Fighters for justice

  Gail Small: I am a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe. I am an environmental attorney, activist, and founder of Native Action - one of the few grass-roots environmental groups based on a reservation. The 500,000-acre Northern Cheyenne reservation is located in the beautiful ponderosa pine country of southeastern Montana, (and is) rapidly being surrounded by the largest coal strip mines in this country. Native Action, founded in 1984, has been at the forefront in fighting for environmental and economic justice for the Northern Cheyenne. I have been involved in the fight to protect our reservation and southeastern Montana from coal mining since the 1970s, when I was in high school. It was then that the Cheyenne learned the horrifying news that the Bureau of Indian Affairs had leased more than half of our reservation for strip-mining, at the paltry rate of 17 cents per ton, with no environmental safeguards. I was one of several young Cheyenne sent by the tribe to investigate coal mines in Navajo country and Wyoming. After college, I served on the tribal committee charged with voiding the leases. I was the only member with a college degree. It took almost 15 years of sacrifice by the people before the Northern Cheyenne convinced Congress to void the coal leases ...


* From People of Color


Environmental Groups





In urban ghettos and on Indian reservations, grass-roots groups have sprung up in the last decade to fight hazardous-waste dumps, differential enforcement of public health laws and other instances of environmental discrimination. Thanks to a Charles Stewart Mott Foundation grant, the second edition of People of Color Environmental Groups, 1994-95 Directory, lists more than 300 of these groups from 40 states, Canada and Mexico. The 194-page directory, greatly expanded from 1992, also includes an introduction to the environmental justice movement, the text of an Executive Order President Clinton signed to limit discriminatory federal practices, and first-person accounts of the founding and operation of eight grass-roots groups. The directory, edited by Robert D. Bullard, is free from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, 1200 Mott Foundation Building, Flint, MI 48502-1851 (810/766-1766).
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