News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

The dangers of increased crime and sexual violence deriving from the influx of thousands of pipeline and oil industry workers to “mancamps” and temporary housing in rural and Tribal communities, will be the focus of a livestream event on Thursday, December 10 hosted by a coalition of local Indigenous women’s societies, including Brave Heart Society and White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society.

The livestream will be hosted on the grounds of the oldest Native women’s shelter in the U.S. — the White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society facility in Mission, South Dakota — from within the solar-powered Brave Heart Solar XL “Tiny Home of the Ihanktonwan Homelands.” 

The tiny home was constructed both as a physical safe space, and also an educational center to raise awareness in the community about the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIWR) that research shows accompanies the construction of large fossil fuel infrastructure projects — like interstate pipelines, such as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, whose “man camps” currently under construction in South Dakota threaten nearby Tribal communities on the Rosebud Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, Yankton Sioux, Lower Brule, and other Oceti Sakowin communities.

The Brave Heart Solar XL “Tiny Home of the Ihanktonwan Homelands” grew out of the Solar XL project, which has crowdsourced funding to erect solar installations with local farmers whose land lies directly in the proposed path of Keystone XL, and is supported by a broad coalition of regional and national grassroots organizations that created the “Promise to Protect,” including Indigenous Environmental Network, Brave Heart Society, 350.org, Dakota Rural Action, Native Organizers Alliance, NDN Collective, Bold Alliance, and Wiconi Un Tipi.

The “Promise to Protect” coalition also includes 47,000 people who have made a promise to come — if asked by local communities — to the Keystone XL pipeline route and engage in actions of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop pipeline construction if it begins.

While President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rescind the permit for Keystone XL and kill the project, TC Energy is still continuing to seek local permits, and engage in “pre-construction” activities like building several man camps, pump stations, and pipe yards, which would potentially bring the added irresponsible risk of housing thousands of out-of-state pipeline workers during the coronavirus pandemic. 

WHAT: “We Do Not Consent: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives, Human Trafficking and Pipelines” Webinar
WHEN: Thursday, December 10, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT
WHERE: “Brave Heart Solar XL Tiny Home of the Ihanktonwan Homelands” at White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society, Mission, S.D. (the oldest Native women’s shelter in the U.S.) 

*WATCH LIVESTREAM at 1 p.m. CT*: Brave Heart Society Facebook Page:
LINK: https://fb.me/e/fZYWhyFjk (video will be archived after event concludes)

LIVESTREAM PARTICIPANTS:

Quotes from participants:

“The 13-year message from the Dakota women on the ground here to Keystone XL & man camps is still, “LEAVE!”,” said Faith Spotted Eagle (Ihanktonwan Dakota ), Brave Heart Society elder & member. “You bring destruction to the earth, dangerous covid threats, danger to our animal & plant relatives, and trespass on our inherent and treaty lands and water illegally. To President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris: please remember that as a U.S. citizen, you are also a Treaty signer. Honor it in this time of a dangerous pandemic. It is no different than the smallpox blankets that were brought in the past. Join us as relatives today to end this ghost pipeline.”

“In this United States today, Native women are 10 times more likely to be murdered; and 1 out of 3 Native women have been victims of sexual violence. We call upon the Biden Administration, to comprehend the encroachment and devastation of the privatized extraction industry, and the absolute corruption, chaos, and violation of human rights on our sovereign bodies, sacred lands, Sacred Spiritual rites and access to clean water,” reads a statement issued on December 10, International Treaty Day, by the Dakota Women’s Society for the Protection of Oceti Sakowin Lands, Our Sacred Women, and Mni Wiconi-Water. “We call on this United States, to recognize and uphold the Treaties, the Supreme laws of this land, to uphold our human rights to safety of our Oceti Sakowin Women and Children, clean water, protection of our lands, and Sacred Rites, as Creator intended.”

“White Buffalo Calf Woman's Society strengthens and protects the lives, memories, families, and spirits of Missing Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR),” said Lindsey Crazy Bull Compton (Sicangu Lakota na Ihanktowan Dakota), Executive Director, White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society. “Through daily acts of service and reverence our Societies' theory and action honors our beloved Missing Murdered Indigenous Relatives. White Buffalo Calf Woman's Society protects through infinite acts of compassion; strengthens through developing and applying gynocratic systems of governance, and of upmost importance; a continuance of supernatural protocols within and through our Omaskekiciye, Woman's Society. White Buffalo Calf Woman's Society serves the most vulnerable and marginalized women of Turtle Island; Native women and families who have been displaced victims/survivors of extreme violence. In the same role, White Buffalo Calf Woman's Society seeks to protect the Land, as the land and our Woman are one in the same — to be respected, cherished, and protected. Stay Strong, Stand Strong, Be Strong, In The Spirit of Pte San Win.”

“Our call to action: We must restore balance. Demand justice. Demand action. No more stolen sisters. No more violence against women. We will not be silenced,” said Lily Mendoza (Cheyenne River Lakota Nation), co-founder of The Red Ribbon Skirt Society, a society founded by and led by Indigenous women that works globally to educate communities across the world on the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, children and Two-spirit. 

“Empowering the voice and visibility of Indigenous women. Strengthening sisterhood, building community. Raising awareness about injustices faced by Indigenous people. We stand against the Keystone XL pipeline and man camps,” said Marcella Gilbert of The NAZO Society, a woman-based campaign of mothers and grandmothers that focuses on bringing awareness to human trafficking, MMIP, and violence in our communities on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation within the Oceti Sakowin Treaty Territory. 

"Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives is an Indian country tragedy and an epidemic international crisis. Mancamps target and victimize women creating victim blaming. We need to create meaningful legislation surrounding mancamps and laws to include non-members in our jurisdiction. Lack of collaboration of federal and state jurisdictions creates a barrier to protection of our people,” said Darla Black (Oglala Lakota), member of Brave Heart Society and Red Ribbon Skirt Society.

“Many of us are veterans and motorcycle riders who did a 12,000-mile ride in the shape of a medicine wheel, carrying the names of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives on a spiritual emotional ride, and donated to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives sister society, Red Ribbon Skirt Society, said Lorna Cuny (Oglala Lakota), Medicine Wheel Rider's Society. “We empower the voice and visibility of Indigenous women, strengthening sisterhood, building community and raising awareness about injustices faced by our people.”

Background on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives issues and Keystone XL pipeline worker man camps:

  • A study on missing & murdered Indigenous women and girls in states impacted by the Keystone XL pipeline (PDF)
  • Violence from Extractive Industry 'Man Camps' Endangers Indigenous Women and Children
    Authors: First Peoples Worldwide, University of Colorado at Boulder

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. The 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

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