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Climate Reality Project


11th, 12th, AP® / College


Social Studies, Civics, History, Geography

Resource Type

  • Videos, 1 hour, 14 minutes, 4 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, USA - South, USA - Midwest, USA - Northeast, North Carolina, Illinois, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Virginia

Spotlight On: Indigenous Leadership in the US Environmental and Climate Justice Movements

Ask a Question

  • This video is from a panelist event spotlighting four Indigenous activists who share their perspectives on environmental justice, climate justice, and their work in that space.
  • The video introduces students to different forms of Indigenous knowledge, the critical role Indigenous peoples play in protecting the environment and solving climate change, and the teachings of various tribes in North America.
  • It mentions the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Lumbee Tribe, the Nottoway Tribe, Yaqui, Apache, Standing Rock Sioux, and other tribal nations.
Teaching Tips


  • The panelists include a range of Indigenous individuals from different tribes, regions, and age groups.
  • The video presents numerous firsthand accounts of Indigenous-led climate action and how Indigenous peoples are affected by land encroachment and climate change.
  • This is a fantastic way to introduce students to Indigenous knowledge and how to support Indigenous communities.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The panelists introduce themselves in the first half of the video, and in the second half, the panelists answer questions.
  • Certain terms like sovereignty, land rights, and land titling may need to be defined for students.


  • Considering the length of the video and the amount of information presented, students should be encouraged to take notes, or the video can be paused every few minutes for reflection as a class.
  • Have students reflect on the importance of Indigenous involvement and leadership in the fight against climate change.
  • As a follow-up activity, have students research Indigenous-led environmental initiatives in their area.
  • This video can also be used in American history classes during lessons about the treatment of Indigenous peoples by the American government and in economics classes during lessons about how efforts to maximize economic prosperity have resulted in climate and environmental injustices.
  • As an extension, have students watch this video to learn more about Indigenous solutions to climate change and read this article to learn more about the potential of Indigenous land tenure to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations.
Scientist Notes
This is a lengthy (1:14:04) panel discussion about the Standing Rock Sioux protesters and the lengths they went to to block the Dakota Access Pipeline. The video centers around a panel of Indigenous people discussing their thoughts, feelings, and the challenges they have faced addressing the climate crisis. This is very in-depth as it deep dives into the effects of climate change on the Indigenous community and how they are and have been leading the fight to protect some of the most carbon-rich places on earth. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.9-12 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
      • D2.Civ.14.9-12 Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.6.9-12 Use disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses to understand the characteristics and causes of local, regional, and global problems; instances of such problems in multiple contexts; and challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address these problems over time and place.
      • D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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