|For Immediate Release: June 1, 2017|
Bemidji, MN -- Following reports that Donald Trump will end the U.S.’ participation in the Paris Agreement, the Indigenous groups that make up the Indigenous Environmental Network are responding, denouncing the move and calling for continued resistance to Trump’s disastrous environmental policies.
Tom BK Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, issued the following response:
“Donald Trump is showing us the art of breaking a deal. By abandoning the Paris Agreement, this administration will further perpetuate environmental racism and climate injustice against Indigenous peoples experiencing the worst effects of climate change across the globe. We’ve stated before that the Paris Agreement falls short of embracing the sort of climate solutions that lift up human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples. Regardless of its shortcomings, it is critical that the United States be held accountable for its contributions to the climate chaos we are seeing across the globe and to take ambitious action to meet the Agreement’s goal to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Backing out of this agreement continues a long history of broken promises and threatens the vital and sacred life cycles of Mother Earth.”
Eriel Deranger, Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action, Canada:
“Today’s announcement is a direct assault on Indigenous communities the world over. North American Indigenous peoples have been working together, across colonial borders, to find collaborative solutions that address climate change and systemic oppression that has left our people out of the conversation. This decision now creates another barrier for our people to overcome, making Indigenous knowledge and leadership even more critical and vital to ensure a sustainable and just future for everyone.”
Monique Verdin, Secretary, United Houma Nation Tribal Council, Louisiana:
The Paris Accord is not a perfect solution, but to step out of it is to step back. Our coastal communities in the Mississippi River Delta are surrounded by a web of pipelines, oil and gas canals, while our sinking lands are pock marked by oil waste pits. We are being told that our traditional territories may have to be sacrificed to the sea and that our post-colonial sanctuary settlements may have to be abandoned in this unprecedented wake of sea-level rise. If we don’t change our relationships with extreme extraction the heartache of losing some of the most precious biodiversity in the world, will be disregarded for the delusions of “progress.”
Lisa Deville, President of P.O.W.E.R. (Protectors of Water and Earth Rights), Ft. Berthold, North Dakota:
"We are disappointed but not surprised that our president has chosen to remove the United States participation in the Paris Climate Agreement. We are living in a time that human rights are not equal to corporations, and those corporations are not responsible nor accountable to the people and communities they exploit."
Faith Gemmill, Vice Chair of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), Alaska:
"The Trump Administration is once again pandering to the Fossil Fuel companies with this action which ultimately sacrifices our future as Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic. We are seeing Climate Change impacts in Alaska, the permafrost is melting, the breeding patterns of our salmon are changing. We believe that for our survival we need keep 100% of the oil and gas in the Arctic in the ground instead of lifting regulatory mechanisms such as the Paris Agreements, which would give us a fighting chance."
Deborah Parker "tsicyaltsa", Citizen of the Tulalip Tribes, Indigenous Women Rise Spokesperson:
"We want to ensure our Indigenous Women are protected to the highest form including our sacred foods to feed our children, our traditional medicines to heal our families and the health of our waters, air and land which connect and sustain our connections with all of creation. We must work globally to ensure our inherent rights as Indigenous people are protected."
Pennie Opal Plant, Idle No More SF Bay:
“President Trump’s allegiance to the fossil fuel corporations will continue to violate Treaties between the U.S. government and Native American tribal nations. It will continue to exacerbate climate change and destroy the water, air and soil that all of life needs to simply exist, not only now, but for future generations. We must stand together for the health of the environment and against the President’s impending decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.”
Joye Braun, community organizer, Cheyenne River Lakota Resistance Camp, Indigenous Environmental Network:
“Trump continues to throw what little progress we have made out with the proverbial bath water, furthering the tried and genocide model of destroying Indigenous peoples way of life, food sources, our women, our children. Make no bones about it, he knows exactly what he's doing, gleefully destroying what hope we have to save humanity from extreme energy extraction and the exploitation of communities already on the outside of the so called acceptable majority. He must be stopped. This administration is proving that the evil we warned about has been unleashed into the world.”
The Indigenous Environmental Network was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals in 1990 to address environmental and economic justice issues across Turtle Island, also known as North America.