Protect Our Public Lands: Indigenous Witnesses Take Fracking and Climate Concerns on the Road
Indigenous Peoples on the front lines of climate change and development battles will be taking their testimony on the road starting on July 18, stopping at various points around Turtle Island.
From July 18 through 31 the Protect our Public Lands Tour will stop in Flagstaff, Arizona; Shiprock and Santa Fe, New Mexico; Lake Thunderbird, Oklahoma; Cahokia Mounds State Park, Illinois, and Philadelphia, according to a statement from the organizing group, Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), which describes itself as a “link-tank for policy- relevant research toward post-carbon livelihoods and communities.
The tour’s goal is to “visit frontline communities from California to Philadelphia, documenting the stories of Native American community members and intertribal coalitions working hard to transition from toxic energy industries to a just and renewable energy future,” the group said.
In Santa Fe, they will see a rally scheduled to protest the Bureau of Land Management’s ongoing sale of oil and gas leases in the San Juan Basin.
“Since contact, our voices have been the target for silencing for the greed, consumption, and power of the colonial settler society,” said organizer Paulette Blanchard, Absentee Shawnee, in the media release. “Time has come for us to be silent no more. This is an opportunity for our voices to not only be heard, but amplified to stop the environmental and human injustices related to fossil fuel energy, while joining with people across this land to become one voice against the violence to us and all our relations.”
On their last stop, group members will walk in the March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia, a July 24 gathering on the eve of the Democratic National Convention that is expected to draw in thousands of participants, according to a statement from Food and Water Watch.
Tour participants will also lobby for passage of the Protect Our Public Lands Act (POPLA), which if it passes, “will stop all fracking on U.S. public lands,” the organizers said.
Along the way the tour members will also collect information about the human rights implications of fracking as they seek input for the international Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, a public opinion group based in Rome. The group’s journey can be followed via social media on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on YouTube.
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