An Indigenous Teen Climate Activist Is Setting Out To Take Down Trump And His Conservative Constituents

Artemisa Xakriabá is a 19-year-old indigenous climate activist leading global efforts to thwart the harmful effects of climate change. Global warming is catastrophic. Extreme weather creates a domino effect of natural disasters leading to public health crises leading to displacement and poverty, which largely affects people of color. 

According to Time, “In the U.S., urban communities of color, often also low-income areas, are especially at risk, particularly those living in counties in the Southeast, which have the highest concentration of African Americans. The situation is similar for Latinx populations. In the U.S. and globally, those least responsible for climate change are already the first to bear the brunt of its health effects.” 

Poverty, discrimination, and limited access to healthcare makes navigating the difficulties of climate change that much harder for blacks, Latinxs, and indigenous people. Artemisa Xakriabá wants to change that. 

Artemisa Xakriabá  is combatting climate change in Brazil.

The 19-year-old climate activist from São João das Missões, Brazil wants to thwart the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. A representative of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities for indigenous communities, Artemisa participated in the first march for indigenous women this year. At the protest, she and others took to the streets of the capital in Brasília to denounce President Bolsonaro’s destructive environmental policies.

Last September during the Global Climate Strike, she gave the closing remarks to a crowd of around 250,000 protestors in New York City.

“We, the indigenous peoples, are the children of nature, so we fight for our Mother Earth because the fight for Mother Earth is the mother of all other fights. We are fighting for your lives. We are fighting for our lives. We are fighting for our sacred territory. But we are being persecuted, threatened, murdered, only for protecting our own territories. We cannot accept one more drop of indigenous blood spilled,” she said. 

On this same day, she spoke before the US House of Representatives to urge senators to take action on climate change. 

Who are the indigenous people of the Xakriabá tribe? 

The Xakriabá people are one of 13 indigenous tribes in São João das Missões, Brazil; although historically the Xakriabá did not have a central territory, they largely inhabited the Tocantins River area but were forced to live on reservations in the 18th century. While their original language has become extinct due to colonialism, it was an Acua language of the Ge language family which is a part of the Macro-Je language stock spoken by indigenous South Americans. 

“It’s a very sad thing to say because, within those eight to nine months of (Bolsonaro’s) term, a lot has changed. He wants to place mining inside the village, within the indigenous territories. They are killing our trees to put mining, putting the part of the economic groups, the politics itself, the agribusiness,” Artemisa said before congress. 

Right-wing Bolsonaro has exacerbated issues for the Xakriabá with his deforestation policies that allow the government to plunder the tribe’s territory for mining and farming. 

Artemisa fights back against the Brazilian government.

Artemisa is challenging the government that refuses to end the tens of thousands of fires obliterating the Amazon rainforest. Corporate agriculture has ravished the area by burning down trees to create room for cattle — the fires have increased by 70 percent since last year. Yes, they’re killing trees for short-term financial gain, because in the long-term their won’t be a planet to capitalize on any longer. 

The Xakriabá tribe now has limited access to the river and its water due to corporate mining. 

“The scarcity of water in the territory is noticeable,” she said. “We need the river and the water for our living and for our spiritual health, our connection to the earth. So access to the river is a big issue for us. The governments of Brazil and the United States are not helping. They promote hate-based narratives and a development model that attacks nature and indigenous peoples. These governments are trying to put us in extinction. They are part of the problem.”

Gen Z wants a policy overhaul and that means centering indigenous voices. 

The Youth Climate Strike Coalition in the United States has a list of the demands and one is “respect of indigenous land and sovereignty and environmental justice,” along with “protection and restoration of 50% of the world’s lands and oceans including a halt to deforestation by 2030.” 

While this may seem like common to sense it is politically groundbreaking (ain’t many politicians here calling for such sweeping action) and recognizes the significance and humanity of indigenous people which is sorely lacking from our leaders. 

Gen Z isn’t waiting to be saved, they’re smart enough to know that we have to save ourselves. The only question is: are adults ready to follow? 

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This Iñupiaq TikToker Has A Thing Or Two To Teach You About Celebrating Indigenous Cultures Online


This Iñupiaq TikToker Has A Thing Or Two To Teach You About Celebrating Indigenous Cultures Online

Drew Angerer / Getty

An Indigenous woman from Utqiagvik, Alaska who is part of the Iñupiaq tribe is TikTok’s latest culture sensation.

While the rest of us are stuck indoors and quarantining, Patuk Glenn has been amassing a following on Instagram and teaching her 81,000 followers about the Iñupiaq culture, traditions, and daily routines. From sharing videos about hunting to showing off her culture’s traditional clothing, Glenn’s videos are a reminder that beyond being alive, indigenous cultures around the globe are resilient– even in the face of our world’s constant attempts to change and eliminate them.

