August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, May 23, 2015

THE HAGUE Alaskan Native Women Confront Shell with Risks of Drilling in Arctic

Breaking: Indigenous Delegates tell Royal Dutch Shell AGM-Extreme Energy Development is a Risk for Investment and the Planet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Extreme Energy development is a risk for investment and the planet, Indigenous delegates tell Royal Dutch Shell shareholders in The Hague, Netherlands
Tuesday May 21st, The Hague, Netherlands- Today members of the Native Village of Point Hope, Alaska and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) attended the Royal Dutch Shell AGM to confront the Chairman and Board over Shell's decision to pursue highly risky 'extreme energy' projects without adequate consultation and accommodation of Indigenous communities. Projects such as Arctic off-shore drilling and tar sands will have little long term benefit for the company, and expose it to reputational damage, political and financial risk, including litigation.

Mae Hank, representative of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), attended the AGM to bring forward concerns regarding Shell’s Arctic offshore activities. Litigation, along with several other incidents has helped slow the rush to drill in the Arctic but the Tribal communities remained concerned Shell has not heeded these warnings.

“Shell has stated that despite their current 'pause' in their Arctic offshore Alaska activities, the company is committed to drill there again in the future,” she said. “As an Inupiat Mother and Grandmother, I strongly oppose this plan, as do a majority of Inupiat. There is still no viable spill plan in place not only for cleaning up spills but how the company will compensate our community for the loss of food and food security. I asked the Chairman and the Board to explain how they would compensate our community’s food security and needs when the next major oil spill disaster happens. The Chairman and the board simply danced around the question and did nothing to quell my concerns.”

Despite being plagued with substantial problems throughout and after the drilling season Royal Dutch Shell plans to continue it’s efforts for exploratory drilling in 2014 in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas,pursuing an aggressive plan for offshore drilling extraction in America’s Arctic Ocean. The massive drilling plan projects an estimated 174 exploratory and extraction wells within critical habitats of culturally sensitive marine mammals.  Shell Oil and associated agencies lack huge gaps of information of the harsh conditions, current and tidal systems, ever changing and unpredictable ice, and dangers of the Arctic Ocean; in turn, which could potentially lead to a very large oil spill. An oil spill in the remote Arctic ecosystem would be devastating – currently, there is no effective way to cleanup an oil spill in Arctic conditions, and there is a lack of infrastructure in the region to support an adequately safe drilling or cleanup program. The company has spent $4.5bn securing permits to drill in Arctic waters, however they have been proven incapable of operating in the area. Shell’s experiences should be a cautionary tale as decisions are made about whether to authorize these activities in the future.

Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands states “Shell’s profit driven desire to drill in this fragile yet harsh Arctic environment is senseless when you look at their record of accidents and mishaps this past year already.  It is absurd that they still desire to move forward in the Arctic, while they are absolutely not capable of standard operations in arctic conditions. We attended the Shell AGM to urge shareholders to recognize the serious risks of Shell’s pursuit in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas of Alaska. We support a moratorium on offshore drilling in Arctic Waters, due to serious harm and risk to Inupiat subsistence and cultural rights.”


For More Information:


Lily Tuzroyluke, Inupiat, Point Hope, Alaska (907) 602-3424
Faith Gemmill, Executive Director REDOIL (907) 750-0188

In Europe
Suzanne Dhaliwal, UK Tar Sands Network
Mae Hank, Inupiat, Point Hope, Alaska
 REDOIL is a movement of Alaska Natives of the Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Tlingit, Eyak, Gwich’in and Denaiana Athabascan Tribes who came together in June 2002 in Cordova, Alaska to form a powerful entity to challenge the fossil fuel and mining industries and demand our rights to a safe and healthy environment conducive to subsistence. REDOIL aims to address the human and ecological health impacts brought on by unsustainable development practices of the fossil fuel and mineral industries, and the ensuing effect of catastrophic climate change.  We strongly support the self-determination right of tribes in Alaska, as well as a just transition from fossil fuel and mineral development to sustainable economies and sustainable development.

