An in-depth panel discussion of Indigenous environmental leaders share their approaches to adopting the “Rights of Nature” into tribal governance for protecting Mother Earth and Indigenous rights will take place on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at 6 PM CT. The panel is presented in collaboration with Indigeneity — a Native-led program within Bioneers — dedicated to increasing the visibility of Indigenous knowledge and approaches to solving earth’s most pressing environmental and social issues. This panel event is free and open to the public with registration is required.
“The idea that a feature of nature, like a river, is a living being is nothing new to Indigenous and other traditional peoples around the world. While the Western philosophical system is underpinned by the idea that humans are separate from nature and in dominion over it, Indigenous philosophical systems tend to conceive of humans as a part of nature, and in relationship with nature. It’s not surprising that Indigenous Peoples are at the forefront of a growing movement to acknowledge the legal ‘Rights of Nature.’
Rights of Nature is a growing global movement to transform Indigenous values into enforceable laws that can protect the planet for all life. Indigenous environmental leaders share their approaches to adopting Rights of Nature into tribal governance for protecting Mother Earth and Indigenous rights.”
Indigeneity is a Native-led Program within Bioneers dedicated to increasing the visibility of Indigenous knowledge and approaches to solving earth’s most pressing environmental and social issues. We do this by bringing people together to learn from Indigenous
Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) is the Co-Director of the Bioneers Indigeneity Program and brings expertise in working directly with tribes, fundraising, grant-writing and cultural arts programming to Bioneers. Cara served as the first Executive Director of the Chemehuevi Cultural Center, and served on the Chemehuevi Tribal Council from 2007-2010. With multiple degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Fine Art Photography, Cara has won numerous awards for her photography.
Alexis Bunten (Aleut/Yup’ik) is the Co-Director of the Bioneers Indigeneity Program and an accomplished researcher, writer, media-maker, and curriculum developer. After receiving a BA in Art History, Alexis returned to Alaska, where she worked at the Sealaska Heritage Institute, and the Alaska Native Heritage Center in cultural programming. Subsequently, Alexis earned a PhD in Cultural Anthropology, and has published widely about Indigenous and environmental issues in academic and mainstream media outlets. Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and many others.
Pennie Opal Plant is of Yaqui, Choctaw/Cherokee (undocumented), and European ancestry. She is a signatory on the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty Compact of 2015, and is co-founder of Idle No More SF Bay and Movement Rights. Movement Rights has been working with tribes and communities to align human law with natural law since 2014. The founders of Movement Rights have been working within the Rights of Nature movement since 2010. Pennie has been educating, organizing, and speaking on behalf of Mother Earth and the sacred system of life for over 40 years.
Deon Ben is from the community of Tohatchi, New Mexico and a member of the Navajo Nation. Growing up on Navajo land, Deon experienced the perfect mesh of traditional knowledge and environmental education, which guided his toward current work on incorporating traditional ecological knowledge, animal husbandry, and grazing within tribal communities facing climate challenges. Deon is the Native American Program Director for the Grand Canyon Trust, managing its Colorado Plateau Intertribal Conversation (CPIC) Gathering. Through the CPIC intertribal gathering Deon is working with the CPIC’s twelve tribes to begin initiating their Rights of Nature dialogue on the Colorado Plateau, which will be tribally defined and tribally directed by CPIC members
Francene Blythe-Lewis is the Executive Director of Vision Maker Media, and recently led programmatic strategic planning and grant-making opportunities as the Director of Programs at the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) from 2015-2020. There, she fostered and implemented successful grant programs for individual artists, community artist mentorships and community projects that centered around social issues and partnerships in and around Native communities.