August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, April 16, 2018

Indigenous Women’s Delegation To Europe Continues Push For Fossil Fuel Divestment By Major Banks

Indigenous Women’s Delegation To Europe Continues Push For Fossil Fuel Divestment By Major Banks

By WECAN International
Censored News

April 16, 2018

Emily Arasim (general inquiries) –, +1(505)920-0153

Michelle Cook (general inquiries) -

Osprey Orielle Lake (urgent inquiries in Europe) –, +1(415)722-2104

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, California (April 16, 2018) – Infused with the spirit of their ancestors and unwavering determination to seek accountability and justice, an Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation will travel to Switzerland and Germany from April 20th to 28th, 2018.

Despite rights violations and dangers to the health of the global climate, some of Europe’s most powerful banks and financial institutions continue unethical financing of fossil fuel projects. The Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation is highlighting human rights and Indigenous rights violations, requesting divestment and accountability from companies responsible for these harms.  

The Delegation of Indigenous women leaders from across North America and allies will engage with political leaders, representatives of financial and insurance institutions, civil society groups, and members of the media to share stories, data, and calls to action for immediate movement towards fossil fuel divestment, and a transition to a just, clean energy future.

While obstacles are many, previous delegations have illuminated the power and potential for successful results, as Indigenous women leaders meet eye-to-eye with representatives of the entities responsible for immense cultural and ecological devastation in their home regions.

Spotlighting destructive projects such as Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge Pipelines, Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain Pipeline, and Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline, advocacy efforts are aimed at accountability and divestments by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and other companies that are endangering rights and neglecting Indigenous People’s right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.   

There will be a special event in Zurich, during which Swiss elder women activists will formally welcome the Delegation to Switzerland, strengthening alliances and solidarity between women’s networks, and between nations to bring well-being to the world.  

Spring 2018 Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegates comprise both frontline community leaders, and tribal officials who serve or have served in official capacities for their Tribal Nations, including - Charlene Aleck (Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada); Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota pediatrician, living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota); Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer); Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer); and Monique Verdin (Member of south Louisiana’s United Houma Nation Tribal Council and the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative) - with Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN International Executive Director and Delegation organizer). [Full speaker biographies are available here].

Efforts are centered in Switzerland and Germany, two countries which house several of the world's largest financial institutions supporting dangerous extraction projects across Indigenous territories in the U.S. and globally - despite purportedly high ethical and human rights standards.

The Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation is facilitated by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International in partnership with Indigenous women leaders and their directives, as part of a growing movement pursuing institutional divestment as an effective strategy to hold banks and fossil fuel related companies accountable to Indigenous rights and protection of land, climate and water. Coverage of previous delegation efforts is available via Cultural Survival, Yes! Magazine and top news outlets in Norway and Germany.

Members of the media are encouraged to reach out for in-person, phone, and email interview requests. A public event will be held in Zurich on April 26th with short films and panel discussion.

"Kinder Morgan investors need to know there is great uncertainty in the TransMountain pipeline expansion project. I am traveling with the Delegation to share the immense risks we are asked to bare and how committed we are to oppose this project.” explains Charlene Aleck (Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada)

“Everyday we live wondering when the day will come that our people will not have access to drinking water -- pipelines leak.  We are trying to plan for that day. In the midst of poverty and a legacy of oppression, we fight to live, to love, and to ensure our sovereignty.  When the businesses and banks you invest in, are funding the poisonous Dakota Access pipeline flowing under the Missouri River, so are you. Know where your money is going.” explains Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota pediatrician, living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota)

“States in the U.S. are imposing laws and severe punishments to criminalize those who protest harmful resource extraction. Despite, the abuses which occurred at Standing Rock, many of these banks continue to sign on and renew their financial commitments to the companies involved . Our goal is clear, there must be justice and accountability for banks and corporations. Due to legacy of colonial laws in the United States which fail to recognize and adequately protect indigenous rights we must humbly appeal to the international community for their intercessions. Indigenous peoples are in danger, we need Europeans to act, to divest, to organize within their respective nations to make their banks accountable for indigenous human rights abroad. We  need Europe to stand and fight alongside us. Together in unity, acting as one, in the spirit of mutual aid and defense, we will achieve peace and security for our climate and collective future.” explains Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer)

