“Last Real Indians” reported on October 11th, 2016 five climate change activists; Emily Johnson, Michael Foster, Annette Klapstein, and Ken Ward, from an organization called “Climate Direct Action” successfully shut down five oil pipelines using the manual safety valves. The pipelines carry Canadian Tar Sands oil to the US. The activists reportedly took this action in support of the International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock in its ongoing fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The activists cited frustration with global, and particularly US, political inaction on the imminent global catastrophe of climate change.

They have called for an immediate halt to any further fossil fuel extraction, and urged President Obama to use his emergency powers to shut down the pipelines permanently. A shut down of Tar Sands pipelines is of particular significance to indigenous peoples.

The rise of Idle No More

The Canadian Tar Sands is the largest industrial project on Earth. It has left a scar on Earth's surface that can be seen from space, as can the enormous toxic tailings ponds. It is the source of the dirtiest fossil fuels in the world. As with virtually all such massive industrial fossil fuel extraction projects, the Tar Sands is located in the indigenous treaty territory of the Cree Nation. This egregious violation of indigenous treaty rights and destruction of the environment launched a national indigenous movement across Canada, Idle No More.

The momentum spread to indigenous peoples within the claimed territorial boundaries of the US where demonstrations of solidarity occurred in many places. Indigenous activists successfully pressured President Obama to cancel the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have pumped Tar Sands oil across more indigenous territory.

This success has apparently continued as a September 14th, 2016 report from Greenpeace suggests that the Tar Sands may be in financial crisis. Nonetheless several other oil pipelines already carry Tar Sands oil to the US, five of which were successfully shut down by these five brave activists from Climate Direct Action.

These climate change activists have reportedly been arrested, along with five others, and the Climate Disobedience Center has a donation link on its website to raise money for their bail. As with the Tar Sands in Canada, the fight against Dakota Access has reignited the national political consciousness of the indigenous peoples and nations within the claimed territorial boundaries of the US.

Dakota Access, the new front line against corporate Eco-terrorism

In the forward to the Book “Thinking In Indian: A John Mohawk Reader” the Onondaga leader Oren Lyons quotes the late indigenous scholar Sosistowah's (John Mohawk's) presentation of “A Basic Call to Consciousness” delivered by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy to the United Nations in Geneva in 1977.

Mohawk made the prescient prediction that if Western industrial processes continue unchanged and unabated humanity would exploit the Earth beyond its ability to renew itself. Mohawk's prediction was made 39 years ago. During that period the only change has been a dramatic increase in fossil fuel production. As with the Tar Sands and Dakota Access this environmentally destructive process occurs almost exclusively in traditional indigenous treaty territories. Indigenous peoples have always been on the front lines against environmental destruction and climate change. Non-indigenous peoples ignore what happens in Indian Country at their peril. The water protectors at Sacred Stone Camp are one of the only things protecting all of humanity against the imminent global catastrophe of climate change.

They, along with the Climate Direct Action activists, who have both put their lives, freedom and safety on the line, are true heroes of the modern era. Only they can ensure that Our Mother the Earth, the only home we have ever known, will not be exploited beyond her capacity to renew herself.

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