Indigenous climate justice tackles not only are the physical impacts of climate change detrimental to some Indigenous communities’ survival, but the lack of recognition of their important traditional knowledge and cultural links to the land have left them facing huge injustices.
In 2013, a group of Indigenous peoples attended an anti-fracking protest near New Brunswick, Canada, when the police intervened. When Amanda Polchies, a Mi’kmaq woman of Elsipogtog First Nation, witnessed pepper spray being fired at elders, she ran to the front of the crowd, held up a feather and began to pray. Little did she know that an Inuk journalist, Ossie Michelin, photographed the interaction and the image was later named best photograph in the museum’s Points of View: A National Human Rights Photography Exhibition.