Support the #Landback Movement
Across North America, many Indigenous Nations are joining together with one visionary demand: Land Back. Land Back struggles begin with an acknowledgment that the United States is on stolen land. Indigenous Nations were forcibly removed to create so-called wilderness zones. Hundreds of treaties were made and broken. Land Back calls for the return of treaty lands and the sacred ancestral lands and waters Indigenous Peoples have stewarded for millennia. On the road to Land Back, monuments across the land are falling, including the word-monuments foregrounded on this website—and with them, the white supremacist system that enshrines and naturalizes settler-colonialism.
The core of the Land Back movement consists of four demands that address the systemic changes and physical and ﬁnancial reparations needed:
- Return all public lands back to Indigenous hands.
- Dismantle the structures that forcibly removed us from our lands and continue to keep our peoples oppressed.
- Defund white supremacy and the mechanisms and systems that enforce it and that disconnect us from stewardship of the land, including the police, the military, border patrol, and ICE.
- Move from an era of consultation into a new era of policy around free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), as speciﬁed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
These ambitious proposals for structural change testify to the vitality of the Land Back movement, and its promise to hold together struggles for Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination across the continent. It is not just against the perpetuation of settler-colonialism, white supremacy, and unbridled resource extraction but also for—for a system of relations between people, animals, and the land that is incommensurate with the logic of extraction that governs the settler-colonial world.
There are a few ways allies can take action now:
- Learn about NDN Collective’s campaign to return Mount Rushmore, which sits at the heart of the sacred Black Hills, to the Lakota people, its original custodians. “Not only does Mount Rushmore sit in the heart of the sacred Black Hills, but it is an international symbol of white supremacy and colonization. To truly dismantle white supremacy and systems of oppression, we have to go back to the roots. Which, for us, is putting Indigenous Lands back in Indigenous hands.”
- If you have access to wealth and land, download Resource Generation’s Land Repatriation and Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit. “This brief guide is a compilation of some educational resources on colonialism, decolonization and solidarity, and links to some inspiring case studies and examples of settler descendants who have returned land to Indigenous people, as well as some initial questions/best practices to consider when beginning to think about working towards land repatriation to Indigenous people.”
- Pay rent: As Krystal Two Bulls, LANDBACK Campaign Director at NDN Collective explains, “This can be done on an individual basis by setting up a relationship with the Native Nation’s government on the lands you occupy, as over 15,000 and counting have done with the Duwamish Nation in Seattle, Washington, under the banner of Real Rent.”
- Support campaigns to return federal lands to their traditional stewards. In the history of the United States, there have been more than 400 treaties signed with Indigenous Nations, and nearly all have been broken, in blatant defiance of federal and international law. Join the National Congress of American Indians in calling on the Biden Administration to implement true co-management agreement between Tribal Nations and the federal government.
- If you attend or are employed by a Land Grant university, learn more about the violent process of dispossession it was founded on, and call on your university’s administration and trustees to pay reparations.