Indigenous activists target Liberty Mutual's Boston Headquarters demanding they stop insuring Tar Sands projects
Indigenous Environmental Network
Today, the Indigenous Environmental Network and partners delivered a petition to Liberty Mutual’s Boston headquarters, in solidarity with the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA). On September 2, the GPTCA, which represents 16 sovereign Tribal nations in the Dakotas and Nebraska, called on Liberty to stop insuring Keystone XL and to meet with Indigenous leaders to discuss Liberty’s relationship with the tar sands industry.
Liberty Mutual plays an increasingly key role in providing the insurance that is vital for destructive coal mines, oil rigs, and fracked gas pipelines around the world The world’s top scientists have found that building even a single new pipeline or coal mine is incompatible with keeping global warming below catastrophic levels.
In a statement about the September 2 letter from the GPTCA, Chairman Harold Frazier said, “This tar sands pipeline is a violation of our treaty rights and it is a threat to our land, our water, and our people. We strongly urge Liberty Mutual Insurance to immediately end its relationship with the KXL pipeline project.”
Nineteen major insurers have policies ruling out or limiting underwriting for coal, and eight have policies on tar sands. Tar sands are among the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels on earth, driving the climate crisis while poisoning the lands and waters of Indigenous Peoples but so far Liberty Mutual has so far refused to acknowledge the letter or stop backing tar sands pipelines across North America including the Keystone XL and Trans Mountain pipelines.
In response to Liberty Mutual ignoring Indigenous leaders activists built a mock pipeline covered in red handprints to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women, an epidemic directly linked to the expansion of fossil fuel extraction on Indigenous lands outside of Liberty Mutual’s Boston Headquarters while hundreds across the world took action in solidarity with the petition delivery in Dallas, TX; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; and Bristol, UK and through an online rally as part of a national day of action on tar sands funders.
"I took this action in solidarity with our native relatives who are fighting KXL. We are giving Liberty Mutual a chance to stand with these communities, Mother Earth, and the future of us all. Or they could stand with Oil and Gas, its their choice,” said Eva Blake, Indigenous Environmental Network.
Liberty is providing a US$15.6 million bond to cover pre-construction of Keystone XL through South Dakota, with a second bond expected for primary construction. Liberty is a long term insurer of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is also proceeding in the face of powerful, Indigenous-led resistance.
“Liberty Mutual is insuring treaty violations and violence in my homelands, it is profiteering off of our lives and land and it needs to stop. Keystone XL continues to threaten violence towards our women, increase crime, and potentially bring this deadly Covid-19 disease to our borders. How dare they insure such evil doings to our tribal nations,” said Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Citizen, frontline organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
About the Indigenous Environmental Network
Established in 1990, the Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Indigenous Environmental Network’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.
Learn more here: ienearth.org