Decolonizing the Land: Christian Grassroots Approaches to Environmental Peacebuilding


Location: Virtual Event

Decolonizing Photo: Alec Perkins (Flickr)

Time: 11:00 a.m. EST, 5 p.m. Geneva

Colonialism is a structure that has oppressed indigenous communities and communities of color for generations. Simultaneously, it has degraded the environment through extraction, development, and overconsumption. This form of violence has disproportionately benefited white communities, while largely harming indigenous communities and communities of color around the globe.

Colonialism has also been problematically intertwined with the Church, which has both participated in and authorized the displacement, enslavement, and disenfranchisement of various communities identified as the “other.” However, there are also meaningful traditions of liberation within Christianity that have provided inspiration for movements of abolition, decolonialism, liberation, and environmentalism.

This panel explores ways that three grassroots faith-informed organizations are actively rejecting colonial structures through environmental action. In Uganda, Bethany Land Institute (BLI) combats the ethic of colonialism that calls for environmentally destructive development. Instead, BLI encourages students to return to a sustainable relationship with the land to promote environmental and human flourishing. On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the United States, Red Cloud Indian School works to create food sovereignty through their farm to school initiative, providing healthy, sustainable, and traditional foods for their community. In Palestine, Tent of Nations farm engages in resistance against the Israeli military occupation by continuing to farm their lands against the pressure of the military, engaging in a form of creative nonviolent environmental resistance. Join us to learn from bold leaders in each of these organizations who are working for the empowerment and liberation of the communities they serve.


  • Elsa Barron, University of Notre Dame Senior, YECA Climate Leadership Fellow


  • Fr. Emmanuel Katongole, Founder of Bethany Land Institute, Professor of Theology and Peace Studies
  • Daoud Nassar, Director of Operations at Tent of Nations
  • Katie Chustak, Farm to School Coordinator at Red Cloud Indian School

This Road to Geneva event is co-sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion at the University of Notre Dame, and the Environmental Peacebuilding Association.

This event exploring decolonization is the second event in a three-part series exploring the role of faith communities in environmental peacebuilding. .

● Webinar 3 - February 25th at 11 am EST: Practicing what we Preach: Dialogue and Futurism in Environmental Peacebuilding

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