Solidarity, Resistance and Love with Earth and Water Protectors from 
North Dakota to Louisiana
Women's Earth and Climate Action Network Special Update
August 24, 2016
Cherri Foytlin (right) and Kandi Mossett (left) stand together and speak on the link between ongoing actions to stop Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, and the No New Leases/Another Gulf Is Possible actions unfolding in Louisiana, USA in the aftermath of catastrophic regional flooding - Photo by Rae Breaux/People's Action
Dear Friends and Allies,

Right now, in two distinct but deeply interconnected places in North America  (or Turtle Island, as it is known by Indigenous peoples), brave Earth and community defenders are rising up to end extraction and environmental sacrifice zones, and to protect clean water, air and soil, and our collective Mother Earth and global climate. 

In North Dakota, USA,   the Standing Rock Sioux have made a stand to protect the water as they block the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, along with many allies who are joining in solidarity everyday.  The proposed pipeline would c arry a half million barrels of toxic Bakken crude oil under the  Missouri River and through countless  Indigenous territo ries and non-Native communities on its route across the country. A small initial group has grown to an estimated two to four thousand, who are are putting their bodies on the line ongoingly through blockades, ceremony and direct action where the Missouri and Cannonball rivers meet, and very near where the pipeline would cross the magnificent, life-giving river.

In southern Louisiana, USA in the immediate aftermath of record-breaking flooding, which has displaced thousands, diverse leaders and allies took action this week to demand an end to new oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico region; address deep environmental racism and injustice; and build together to demonstrate that "Another Gulf Is Possible".

In the US, it is to these two spaces of devastation, resistance, hope and change that we can look to understand the current state of our global climate crisis, and the responsibility we all have to stand up now for a just and livable future.  

This week in Louisiana and North Dakota, we see the power of allies uniting across borders, nations and identities to protect and defend Mother Earth and our communities in the face of devastating climate disasters and governments and corporate entities which seem bent on endless extraction and maintenance of a dangerous status quo. 

We see the extraordinary power of Indigenous and people-of-color leadership, which has been and will continue to be a driving force of action to challenge systemic injustice and successfully protect our common home, and the rights and dignity of all our Earth relatives. Indigenous women and girls stand out brilliantly for their power and presence on the frontlines of both of these fights.

No Dakota Access Pipeline - 
Camp of the Sacred Stones, North Dakota
Women leaders taking action at a No Dakota Access Pipeline action in Bismark, North Dakota 
- Photos by Osprey Orielle Lake
Since early April 2016, Indigenous people and allies, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, have set up camp and have been holding space near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to block attempts to build the Dakota Access pipeline by Texas-based corporation Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.. They attest that the corporation has failed to properly consult local tribes, and is attempting to profit off of a project with clear and dire environmental and social impacts for the region and the world.

Since construction attempts began in early August, mobilization to defend the land, water and Indigenous rights (and opposing police and corporate attempts to remove the demonstrators) have escalated.  Over 28 people have been arrested for non-violent action to protect the water and land, while hundreds, and now thousands more allies have streamed to the site to stand in prayer, unity and resistance.

"mni Wiconi" - "Water Is Life" is a central call of the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies, who are seeking to protect the Missouri River, Cannon Ball River, and Ogallala Aquifer, which provide water to several Indigenous communities and millions of others downstream. Earlier in August, youth from Standing Rock ran 2,000 miles to deliver messages to the Army Corps of Engineers to try to halt project approval.

Longtime WECAN ally, Kandi Mosset of the Indigenous Environmental Network, a prominent voice against fracking, violence against women, and extraction of Bakken crude in North Dakota, is one of many women leaders adding their voice to this fight.

WECAN International Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, has just returned from several days on the ground in solidarity, and conducting interviews with Indigenous women allies on the frontlines of this vital action. WECAN  will be posting these interviews in the coming weeks.

The Camp of the Sacred Stones is seeking urgent assistance with legal defense funds, supplies and on the ground support. The Standing Rock Sioux have filed a request for an injunction on the pipeline construction, which will be heard in Washington DC today, August 24. Organizers are calling for a sustained presence on the land into months ahead.

Learn More:
Direct Support:
Another Gulf Is Possible - 
Mobilizing To End New Oil Leases, Southern Louisiana
Gulf Coast Day of Interdependence March - Photo via Rae Breaux/People's Action
Last week, "unprecedented and historic flooding" ravaged southern Louisiana - a stark and immediate reminder of the accelerating state of global climate emergency.

Southern Louisiana is an area inundated by industrial pollution and extraction, the catastrophic effects of climate change and rising seas, and some of the highest cancer rates in the United States as a result of the legacy of toxic industries. This latest flooding is reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina - and is an event which residents are unwilling to passively let become the "new normal".

On August 20th, allies, primarily led by Indigenous and POC (people of color) leaders, mobilized for the Gulf Coast Day of Interdependence March. As a part of this powerful day, they marched to six "sites of resistance" - drawing attention to the interconnection of the #BlackLivesMatter, immigration, Indigenous rights and climate movements.

The August march builds upon March 2016 'No New Leases' work to disrupt oil lease sales events for new offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Another auction is underway today.

Close WECAN ally Cherri Foytlin of Bold Louisiana ( Dine, African-American and Latina) and Monique Verdin (Houma) of My Louisiana Love, are two of the outstanding Indigenous women leaders who have taken a prominent role in organizing and leading actions in the Gulf this August.

For the Earth and All Generations,
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) Team