Tuesday, August 22, 2006


The Albuquerque Declaration

November 1, 1998

The Indigenous Peoples of the Turtle Island sent over 180 delegates to Albuquerque, New Mexico to share ideas on the impact of climate change and climate variability on Indigenous Peoples and all life on Mother Earth. The Indigenous Peoples worked together to offer solutions to reduce global warming and contribute to the restoration of sustainable economies on Native homelands for our future generations. On behalf of the delegates at this Albuquerque gathering, we are sending this ALBUQUERQUE DECLARATION

throughout the world for global dissemination. If we continue this path of unsustainable developments, we may not have a future for our children.

Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper, Chief, Onondaga Nation

Tom "Mato Awanyankapi" Goldtooth, National Spokesperson, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)

Patrick Spears, President, and Bob Gough, Secretary, Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (ICOUP)

Jackie Warledo, Field Representative, International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)





November 1, 1998, Albuquerque, New Mexico


As Indigenous Peoples, we begin each day with a prayer, bringing our minds together in thanks for every part of the natural world. We are grateful that each part of our natural world continues to fulfill the responsibilities that have been set for it by our Creator, in an unbreakable relationship to each other. As the roles and responsibilities are fulfilled, we are allowed to live our lives in peace. We are grateful for the natural order put in place and regulated by natural laws.

Most of our ceremonies are about giving thanks, at the right time and in the right way. They are what was given to us, what makes us who we are. They enable us to speak about life itself. Maintaining our ceremonies is an important part of our life. There is nothing more important than preserving life, celebrating life, and that is what the ceremonies do. Our instruction tells us that we are to maintain our ceremonies, however few of us there are, so that we can fulfill the spiritual responsibilities given to us by the Creator.

The balance of men and women is the leading principle of our wisdom. This balance is the creative principle of Father Sky and Mother Earth that fosters life. In our traditions, it is women who carry the seeds, both of our own future generations and of the plant life. It is women who plant and tend the gardens, and women who bear and raise the children. The women remind us of our connection to the earth, for it is from the earth that life comes.

We draw no line between what is political and what is spiritual. Our leaders are also our spiritual leaders. In making any law, our leaders must consider three things: the effect of their decisions on peace; the effect on the natural order and law; and the effect on future generations. The natural order and laws are self?evident and do not need scientific proof. We believe that all lawmakers should be required to think this way, that all constitutions should contain these principles.

Our prophecies and teachings tell us that life on earth is in danger of

coming to an end. We have accepted the responsibility designated by our

prophecies to tell the world that we must live in peace and harmony and

ensure balance with the rest of Creation. The destruction of the rest of

Creation must not be allowed to continue, for if it does, Mother Earth

will react in such a way that almost all people will suffer the end of

life as we know it.

A growing body of western scientific evidence now suggests what

Indigenous Peoples have expressed for a long time: life as we know it is

in danger. We can no longer afford to ignore the consequences of this

evidence. We must learn to live with this shadow, and always strive

towards the light that will restore the natural order. How western

science and technology is being used needs to be examined in order for

Mother Earth to sustain life.

Our Peoples and lands are a scattering of islands within a sea of our

neighbors, the richest material nations in the world. The world is

beginning to recognize that today's market driven economies are not

sustainable and place in jeopardy the existence of future generations.

It is upsetting the natural order and laws created for all our benefit.

The continued extraction and destruction of natural resources is


There is a direct relationship between the denial of Indigenous Peoples

land and water rights, along with the appropriation without consent of

Indigenous Peoples' natural resources, and the causes of global climate

change today. Examples include deforestation, contamination of land and

water by pesticides and industrial waste, toxic and radioactive

poisoning, military and mining impacts.

The four elements of fire, water, earth and air sustain all life. These

elements of life are being destroyed and misused by the modern world.

Fire gives life and understanding, but is being disrespected by

technology of the industrialized world that allows it to take life such

as the fire in the coal fired powered plants, the toxic waste

incinerators, the fossil fuel combustion engine and other polluting

technologies that add to greenhouse gases. Coal extraction from sacred

earth is being used to fuel the greenhouse gases that are causing global

climate warming.

Because of our relationship with our lands, waters and natural

surroundings which has sustained us since time immemorial, we carry the

knowledge and ideas that the world needs today. We know how to live with

this land: we have done so for thousands of years. We are a powerful

spiritual people. It is this spiritual connection to Mother Earth,

Father Sky, and all Creation that is lacking in the rest of the world.

Our extended family includes our Mother Earth, Father Sky, and our

brothers and sisters, the animal and plant life. We must speak for the

plants, for the animals, for the rest of Creation. It is our

responsibility, given to us by our Creator, to speak on their behalf to

the rest of the world.

