Indigenous Studies

Land Acknowledgement

This Climate Literacy Resource is being developed at Smith College in the town currently known as Northampton, Massachusetts. Below we offer the land acknowledgment of the college. Such land acknowledgments are important because they credit the people to whom the land belongs: 

We acknowledge that this campus is built within the ancestral homelands of the Nonotuck peoples. We also recognize our present-day neighboring Indigenous nations: the Nipmuc and the Wampanoag to the east, the Mohegan and the Pequot to the south, the Mohican to the west, and the Abenaki to the north. We acknowledge, too, the presence of Native people among and all around us.

However, land acknowledgments are not enough on their own. By offering a land acknowledgment to preface this webpage, we recognize that we – most professors and students at Smith – are settlers here. We also hope to inspire you to take action to support Indigenous communities today. 

Indigenous perspectives are essential to cultivating climate literacy. The climate information presented in this resource cannot be separated from the truth of European settler colonialism, in which colonizers throughout the world have systematically stolen land from Native groups and killed and displaced their inhabitants. Colonization is not a completed or singular event, but an ongoing process that continues to devastate Indigenous people throughout the world. Listed below are links to climate-related entries and other resources pertaining to Indigenous knowledge and perspectives: 

Art     

  • Saharan Cave Art Provides Insight into Past Climate  
  • Glaciers in Art
  • The Year Without a Summer
  • Representations of Colonialism and Climate Change in Art
  • Featured Indigenous Artists:
    • Charlotte Allingham 
    • Tyana Arviso
    • Bunky Echo-Hawk
    • Alicia Maria Siu
    • James Temte 
    • Marcus Trujillo

History/Social Studies

Pre-Colonial Era

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Relationships to Climate (Pre-Colonialism)

The Little Ice Age (1300–1850 CE)

  • The Great Dying
  • Impact of Colonization on Climate and Indigenous Peoples
  • Climatic and Environmental Knowledge of the Northeast as an Advantage in Indigenous Resistance to Colonization

Modern Age (1800s CE–present)

Indigenous Studies

  • Snowshoes and Indigenous Winter Ecologies
  • Thinking with Glaciers

Languages

  • Climate-related Terminology in Indigenous Languages
  • Indigenous Languages as a Framework for Responding to Climate Change  
  • Effects of Climate Change (and Colonization) on Indigenous Languages
  • Indigenous Languages Reflect Different Climatic Frameworks than Dominant Western Languages

Literature

  • Indigenous Poets Addressing Climate Change
    • Tanaya Winder: Land Back as a Call to Action Against Climate Change
    • Jake Skeets: Finding Home in the Desert
    • Amber McCrary
    • Kinsale Hueston
    • Edyka Chilomé
  • The Swan Book (2013) by Alexis Wright
  • Indigenous Stories of Past Climate Change / Climate Events
    • Ktsi Amiskw, The Great Beaver (Mt. Sugarloaf, South Deerfield, MA)

Music

  • Iñupiaq Drumming and Global Warming
  • Rain Dances (Ceremonies/Prayers for Rain)
    • Hopi Snake-Antelope Dance

Selected Resources

Art

History/Social Studies

  • Farrell, J., Burow, P. B., McConnell, K., Bayham, J., Whyte, K., & Koss, G. Effects of land dispossession and forced migration on Indigenous peoples in North America. 2021. Science, 374(6567), eabe4943. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abe4943
  • Our Beloved Kin: Remapping King Philip’s War
    • Dr. Lisa Brooks, an Abenaki writer and scholar, outlines and details the history of King Philip’s War by connecting historical events with their place locations across the Northeast. Interwoven throughout this resource, Brooks explains how the climatic and environmental knowledge of Indigenous nations played a role in shaping history. Includes the story of Ktsi Amiskw (the Great Beaver), which parallels paleoclimate evidence of glacial Lake Hitchcock. 

Indigenous Studies

  • Cruikshank, J. “Are Glaciers ‘Good to Think With’? Recognising Indigenous Environmental Knowledge.” Anthropological Forum, vol. 22, no. 3, Nov. 2012, pp. 239–50. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, https://doi.org/10.1080/00664677.2012.707972
  • Land, C. Decolonizing solidarity: Dilemmas and directions for supporters of indigenous struggles. 2015. Zed Books Ltd.
  • Native-land.ca 
    • This website displays Indigenous territories and nations across the world. It is a useful tool to look up whose land you occupy. 
  • Simpson, L. B. “Land as Pedagogy.” In As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance, 145–74. University of Minnesota Press, 2017. https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctt1pwt77c.12.

Language

  • Audley, S., and D’Souza, A. B. “Creating Third Spaces in K-12 Socio-Environmental Education through Indigenous Languages: A Case Study.” Globalizations, vol. 0, no. 0, Feb. 2022, pp. 1–16. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2022.2038833

Literature

  • Sakakibara, C. “Our Home Is Drowning”: Iñupiat Storytelling and Climate Change in Point Hope, Alaska.” Geographical Review 98, no. 4 (2008): 456–75. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40377348.

Music 

Additional Resources