“Our Delegation's presence puts a face to the indigenous communities and lives who have been displaced, abused, and adversely affected by extractive industries throughout the world. We are here to call for accountability for the destruction of our way of life and rights violations that at occurred with the Dakota Access Pipeline and other ongoing pipeline projects funded by European financial institutions such as Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank." explains Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer)

"I come from a place just south of "Cancer Alley", just north of the "Dead Zone.” This is in Louisiana and it used to be known as Balbancha in our language. My Houma ancestors have inhabited the Yakne Chitto (Big Country) for thousands of years. We are surrounded by a web fossil fuel pipelines, a culprit responsible for contributing to some of the most rapid land loss in the world, in an area with a unique and high level of biodiversity. Yet,  the risks and vulnerabilities have not deterred Energy Transfer Partners or Phillips 66 in their ultimate pursuits to push dirty crude through precious territories. It is with a heavy heart but also hope, that I am journeying with the delegation across the sea to remind and re-warn the European banks funding and facilitating the pipelines about the devastating damage, bad practices and false promises of these companies. They are gambling with the sacred waters and life source for the Houma Nation, indigenous communities, and everyone tied to the Mississippi River Watershed , from North Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, and they must be held accountable." explains Monique Verdin (Member of south Louisiana’s United Houma Nation Tribal Council and the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative)

“Divestment from dirty fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure demonstrates a commitment to our collective future and the web of life. What is needed from financial institutions now is a show of leadership and dedication to ecological sustainability, and human and Indigenous rights, as we face the unprecedented challenges of a world plunging into climate chaos. Indigenous women have long bore the brunt of extractive industries, and despite this, shine powerfully with solutions to the harms that come from these destructive practices. Banks need to listen to Indigenous women and adhere to their demands, which are founded on requests for basic respect for obtaining free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities, as required under international law. WECAN International stands with the representatives of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation and is calling for justice and accountability from financial and insurance institutions engaged in fossil fuel extraction. Business as usual cannot continue. Now is the time to move forward towards a clean and healthy future for all.” explains Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International


About The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) International @WECAN_INTL

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is a solutions-based, multi-faceted organization established to engage women worldwide as powerful stakeholders in climate change, climate justice, and sustainability solutions. WECAN International was founded in 2013 as a project of the 501(c)3 Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC) organization.

Mohawk Nation News 'To the Shameless Iroquois Quack'ers'


Mohawk Nation News
MNN. Apr. 16, 2018. Iroquois Quack’ers [also known as the Iroquois Caucus] is carrying military designed attacks against their own people called the “naturals”, the real kanionkehaka!

Indigenous Elders Delegation at U.N. Urges Freedom for Leonard Peltier


"It is time for Leonard Peltier to be with the Tiospaye. 
Forty-three years in prison -- we need justice."
 Jean Roach, Lakota, with Yvonne Swan, Colville, at United Nations. 

Indigenous Elders Delegation at U.N. Urges Freedom for Leonard Peltier
AIM West: Join Indigenous Rights Speakers at United Nations event during the Indigenous Peoples Permanent Forum
April 18, 2018
10 am to 11:15 am
Room S-2725 SR