For the future of all the children, for the future of Mother Earth and

Father Sky, we call upon the leaders of the world, at all levels of

governments, to accept responsibility for the welfare of future

generations. Their decisions must reflect their consciousness of this

responsibility and they must act on it. We demand a place at the table

in discussions that involve and effect our future and the natural order

and natural laws that govern us.


We, the participants in the "Circles of Wisdom" Native Peoples / Native

Homelands Climate Change Workshop, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico of

the United States, in the traditional territory of the Pueblo Peoples,

express profound concern for the well being of our sacred Mother Earth

and Father Sky and the potential consequences of climate imbalance for

our Indigenous Peoples and the significance of these consequences for

our communities, our environment, our economies, our culture and our

relationships to the natural order and laws.

Indigenous prophecy now meets scientific prediction. What we have known

and believed, you also now know: The Earth is out of balance. The plants

are disappearing, the animals are dying, and the very weather ??rain,

wind, fire itself reacts against the actions of the human being. For

the future of the children, for the health of our Mother Earth, Father

Sky, and rest of Creation, we call upon the people of the world to hold

your leaders accountable.

We submit this declaration to the Fourth Conference of the Parties

(COP4) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

(FCCC) being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 2?13, 1998. We

wish to add our voices to ongoing global discussions regarding the

impact of climate imbalance on forests, oceans, plants, animals, fish,

humans and biodiversity.


The following principles are self evident and guide our beliefs and


Mother Earth, Father Sky, and all of Creation, from microorganisms to

human, plant, trees, fish, bird, and animal relatives are part of the

natural order and regulated by natural laws. Each has a unique role and

is a critical part of the whole that is Creation. Each is sacred,

respected, and a unique living being with its own right to survive, and

each plays an essential role in the survival and health of the natural


As sovereign Peoples and Nations, we have an inherent right to

self?determination, protected through inherent rights and upheld through

treaties and other binding agreements. As Indigenous Peoples, our

consent and approval are necessary in all negotiations and activities

that have direct and indirect impact on our lands, ecosystems, waters,

other natural resources and our human bodies.

Human beings are part of the natural order. Our role and

responsibility, as human beings, is to live peacefully and in a

harmonious balance with all life. Our cultures are based on this

harmony, peace and ecological balance which ensures long term

sustainability for future generations. This concept of sustainability

must be the basis of the decisions and negotiations underway on national

and international levels.

The Creator has entrusted us a sacred responsibility to protect and

care for the land and all of life, as well as to safeguard its well

being for future generations to come.

Indigenous Peoples have the right and responsibility to control access

to our traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, which

constitute the basis for the maintenance of our lifestyles and future

[The Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples];


Indigenous Peoples of North America were invited by neither the United

States nor Canada to participate in the negotiations of the United

Nations Convention on Climate Change.

In June 1997, more than 2,000 U.S. scientists, from over 150 countries,

including Nobel Laureates, signed the Scientists Statement on Global

Climate Disruption which reads, in part, the "accumulation of

greenhouses gases commits the sacred earth irreversibly to further

global climate change and consequent ecological, economic, social and

spiritual disruption" (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,

December 1995). Climate imbalance will cause the greatest suffering to

the Indigenous peoples and most pristine ecosystems globally.

The migration of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) through the air

and water pathways continues from warmer southern climates to the colder

climates of the Great Lakes and Arctic climates of North America and the

Arctic Circle. Increased temperatures and persistent organic pollutants

(POPs) disproportionately impact indigenous Peoples, through their food

web systems, causing health and ecosystem impacts.

Within the next 100 years, temperatures over land areas of North

America, Europe and Northern Asia will increase as much as 5 to 15

degrees Fahrenheit over today's normal temperatures, well in excess of

the global average (IPCC Report 1998). This increase in temperature will

cause the sea level to rise (5?25 feet over the next 500 years), drying

out North America's soil moisture (20 ? 50%), and result in major

increases in the summer heat index (10 ? 25 degrees F).

The burning of oil, gas, and coal ("fossil fuels") is the primary source

of human induced climate change. The increasing demand and use of fossil

fuels continues to have adverse impacts on natural forests. Natural

forests are critical parts of the ecosystems that maintain global

climate stability. The continued large scale taking of fossil fuels

results in numerous impacts on these vital areas through deforestation

and pollution from drilling operations and ultimately forest degradation

from the global climate imbalance. The mining and drilling for coal,

oil, and gas, as well as other mineral extractions, results in

substantial local environmental consequences, including severe

degradation of air, forests, rivers, oceans and farmlands.

