May 23, 2017 - Indigenous Divestment Delegation goes to Europe
On Sunday, May 21 an indigenous delegation of Water Protectors—Rachel Heaton, Waśté Win Young, Naát’áaníí Nez Means, and Rafael “Tufawon” Gonzalez—and 35 activists from Les Amis de la Terre France and ANV Nonviolent Action COP21 laid a “pipeline” inside a Société Générale branch in Paris. The action denounced the role of French banks in the construction of new oil infrastructure in the United States, especially the Dakota Access Pipeline.
One of the first actions the indigenous delegation attended in Paris was a Lumens action.
The action is part of a month-long European tour called “Stand Up with Standing Rock,” which aims to call on European banks to divest from pipeline projects being planned without the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous People. Among these pipelines are the Dakota Access, Keystone XL, Trans Mountain, Line 3, Energy East, LNG, and many more. The four indigenous activists are speaking to European climate justice activists about divestment as a tool for promoting indigenous rights and testifying about their experience at Standing Rock.
Rafael “Tufawon” Gonzalez performing for a crowd of French climate justice activists.
The tour comes as a coalition of grassroots Indigenous groups from across Turtle Island joins the 121 First Nations and Tribes united by the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, to launch a new, multi-national divestment campaign against the banks funding Dakota Access and four other pipelines. The Mazaska Talks website (“mazaska” is Lakota for “money”) is a centralized resource for this campaign, with detailed financial data as well as tools for taking action. The campaign targets all 61 banks that currently provide financing to Energy Transfer Partners or the three companies proposing new tar sands pipelines: TransCanada (Keystone XL and Energy East), Kinder Morgan (TransMountain Expansion), and Enbridge (Line 3 Expansion).
Naát’áaníí Nez Means, son of the late Russell Means, speaks to a crowd of French climate activists about the police brutality at Standing Rock.
On Tuesday, the group will attend the annual shareholder meetings of Société Générale and BNP Paribas to demand they respect the rights of indigenous peoples to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).
Wašté Win Young & Naát’áaníí Nez Means hold a sign in Paris reading “#FreeRedFawn”
Wašté Win Young (Wichiyena Dakota, Hunkpapa Lakota) is from Standing Rock and camped at the Očeti Šakowin Camp in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. She continues to be involved in divestment efforts against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline and other fossil fuel projects, as she raises 4 children in Long Soldier.
Rachel Heaton (Muckleshoot) is a co-founder of the Seattle Action No DAPL Coalition, whose strong mobilization forced the City of Seattle to divest $3 billion dollars from Wells Fargo, one of the many banks invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rachel is also a co-founder of MazaskaTalks.org.
Naát’áaníí Nez Means (Oglala Lakota, Omaha, Navajo) and Rafael “Tufawon” Gonzales (Dakota) are Native hip-hop artists fresh off the Voices of Water: Wake Up the World Tour. Both put their music careers on hold to stand between militarized law enforcement and the indigenous people non-violently resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Očeti Šakowin resistance camps.
The tour will take place from May 20th to June 20th, 2017 and is organized by a number of European climate organizations are sponsoring the trip, including Alternatiba, Break Free Genève, Coordination Justice Sociale, Alternatives Canada, CETIM, Agir Pour La Paix, Climate Express, INTAL, Transnational Institute (TNI), Ausgeco2hlt, Entrepobles, ANVCOP21, CSIA, Nitassinan, 350.org, Friends of the Earth Europe, i-boycott, I Love Therefore I am, Nuit Debout, UNIA, Genève, CGAS, ATTAC GE, GreenPeace Genève, Solidarité Tattes, CADTM, REFEDD, and Women’s March Global.
By Jackie Fielder
Jackie Fielder is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Hidatsa), a descendant of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and was born and raised in Long Beach, CA. Jackie earned her B.A. in Public Policy and M.A. in Sociology at Stanford University in 2016. She is currently an organizer with San Francisco Defund DAPL Coalition and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.