Risking shoot-to kill to stop the killing machine -- Beyond Nuclear

Risking shoot-to-kill to stop the killing machine

The Nuns, the Priests and the Bombs is a new film about old style non-violence

By Linda Pentz Gunter
Would you be willing to put your life on the line to make a moral statement about the iniquity of nuclear weapons? I am willing to bet that most of us, however strongly we feel about the need to abolish the Bomb, would not walk peacefully into a shoot-to-kill zone at a nuclear weapons complex just to make a point.
But when it is a point of conscience, of morality, and of faith, that is exactly what members of the Plowshares movement will do. And have done. For decades.
Seven of them just did it again, as they always say they will. Arrest them, try them, convict them and jail them, but their determination and moral conviction will not be eroded. They are repeat offenders. But they do not come to offend.
So on April 4, 2018, the anniversary of the assassination of peacemaking leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, the self-styled Kings Bay Plowshares entered the King’s Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, the largest submarine base in the world. As had their colleagues before them, they carried banners, statements, hammers and blood. They were arrested, then denied bond during a preliminary hearing on April 6.
The seven members of the Kings Bay Plowshares, who entered the Georgia naval base on April 4 to protest nuclear weapons, white supremacy and racism. (WNV/Kings Bay Plowshares)
The Plowshares movement, rooted in Christian faith, began in 1980 when Daniel and Philip Berrigan and six others broke into a General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, hammered on the nose cones of nuclear missiles and poured blood onto documents and files — symbolically beating swords into plowshares. Philip’s widow, Liz McAlister, was among the Kings Bay activists just arrested.
These actions have been captured most vividly in a new film by Helen Young — The Nuns, the Priests and the Bombs.  It tells the stories of two groups of Plowshares activists — in Tacoma, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee — who cut through fences and tested (as it turned out the less than adequate) defenses at two US nuclear installations to challenge the legality and morality of the death factories within. The film is currently being screened at venues around the country. The screening schedule can be found here.
The first half of the The Nuns, the Priests and the Bombs, tells how five activists, calling themselves Disarm Now Plowshares, ventured onto the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Bremerton, Washington, where the US Trident nuclear missiles are stored. The group consisted of a nun, Anne Montgomery, two priests — Bill “Bix” Bichsel and Steve Kelly, —  Susan Crane,and  Lynne Greenwald. The youngest was 60 at the time and the oldest 83.
They wandered the site for several hours without apprehension, reaching the actual missile bunkers before they were stopped and arrested. They brought wire clippers, hammers, banners and their own blood. But no bad intentions.
The trial brought home not only the shocking security lapse, but the terrifying destructive power that could be unleashed on the world were the Kitsap inventory ever to be used.
Graphic from the film showing the enormity of a Trident missile attack.
None of the five pled innocent. They meant to break in. This led jurors, also featured in the film, to face a dilemma of justice; whether to uphold the law or common sense. In the end, the jurors tried the case before them and convicted the five. But a least one, interviewed in the film, articulates the inner conflicts they experienced during the trial.
The case was the same when a trio of similar peace activists successfully entered the “Fort Knox” of the US nuclear weapons complex  —the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, TN. Once more, the activists were no youngsters — 82-year old nun, Megan Rice, 63-year old Vietnam veteran, Michael Walli, and 57-year old house painter, Greg Boertje-Obed. And once more they successfully penetrated deep into the site, cutting fences and hanging banners until one experienced guard, who understood they were peacemakers, stopped them without using lethal force.
Rice disputes that they broke the law at all. After all, are laws not supposed to protect people and act in their best interest? If they fail to do so, are they even laws? If not, then they cannot be broken. A law that protects and perpetuates a place that manufactures enough destructive power to kill everyone on Earth many times over does not seem to Rice to constitute a law. She, Walli and Boertje-Obed were given harsher sentences than their Tacoma counterparts. By then, it was felt, the red-faced government was losing patience with these repeated security embarrassments.
These activists, some now deceased, describe eloquently in the film what compels them to act. It is quite simply that they have tried everything else. They have written letters and lobbied and signed petitions. And prayed. And yet, nuclear weapons are still here. As former US Attorney General, Ramsay Clark, who testified for the Tacoma defendants, says in the film when asked if that group’s actions were justified:
“I think their acts were justified. I think they might even be required.”

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