Tom Goldtooth

“To love Mother Earth as if she is my real mother, as if she’s my real grandmother, you know? For me, to love her is to take care of her, even to cry for her sometimes.”


Recognized as one of North America’s most prominent indigenous activists, Tom Goldtooth is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environment Network, based in Minnesota. An environmental advocate and economic justice leader within the Native American community for over three decades, he has built an organization of 250 indigenous communities focused on climate justice, energy, water, globalization and sustainable development whose motto is to “strengthen, maintain, and respect traditional teachings and natural laws.”

Goldtooth speaks on environmental justice and the rights of Mother Earth and all her species, especially with regard to indigenous peoples of the world as both injured parties and as source of restorative wisdom for our planet’s ecological imbalances. It is his belief that the indigenous people play a key role in supporting and speaking for Nature’s elements and species who don’t have a voice, and most importantly for Mother Earth’s right to sustain her processes without threat of poisoning or destruction by human activity.

Tom co-produced Drumbeat For Mother Earth, a documentary feature film describing the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous communities, which was awarded Best Environmental Documentary at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.

Active with many environmental and social justice organizations besides the Indigenous Environment Network, Tom Goldtooth was honored in 2010 by the Sierra Club and by the NAACP as a “Green Hero of Color.”


The Indigenous Environmental Network website:

Find out more about Drumbeat for Mother Earth:


Tom Goldtooth on System Change (12 min)

Tom Goldtooth at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit (3 min)

Tom Goldtooth on Democracy Now: Climate Change Bill Fails to Address Indigenous Rights (10 min)

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