Indigenous Environmental Network has supplied over 38,000 masks to help Indian Country

(Photo: Engin Akyurt, Pixabay)

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Personal protection equipment supplied through Protecting the Peoples Emergency Partnership Fund

News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network 

The Indigenous Environmental Network has partnered with eight progressive, climate action and indigenous justice-focused peer organizations to launch the historic Protecting the Peoples Emergency Partnership Fund. This fund is driven by and for the Indigenous community, and aims to respond to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities across the United States. The combined fundraising and mask donation effort has collected and organized the donation of 38,000 masks to Indigenous communities, and aims to secure $200,000 in funding to enable the donation of tens of thousands of additional masks.

The Protecting the Peoples Emergency Partnership Fund is comprised of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Eaton Workshop, Movement Rights, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, Idle No More-SF Bay, Amazon Watch, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), and Global Exchange, organizations uniting to launch the Protecting the Peoples Emergency (PPE) Partnership Fund to supply Indian Country with personal protection equipment (PPE).

This effort is historic in nature given the collective action of the environmental justice movement to come to the aid of Indigenous communities across America, partnering with the Indigenous Environmental Network and with tribal leadership to ensure that these masks are delivered to where they are needed most. These partner organizations have long valued the twin importance of climate justice and Indigenous rights, but never before has a campaign of this magnitude with organizations of this caliber from the environmental justice movement sought to respond to an emergency in the indigenous community.

The support which celebrities like Jason Momoa, Mark Ruffalo, Ellen DeGeneres, Danny Pino and Paul Rudd have given to the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe has been remarkable. However, there is still a concerted need for personal protection equipment and funding in these communities and elsewhere in Indigenous communities across the United States. From Arizona and New Mexico to Oklahoma, South Dakota, California, Texas and Alaska, the Protecting the Peoples Emergency Partnership Fund is delivering supplies across America to where they are needed most.

This coalition represents the belief that the intersectional causes of climate justice and indigenous justice are inseparable, and it will continue to be a leading force in the campaign to deliver much-needed personal protection equipment and funding to indigenous communities. Donations can be made through ActBlue.

Quotes from Partners: 

Indigenous Environmental Network: 

Our Indigenous network consists of many frontline and community-based groups that are working on environmental and climate justice issues and who are members of their respective Indigenous nations. This novel coronavirus pandemic has come uninvited to the homelands of many of our Indigenous Peoples - north and south. It is a shared teaching of our peoples that during times of life and death emergencies, that we must come together to take action to protect and defend our families, children and elders. Our Indigenous network has taken action towards forming this partnership of allies, to raise funding to supply pandemic hotspots in Indigenous communities with personal protective equipment such as medical and non-medical masks. This initiative has found many Tribes and grassroots members taking action at the local level that amplifies the strength and resilience of Indigenous Peoples.” 

Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network 

Movement Rights: 

“Indigenous people are dying of COVID-19 at unprecedented rates. Once it became clear that federal agencies were putting Native American communities and tribal medical facilities in competition with states, hospitals and corporations for purchasing personal protection equipment, the Partnership came together quickly to take action. We are not a large relief organization. Many of us work directly with Indigenous communities. As allies we came together humbly to raise grassroots donations through the website, directly source masks and quickly distribute to those most in need during this crisis.” 

Shannon Biggs, Director, Co-founder, Movement Rights

Eaton Workshop:

“The coronavirus crisis that humanity is facing reveals the deep inequities in our socioeconomic and health systems. Eaton Workshop is dedicated to our mission of using our privilege and our platform to be there for those who are most in need. When we heard from my friend Bryan Parras about the COVID-19 outbreaks in indigenous communities around the world, first from the Navajo Nation to communities along the Amazon river, my family and I immediately joined together to source and fund the delivery of personal protection equipment from Asia and the US towards our sisters and brothers in the Americas who are in need. This cross-continental effort brought my family from Hong Kong and Eaton to join forces with a North American coalition of indigenous environmental justice organizations in a time of great need, when stakes are high and our choices will shape the future we create. Eaton Workshop was born in both east and west, in DC and Hong Kong, and we are honored that during this time of global crisis that we can support this coalition to help bring aid to those in the greatest need.” 

Katherine Lo, Founder, Eaton Workshop

Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services:

“t.e.j.a.s. is well aware of the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) as N95 masks have been in high demand after every Gulf Coast hurricane. They are part of a well established re-entry toolkit that has been used to protect communities from mold and other airborne contaminants post-disaster. They serve as a first line of defence and help ensure that communities are able to protect themselves as they begin to rebuild their lives. In this pandemic, personal protection equipment will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and provide communities with protection so that they can continue to serve the needs of their families with confidence. Communities will continue to need support with food, water, cleaning supplies and housing but personal protection equipment have been in short supply and in high demand across the globe. We are honored to join Protect the People's Emergency Project Fund to provide these essential needs to at risk communities.. We look forward to continuing our support for Indian County and all our relatives across Turtle Island.”

Bryan Parras, Co-Founder, t.e.j.a.s

Idle No More SF Bay:

“While corporations received millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds, Native American Nations have yet to receive any of the promised funds. The pandemic has impacted many Native American people across the country, some of whom have no running water, making it impossible to simply wash their hands. Idle No More SF Bay is grateful to have this opportunity to help our relatives stay healthy by providing masks, gloves and other items necessary to be safe.” 

Pennie Opal Plant, co-founder Idle No More SF Bay

Amazon Watch:

“The Amazon rainforest and its peoples are in a state of emergency with COVID-19. They are already facing the “tipping point” of ecological collapse due to increased threats of deforestation; fires; industrial extraction, agribusiness expansion, and climate change. The pandemic has created an additional crisis, and as each day passes, the risk of ethnocide becomes more real. As of May 15, 113 indigenous peoples have died due to COVID-19, representing 33 indigenous nations, according to REPAM, COICA and regional Amazonian organizations. Indigenous peoples need resources to adequately respond to COVID-19: prevention and care, food and medical supplies, emergency communications and evacuation, protection and security and food sovereignty. We are honored to partner with Indigenous Environmental Network and the personal protection equipment Fund to ensure that support reaches indigenous allies in the Amazon. Together, we remain united to support those with the greatest need.” 

Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director, Amazon Watch

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN):

“Navajo Nation currently has the third highest COVID-19 cases in the U.S. after New York and New Jersey, yet the community and frontline medics serving Indigenous communities have little to no access to medical resources. This is completely unacceptable — there could not be a more important time to ensure those on the frontlines of the most-affected Tribal Nations are protected and safe. No to sacrifice zones, no to sacrifice people!”

Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)

Global Exchange: 

“Global Exchange is proud to be a partner of the Protect the Peoples Emergency Partnership Fund, and to help get emergency personal protection equipment masks and supplies to Native nations' medics and communities. We must come together to protect the most vulnerable among us. We simply cannot standby as Indigenous communities suffer without protections.” 

Ashley Cline, Director of Engagement, Global Exchange

Learn more here: ienearth.org

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