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Is the New Green Deal good for Indigenous People? Read it in full for yourself. - Indigenous New England


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.,(L)and Sen. Ed Markey, D-MassRep (R).

116thCongress 1stsession H. Res
“Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a GreenNew Deal” 2/5/19 filed at 3:27pm by Ms. OCASIO-CORTEZ

Written by: Daniel ‘Strong Walker’ Thomas, 2/9/19

Here in Massachusetts, as the weather changes from 70 to 30 as quickly as a speeding car on the Pike with a State Trooper in sight, climate change is on our collective minds. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY and our hometown Dem Senator Ed Markey introduced new legislation framework called the “New Green Deal.” This legislation calls for the elimination of our country’s carbon emissions through changes to our infrastructure, specifically manufacturing processes, transportation, shipping vehicles and our farming methods.


New York, USA – 21 September 2014. Woman carries a placard stating ‘Keep the Oil in the Ground’ whilst demonstrating for environmental awareness during the 2014 People’s Climate March through Manhattan, New York, USA.

But what does this mean for us as Indigenous people? Is this legislation just for the poor Whites like the New Deal was under our 32nd President Roosevelt during the Jim Crow era? In fact, the New Deal saw the infrastructure of our country repaired and rebuilt through the Works Progress Administration, Civil Conservation Corps, the National Youth Administration and the Public Works Administrations which generated government created jobs. 

According to Roosevelt historian David Woolnerof the Roosevelt institute, in his writing titled; FRANKLIN & ELEANOR HUMAN RIGHTS African Americans and the New Deal: A Look Back in History (Published By Roosevelt Institute 02.05.10) the WPA employed “approximately 350,000 African Americans;” although, this number sounds nice, in reality 350,000 was only “15% of the total workforce.” Nevertheless the New deal did see the creation of the Federal Music Project, Federal Theater, and Writing Projects, “which hired and featured the work of hundreds of African American artists” as well as “the New Deal’s educational programs, which taught over 1 million illiterate Blacks to read and write” helping to create the moniker for the poor “all we got is sports and entertainment”. However the New Deal also saw the Federal Housing Administration build the walls of segregation higher and stronger.

In contrast to the New Deal the “New Green Deal” acknowledges the funds and opportunities that did not trickle down to the Indigenous people with the statement

“Whereas the Federal Government-led mobilizations during World War II and the New Deal created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen, but many members of frontline and vulnerable communities were excluded from many of the economic and societal benefits of those mobilizations.”

The terms of importance here are frontline and vunerable communities. The document defines frontline and vulnerable communities with this paragraph; “Indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities.)”


Asheville, North Carolina, USA – August 4, 2014: Man at a Moral Monday rally holds a sign protesting fracking amid a crowd of other protesters on August 4, 2014 in downtown Asheville, NC

With oil drilling, pipe lines, fracking and water rights violations happening all over Indian country, this document would like to see the government “obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous people for all decisions that affect Indigenous people and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with Indigenous people, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous people.”

All this while acknowledging that “climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘systemic injustices’’) by disproportionately affecting Indigenous communities…” and stating “a large racial wealth divide amounting to a difference of 20 times more wealth between the average White family and the average Black family; and a gender earnings gap that results in women earning approximately 80 percent as much as men, at the median.” Clearly this document was written with Indigenous People in mind! 



Now that we know as Urbs (my fav term for the urban Indigenous) that this resolution was written with the spirit of inclusion lets take a look at the meat of the framework. Instead of giving you my interpretation of the New Green Bill, I have attached a downloadable PDF of the 14-page resolution. I suggest you read it for yourself and don’t let the media tell you what to think! We do not own the earth, we are merely steward for the coming generations.