Cultural impacts, forced removal, land appropriation, destruction of

sacred and historical significant areas, breakdown of Indigenous social

systems, and violence against women and children are too often the

outcomes of fossil fuel development on Indigenous Peoples. Fossil fuel

extraction areas are home to some of Mother Earth's last and most

vulnerable Indigenous populations, resulting in accelerated losses of

biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and ultimately in ethnocide and



We request that the potential consequences of climate imbalance for

Indigenous Peoples and our environments, economies, culture, place and

role in the natural order be addressed by:

Establishing and funding an Inter?sessional Open?ended Working Group

for Indigenous Peoples within the Conference of the Parties (COPs) of

the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC);

Provisions for case studies be established within the framework of

FCCC that would allow for assessing how climate changes effect different

regions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities; assessing climate

changes on flora and fauna, freshwater and oceans, forestry, traditional

agricultural practices, medicinal plants and other biodiversity that

impact subsistence and land?based cultures of Indigenous Peoples; and

other case studies that would provide a clearer understanding of all

effects and impacts of climate change and warming upon Indigenous

Peoples and local communities;

Indigenous Peoples have the right, responsibility and expertise to

participate as equal partners at every level of decision?making

including needs assessments, case studies, within national and

international policy?making activities concerning climate change

impacts, causes and solutions;

Wthin the FCCC, establish protocols that would actively promote

international energy efficient and sustainable forms of development,

including the widespread use of appropriately scaled solar energy and

renewable energy technologies as well as sustainable agricultural and

forestry practice models;

Mandating a moratorium on new exploration and projects for extraction

for fossil fuel reserves in pristine areas. Exploration and development

in the traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples of the world must

be done with the full consent of Indigenous Peoples, respecting their

right to decline a project that may adversely impact them;

Imposing a legally binding obligation to restore all areas already

affected by oil, gas, and coal exploration and exploitation by the

corporations or public entities that are responsible. This restoration

must be done such that Indigenous Peoples can continue traditional uses

of their lands.

This is a partial list of additional Indigenous and non?Indigenous

groups signing in support of the Declaration. The following Indigenous

Peoples and Nations attended this Albuquerque Workshop? Summit and fully

endorse this declaration:

Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force ? Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga,

Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora

Native Coalition for Cultural Restoration of Mount Shasta and Medicine

Lake Highlands Defense

Columbia River Alliance for Economic and Environmental Education

International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism

International Indian Treaty Council

Intertribal Council on Utility Policy

Native American Council of New York City

Seventh Generation Fund

Roundtable of Institutions of People of Color

Sapa Dawn Center

Dine' Citizens Against Ruining the Environment (CARE)

Anishinabe Niijii

North American Indigenous Peoples Biodiversity Project

Gwiichin Steering Committee

Alaska Council of Indigenous Environmental Network

Eastern Cherokee Defense League

Great Lakes Regional Indigenous Environmental Network

White Clay Society of Gros Ventre

Oklahoma Regional Indigenous Environmental Network

Shundahai Network

American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico

American Indian Law Alliance

Traditional and Spiritual Leaders:

Oren Lyons, Onondaga; Kendall Rice, Potawatomi; Arvol Looking Horse,

Lakota; Marvin Stevens, Kickapoo; Tom Stillday Jr., Red Lake Ojibway;

Johnny Jackson, Yakama Cascade Band; Corbin Harney, Western Shoshone;

Jake Swamp, Mohawk; Albert Yazzie, Navajo; Richard Dalton Sr, Tlingit

Individuals:This is a partial list.

Tonya Goubella Frichuer, Onondaga; Chuck Crowe, Eastern Band of

Cherokee; Kent Lebsock, Lakota; Fidel Moreno, Yaqui/Huichol; Carlon Ami,

Hopi/Tewa; Mary Defender?Wilson, Dakota/Hidatsa; Jan Stevens, Sac & Fox;

Walt Bresette, Red Cliff Ojibwe; Earl Tulley, Dine'; Floyd Buckskin,

Pitt River; Andrew Becenti, Dine'; Barbara Bernacik, Laguna Pueblo; M.C.

Balwin, Dine'; Joseph Campbell, Dakota; Elena Bautista Sparrow, Yujpik;

Joseph Chasing Horse, Lakota; Charlotte Caldwell, Menominee; Tami

Soreson, Ojibwe; Marylou Stillday, Ojibwe; Sarah James, Neestaii Gwichin

Athapascan; Tom Goldtooth, Dine'/Dakota; Michael Sturdevant, Menominee;

Jose Barrero, Taino; James Main, Sr, Gros Ventre; Roy Taylor,

Pawnee/Choctow; Barbara McCloud, Puyallup; Janet McCloud, Tulalip;

Valerie Taliman, Dine'; Wilbur Slockish Jr, Yakama Klickitat Band; Dana

Mitchell, Penobscot; James Ransom, Haudenesaunee; Robert Shimek, Ojibwe;

Jimbo Simmons, Choctow; Patrick Spears, Lakota; Carlos Pelayo, Yoreme;

Dean Suagee, Oklahoma Band of Cherokee; Angel Valencia, Yaqui; Mose

Walkingstick, Eastern Band of Cherokee; Geraldine Warledo,

Cheyenne/Arapaho; Jackie Warledo, Seminole.

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