The three core focus areas of REDOIL are:
            ~Sovereignty and Subsistence Rights
            ~ Human and Ecological Health
            ~Climate Change and Climate Justice

Mae Hank, Tribal Member of the Native Village of Point Hope speaks at Idle No More Rally, Anchorage, AlaskaMae Hank, Tribal Member of the Native Village of Point Hope speaks at Idle No More Rally, Anchorage, Alaska

Inupiat Mae Hank Takes on Shell Board in the Netherlands

From the Annual General Meeting of Shell in the Netherlands

James at Platform London reports:

Friday, May 22, 2015

James at Platform London reports that Mae Hank and Faith Gemmill of REDOIL, with the assistance of Suzanne Dhaliwal of UK Tar Sands Network, came from Alaska to speak directly to the Board of their fears of the impacts of Shell’s plans on the livelihoods of their communities.

Mae from Point Hope, on the shores of the Chukchi Sea, addresses the Board in her own Inupiat language. After a few words of greeting, she slips into English: “I came here two years ago to ask the question I ask again today. How will Shell compensate us for any spill that kills our food? How will they compensate 50 generations, to keep them going through the winter? You are coming into our ocean, which provides our food security annually. We rely on the ocean for our food. I am a grandmother with 17 grandkids. My grandchildren are so afraid right now that with a 75% chance of an oil spill, they will never be able to eat our traditional food again.”

Many in the community of Point Hope are hunters. They have the most intimate understanding of the Bowheads that pass through the seas of their Arctic home. Using knowledge acquired over generations, they kill a number of whales each year and augment their diet with the meat. Like the communities that net food in the creeks of the Niger Delta, Mae’s is a culture that is built on the feast of fish. Unlike the cities of the North Sea shore which have long since decimated the Herring, Sturgeon, Salmon and whales of their bioregions, the Bowheads remain at the centre of Inupiat culture because the are hunted with skill, care and long-term thinking. Any spill from Shell’s drilling programme and planned oil production, would threaten the Bowheads, and theaten the Inupiat culture of the Chukchi. Now the people of Point Hope live with what Van Beurden calls “the biggest insecurity of not knowing what is coming next”.

Read full article:
Stranding the Leviathan – a report from the Shell AGM in Den Haag, Netherlands - See more at:

'Shell NO!' Indigenous Activists Reach Shell Investor Meeting from Paddle to Seattle

‘Shell No!’ Paddle to Seattle Indigenous Activists Reach Westminster Shell Investor Meeting

