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Environmental racism in the case of Indigenous Americans must be acknowledged as an insidious form of genocide.

Environmental racism is a term that first began its use in the environmental justice movements of the 1970s and 1980s, primarily to address concerns about black communities being negatively affected by the US government’s social policies. As the environmental justice movement grew, the term environmental racism came to connote all minority and communities of color who across the USA were equally and disastrously affected by policies involving their access to clean air, water, and non-contaminated land. While the term environmental racism has only existed for the past few decades, its reality has existed since the beginning of white settler colonialism in the United States and indigenous communities have been particularly victimized by environmental racism. From 1872-1873 the US military went on a targeted campaign to kill millions of buffalo in order to starve Indigenous populations and force them to comply with the newly developing reservation systems. These plots of reservation lands displaced Indigenous communities from their ancestral homes and were often inhospitable environments without easy access to water, food, and other natural resources that made self-sufficiency virtually impossible. Even today, indigenous peoples in America continue to survive ongoing and often daily assaults on their rights to livable spaces.

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