Land is the central foundation around which all life is formed. Therefore, societies must have a stable connection with the land in order to be structurally sound. If this connection is weak or inflexible, every building-block of civilization laid on top of it will inevitably crumble. Some societies have established stable relationships with the land by working around and responding to nature’s rhythms in order to satisfy their needs. Whereas other societies have ignored nature’s intricacies and instead have tried to strong-arm nature into yielding to their whims. These two diametrically opposed approaches to conceiving of humans’ relationship with the land are exemplified by America’s Indigenous peoples and Colonial immigrants, respectively. Over the 15,000 plus years that American Indians have spent on this continent, they have developed a system of land use that has allowed them to live sustainably within their means. They have also created a system of land stewardship that reflects their deep reverence for the land as a living, breathing entity. This is in stark contrast to the system developed by White immigrants, which treats the land as a commodity, and fails to devote resources to its protection, unless it is benefitting a private interest. As this paper will demonstrate, these conceptions of land are deeply entrenched in each society’s identity. Thus, if America’s federal government is to find a solution to its self-inflicted climate crisis, it must look outside of itself for answers. It must instead look to the infinite stores of wisdom that have been passed down for generations by our Nation’s original inhabitants. But America must be careful not to perpetuate its appropriative track record by integrating this wisdom into its existing management system without also integrating the Indigenous peoples that provided it. Only by recognizing American Indian land rights will America have a fighting chance in saving this country from environmental extinction. As an achievable first step, the U.S. federal government must recognize American Indians’ international law right to Free, Prior, and Informed consent.

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