Thursday May 21st, 2015

LONDON and NETHERLANDS -- Today, under the shadow of Big Ben, a delegation of indigenous women was joined by campaigners to protest Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic. Mae Hank and Faith Gemmill-Fredson travelled to Shell’s Annual General meetings in the Netherlands and London directly after taking action in Seattle last Saturday on a mass “flotilla” where kayaktivists blocked Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig docked at the Port. At the shareholders meeting in London handmade black origami “roses of resistance” were laid at the entrance by UK Tar Sands Network and Platform to demand an end to the expansion of the Canadian tar sands and the exploitation of people in Nigeria plus standing with communities resisting Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic this summer. A box of resistance roses were hand delivered to the Shell board.
“Shell has left a toxic legacy across the globe and continues to ignore the global community who are calling for real action on climate change [1],” said Suzanne Dhaliwal who delivered the ‘roses of resistance’ to Shell. “It is incoherent to be pushing ahead with the Alberta tar sands and exploring the Arctic when the science is clear, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Today I hand-delivered ‘roses of resistance’ to the Shell board in London in solidarity with people from Nigeria, the Arctic and the Tar Sands who are feeling the impacts of Shell’s reckless operations and who are shouting loud and clear to stay out of the Arctic.”
“The Arctic drilling plans of Shell deserve world attention now, we came here to display our resistance to the company’s dirty energy plans for the Chukchi Sea in Westminster, London,” said Gemmil-Fredson. “Indigenous Peoples of Alaska should not have to sacrifice subsistence livelihoods to meet the bottom line of this company that has proven at the shareholder meeting in the Netherlands yesterday, that they are ill equipped to drill in the Arctic. We are concerned about the global climate crisis, our Alaska Native communities are hit hardest by the current climate chaos, which Shell is pushing further into. We oppose Shell’s use of false solutions to climate change like carbon capture storage, carbon trading and REDD, this is simply an attempt to greenwash its destruction of the Arctic and the world [2].”
“Shell’s meeting today in London meeting was only open to shareholders, However, the indigenous people are the major stakeholders in the region,” said Mae Hank, community activist and grandmother of 17. “Shell cannot clean up spilled oil in broken ice conditions, no one can, they want to proceed with their psychotic Arctic drilling plans for the Chukchi Sea despite the fact that there is a 75% chance of disaster. Shell’s plans will impact our food security, it threatens our way of life. The international solidarity that we saw today from the people of the UK helps us to stay motivated as we continue this battle to keep Shell from devastating our way of life and pushing the global community into climate crisis [3].”
“Today we delivered black roses to symbolise mourning and solidarity with the communities in the Niger Delta and Canadian tar sands whose lives are ruined by Shell’s oil drilling,” said Sarah Shoraka from Platform. “20 years after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa for leading a movement that kicked Shell off their land, the roses demonstrate the resistance that continues in these communities. It’s not too late to stop Shell drilling in the Arctic and leaving a toxic legacy like they have in the Niger Delta and Canadian tar sands [4].”
Faith Gemmill-Fredson (Neets’aii Gwich’in, Pit River and Wintu) of Arctic Village, Alaska is the founder and current Executive Director of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction On Indigenous Lands) REDOIL is a grassroots network that was created by Alaska Natives to share knowledge, experience and strategies to address the detrimental impacts of fossil fuel, mining and climate change in Alaska. Faith is a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) Faith also currently serves as the Vice-President of the California Indian Environmental Alliance.
Mae R. Hank, Inupiat from Point Hope (AKA – Tikigaq), Alaska. Mae is a resident and tribal member of Native Village of Point Hope. Mae previously served as a Native Village of Point Hope Tribal Council member for ten years. Mae is a former employee of the North Slope Borough, and the City of Point Hope, as well as the former Executive Director of the Native Village of Point Hope Tribal Council office. Among her many accomplishments, she also served on the Point Hope Search and Rescue committee. Mae is a mother, and most importantly a grandmother of 17 grandchildren. Mae has been an active and vocal advocate in opposition to offshore development for 38 years. Her primary desire is to ensure the rights of the Inupiat to continue to live their traditional way of life by securing a clean and pure ocean so that the Inupiat whaling culture can continue to thrive in the Arctic. Threats now imposed upon the Inupiat people by Royal Dutch Shell and other multi-national oil companies’ efforts to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas of the Arctic Ocean. This is a direct threat to the Inupiat and their rights to continue to live their traditional whaling culture which the Iñupiat have done for thousands of years.

Indigenous resistance accelerates, regardless of media collapse in Indian country

Indigenous resistance accelerates, regardless of media collapse in Indian country

