Land Reparation is Climate Reparation for Indigenous Peoples


Land reparation is key to climate reparations for Indigenous peoples. Climate reparations refer to practices that address the unequal impacts of climate change among communities and include “a systemic approach to redistributing resources and changing policies and institutions that have perpetuated harm—rather than a discrete exchange of money or of apologies for past wrongdoing.”

Land reparation may come in the form of land or cash back (including land transfers or land returns). Mitigating land loss helps to sustain Indigenous livelihoods and culture in the context of ongoing colonization and climate change impacts. The Native Land Conservancy is an example of a land-return effort and the Sogorea Te Land Tax is an example of a voluntary cash back program for non-Indigenous people to facilitate land return; both are Indigenous-led efforts. In the context of climate-forced human migration instigated by adverse impacts of climate change, reparations can also take the form of policies that respond to loss of land, livelihood, and infrastructure worsened by colonization.

Resource Generation calls upon non-Indigenous people to take steps to engage in the process of land reparation through foundational self-reflection. Questions for self-reflection can include:

  • What are the visions and struggles of Indigenous peoples in the area where you live or have access to land?
  • What does informed consent look like in the offer for donation or transfer of land?
  • How will you learn about the specifics of what is possible as far as land transfers and land reparations?


By Leela Viswanathan


(Image Credit: Dave Hoefler, Unsplash)