Fighting Climate Change to Preserve My Culture

Juliana v. United States  plaintiff Jaime Butler. Photo by Robin Loznak.

Juliana v. United States plaintiff Jaime Butler. Photo by Robin Loznak.

This story is from an interview conducted by Aletta Brady with Our Climate Voices. The full piece can be read on their website here.

“My name is Jamie. I’m 18 now. I’m from the Navajo reservation in Arizona, and I first learned about climate change when I was around nine. I started hearing things about it from school and from my mom’s friends, because my mom is pretty active in the community as an activist. A lot of our water on the reservation is contaminated or is just not there. It has been dwindling because of climate change and drought—and because of mining that has contaminated the water supplies that we rely on. Now that I’ve grown up, I’ve seen that it’s been harder to practice our traditions without things we’ve lost through climate change. A lot of our ceremonies and traditions have to do with water and certain herbs, and I’ve seen a lot more scarcity of those necessities throughout the years. It's getting harder to do what we do when our resources are dwindling.

Recently, I’ve started asking, ‘How is water scarcity impacting my culture?’  I’m Navajo and I was raised traditionally, and since I’ve gotten older I’ve started caring more about my traditions. I am understanding how unique my culture is, and how important it is to preserve it. The Juliana vs. United States climate lawsuit has brought me to think about how it impacts that part of my life—and not just me, but any indigenous peoples’ lives. No matter where they are, I’m sure climate change impacts them in some way.

To read the full story, click here.

Caitlin Howard