While the US government was spinning lies before the UN Human Rights Council, the Obama administration was approving drilling in the Arctic. While paid stay-at-home plagiarizers dominate the news industry, Indigenous Peoples on the frontlines are telling their own stories, writing their own breaking news.
By Brenda Norrell
 With the collapse of the news media in Indian country, more news than ever is being censored. When the casino industry seized control of the online national news in Indian country, reporters were replaced with stay-at-home plagiarizers and re-writers. Now, along with the plagiarism comes the distraction of fluff.
Without news reporters present serving as watchdogs, human rights violations soar for Indigenous Peoples.
While Dineh (Navajos) fight fracking, dirty coal, uranium mining and destruction of sacred places, Native Americans battle just-approved drilling in the Arctic, as the US carries out crimes against humanity at the US borders.
The Zapatistas have just completed a gathering examining capitalism, and organizing resistance. The powerful voices include Comandanta Miriam speaking out on the rights of women.
Speaking of the bosses before the Zapatistas rose in resistance, Miriam said, the bosses “had us as if they were our owners; they sent us to do all the work on the haciendas, without caring if we had children, husbands, or if we were sick. They never asked if we were sick; if we didn’t make it to work, they sent their servant or slave to leave the corn in front of the kitchen so that we would make tortillas for them.”
At the Arizona border south of Tucson, the annual Migrant Trail Walk begins May 25, 2015. This walk comes just after the United States lied, and concealed the facts, before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, about the imprisonment of migrant children, which is a violation of international law.
Further, during the Universal Periodic Review, Mexico challenged the US to account for the murders of its citizens by US Border Patrol agents. The abuse of migrants, including Indigenous Peoples, has been fueled by the racist media and racist politicians in the US, while corporations including GEO and CCA have profited from the mass imprisonment of migrants, including women and children. The death toll continues on the US border, including on the Tohono O'odham Nation, where laws restrict offering a glass of water to a dying migrant.
The walkers said, “Since the 1990s, more than 6,000 men, women and children have lost their lives crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, a direct result of flawed U.S. border and immigration policies that have intentionally diverted migration into more isolated and desolate terrain.  As the summer approaches, and Arizona temperatures enter the searing triple-digits, the number of migrants who will perish from dehydration and exposure dramatically increases. Participants of the Migrant Trail undertake this yearly trek to demand a stop to these preventable deaths.”
Currently, a delegation of female indigenous activists are making their voices heard at the Shell Annual General Meeting in the Hague, calling for an end to Arctic offshore development. Mae Hank and Faith Gemmill-Fredson were part of a mass “flotilla” action in Seattle on Saturday which saw hundreds of people take action next to Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig, docked at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal.
While the US government's delegation was deceiving the UN Human Rights Council with lies and public relations spin in Geneva in May 11, the Obama administration was approving drilling in the Arctic.
Mae Hank said, “Our culture and livelihood is dependent on the bowhead, the walrus, the seal and the fish. How can Shell go ahead with such a risky operation when peoples lives are at stake?” Shell has a 75% chance of a spill in the region if it moves forward with drilling. Shell simply cannot be trusted with such operations.”
The delegation is being hosted by UK Tar Sands Network who will also attend the meeting to call for Shell to permanently pull out of the tar sands, despite putting major projects on hold.
“Shell is playing risk with the global climate by keeping tar sands projects on ice,” said Suzanne Dhaliwal director of the UK Tar Sands Network [3] “Shell insists that it can take leadership on climate change while committing the global community to a ticking climate bomb, with projects such as the Alberta tar sands. We need to immediately transition away from highly polluting energy sources towards a low carbon economy and not play dice with the climate.”
Meanwhile, in New Mexico, Dineh (Navajos) have joined others to halt fracking in the region of one of his country’s most important historical places, holding powerful keys to the past.
Moving to defend culture, climate, and communities, a coalition today moved to put a stop to new fracking approvals in the Greater Chaco Region of northwestern New Mexico, Dineh and others said in a statement.
Citing threats to public health, clean air and water, and Navajo communities in the region, the coalition called on a federal judge to issue an injunction on oil and gas development in the Greater Chaco region in light of the Bureau of Land Management’s illegal approval of hundreds of drilling permits.
"We need to put a stop to fracking in the Greater Chaco region because it impacts the living peoples, the water, air, wildlife, medicinal plants, and offering points," said Sarah Jane White of Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment. "There are already reports of contaminated water from fracking activities and some people have to buy bottled water. Elders have been forced to sign oil and gas leases and this is an environmental justice issue! BLM needs to seriously consider all these impacts before approving any more oil and gas leases."
The Greater Chaco region is home to many Navajo communities living amid extensive oil and gas development that threatens their way of life. The area is also home to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, extensive ancestral Puebloan ruins and is considered the cultural heart of the American Southwest. Over the last two years, the Bureau of Land Management has approved more than 240 new fracking proposals, primarily near the community of Lybrook and within 20 miles of Chaco Canyon.  This is despite the agency’s acknowledgment that it has never analyzed how this development will impact public health and the environment, and has no plan in place to protect the region’s air, water and communities.
"For the Bureau of Land Management to continue to allow fracking in an such a sensitive area with no analysis of its effects will irreparably harm the people who live there, unique cultural resources and the climate" said Kyle Tisdel, climate and energy program director at the Western Environmental Law Center. "The fracking permits already approved are unlawful, and issuing new fracking permits without any information on the effects is unconscionable."
The crimes against humanity being carried out by the United States, including torture and the imprisonment of migrant children, are made possible by the duplicity of the media in the United States, including the well-funded online news media in Indian country, which no longer has  reporters actually out covering the news.
Arizona Sen. John McCain was able to seize sacred Apache land in Arizona for a copper mine. Few, if any, national news reporters, even noticed as he lobbied for this in the defense bill.
Since its passage, Apaches remain at Oak Flat in resistance.
(Photo credit Sandra Rambler, San Carlos Apache: Apaches March to Oak Flat)
Read more on these actions at

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