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PATAGONIA SUPPORTS INDIGENOUS-LED LAND MANAGEMENT
A green future is depending on us who join the fight of protecting indigenous land sovereignty
Ventura, Calif. (April 4, 2021) – Patagonia stands firmly with our Indigenous friends, employees, customers and communities against the land theft and resource pilfering which exacerbate the global climate crisis. We are sickened by the numerous cases of private and government interests on mining fortune at the costs of the Indigenous land and associated resources. We commit ourselves through Patagonia Action Works to take actions for Indigenous-Led Land Management.
In the U.S., indigenous nations play pivotal roles in environmental conservation as they could produce 10 percent of the nationwide renewable energy. Tribes in the Midwest and West are increasingly moving to develop renewable energy projects on their own land. The Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) accumulated by indigenous communities over time through experience is also a powerful tool to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Research have shown that when Indigenous nations are managing their land, those environments are less likely to be impacted by human activities. However, for generations the native nations have been forced to be at war with powers to protect their land and the ecosystem.
The Red Lake Nation, home to walleye, lowland trees and nearly 12,000 residents, has been resisting corporate and government authorities since mid-18th century. Through generational efforts and resistance to relocation, the Red Lake Nation managed to stay on their land and currently oversees over 85% of the reservation whereas the Minnesota state government manages the rest 15%. The native nation serves as gatekeepers for their brothers and sisters as well as the variety of wildlife living there. Rampant overfishing in the 1990s put the Red Lake’s ecosystem at high stake: the walleye population was on the verge of extinction due to the state government’s disregard on excessive commercial fishery. Fortunately, as the Red Lake Nation manages the majority of the land, they were able to take swift actions to save the lake from an environmental catastrophe, and the state took responsibilities to work jointly with the tribe in an effort to heal the lake.
“Despite it is rare to see cooperation of the tribe and the state, the story of the Red Lake Nation has showed us the significance of effective partnership in environmental conservation,” says Patagonia’s founder and Yvon Chouinard. “As we do business to save the planet, Patagonia has responsibilities to support our Indigenous communities’ sovereign rights to manage their resources. We demand the government to recognize them as not only the owners of the indigenous land but also environmental leaders.”
Our planet cannot afford to suffer from another case similar to the overfishing at the Red Lake, yet regional and federal powers are taxing our planet in an intolerable manner, exemplified by the Trump Administration which is building a 43 miles border wall on sacred land for the Tohono O’odham people through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.
We urge companies and individuals to join us in supporting Indigenous stewardship through Patagonia Action Works and take collective actions to protect people and the planet. A green future is not possible to achieved by the hands of a few; it depends on our joint power to protect Indigenous land sovereignty.
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. A Certified B Corporation, the company is recognized internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism—and its contributions of more than $110 million in grants and in-kind donations to date. For more information, visit https://www.patagonia.com/activism/