Casey Camp-Horinek, 73, of White Eagle, Okla., who is a tribal elder and environmental ambassador for Ponca Nation, is also in D.C. this week demanding that Biden use his executive authority to take sweeping actions on climate change and to support Indigenous people.
“We are going to put our bodies on the line there. If we have to be arrested in order to call attention to what the crisis is and that we need a climate emergency declared, we’ll do that,” Camp-Horinek said. “There’s been 500 years of people coming into a territory where all things were interdependent and functioning to a time of crisis, where even Biden’s great-grandchildren won’t survive if something doesn’t change.”
As a child, Camp-Horinek said Ponca Nation were able to grow their own food and go hunting and fishing to provide for their families. But they can’t do that anymore, she said. Seeds are genetically modified, the soil is too polluted to grow anything organic, fish are dying and animals have cancers and growths that make them unsafe to eat, she said. They have to buy purified water from the nearest city.
“Everything has changed,” Camp-Horinek said. “I hope to accomplish a way forward for my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to breathe, to eat and to drink and to leave a legacy that says at this crucial moment in time, the Indigenous people, including their grandma, great-grandma and mama, was there to raise a voice of reason.”