Transition & Resilience grants Click here

Andrew Catt-Iron shell · April 22, 2020

Earth Day 2020: We can no longer take baby steps. Honor the Earth as your own mother.

While fifty years have come and gone from the first Earth Day, we do not have another fifty years to get this right.

This year, Earth Day is absent the large crowds celebrating Mother Earth’s life. Virtually silent are the usual soundbites in network media telling us we should recycle and carpool, like that is enough to save deteriorating ecosystems that hold together our natural environment. In years past, countless network advertising dollars have gone into telling us what we already inherently know to be true, that we should protect our planet, and not harm her.

Today, the pandemic our world is experiencing gives us all pause. For a moment, humanity has no choice but to reflect upon it’s vulnerability. We are not weak, as human beings. We are vulnerable.

We must put our money and our energy into a paradigm shift for the greater good.

NDN Collective Organizer, Andrew Catt Iron-Shell. Photo Courtesy of Andrew.

Even amid this pandemic crisis, the corporate agenda is to convince us to shop away our fears as we ignore the warning signs, forsaking actions that we should collectively take to save our world. Mainstream society has conditioned us to think that an inequitable, modern economy is virtually all that is needed to support life. 

As Indigenous people, we know this is not the truth.  We do not have to fall in line with the status quo, becoming like those looking out only for themselves. 

For the past fifty years of Earth Day, the corporations, the politicians and the uninformed  have largely shaped the narrative of what the day should be about. But now more than ever, we have to take back that narrative of what truly honoring our Mother Earth is all about. We must collectively act. We must mobilize worldwide and bring back balance between humanity and the natural order of things in order for humanity and all life to survive. 

Andrew Catt-Iron Shell with his son in the Badlands of South Dakota. Photo Courtesy Andrew Catt-Iron Shell.

To be sure, we have fifty years of solidarity behind us celebrating Earth Day. The children and grandchildren of those first Earth Day participants have grown into millions of strong souls standing on this side of Mother Earth.  The Indigenous, white, black, and people of all backgrounds and economic standings, have stepped up.  We must continue to educate, advocate and teach our young people to love the earth as their mother. We must put our money and our energy into a paradigm shift for the greater good. It should not be a crime to oppose the fossil fuel industry and pipeline expansion. We must say no to extractive economies that serve no one but oil executives and their shareholders. 

This Earth Day is unequivocally the most important Earth Day we’ve shared.

While fifty years have come and gone from the first Earth Day, we do not have another fifty years to get this right.  At fifty years old, we can no longer take baby steps or hold back our voice and intention for a more sustainable way of living together. It is our time to act now. 

We are going to get through this challenging time together, and an important shift is already happening. We see more and more individuals, governments, and even corporations who are showing growing concern for the environment, and do want to do the right thing for humanity. 

This Earth Day is unequivocally the most important Earth Day we’ve shared. It is our moment in this eye of the storm, to find clarity, to nurture action, and to stand side-by-side with each other for the sake of all life. In unity, the greatest acts of humanity have achieved victories, even under great duress. In this moment we must redesign economies and shape new behaviors that leave an abundance for future generations.  

Earth Day 2020 is our time to put back into perspective that which we know we must do: Honor the Earth as you would honor your mother. 

Andrew Catt-Iron shell
Andrew Catt-Iron shell

Andrew Catt-Iron Shell, NDN Collective Organizer, is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Andrew is a grassroots organizer who began his work advocating against extreme health inequity and health disparities of Tribal populations. His work has included place-based advocacy in helping build from the ground up a regenerative community development project on the Oglala Lakota Nation. In his current role, Andrew looks to focus on building strong community networks and hands-on participation for shared victories in protecting mother earth and protection of Indigenous community.

July 2020 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.

Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Posted 11 months ago Alcatraz Canoe Journey: Honoring 50 Years of Indigenous Resistance and Persistence

Jade Begay

"If we work to reframe Alcatraz as a symbol for Indigenous sovereignty and reposition it in people’s psyche that way, it could be a very powerful thing, especially for people who are so often forgotten overlooked and marginalized like Natives in America."
Posted 2 months ago NDN Collective Responds to Brutal K9 Attack on Native Man in Rapid City
NDN Collective calls out excessive use of force by South Dakota Highway Patrol with K9 unit deployed on Native man and overall systemic violence against Indigenous people at the hands of law enforcement.
Posted 2 months ago “Today we mourn, tomorrow we fight”: NDN Collective Honors the Legacy of John Lewis
NDN Collective honors civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis and calls for honoring his legacy with renewed commitments to fight injustice
Posted 2 months ago Washington Team’s Mascot Change Long Overdue, We Must Eliminate All Racist Portrayals of Indigenous People
The recent announcement of the Washington football team's name change is generations in-the-making, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to the elimination of racist and stereotypical representations of Indigenous people.
Posted 2 months ago Nick Tilsen Statement Upon Release from Arrest: "We have to act in courage and in bravery."
NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen was among 20 Land Defenders arrested while protesting Trump's visit to Mount Rushmore. After being detained for three days, he shared this statement.
Posted 2 months ago Indigenous Land Defenders Released from Jail After Mt. Rushmore Trump Visit, Prosecutor Launches Campaign of Charges Against Them
Nick Tilsen, Oglala Lakota and NDN Collective’s President and CEO, faces excessive charges for leading protest to protect Black Hills and close Mount Rushmore
Posted 3 months ago NDN Collective Announces Black Hills Bail and Legal Defense Fund Following Mt. Rushmore Arrests
Following arrests of Indigenous Land Defenders blocking the road to Mount Rushmore on Friday, July 3, NDN Collective announces a bail and legal defense fund.
Posted 3 months ago NDN Collective Calls for Closure of Mount Rushmore and for the Black Hills to be Returned to the Lakota
In the lead up to President Donald Trump's visit to Lakota lands, NDN Collective calls for the closure of Mount Rushmore as a national monument.
Posted 3 months ago NDN Collective Announces the Radical Imagination Grant for Six Indigenous Artists
The NDN Collective Radical Imagination Grant will provide six Indigenous artists in the United States or U.S. Territories with $50k to radically imagine a new future, a better normal, and a more just world for all people and the planet.
Posted 3 months ago NDN Collective on Honoring Juneteenth: a Time for Action and Collective Liberation
In honor of Juneteenth, NDN Collective calls upon relatives and allies to take action and make personal commitments to unlearning the untruths of American history while learning the real truths of our past and present.
Posted 4 months ago Joint Statement: NDN Collective, IllumiNative, and Native Organizers Alliance call for justice for George Floyd
Indigenous organizations NDN Collective, IllumiNative, and Native Organizers Alliance call for justice for #GeorgeFloyd and an end to systemic racism
NDN Collective
317 Main St #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2020 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.