“No Green Colonialism: Land Back NOW!” Mural Demands Real Solutions

NEW YORK CITY -- TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2023 -- On the morning of Tuesday, September 19th, Indigenous peoples on the frontlines of the climate crisis on Turtle Island took over Times Square in New York to paint a giant mural with the message, “No Green Colonialism; Land Back NOW!”

This mural comes the day before the UN Climate Ambition Summit, where world leaders are expected to come together to make decisions around combatting the climate crisis.

While the United States Biden Administration has positioned itself at the meeting, convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as a strong world leader in the fight against climate chaos, the activists say the truth is anything but. President Biden has repeatedly reneged on climate promises he made directly to Indigenous, Black, Brown, and frontline communities and celebrated a series of compromises that effectively lock the United States in a continued and deadly relationship with industry, fossil fuels, and resource extraction.

Indigenous communities are organizing to block the Biden Administration’s push toward false solutions to the climate crisis that threaten the lives of Indigenous people across Turtle Island —which they call “Green Colonialism.”

“For too long, Native lands and communities have borne the brunt of harm from mining and other extractive industries. As the federal government moves to support clean energy development, this cannot come at the expense of clean water or Indigenous rights. This familiar assault on Native lands and communities is another wave of colonialism, and we will not stand by and allow our lands to be sacrificed,” said Krystal Two Bulls, Executive Director of the national Indigenous organization Honor the Earth.

Indigenous communities are resisting mining projects that they say violate treaty rights and threaten clean water and land in places such as Thacker Pass, Oak Flat , and the Talon-Tamarak mine near the Mississippi headwaters.

In order to truly address the climate crisis, Indigenous peoples across the globe must be at the center of the solutions and the decision-makers. As original stewards of the land who stand on the frontlines of climate chaos, Indigenous people have a roadmap that can lead the world out of the harmful systems of capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy that are the root cause of the climate crisis. The first tangible, concrete order of business is to return Indigenous lands to Indigenous hands.

The mural that appeared in Times Square today reflects Indigenous leaders' demand that “Land Back Now!” must be at the center of tackling the climate crisis.