NDN Collective’s delegation has been on the ground in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the past two weeks participating in pre-meetings and the first week of the United Nations 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28). This is NDN Collective’s third year participating in COP – a series of intensive events and discussions where governments around the world negotiate and determine actionable items on international climate change policies. Our delegation has been participating in the Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the Local Communities Indigenous Peoples Platform, as well as tracking negotiations, meeting with government officials, and more. Here is a round up from their first week on the ground with links to recorded events.
Mikayla Gingrey, a flourishing film maker, and her talented assistant, her mother Marya Gingrey are both descendants of the Apache nation. I have been invited to introduce and write accompanying articles about the upcoming docuseries, Facing the Storm: The Indigenous Response to Climate Change, an Aminata Multimedia Group docuseries. Mikayla is using her talent to highlight and document the important stories that often get overlooked, the struggles, the heartbreaking losses, along with the love, and sometimes overlooked triumphs of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. These films will highlight indigenous leaders, activist, and community members who are working towards our collective future here.
Albuquerque, NM – Marking Indigenous Peoples Day, Indigenous groups and supporters are calling for unity and justice for Jacob Johns, an Indigenous activist from Spokane, WA, who was shot and gravely wounded by a domestic terrorist at a peaceful prayer ceremony on September 28, 2023, in Española, New Mexico. “This is a hate crime,” said Johns’ attorney John Day. “It needs to be recognized and prosecuted as such. Jacob’s heroism in protecting the lives of innocent people, including children, is important in itself, but there’s an even larger principle at stake here: we cannot afford to minimize or normalize targeting lawful, peaceful assembly of people with violent crime because they belong to a different group.
Tuesday, September 12th is Leonard Peltier’s 79th birthday. Peltier is the longest serving Indigenous political prisoner in the history of the United States, having served nearly 50 years in federal prison. Please join us in demanding clemency for Leonard Peltier. “The Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee is thrilled to announce the release of this new video about the life of Leonard Peltier, created by a group of his friends and supporters. This video is being released free of charge to all of Mr. Peltier's supporters.” In addition, a separate collaboration between Amnesty International and NDN Collective organized a 4-stop caravan pick-up for Leonard Peltier supporters in Rapid City, Minneapolis, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
In the breathtakingly beautiful redwood forests of Northern California, a battle is being waged – a battle that is part of the larger war against corporate greed and extraction. Tree-sitters, forest advocates, and Indigenous peoples are working to protect, reclaim and manage the remaining 2% of old growth redwood forests, as well as second-growth areas that are beginning to become nurturing ecosystems again. But it's an uphill battle in every sense of the word. Green Diamond owns some 400,000 acres of land in Northern California, tucked away on private lands behind sparse beauty screens and an eco-groovy public image. Tree-sitters protect what they can where they can, tying trees together to multiply their efforts.
Orovada, NV — This morning, a group of Native American water protectors and allies used their bodies to non-violently block construction of the controversial Thacker Pass lithium mine in Nevada, turning back bulldozers and heavy equipment. The dramatic scene unfolded this morning as workers attempting to dig trenches near Sentinel Rock were turned back by land defenders who ran and put their bodies between heavy equipment and the land. Now they are being arrested and camp is being raided. Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone people consider Thacker Pass to be sacred.
In the past year alone, the movement led by Native communities to reclaim lands and spaces — sometimes called the “Land Back” movement — saw huge gains in mainstream momentum. Some of that has come from rallies, like those led by Indigneous activists fighting to close Mount Rushmore. Other conversations about Native lands have been sparked by major court decisions, like the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the McGirt case in which it ruled that a large portion of Oklahoma is still Native land. And with U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland now the country’s first Native secretary of the interior, many Land Back advocates are finding renewed hope in their aspirations.
