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The "Unplug America - Give Mother Earth a Rest Day" campaign was introduced in 1992 by Indigenous Peoples to invite all people to show our love and respect for our Mother Earth and all the sacred Life Circles by challenging unhealthy patterns of consumption and the continued production of poisons that destroy our environment.

October 13 is a day to "UNPLUG," turn off the TV and radio, shut off the taps, take a walk and leave the fossil-fuel burning vehicle at home. It's only one day but it's the first step towards restoring our land and resources - to reflect on how much we actually consume - individually, nationally and globally - a starting to act for future generations.

It is an exciting opportunity to explore other choices, ways of life that are healthy and sustainable - a Celebration of Life honoring the interdependency of all species.

What's the big deal about consumption?

Everything we consume has an impact on the environment. Where does your power come from? Your paper? Your gas? Where does your garbage go?

No one is saying to go freeze in the dark. It has to do with taking only what you need and being a responsible human being. We need to take action and save our resources. Our future depends on it.

Consumption and Indian Lands

Uranium, natural gas, oil, timber, water and other minerals are found on Indigenous Lands. These valuable "natural resources" have been taken by corporations that are not concerned with the effects this will have on the cultures, ways of life, health and well- being of the land and the native people on the land. The destruction of our land is the destruction of our People.

The wealth the corporations make are at the expense of our Peoples. This has been the pattern since initial contact and numerous Native Lands are targeted for future "development."

One example of this irresponsible and dangerous method of "natural resource development" is the 1000 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Reservation - totally unreclaimed and highly contaminated. This has caused widespread radioactive contamination of the land and water which also seeps into rivers and streams that flow into major water sources throughout the Southwest.

Unsafe and unhealthy practices are being conducted throughout the world - Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific, South and Central America and others are feeding the American/Canadian energy habits. There are other choices of sustainable and healthy energy production - solar power - wind power.

Native People are doing something about it.

The Cree People (Canada) succeeded in securing a moratorium from Hydro Quebec on a mega-dam project called James Bay II.

The Gros Ventre & Assiniboine People (Montana) are fighting North America's largest open pit heapleach gold mine in the sacred Little Rocky Mountains.

"Lomasumi-nangwtk-wsiwmani' (The Hopi Foundation - Arizona) has placed photovoltaic solar panels atop 50 houses on the reservation.

California Indian Basket Weavers are opposing herbicide and pesticide spraying on their plant resources.

Gwitchin People (Alaska) are the front line of protest in opposition to oil development within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - to protect their way of life and the Porcupine Caribou.

The Apache People struggle for Religious Freedom in their efforts to prevent the Catholic Church and the University of Arizona from building an observatory their sacred Mount Graham.

White Earth Land Recovery Project (Minnesota) is reclaiming stolen and endangered lands.

The Anishinabe, Potawatomi, Oneida, Menominee and Stockridge-Munsee Tribes (Wisconsin) are battling Exxon/Rio Algom from developing a metallic-sulfide mine that would poison their land, water and culture.

Dine People (Navajo) have defeated toxic waste incinerators, waste dumps and have stopped clear cutting timber.

Indigenous Peoples in Oklahoma are working to defend their lands from contamination by oil and gas development and underground well injection of toxic waste.

Over 16 Native Nations have said "NO" to nuclear waste dumps on their lands.


All of us, together, must make a change - from a society based on consumption to one based on survival. Sustainable practices are one key to accomplish the needed changes for generations to come.

We invite you to join UNPLUG America - Give Mother Earth a Rest Day.

For additional information, please contact:

Nilak Butler                Winona LaDuke
Greenpeace                  Indigenous Women's Network (IWN)
568 Howard, 3rd Floor       7th Generation Fund
San Francisco CA 94105      Rte.1 Box 308
415-512-9025                Ponsford MN 56575

Tom Goldtooth                 Christopher Peters
Indigenous Environmental      7th Generation Fund
Network  (IEN)                PO Box 4569
PO Box 485                    Arcata CA 95521
Bemidji MN 56601              707-825-7640

Lea Foushee
PO Box 174
Lake Elmo MN 55042


        What does it mean, for example, that the US courts have decided that it is now legally permissible for individuals and corporations to patent DNA sequences obtained from other human beings? Do we no longer own our sacred bodies? Are we no longer the owners and stewards of our very genetic makeup?
        What does it mean, practically, ethically, and legally, for an indigenous person to consent to give DNA samples to the Human Genome Diversity Project? Does this consent open the doors for others to patent sequences of his or her DNA? How would one know if part of one's DNA sequence has been patented at some point in the future? What recourse would one have nationally and internationally, if one discovered that part of his or her DNA was subsequently patented? . . .
        What are the implications of the case of John Moore versus the University of California over the ownership of cell lines taken from John Moore during a routine medical examination, and subsequently patented and used commercially by others, for profit?

-- `World Bank, October 3, 1995, Ethics and Spiritual Values and the Promotion
of Environmentally Sustainable Development, "50 Years of the World Bank,
Over 50 Tribes Devastated"', by Oren Lyons

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