Wet’suwet’en emergency

Last night I attended the online Wet’suwet’en organizing call, along with eight hundred others. We heard from Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham), Chief Woos and Chief Na’ Moks, all of whom I’ve seen in videos and read their writings over the past several years. Below are ways you can support the Wet’suwet’en.

There is great urgency now to #KKillTheDrill, referring to Coastal GasLink’s preparations to start drilling under the Wedzin Kwa, the sacred headwaters of the Wet’suwet’en.


Why do we need your help to #KillTheDrill?

After a decade of fierce resistance, Coastal GasLink is currently preparing the site to  start drilling under the Wedzin Kwa, the sacred headwaters of the Wet’suwet’en since time immemorial. Now is the time to come together and demand drilling stop.

The Coastal Gaslink pipeline and associated LNG terminal is the largest private fracked gas investment in Canadian history. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have been resisting the construction of the fracked gas pipeline on their territories for more than a decade, and the hereditary chiefs of all five Wet’suwet’en clans have refused to give their consent to the project.

In late April, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Descrimination (CERD) issued Canada a third letter urging Canada to end their colonial violence on the territory. CERD urged Canada to cease construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, as well as the TMX pipeline, until free, and prior informed consent was received from the Wet’suwet’en and Secwepemc people (respectively); engage in negotiations with these impacted communities; and end forced evictions from traditional territories. 

And yet, key decision makers continue to ignore these recommendations, continue construction on Coastal GasLink, and condone violence against the Wet’suwet’en on their traditional lands. In late November 2021, the world watched as RCMP conducted militarized raids against Wet’suwet’en Land Protectors at Gidimt’en Checkpoint. Shocking images of assault rifles being pointed at unarmed protectors and doors being hacked down circulated widely, as did reports of humiliating treatment and abuse by RCMP. Now, tensions are rising as drilling beneath the sacred headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa river edges closer. 



The Big Picture: How do we stop the drilling? 

The UN is once again calling out Canada for their colonial violence, and it’s time to strike while there is international attention. So who are those key players? The contractors on the ground, the government officials who condone RCMP harassment and break their own promises of title negotiations and reconciliation,  and the funders behind the scenes.

Taking action during key moments when an issue is in the news cycle or on people’s news feeds can be very impactful in building momentum on a campaign. It helps bring people along who care about the issue but aren’t sure where or how to start. Digital actions are also a great way to mobilize people to take more action in the future! 

Contractors:

NameKey peopleSocials
OJ Pipelines
(Annual General Meeting May 27th 2022, 8am)
Russell Keller, President, Linkedin
Blaine Collet, Senior Director of Indigenous Relations and Community Relations, Linkedin
Phone: 1 780 955 3900
Fax: 1 780 955 3518
Parent Company: Quanta Services Steve Sousa, Managing Director and Chief commercial officer, LinkedinTwitter: @Quanta_Services, Instagram: @Quantaservices, Facebook: Quanta Services

Below are a list of financial institutions in the USA involved in the financing of the CGL pipeline. 

Name of investor/bankTwitter handleEmail address
USA
JP Morgan Chase@jpmorganCEO jamie.dimon@jpmchase.com 
Bank of America@BankofAmericaCEO brian.t.moynihan@bankofamerica.com 
Citi@CitiCEO jane.fraser@citi.com
CEO North America sunil.garg@citi.com
Chief of staff margo.pilic@citi.com
Chief risk officer  zdenek.turek@citicorp.com General counsel rohan.weerasinghe@citigroup.com 
Truist@TruistNews
Fluor Corp@FluorCorp

Sample tweet

I stand with  Wet’suwet’en and demand your immediate divestment + withdrawal of financing for Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada @jpmorgan @BankofAmerica @Citi @TruistNews @FluorCorp @KKR_Co. Stop financing climate chaos and Indigenous rights violation. #WetsuwetenStrong


Government targets: 

NamesKey Locations Socials 
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister80 Wellington StreetOttawa, ON K1A 0A2Fax: 613-941-6900@JustinTrudeau
John Horgan, Premier of BCBC Legislative Building: 501 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8V 2L8
Community office, 122 – 2806 Jacklin RoadVictoria, BC V9B 5A4
john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca.Telephone: 250-391-2801 Fax: 250-391-2804
@jjhorgan
David Eby, BC Attorney GeneralMLA David Eby’s Community Office
2909 West Broadway (at Bayswater, two blocks west of MacDonald)
Vancouver, BC V6K 2G6Phone: 604-660-1297Email: david.eby.mla@leg.bc.ca 
@Dave_Eby
Mike Farnworth
BC Minister of Public Safety 
MLA Consultancy office:

107A – 2748 Lougheed HwyPort Coquitlam, BC   V3B 6P2
@mikefarnworthbc
Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous RelationsMain office – Montréal3175 Saint-Jacques Street, Montréal, Quebec, H4C 1G7Telephone: 514-496-4885Fax: 514-496-8097 Marc.Miller@parl.gc.ca@MarcMillerVM

January, 2020, Bear Creek Friends (Quaker) meeting sent the following letter to British Columbia Premier, John Horgan.