Minnesota - Through her kitchen window, just outside of Ranier, Minnesota—a tiny town east of International Falls—water protector Tara Houska gazes out at Rainy Lake. Called Gojijiing in Ojibwe, the 360-square-mile lake straddles the border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. Among the many islands, capes, and peninsulas around the lake is Bald Rock Point, the site of a sixteen-acre former resort built almost a century ago. Bald Rock Point is also now home to a longtime dream for Houska, a member of Couchiching First Nation. It’s the future location of a “long-term resistance camp” where she intends to raise her infant daughter, host Ojibwe language classes, conduct trainings, hold retreats, and nurture other activists.
A national Indigenous group is fighting a proposed federal limit on oil and gas sector emissions by arguing it will harm First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. But the group has a powerful non-Indigenous ally, according to corporate documents from Canada’s second-largest oil and gas producer. Cenovus, a Calgary-based oil sands company that last year had net earnings of $6.5 billion, says in those documents that it has paid for membership with the Indigenous Resource Network (IRN). Yet a spokesperson for the network called that a “misrepresentation.”
“El Alto on his feet, never on his knees!” is a slogan that reflects the combative character of the inhabitants of this indigenous Aymara city in Bolivia, which since 2003, has shaped the country’s history. This city led the uprising against the privatization of natural resources in 2003, and then the defense of democracy in the face of the 2019 coup. Both struggles resulted in numerous massacres against those of El Alto who stood up to defend the country. Located at more than 4,000 meters above sea level, it mostly comprises migrants from rural areas between La Paz and the Peruvian border.
It can be difficult to understand the true impacts of climate change when you are not directly facing its harsh effects. We see that communities in different regions and terrains around the world are experiencing different rates of global warming with different consequences. We also know that the Arctic, in particular, is experiencing climate change more rapidly and more severely than other parts of the world. In order to understand the diverse impact climate change has on different communities, it is also important to understand what community-based solutions are in place for adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
On Monday, people across the Pacific Northwest convened online and at two in-person gatherings for a “people’s hearing” on what has become the latest front in the resistance to large fossil fuel projects in the region: a proposed massive capacity expansion of the Gas Transmission Northwest, or GTN, pipeline. Operated by Canadian corporation TC Energy, GTN connects to natural gas fracking fields in British Columbia and stretches across 1,354 miles of Idaho, Washington and Oregon. It is already one of the largest existing fossil fuel pipelines in the region.
Starting in 1452, under the guise of the Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex and later the 1493 Papal Bull Inter Cetera, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, European Christians began their efforts to expand colonial rule, and the Christian Empire, throughout the world. These Papal Bulls sanctioned European Christian Nations to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ, to put them into perpetual slavery, and to take all their possessions and property” and were authorized “to take possession of any lands discovered that were not under the dominion of any Christian rulers.” Early colonial efforts centered on the western coast of Africa as Portugal “claimed” lands and engaged in the trafficking of African slaves.
The Queensland Land Court has ruled human rights would be unjustifiably limited by a proposal to dig the state's largest coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland. First Nations-led activist group Youth Verdict challenged an application by mining company Waratah Coal, owned by billionaire Clive Palmer. The group of young Queensland activists challenged the mine on the basis it would impact the human rights of First Nations peoples by contributing to climate change. The coal mine would remove about 40 million tonnes of coal a year for export to South-East Asia, with a forecast life span of 30 years. It is the first time a group has successfully argued coal from a mine would impact human rights by contributing to climate change.
Speaker Ronald Mariano must call for an immediate floor vote towards the passage of An Act to Protect Native American Heritage. The November 10 Harvard statement is indicative of a broader issue of how our sacred objects and our human remains continue to be held captive for racist, eugenicist, and colonialist means,” said Jean-Luc Pierite, member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, and president of North American Indian Center of Boston, “We must act to refine the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) enforcement on the state level to include all publicly funded entities. Consultation and repatriation or rematriation are essential to putting our ancestors to rest. We mourn especially for children separated from their families and lost to boarding schools.