MARQUETTE, Mich.— The third annual Indigenous Earth Issues Summit will be held on Monday, April 5, at Northern Michigan University. The public is invited to attend free of charge and no registration is required. Events begin at 9 a.m. in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center and culminate with a 7 p.m. keynote presentation by Ward Churchill, American Indian Movement activist, scholar and author.

Workshop presenters will offer hands-on training in Indigenous environmental activism strategies, share information on current Indigenous environmental issues and engage participants in activities based on learning from Mother Earth. Eco-vendors and informational tables on environmental issues will also be featured.

Churchill’s presentation is titled “Water is Life: Reflections on an Omnicidal Equation.” He will offer a holistic perspective on Indigenous environmental issues and will discuss how Indigenous concerns over water issues fit into the context of the bigger picture. 

"Colonialism equals genocide," writes Churchill in his book, Struggle for the Land. "Colonialism also equals ecocide. The Native struggle for the liberation of our homelands is a struggle to achieve decolonization.” Churchill added that it is not just a Native issue: “Like it or not, we are all—Indian and non-Indian alike—finally in the same boat. Either Native North America will be liberated or liberation will be foreclosed for everyone, once and for all. We must take our stand together.”

Other invited guests from across North America include:

▪Gail Small (Cheyenne), executive director of Native Action, who has been fighting to protect her reservation from coal companies for more than 25 years. She is featured in the film Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action. Her workshop will focus on how to draft tribal laws and use organizing, alliances and legal challenges to assert tribal control over resource extraction on and around Indian reservations.


▪Ben Yahola (Quasartte/Tokobutchee), who was part of the Anishinaabe treaty rights struggle and has been involved with the Sacred Sites run for 35 years. He is the co-director of the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative, working on Native food sovereignty. Yahola's workshop will focus on Native spiritual connections to food and the earth.


▪Damien Lee (Anishinaabe), who has developed an effective Native community project in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Through various means, the community keeps an eye on the land in order to ensure its ecological health in the face of industrialism. His workshop will offer participants skills and ideas on how to create similar organizations in their own communities.


The Summit is hosted by the NMU Center for Native American Studies, with generous support from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. More a detailed schedule and more information, visit or call 227-1397. Eco-vendors interested in reserving a space should call the same number to apply by March 31.

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director