My friends at the Great Plains Action Society (GPAS) continue their years of work providing Indigenous leadership on a number of fronts.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
First, we want to recognize that today (5/5/2023) is National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. On May 2, the City of Iowa City declared its first Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The proclamation was accepted by Sikowis Nobiss, our Executive Director. It was through her work on the Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commission that she was empowered to advocate for this proclamation. It was inspired by the first MMIW proclamation in Iowa made last year by the City of Sioux City, which was influenced by the work of Trisha Etringer, our Siouxland Project Director. This year, Trisha accepted the second proclamation made by the City of Sioux City on May 1 and is currently working towards a state wide proclamation for 2024.
Berkshire Hathaway/MidAmerican coal power plants
Several environmental organizations have been working to get MidAmerican to shut down their coal burning power plants in Iowa. Today there will be a protest and round dance during the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting today. MidAmerican is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
See other actions against MidAmerican energy’s coal power plants here: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/?s=midamerican
Next, we want all our friends and relatives to know that we are fighting for the health and well-being of the nation’s two mightiest rivers–the Missouri and the Mississippi. Iowa is the only state bordered completely on the East and West borders by these rivers, making it a special place and one that needs to be protected. Over the next week, we will be on both banks carrying out important events to fight for what is right.
Two of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants, owned by the subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway–MidAmerican, sit on the Missouri River and are situated in the largely Indigenous corridor between Sioux City, Winnebago, and Omaha reservations. They have already been polluting our air, water, and soil and now one of the plants is lobbying to release their toxic coal ash into the Missouri, which is directly north of the Winnebago and Omaha reservations. So we have partnered with Project Beacon and the Clean Up MidAm Coalition for a protest and round dance during the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting in Omaha to demand that they shut down these coal plants! Please join us tomorrow, May 6th at 11:45am, on the Corner of Cass Street and 10th Street. Great Plains Action Society
Round Dance for the Missouri River
Relatives in Omaha, Lincoln, Sioux City, Omaha Nation, and Winnebago Nation–Join Great Plains Action Society and Project Beacon for a Round Dance in Omaha during the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting to demand that they shut down their MidAmerican coal plants! We will be joined by Douglas Esau, who will bring his hand drum. The larger rally is being organized by the Clean Up MidAm Coalition.
The event is taking place on the SE corner of the Big Lot Parking B of the CHI Health Care Event center. On the Corner of Cass Street and 10th Street. There is a map in the discussion of this event page.
PARKING WILL NOT BE EASY AS THERE WILL BE A LOT OF FOLKS IN THE AREA THAT DAY! You will need to find parking in lots or ramps in the downtown area OR if you feel like taking a scenic walk you can park on the Council Bluffs side of the river at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park and and walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge to the event site–it’s about a 20 minute walk.
Two of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants are situated in the corridor between Sioux City, Winnebago, and Omaha reservations, polluting our air, water, and soil. Now, they want to start releasing their toxic coal ash directly into the sacred waters of the Missouri River and we are here to say NO!
We are offering $50 gas cards to the first 25 Indigenous folks driving from over an hour away–such as Lincoln, Sioux City, and the reservations. We encourage carpooling! Sign up here for a gas card; https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSdCje8fXwYHgl…/viewform
There will also be lunch available for everyone! Email Sikowis@greatplainsaction.org for questions.
Walk for River Rights
Next week, May 11-14, in the Quad Cities of IA and IL, we are hosting the first Mississippi River Summit with 40 BIPOC leaders and specialists joining us to talk about their respective fights to keep the water safe and healthy and to work towards Rights of Nature.Great Plains Action Society has ties to BIPOC folks at the headwaters all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and we have invited them to Iowa for an important reason! Iowa is the number one contributor to the ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico and the most biologically colonized state in the country because of Big-Ag, CAFOs (concentrated animal feed operations), meatpacking plants, ethanol production, and general disregard for the land. The time will be utilized for grassroots assessments, specialist lectures, a tour of the Mississippi, and community-building exercises. On May 13th, at 11:30 AM at the Schwiebert Riverfront Park, Summit attendees will join the Quad Cities community for a Walk for River Rights in solidarity as One River community advocating for Rights of Nature for the Mississippi River and for the rights of all communities whose lives are supported by the waters.
If you’d like to learn more, visit our event page linked here.
We truly appreciate your participation in our advocacy and frontline efforts and need your support to continue. Please consider making a donation to help support Great Plains Action Society and allow us to continue organizing for the health and safety of Indigenous communities and our lands.
Ay Hai Kitatamihin,
Sikowis Nobiss, She/Her
Nêhiyaw/Saulteaux, George Gordon First Nation
Executive Director, Great Plains Action Society