FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emily Arasim (WECAN Communications) -
Michelle Cook -
Indigenous Women’s Delegation Pursues Fossil Fuel Divestment Across Europe - Amidst Growing Global Movement
MUNICH, Germany (October, 17 2017) – In the face of many dire challenges, Indigenous women leaders of the Standing Rock movement and their allies remain unyielding in their quest for justice regarding the violations of Indigenous rights, human rights and the rights of the Earth and climate perpetrated through the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and other fossil fuel projects across Indigenous territories in the U.S. and around the world.
For the past two weeks, an Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation to Europe has traveled through Norway, Switzerland and Germany to engage with political leaders, representatives of financial and insurance institutions, civil society groups, and members of the media to share personal accounts and calls to action for immediate divestment from fossil fuel companies that endanger rights and neglect Indigenous People’s right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Delegation members included - LaDonna Brave Bull Allard (Lakota historian, member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and founder/landowner of Sacred Stone Camp); Jackie Fielder (Mnicoujou Lakota and Mandan-Hidatsa, Campaign Coordinator of Lakota People's Law Project and organizer with Mazaska Talks); Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer and a founding member of the of the Water Protector Legal Collective at Standing Rock); and Tara Houska (Anishinaabe, tribal attorney, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders); along with Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN Executive Director and delegation organizer).
Delegation meetings centered in Norway, Switzerland and Germany due to these nations’ role as home bases for several of the world's largest financial and insurance institutions supporting dangerous extraction developments. These European nations and their institutions also however, have enshrined some of the world's highest human rights and Indigenous rights standards, creating an opening for Delegates to call for firm action by banks and investors of these nations to uphold their high standards and become an international model for justice and accountability.
During meetings with Norwegian Parliamentarians, DNB, the Council on Ethics to the Norwegian Oil Fund, UBS, Credit Suisse, Zurich Insurance, Swiss Re, BayernLB, Allianz, Deutsche Bank and others, Delegates brought to the forefront demands to respect Indigenous and human rights as outlined in international law, and calls for divestment through corporate level and/or project level finance to stop unwanted fossil fuel development in their territories.
In addition to continued advocacy regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline - the women highlighted the growing pipeline resistance by Indigenous peoples and allies to Keystone XL (TransCanada), Trans Mountain (Kinder Morgan) and Line 3 (Enbridge) pipeline projects - calling for international solidarity and action to prevent continued harmful developments.
The bold actions and advocacy of the Delegation work comes as part of a growing global movement which is pursuing diverse fossil fuel divestment efforts as a critical and effective strategy to protect the global climate, the health of communities, and rights of Indigenous communities and others experiencing the impacts of oil extraction and climate change on a daily basis. Upcoming global actions include the #DivestTheGlobe campaign taking place worldwide while Equator Banks hold their central meeting in São Paolo, Brazil on October 24 (mazaskatalks.org).
The Autumn 2017 Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation was organized by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International in partnership with the leadership of Indigenous women and their directives - and builds upon an initial Spring 2017 delegation.
The press is encouraged to reach out with all media and interview requests.
“We are Native women of the land and water standing up to protect our future and the future for all humankind. We are asking bank and insurance companies to divest from fossil fuels and invest in your communities. Mni Wiconi, Water is Life.” explains LaDonna Brave Bull Allard (Lakota historian, member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and founder/landowner of Sacred Stone Camp)
“The delegation was successful in increasing Indigenous women's international financial literacy and building their capacity and knowledge relating to insurance and rating agencies of banks and corporations. Providing platforms for engagement and participation between indigenous peoples and banks is critically important for the advancement of our rights and fundamental freedoms.” explains Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer and a founding member of the of the Water Protector Legal Collective at Standing Rock)
"DNB, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, & Bayern LB continue to maintain relationships with Energy Transfer, Enbridge, and other companies that violate indigenous people's right to withhold or deny consent to projects in their territories. That is why we will continue to grow our divestment movement internationally and pressure banks to follow BNP Paribas in their steps away from financing the worst fossil fuels." explains Jackie Fielder (Mnicoujou Lakota and Mandan-Hidatsa, Campaign Coordinator of the Lakota People's Law Project and organizer with Mazaska Talks)
"Divestment is working. BNP Paribas announced it won't do business with tar sands, fracking, or Arctic drilling, sending a clear message to the rest of the banks - stop funding destruction and climate change. This follows several other banks pulling out of Dakota Access pipeline funding. Our delegation has met with banks, insurers, and plenty of engaged citizens who want future generations prioritized over big oil profits. People all over the world are organized, mobilized, and standing together for a better tomorrow." explains Tara Houska (Anishinaabe, tribal attorney, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders)
“In the pursuit of justice, WECAN International is calling for financial and insurance institutions engaged in fossil fuel extraction and development projects to stop business as usual given egregious violations against Indigenous peoples and their lands - and given the urgency of climate change. If institutional guidelines that are supposed to uphold rights are not working, then we need to look systemically at how these guidelines must change and be implemented to take into account Indigenous and human rights and climate chaos. There is no time to lose as climate disruption escalates and people around the world face life and death situations. We can course correct now and look towards a better future.” explains Osprey Orielle Lake (Executive Director and Founder of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, WECAN)
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.