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  March 24, 1989 is a day that changed the course of my life forever. I was a full time commercial fisherman when the Exxon Valdez tanker hit Bligh Reef and spewed tens of millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters and onto the pristine beaches of my ancestral homeland in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Since then, I have referred to that day as “The Day the Water Died.” It wasn’t just the waters that were impacted. Everything was forever changed for the Eyak people—from our way of life as fishermen to our dreams for the future.


Hadih, Dene Za Tsekey Za. Greetings, my respected relatives; greetings, my respected friends. Paul Lacerte Sadnee. My Name is Paul Lacerte. Gilam Giloh Sadnee. My traditional name is Gilam Giloh. Si gunna Luksil Yoo Injan Yinka Dene Keyoh. I am a member of the Cariboo Clan and a citizen of the Carrier First Nation/Indigenous territory in what is now known as northern British Columbia, Canada.


  Indigenous people across the world have been building power. We build power through maintaining and passing on our songs, stories, and languages; through prayer, healing, and speaking truth. We build power through defending our lands, waters, and communities through grassroots direct action and international human rights work. And we build power through visioning and creating economic models and practices that reflect our teachings and values and honor our relationships.  


Dawn Sherman (Lakota, Shawnee, and Delaware Tribes) is the CEO of Native American Natural Foods LLC, home to the Tanka brand, a B-corp minority certified owned and minority-led company. Recently, Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Rights Radio Producer, Shaldon Ferris (KhoiSan), spoke with Sherman.


In South Africa, the need for alternative sources of energy is ever apparent as Africa’s business hub continues to face electricity shortages. The last 10 years have been troubling for citizens far and wide, as both residential and commercial properties are often without power. The country’s main supplier of electricity, ESKOM, often reports that the infrastructure is aging and has to shut down portions of the grid. The load on the infrastructure has become unsustainable, based in part on population growth.


Our early ancestors left behind a far-reaching worldview and an idea of diversity to live in coexistence with nature. This worldview impels each Indigenous person to internalize traditions, customs, culture, and language of the community and also to preserve, broaden, and enrich the same. By doing so, we not only ensure self-reliance and sustained development of the community, but more importantly, we take the responsibility to impart that worldview to the larger community and future generations.


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