In response to yesterday’s COP26’s theme of ‘energy,’ NDN Collective released the following statements:
“Biden has an ambitious plan for electric US vehicles, but it’s unclear where the lithium for these car batteries would come from,” said Lycia Maddocks, Political Director at NDN Collective. “Even with recycled lithium, there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand of this plan. As we see an uptick of lithium mining in the U.S., Australia, Europe, and Latin America, Indigenous people — like the Atacama of Chile and Argentina and the Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu people of Thacker Pass in Nevada — are fighting the process of lithium extraction that’s already polluting their soil, water, and air.
“The Biden administration insists their solutions are backed by science and data. Yet environmental impact statements are still being skipped or skirted, and Indigenous land rights are consistently being violated — all for quick and cheap manufacturing, before the science and data is even available.
“All climate projects must start with free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous people. Anything that doesn’t involve full buy-in from Indigenous communities, in addition to proven and publicly available science and data, is not a true climate solution.”
“Right now, there are over 15,000 households without electricity in the Navajo Nation,” said Demetrius Johnson, LANDBACK Organizer at NDN Collective. “Meanwhile, the fall of coal turned into the rise of natural gas, creating massive projects like the one Navajo Nation and Pueblo Tribes are currently battling near Chaco Canyon, a sacred UNESCO site. Our land is being fracked and power created from natural gas is being outsourced to other areas — all while my people endure man camps that threaten our women and LGBTQ2+ relatives, explosions from nearby oil rigs, dangerous air quality, and roads destroyed by natural gas transport vehicles — all on top of us not having access to any of that power.
“Ridiculous solutions like net zero still push for extracting from Native people around the globe. The only way to end this never ending cycle of extraction is to return Indigenous lands to Indigenous hands. Let us lead. LANDBACK.”
“The renewable energy industry is disrupting culture and displacing people, just like the coal mines on the Navajo Reservation did,” said Cy Wagoner, Creative Resistance Coordinator at NDN Collective. “Our own tribal governments are always persuaded by money. There’s no respect for the community’s needs — they install power plants and solar fields without obtaining consent from the people, and leave waste behind.
“Indigenous people are beyond ready for a transition to renewable energy — but we must be included in all projects involving our territories. The resources for many proposed green energy solutions would still be extracted from the land. We know we can’t conquer natural resources, or control the land — we have to live with it. This critical perspective is missing when high tech green energies are developed — which is why traditional ecological knowledge is so critical to all decision making around the climate.”
About NDN Collective
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.