WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senate Environmental Justice co-founders Senator Tom Carper (D-Del), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released the following statements to honor National Native American Heritage Month, which begins on November 1, and to underscore the work needed to achieve equity and improve environmental quality and infrastructure investment in this nation’s Native American communities.
“This month, we honor the heritage of Indigenous Americans, this nation’s first environmental stewards. For centuries, Native peoples’ rich connection to the land and water has informed and improved this nation’s efforts to restore and conserve critical eco-systems. And yet, the United States government has not invested nearly enough to ensure environmental quality, public health, and quality of life in Indigenous communities. From running water to safe roadways, the most basic infrastructure in tribal communities has gone perpetually overlooked and underfunded by the federal government for too long,” Senator Carper said. “The climate crisis also disproportionately threatens tribal communities. Now, the Trump Administration has opened sacred lands to oil drilling and fast-tracked mine projects that threaten critical food and water sources. It’s far past time we keep our promise to American Indians and Alaska Natives by doing the work and making the investments needed to achieve equity and environmental justice.”
“Long before the ‘discovery’ of this nation, Native Americans inhabited this land from coast to coast and yet, hundreds of years later they continue to be dumped on and denied their right to breathe safe air, drink clean water and live on uncontaminated land,” said Duckworth. “During Native American Heritage Month, we must recommit to protecting and promoting indigenous culture and traditions, while also doing more to achieve environmental justice for communities who are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Indigenous communities are the original good stewards of the land, and they have suffered disproportionate harm from pollution. The Trump Administration’s rollbacks of critical environmental protections and undermining of tribal sovereignty have made this even worse.” said Senator Booker. “As we honor and celebrate National Native American Heritage Month this November, we must continue to fight alongside and for indigenous communities who have long fought for environmental justice and conservation and who have a right to full protection of their civil and environmental rights.”