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53 Wake Forest L. Rev. 713 (2018)
Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, and the Global Climate Crisis

handle is hein.journals/wflr53 and id is 745 raw text is: 





HUMAN RIGHTS, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, AND THE
                 GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS


                       M. Alexander Pearl*


             'We are standing alone to try and survive.
                              -Lucy Adams, a Kivalina elder1

    The social conflict that will erupt in the forests, should our
    peoples have no rights to defend themselves, will exact
    tremendous economic harm, as our forests are our homes, our
    lives, our culture, and the heart of our spirituality. We will
    not go quietly, and neither should you.
                                      -Victoria Tauli-Corpuz,
                            United Nations Special Rapporteur
                            on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples2

        The global climate crisis is an ongoing event the likes of
    which we have yet to experience. The science is clear, the
    phenomenon is traceable, and the effects are far-reaching.
    But, the consequences of the climate crisis affect particular
    populations more so than others, and often times the affected
    populations are voiceless. Among those most impacted are
    indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples stand in a unique
    place in the context of climate change. In general, indigenous
    peoples have a comprehensive relationship with their place
    and surroundings, which incorporates culture, livelihood,
    economy, and a defining sense of self. Land and resources are
    not simply commodities to be bought and sold, but they
    function to give us our stories, directions, and identity. With

    * Professor, Texas Tech University, School of Law. Enrolled citizen of the
Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. I would like to thank both the outgoing and
incoming boards of the Wake Forest Law Review for their hard work, cooperation,
and professionalism. In particular, Ashley Barton and Hailey Cleek. I also am
indebted to Prof. John H. Knox, for the opportunity to contribute an indigenous
perspective on the intersection of human rights and climate change. I wish to
also thank the indigenous scholars, elders, and advocates across the world for
their inspiration. All errors are my own.
    1. Marissa Knodel, Conceptualizing Climate Justice in Kivalina, 37
SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1179, 1180 (2014).
    2. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Removing Rights for Indigenous Peoples Places
Forests, Climate Plan at Risk, VICTORIA TAULI-CORPUZ (Dec. 7, 2015),
http://unsr.vtaulicorpuz.org/site/index.php/en/statements/106-statement-cop21.

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