Like a spear thrusting into the Gulf of Mexico’s gut, the Isle de Jean Charles is turbulent with ruinous daily oil and gas accidents, rising sea levels, and tropical storms. Homes on the Isle de Jean Charles perch on delicate wooden stilts thirteen feet high, their paint peeling in the sun. A solitary road snakes down the spine of the shrinking island. Stained American flags billow slowly in the Gulf breeze, affixed to porches where one can catch the nasal tones of plaid-clad men bantering in Cajun French.
Williams Lake, BC: July 17, 2017: In a shocking move, while four of six Tsilhqot’in communities are evacuated due to raging wildfires surrounding their communities, and while the communities have engaged in brave efforts to fight for their very survival, British Columbia has granted controversial drilling permits over the objections of the Tsilhqot’in. The Nation is outraged that the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines has issued permits to allow Taseko Mines Ltd. to conduct extensive pre-construction exploration for the New Prosperity mine proposal. This mine cannot be built.
RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA – He began his presidency by signing executive memorandum to green-light the Keystone-XL Pipeline (K-XL) and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and last week President Trump continued what Chairman Brandon Sazue of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe denounced as, “A sustained attack on sacred lands and tribal cultures” with the removal of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone.
In this age of Trump, with its’ rising white nationalism and escalating acts of terror against people of color, there can be no ambiguity when it comes to resisting white supremacists in particular and the far Right in general. And the environmental movement is no exception.
To begin this story, cast your mind back a few months…
It’s May 2016. My facebook feed (the ultimate source of truth in our post-truth world) seems to be schizophrenic, or at least representing two entirely different worlds.
One world is the ‘green’ activists, who are in the middle of two weeks of global actions against fossil fuels. The spectacular actions in the US, Australia, the UK and most notably Ende Galende in Germany, have led some of my comrades to claim: “WE ARE WINNING!”
When Theresa Dardar was growing up in Houma, her mother used to take her to visit relatives in the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe community. They would drive 20 miles toward the Gulf of Mexico, park at the local grocery store, and ask someone to ferry them across the bayou. From there, they’d walk across land thick with oak, hackberry, and palmetto until they reached her grandfather’s house.
Members of the Puyallup, Standing Rock and Palouse Tribes and others protest plans for a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) storage facility in Tacoma. The unions need to act on this old slogan, “an injury to one is an injury to all” in real life, not just in words.
April 12, 2017, Tacoma, WA
Tacoma has been one of the main dumping grounds for polluting industry in western Washington. We are home to nine EPA Superfund clean up sites.
Last week, on February 22, 2017, water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the primary camp of Standing Rock, were evicted by the Army Corps of Engineers in a military style takeover. A peaceful resistance that began with a sacred fire lit on April 1, 2016, ended in a blaze as some of the protectors, in a final act of defiance, set some of the camp’s structures on fire.
The millions of people around the world who have stood in solidarity and empathy with Standing Rock now stand in disbelief and grief, but the forced closure of the encampment is simply the latest chapter in a violent, 500-year-old history of colonization against the First Nations. It is also the latest chapter in the battle between an extractive capitalist model and the possibility of a post-capitalist world.
Of course, the ongoing struggle will not go down in the flames at Oceti Sakowin. We should take this opportunity to remember the enduring lessons of this movement, and prepare ourselves for what is to come next.