Today, NDN Collective’s Climate Justice team and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women announced distribution of dozens of air filters to use for those impacted by the wildfires in New Mexico. The groups will provide supplies to local organizations and Tribal governments supporting Indigenous community members in the area.
The wildfires in New Mexico have been raging for over a month, spurred by unprecedented winds and drought which have consumed nearly 237,000 acres so far. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes, and more displacements are expected.
The wildfires are particularly impacting Indigenous communities in the area, including an “Indo-Hispano mountain culture far older than the United States,” as reported by Reuters.
“Indigenous communities will always mobilize to protect those most impacted. Right now, that looks like providing education and mitigation tools to protect our life force, our breath,” said Marquel Musgrave, Membership and Communications Director, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. “Tewa people know that our breath is our life – and it is currently under attack.
“Air purifiers, N95 masks and DIY CR boxes are tools to protect our breath for the moment, but we know they are not truly the solutions we desperately need. The real solutions lie within the dissolution of the commitment to capitalist, settler colonial values, and the rematriation of our lands. The future of all our kin, human and non human, require a restoration of reciprocal relationship to the land and end to all that is causing harm to Mother Earth.”
“It took two weeks for the POTUS to declare these fires as a major disaster and to order federal aid to be directed to affected communities,” said Jade Begay, director of Climate Justice at NDN Collective. “Residents will have to wait weeks, if not longer, to receive support from FEMA. Further, FEMA application processes are often inaccessible and wonky for people to navigate, especially during a time of crisis.
“Whether it's a pandemic or a climate disaster, groups like NDN Collective – who are made up of people from frontline and Indigenous communities – know best how to respond to these events because we know what our people need most and how to be efficient and effective in getting it to our most vulnerable community members. This is what climate resilience and adaptation look like.”
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.