The way to truly free Indigenous people is not to fight with our fists, but with our minds. For we as Indigenous hold the key to truly saving the world with the wisdom our Ancestors have preserved for us.
Cruz Collin, 19, is a second-generation Oglala Lakota scientist and activist. Cruz has always been a great lover of nature and utilizes Lakota cultural knowledge and sustainability practices to protect the nature and beauty of his homelands.
Cruz is passionate about the incorporating Lakota science and cultural traditions with Western science to improve the quality of life for his Oglala Lakota and the world in the face of global climate change. He is on a mission to build a sustainable and cost-effective solar panel: one that is more environmentally safe and more affordable than any currently on the market. Even at such a young age, he has already filed two provisional patents for alternative energy systems.
Oglala people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation face adversity every day, but they are resilient and well-equipped with traditional scientific knowledge to combat environmental injustices. Cruz is
committed to demonstrating how Indigenous people will lead the world toward a sustainable future.
“Environmental justice is part of who we are naturally and it is what our society’s strove to create. It is key to not only helping us move forward into the future, but rediscovering who we were in the past.”