What Is the Land Back Movement? Ways to Support Indigenous Sovereignty & Activism

An Indigenous youth demonstrator attends a ‘Stop Line 3’ rally on April 1, 2021 at U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Headquarters in Washington D.C. Photo Courtesy: Lenin Nolly/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Over the last few years, you’ve no doubt read about — or supported — Indigenous-led movements that center on defending the land and protecting water rights. From the effort to Stop Line 3 to the protests at the sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, which were stolen and turned into an emblem of white supremacy and colonization, these causes share a common goal of building lasting Indigenous sovereignty.

Instead of looking away this Thanksgiving — or, as many Indigenous activists have more appropriately renamed it, Thankstaking — you should use this time to educate yourself about these Indigenous-led efforts. Established generations ago, the Land Back movement, which aims to return land and resources back to Indigenous communities, is gaining more mainstream coverage. Land Back, in many ways, is at the core of other efforts to fight for climate justice and Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the Land Back movement and why recognizing that we’re on stolen Native land — and irrevocably damaging the natural world — is a must.