It’s a brand new month, which means we’re posting another segment in our Diverse NPS series. During the month of April, we are highlighting the work of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) in our community effort to showcase organizations that are working towards social justice and more inclusive public lands.
The work of IEN hits particularly close to home as they have spent a lot of time working in our home state of Minnesota on the advocating for the end to the Line 3 Pipeline which crosses public and native lands in our state.
THIS MONTH'S ORGANIZATION:
Established in 1990 within the United States, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.
IEN accomplishes this by maintaining an informational clearinghouse, organizing campaigns, direct actions and public awareness, building the capacity of community and tribes to address EJ issues, development of initiatives to impact policy, and building alliances among Indigenous communities, tribes, inter-tribal and Indigenous organizations, people-of-color/ethnic organizations, faith-based and women groups, youth, labor, environmental organizations and others. IEN convenes local, regional and national meetings on environmental and economic justice issues, and provides support, resources and referral to Indigenous communities and youth throughout primarily North America – and in recent years – globally.
About the DiverseNPS Initative:
As outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of America’s parks, we’ve experienced the benefits of connecting with nature and our diverse landscapes. From city parks where we can get a taste of green amid cemented city blocks, to recharging strolls and hikes in the millions of acres of our state parks, to treks and climbs in the breathtaking landscapes in our national parks, the chance to be in nature is an experience we hold invaluable.
Undoubtedly, our lands should be enjoyed by all of us, but when we look into who is getting access to our lands, we see alarmingly disproportionate statistics that highlight a gap between race and park visitations. When we examine the reasons why these gaps are present—access, education, resources, discrimination and prejudice—we understand that systemic racism in our country is the major contributor to these disappointing disproportions.
In the National Park System, for example, Black Americans make up about 7 percent of visitors, while they are 13 percent of the U.S. population. Moreover, 78 percent of visitors are White.
The end of the Jim Crow era in 1968, showcases that Black American generations have only recently gained the freedom and liberty to move around this country. Still today, minorities face prejudice and discrimination within our outdoor spaces and, often, cannot safely and comfortably enjoy outdoor recreation.
AS PARK ENTHUSIASTS AND ADVOCATES OF SPENDING TIME IN NATURE, WE ARE COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING RACISM WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY.
To do so, we are taking action to use our platforms to contribute to the progress that is much needed within the outdoor space and community.
As a part of this community, Park Chasers will join with others in highlighting organizations that are dedicated to bridging the race gap in the outdoor space by connecting opportunities and experiences to people of color.
Each month, we are featuring and focusing on one organization, with the intent to showcase their hard work, raise awareness and support them through funding and donations. We’ll share monthly articles and social media posts along with links for how you can donate.