Photo: Autumn Peltier/Instagram

7 Indigenous Climate Advocates to Follow on Instagram

by Tim Wenger Oct 6, 2020

A person is not an activist when they merely fight for what is rightfully theirs. To Indigenous populations across the US and Canada, climate action has never been radical. Their sacred lands and water have been under constant threat from outside profit-seeking interests, and now the changing climate presents an additional threat. With causes ranging from water rights to protecting sacred lands to fighting big oil, these seven Indigenous advocates are standing up to make their voices heard.

1. Quannah Chasinghorse, @quannah.rose
Hans Gwich’in and Lakota


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The growing chorus of teen voices loudly advocating for climate action has a case older generations don’t — they’re going to be around to experience what happens next. Quannah Chasinghorse has become one of the chorus’ loudest voices for climate action in Alaska and beyond, including for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Just 18 years of age, Chasinghorse has already taken her fight as far as Washington, DC, where she lobbied with the Gwich’in Youth Council in 2019.

2. Autumn Peltier, @autumn.peltier
Wikwemikong First Nation


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Autumn Peltier advocates for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities. She has done so much for her community — including telling Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that she felt promises to Indigenous communities had been broken — that a documentary film “The Water Walker” has been made about her. It chronicles Peltier’s work in her home of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in Ontario and on the global stage as she prepared to bring her fight to the United Nations. Peltier’s Instagram notes she is the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation, and she only just turned 16.

3. Dallas Goldtooth, @dallasgoldtooth
Dakota and Diné


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As a founder of the 1491s, an Indigenous comedy group, Dallas Goldtooth brings humor to the climate fight. The group performs sketch comedy intended to showcase modern Native American lifestyle and address current issues. Dallas also serves as an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. His father, Tom Goldtooth, is also a prominent environmentalist. Dallas has been vocal in protesting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, as well as the tar sands in northern Alberta, Canada. He also presented at the 2017 People’s Climate March.

4. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, @xiuhtezcatl


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A regular speaker at UN events and Youth Director at Earth Guardians, X, as he’s known, has been a climate leader since early childhood. Among the best-known Indigenous climate advocates, X works to engage youth and any who follow him on social media to stand up against extraction and other exploitative uses on sacred lands, often through the mediums of music and art. Fittingly, X is also a musician. Check out his latest single, “El Cielo,” for a bit of added inspiration.

5. Indigenous Climate Action, @indigenousclimateaction


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Indigenous Climate Action holds that the traditions and values of Indigenous Peoples are essential in effective climate protections and policy. ICA empowers Indigenous activists with tools, knowledge, and support to become leaders in their own communities. The group currently offers a library of webinars and other online resources to arm individuals and groups for effective advocacy and is in the process of developing a comprehensive curriculum called “Train The Trainer” to take this advocacy to the next level.

6. Makaśa Looking Horse, @kasa_lh
Mohawk Wolf Clan and Lakota


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Known for her work with Ohneganos Ohnegahdeę:gyo, 23-year-old Looking Horse has been an activist for nearly half her life in the cause of protecting water rights in Ontario’s Six Nations of the Grand River. Her projects include the Let’s Talk Water series and other awareness and rights campaigns working to secure clean drinking water in her community. These are under constant threat from corporate interests pumping millions of gallons of water per day from the local aquifer.

7. Connor Ryan, @sacredstoke
Lakota Sioux


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The film “Paha Sapa” documents skier Connor Ryan’s experience in the backcountry of the Lakota’s ancestral homeland, Paha Sapa, or what is now called the Black Hills of South Dakota. With the film, Ryan makes the case for respect and preservation of the land regardless of why one cherishes it or views it as sacred. For non-Native outdoor recreationists, the film paints a vivid picture of what sacred land means and how others can respect it — through not exploiting it. Ryan is affiliated with NativesOutdoors, a brand advocating for Indigenous outdoor athletes and environmental causes.

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