Glenn’s trending TikTok videos run the gamut from cooking to wearing her traditional clothing.

In some videos, Glenn shares the recipe for Inuit ice cream (caribou fat, ground caribou meat, and seal meat) or shares what her traditional clothing looks like. In one truly insightful clip, she takes her followers through a traditional ice cellar in her mother’s house. There, Glenn shared with her viewers that she and her family use the permafrost surround the cellar to preserve whale, seal, and caribou.

Given some of the food content, some of Glenn’s videos have received some backlash to which she isn’t batting much of an eye.

In videos where Glenn features food from whales (muktuk, or whale skin) she says that she has become used to receiving not so positive comments on occasion. Speaking to CBC News, Glenn explained that such comments are hurtful at times but mostly only inspire to continue to educate her followers more. “At first I was really upset,” she explained. “From there, with all of the negative backlash, I felt like it was my responsibility to help educate on why our Inuit people in the Arctic are hunters and gatherers.”

Glenn says that negative comments only push her to share more and educate her followers, particularly because she would like her daughter to be able to share her love for her culture one day as well. “We don’t want our kids to feel ashamed of who they are and where they came from. That’s what really hurt me the most.”

Impressively, Glenn says that learning on TikTok has become a two-way street too.

From TikTok, Glenn says that she has been able to learn and educate herself more about other Indigenous cultures as well. Glenn’s growing understanding of these groups and tribes (like Navajo and Cree) are a welcome surprise. Particularly for someone who, like the rest of us, is taught very little about the world’s Indigenous populations. “In the United States, we’re largely left out of the media. There’s no representation of us,” Glenn shared. “It’s 2020, we have a real opportunity in this day and age to be able to educate the world where institutional education has failed, or where mainstream media has failed.”

For Glenn, her fight to teach others more about her culture is vital. “This platform is helping give the power back into Indigenous people’s hands, to speak on behalf of themselves. I think that’s the really cool piece of it.”

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Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico


Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Diego Huerta is a photographer who has used his talents and time to document indigenous communities to preserve the culture and history. One of Huerta’s most famous photos was one of a young girl that he called the most beautiful girl in Mexico. He recently shared a new photo of the girl as a woman.

Diego Huerta shared an updated photo of the most beautiful girl woman in Mexico.

Huerta first met the girl when he was traveling through Mexico years ago. The first photo, posted in 2016 but taken in 2011, highlighted the young woman that he dubbed the most beautiful girl in Mexico. The latest photo shows the girl grown up and still living in her same pueblo in 2017. She is still a stunning reminder of the beauty that exists in southern Mexico.

The woman lives in Chiapas, the last Mexican state before entering Central America by way of Guatemala. There are multiple indigenous communities in Chiapas. While Huerta does not mention the indigenous community the woman belongs to, the clothing appears to represent the Zoque people.

The woman is still creating wander and interest among Huerta’s fans.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Her quiet and still composure makes her seem like a Mexican Mona Lisa, tbh. Her stoic face in the photographs has captivated Huerta fans for years. The first photo of the young woman was seen around the world and her beauty was celebrated by everyone who saw the photo.

The young girl’s eyes are what drew in the love and praise from people around the world.

Huerta made it a point to call out the young girl’s eyes in the photo. It isn’t because of the color of her eyes. He was intrigued by her eyes because she is deaf and her eyes are one of the ways she is able to communicate with the world around her.

“In my journey through South Mexico, in a town located in the middle of the Chiapas’ mountains I found the most brilliant eyes that I have ever seen,” Huerta wrote in the original post. “The beauty of this girl was similar to the panoramic views I was able to appreciate every time I turned around. She´s deaf, the way to communicate with her was by signs. It is no mystery that the beauty of the true Mexican woman is way above all beauty contests.”

People are obsessing over her beauty that seems to improve with age.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Nine years makes a big difference in a young person’s development. It can be the difference between 11 and 20, which is a huge difference. Her silent beauty is proof that indigenous communities hold some of the most beautiful people in the world. There is no reason to praise and adhere to Euro-centric beauty standards.

The Instagram posted is filled with messages of appreciation celebrating the photo and the young woman we saw grow up.

Credit: diegohuertaphoto / Instagram

Huerta currently has a documentary about the Tehuana people in Oaxaca. His photographs and film collection highlighting and exalting the indigenous community of Mexico is beautiful and necessary. He is collecting an important and vibrant part of human history by giving the first people to inhabit the land a chance to shine and show who Mexico truly is.

READ: Photographer Diego Huerta Is Giving Everyone A Look Into The Tehuana Culture In Oaxaca, Mexico

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