Environmental justice for Indigenous people in North Carolina encompasses a range of interconnected concerns rooted in land rights, health, culture, and social justice.

Indigenous communities, like the Lumbee, Coharie, and Haliwa-Saponi, emphasize the importance of land rights and sovereignty, focusing on protecting ancestral territories, addressing land tenure, and safeguarding culturally significant sites.

Moreover, environmental impact assessments are crucial to ensure development projects do not harm Indigenous lands, especially considering the potential for disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards.

Clean and safe water access, reducing health disparities linked to environmental factors, and preserving cultural practices also feature prominently in their pursuit of environmental justice.

“Environmental Justice and the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina: An Analysis of the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline” by Bryant (2014), explores the environmental justice implications of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the Lumbee Tribe.

Environmental justice concerns raised by the Lumbee Tribe center around the pipeline’s impact on their ancestral lands, cultural heritage, and water resources. Bryant underscores the significance of engaging in meaningful consultation and obtaining consent from Indigenous communities in decision-making processes. He stresses the necessity of comprehensive environmental impact assessments to protect Indigenous lands.

“Environmental Justice and the Coharie Tribe of North Carolina: A Case Study of Industrial Pollution” by McRae (2019), offers a case study that focuses on the environmental justice challenges faced by the Coharie Tribe concerning industrial pollution. It scrutinizes the disproportionate exposure of the tribe to environmental hazards and the resulting health disparities. The study underscores the importance of providing clean and safe water access and advocates for regulatory measures to address the ecological impacts on Indigenous communities. This is a real-world example of environmental justice concerns, highlighting the health and ecological disparities faced by the Coharie Tribe due to industrial pollution.

Meaningful consultation, consent, and legal protections are fundamental in decision-making and enforcing rights. Addressing climate change resilience and supporting sustainable economic development opportunities that align with Indigenous values are integral to the movement.

In collaboration with various stakeholders, Indigenous communities aim to rectify historical injustices, protect their lands and resources, and promote community well-being while respecting their cultural heritage and self-determination.


Bryant, B. (2014). Environmental justice and the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina: An analysis of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Environmental Justice, 7(6), 191-196.

McRae, L. (2019). Environmental justice and the Coharie Tribe of North Carolina: A case study of industrial pollution. Environmental Justice, 12(1), 1-7.

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