This past October 12th was Indigenous People’s Day. The way we treat one another and the way we treat the environment are intertwined. Each is an expression of the other, tangibly, and metaphorically.
If you are in Pennsylvania, you are standing on land that is the ancestral home of the Erie, the Haudenosaunee, the Lenape, Munsee, Shawnee, or Susquehannock tribes. As Pennsylvania residents, we must recognize that retellings of the egalitarian intentions of William Penn must also include the all-too-real history of the Paxton Boys Uprising. Many Eastern states now formally recognize tribes within their borders. Pennsylvania does not, though there are rich multi-tribal gatherings of Native Americans in this Commonwealth.
As we mark Indigenous People’s Day, and focus on the work of environmental and climate justice: pause to honor the ways that Native groups in the United States have put themselves on the line to protect everyone’s water against pipeline incursions (and the climate harm at both ends of those pipelines). May Pennsylvanians follow those leads on this land, in faith, and with love.