St. Paul, MN- Thousands of people gathered together on June 7th, 2015 to protest the drilling of oil in the Canadian and North Dakota tar sands.
The reason behind this protest was that the fracking process utilizes a great amount of fresh water; furthermore, transporting tar sand oils through pipelines is a hazard to the ground and to bodies of water such as lakes or bogs.
“We need to get renewable energy, it’s available and we need to save our water, water is life,” said protester Sandy Stein.
The “Tar Sands Resistance March” was led the Native Americans of Minnesota. Because respecting the land and its resources is a part of indigenous culture, many indigenous people are active in environmental protests. In April 2014, a large group of Native Americans took part in a protest in Washington DC against the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Lower Brule Lakota Sioux Tribe of South Dakota also recently invoked a clause from the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 (the “Bad Men” clause) in order to prevent the foreign tar sands pipeline company TransCanada from extracting tar sands from their land.
Many people are beginning to notice just how much of an impact indigenous people have on environmental activism. Bill McKibben, an environmentalist author, even tweeted about the major role indigenous people played in a Keystone protest in 2012:
McKibben is very sympathetic to the causes of these indigenous people as he too feels activities such as drilling for oil is hazardous to the earth. He has helped organize many of these protests himself.
“Now it’s time to take a different course,” he said of tar sand oil extraction.
Despite the rising awareness in climate change, many environmentalists, indigenous and non-indigenous alike, are facing serious danger as the rate of environmentalists who are murdered worldwide is increasing. As the Romero Institute is concerned with human rights, climate change, and the environment, we hope to bring awareness to this horrendous issue.
Please support the indigenous people in their fight to protect their land and its resources. To learn more and to get involved with the fight to stop climate change, visit 350.org, a website founded by Bill McKibben dedicated to creating global climate campaigns.