Oct 28, 2017 - Banks Silent as Indigenous People Lead Largest Protest ever Against Bank Financing of New Fossil Fuel Projects

SEATTLE, WA, October 27, 2017: from Monday to Wednesday, over 50 cities and towns hosted actions calling on people, institutions, and city governments to close their accounts with banks funding new fossil fuel projects as part of Mazaska Talks’ three-day #DivestTheGlobe campaign. Participating cities included New York, Los Angeles, D.C., Montreal, Toronto, Madrid, Oxford, Cape Town, and Melbourne [see media links & images below] . During these three days of action, more than 90 banks convened in Sao Paulo, Brazil during the annual meeting of the Equator Principles Association (EPA). So far, the banks have not publicly stated any progress made in Brazil with respect to upholding international standards on indigenous rights and climate change mitigation.

In Seattle, over 200 people visited 106 different bank branches around Seattle. Police arrested six people and charged them with criminal trespassing. Several banks closed their branches in Seattle and sent employees home for the day. One bank branch manager even threatened a contingent of cyclists with calling the police if they left Mazaska Talks’ boycott letter inside the branch. Many actions in other cities delivered the same letter demanding the banks to stop financing Energy Transfer, Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, Transcanada, and other companies non-consensually planning fossil fuel projects through indigenous territories without all impacted nations’ Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

One of several bankks shut down in Seattle. Photo by Matt Remle


98 religious and ethical organizations announced their participation in the #DivestTheGlobe campaign, calling on five US banks to cease financing of fossil fuel projects. As well on Monday, the Ethics Council of the trillion-dollar Norwegian Oil Fund announced they would be assessing the Indigenous Women Divestment Delegations’ concerns that Energy Transfer Partners breach the fund’s investment guidelines on human rights. The Fund held $248 million of ETP corporate bonds at the end of 2016, according to the latest available data. This same week, Neil Young, Russell Simmons, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., America Ferrera, Sarah Silverman, Grimez, Mark Ruffalo, Ava DuVernay, and more announced their support behind the 150 tribes and First Nations part of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion.

Mazaska Talks hosted a two-part, seven-hour Facebook livestream (Part I, Part II) during the Monday actions with special guests Dr. Hugh MacMillan (Food & Water Watch), Ruth Breech (Rainforest Action Network), Ladonna Brave Bull Allard (Sacred Stone Village), Eryn Wise (Honor the Earth), Nina Berglund (Line 3 Youth Climate Intervenors), Matt Remle (Last Real Indians, Mazaska Talks), Rachel Heaton (Mazaska Talks), and Alec Connon (350 Seattle).

In conjunction with BankTrack’s #EquatorBanksAct campaign, the protests draw attention to the failure of the Equator Principles to align with the Paris Agreement and uphold internationally-recognized indigenous rights to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). The demonstrations come two months after the Energy Transfer family of companies sued Greenpeace and BankTrack. Energy Transfer and admitted, “the damage to Plaintiffs’ relationships with the capital markets has been substantial, impairing access to financing and increasing their cost of capital and ability to fund future projects at economical rates.”


Media Roundup


[News clip] “Climate Activists Call for Divestment from Banks That Fund Fossil Fuels” https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/24/headlines/climate_activists_call_for_divestment_from_banks_who_fund_fossil_fuels

[News clip] USA: boycott of banks that finance projects that damage the environment https://videos.telesurtv.net/video/684320/eeuu-boicot-a-bancos-que-financian-proyectos-que-danan-el-ambiente/

6 arrested as hundreds participate in shutting down 3 Seattle banks for the day as part of #DivestTheGlobe http://www.investorideas.com/news/2017/main/10242DivestTheGlobe.asp

“Indigenous-led, anti-fossil fuel protests are shutting down banks in cities across the globe.” http://grist.org/briefly/indigenous-led-anti-fossil-fuel-protests-are-shutting-down-banks-in-cities-across-the-globe/

“As Big Banks Meet, #DivestTheGlobe Demands Rejection of Fossil Fuel’s Dead End,” https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/10/23/big-banks-meet-divesttheglobe-demands-rejection-fossil-fuels-dead-end

“Why Native American Women Are Going After Europe’s Banks to Divest From Big Oil” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42350-why-native-american-women-are-going-after-europe-s-banks-to-divest-from-big-oil

“‘Divest The Globe’ protests urge banks to cut ties with fossil fuels”https://wagingnonviolence.org/2017/10/divest-globe-protests-urge-banks-cut-ties-fossil-fuels/


“Activists rally for investment in renewable energy at 103 Seattle banks” http://www.king5.com/tech/science/environment/activists-rally-for-investment-in-renewable-energy-at-103-seattle-banks/485470624

“7 arrested from bank protests across Seattle”http://www.kiro7.com/news/local/7-arrested-from-bank-protests-across-seattle/628936282

“Activists Disrupt Over 100 Bank Branches Across Seattle for Financing Tar Sands Projects” https://www.seattleweekly.com/news/activists-disrupt-over-100-bank-branches-across-seattle-for-financing-tar-sands-projects/

“Indigenous-Led Protest Shuts Down Banks in Seattle” http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/10/23/25488633/indigenous-led-protest-shuts-down-banks-in-seattle

“Islanders march for the future, call for bank’s divestment from fossil fuel industry” https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/news/islanders-march-for-the-future-call-for-banks-divestment-from-fossil-fuel-industry/

United States and Canada

“Vermonters call on TD Bank to stop funding pipelines” http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/news/vermonters-call-on-td-bank-to-stop-funding-pipelines/843215300

“Protest seeks to pressure TD Bank on pipeline investment” http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/protest-seeks-to-pressure-td-bank-on-pipeline-investment,522811

“Pipeline protesters takeover Barrington bank” http://berkshirerecord.net/2017/10/26/pipeline-protesters-takeover-barrington-bank/

“‘Week of Resistance’ to fracked gas pipeline begins in Great Barrington with colorful protest” https://theberkshireedge.com/week-of-resistance-to-fracked-gas-pipeline-begins-in-great-barrington-with-colorful-protest/

“Anti-pipeline activists take divestment protest to TD Bank” http://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/anti-pipeline-activists-take-divestment-protest-to-td-bank-in-great-barrington,522716

“Group protests Wells Fargo in downtown Duluth over Enbridge”http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/4348039-group-protests-wells-fargo-downtown-duluth-over-enbridge


“Divest the Globe Mobilizations Reach Europe” https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2017/10/23/divest-globe-mobilizations-reach-europe

Press contact:

Matt Remle (Co-Founder of Mazaksa Talks) mcremle@hotmail.com, (206) 639-3610
Jackie Fielder (Organizer with Mazaska Talks) jackie@mazaskatalks.org, (562) 313-2324

Last Real Indians