August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, June 20, 2016

Utah: Seed Sowers arrested on United States First Tar Sands Mine


By Canyon Country Rising Tide
Censored News
Dutch translation by Alice Holemans at NAIS

SUNDAY JUNE 19, PR SPRINGS, UTATH: Thirty people walked onto the country’s first
tar sands mine and sowed seeds to regrow land destroyed by tar sands – a fossil
fuel more polluting than coal and oil. With butterfly puppets, songs, and banners,
protesters trespassed onto the mine site and took the remediation of the
stripped land into their own hands with shovels, pick axes and seed balls.
Evidently displeased with the sowing of native grasses and flowers, law
enforcement intervened to arrest 20 of the planters, who banded together and
sang until arrest.
The action was planned by the Tavaputs Action Counil, a coalition of grass roots
social justice groups of the Colorado Plateau, and came as the conclusion to a 3-
day event dedicated to celebrating land and biodiversity. Over 100 people
participated, camping on public land next to the tar sands mine and attending
workshops, panels, and music shows. People came together to hear about
indigenous resistance to fossil fuels and colonialism, and to imagine a more
equitable future together.
Canadian mining company US Oil Sands has leased 32,005 acres of public lands
for oil shale development. In the future, 830,000 acres of B land could be at risk
of irreversible tar sandsstrip mining in the western United States. Tar sands
requites large quantities of water for processing into crude oil, putting extra
pressure on a water system already under threat of running dry.
Kate Savage, Tavaputs Action Council: “By taking action today, we are creating in
the present the future we are dreaming of. This means trespassing against US Oil
Sands and other fossil fuel companies that want to make our future unlivable.”
Raphael Cordray, Tavaputs Action Council: “We took action today to tell US Oil
Sands that we are here to stay and will not be intimidated by oppressive law
enforcement and corrupt companies. Tar sands spells disaster for people and
planet, and today we said: not in our name.”
Kim, Nihigaal Bei Iina: “We must remember that if we do not fight we cannot win,
we don’t even have a chance of winning. By planting seeds we have a chance of
winning another round for mother earth, we still have more battles to fight
within us. These seeds planted will harvest another generation of fighters and
Media Contact: Natascha Deininger, Wasatch Rising Tide, Tavaputs Action
Council; Tel: 435-414- 9299; Email:
Secondary Media Contact: Lauren Wood 801-647-1540

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