The Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light’s steering committee offers this statement in support of indigenous peoples and the use of land:
We acknowledge that Europeans were not the first stewards of the land called ‘Tanasi’ by Cherokee natives. Indigenous Peoples have lived in what is now named ‘Tennessee’ since 10,000 BCE. Archeological evidence indicates that Paleo-Indians occupied and thrived in the Central Basin along the Cumberland River and the western valley of the Tennessee River. Later communities of Indigenous Peoples were formed by Creek, Yuchi, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Shawnee, and Seneca tribes.
We acknowledge the brutal, horrendous, immoral acts perpetrated by white settlers, acts intended to steal the land, food sources, and cultures of Indigenous Peoples. These acts included intentionally breaking treaties, forcing Indigenous Peoples to leave their homelands and live segregated on reservations (often the least desirable land), and requiring that Indigenous children attend white schools, speak English, and disengage from native cultural and religious events.
We acknowledge that European concepts of land ownership, so different from the stewardship ideas of Indigenous Peoples, have greatly contributed to the current dangerous and destructive effects of global warming and resulting climate change.