We have watched as President Trump indicated he will sign executive orders that will go back on decades of progress; advancing projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the Keystone XL pipeline. As we enter into this unprecedented era, we expect to see a dramatic increase in aggressive anti-environmental policies and agendas. It is critical we continue to put pressure on the banks responsible for the financing of dirty fossil fuel projects and human rights violations.
For months the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Oceti Sakowin headmen and elders, other Indigenous peoples, and other water protectors and allies have been under siege while peacefully resisting the DAPL. The pipeline was approved without: environmental reviews, adequate assessment of cultural properties and sacred sites, or the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation affirmed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In addition, to violating sovereign Indigenous rights, continued DAPL construction and any spills pose significant and direct threats to sacred sites and water supplies for the Standing Rock Sioux, who live less than a mile downstream. The construction and spills would directly harm the Missouri River, which provides drinking water to millions of people.
The week of January 30th, groups such as Honor the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Native Organizers Alliance, Divest Invest, Bank Track, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, Lakota People’s Law Project and others are helping to deliver over 570,000 petition signatures at various banks across the world. This petition calls on the 17 banks who are helping to finance DAPL to either renegotiate or cancel their loans, and to have sit down meetings with the Tribe and other Indigenous leaders.
Yesterday in San Francisco, RAN, Idle No More SF Bay, Lakota People’s Law Project, and Friends of the Earth came together with allies and supporters across the Bay to let Wells Fargo know that we will not stand for their financial support of dirty fossil fuel projects. We started our day led in prayer by Indigenous leaders, that helped to ground us and acknowledge the deep history of bank financing of fossil fuels and the violation of indigenous rights. From there we marched to the national headquarters of Wells Fargo where we successfully shut the bank down for over three and a half hours!
In a time where it feels like more of the world is falling apart with each passing day, it is important to be reminded of the strong resistance that is currently taking place across the country. We will fight back, and we can continue to hold financial institutions accountable for their actions.