John Horgan.
PO BOX 9041 STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA, BC V8W 9E1.
Email premier@gov.bc.ca

John Horgan,

We’re concerned that you are not honoring the tribal rights and unceded Wet’suwet’en territories and are threatening a raid instead.
We ask you to de-escalate the militarized police presence, meet with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, and hear their demands:
That the province cease construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project and suspend permits.
That the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and tribal rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected by the state and RCMP.
That the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and associated security and policing services be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands, in agreement with the most recent letter provided by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimiation’s (CERD) request.
That the provincial and federal government, RCMP and private industry employed by Coastal GasLink (CGL) respect Wet’suwet’en laws and governance system, and refrain from using any force to access tribal lands or remove people.

Bear Creek Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
19186 Bear Creek Road, Earlham, Iowa, 50072



Gidimt’en social media accounts

Tiktok: Mention @RCMPoffyintah in your caption!


#KillTheDrill #WetsuwetenStrong #AllOutForWedzinKwa

Wet’suwet’en and residential schools

I’ve been following and writing about the Wet’suwet’en peoples in British Columbia as they struggle to prevent a natural gas pipeline (Costal GasLink) from being built through their pristine lands and waters for years. Because of almost no mainstream media coverage of what has been happening there, they asked us to share their stories and struggles on our social media. (see links to many stories at the end).

This video shows the continued harassment of the Wet’suwet’en by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 5/15/2022. It is especially disturbing because it shows trauma carried from one generation to the next. Especially disturbing because it makes the connection to the Indian residential schools’ atrocities.


Cody and Winih Confront RCMP
Gidimt’en Access Point

For over 2 months the RCMP CIRG unit has carried out a daily harassment & intimidation campaign on Gidimt’en territory. On Sunday, May 15 as we started the build of a new balhats (feast hall) at our Tsel Kiy Kwa village site with elders and children, over a dozen officers were dispatched to surveil & criminalize us.

This day should have been a celebration. A representation of our governance system on the yintah despite being outlawed and all the government’s attempts to disrupt the transmission of culture and our laws to our children.

When confronted with the RCMP’s history of stealing Indigenous children to send them to residential schools & questioned about why none of their deaths are being investigated, despite excessive policing of our territory, officers fell silent.

#RCMPofftheyintah

May 15, 2022
Tsel Kiy Kwa Village Site

“10,000 kids murdered at residential schools. They’re here to harass you. You as a Wet’suwet’en. As a future leader of these lands. They still rip kids away from their parents every day, one at a time. So, you look at them, you remember their faces, because they decided that you’re not allowed to live here. Every time you see Every Child Matters, we’re talking to you guys, because you guys are the ones not looking into their deaths. 10,000 ** kids. That’s a lot of kids that went to school and died. Not one of you guys are doing anything about it.”

RCMP have patrolled Gidimt’en home sites more than 200 times since March 2022.


Following is a letter my Quaker Meeting sent to British Columbia Premier, John Horgan in 2020.

January 26, 2020

Bear Creek Friends (Quaker) meetinghouse is in the Iowa countryside. Many members have been involved in agriculture and care about protecting Mother Earth. A number of Friends have various relationships with Indigenous peoples. Some Friends have worked to protect water and to stop the construction of fossil fuel pipelines in the United States, such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

We are concerned about the tensions involving the Wet’suwet’en Peoples, who are working to protect their water and lands in British Columbia. Most recently they are working to prevent the construction of several pipelines through their territory. Such construction would do severe damage to the land, water, and living beings.

Bear Creek Friends Meeting, of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) approved sending the following letter to British Columbia Premier, John Horgan.

John Horgan.
PO BOX 9041 STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA, BC V8W 9E1.
Email premier@gov.bc.ca

John Horgan,

We’re concerned that you are not honoring the tribal rights and unceded Wet’suwet’en territories and are threatening a raid instead.

We ask you to de-escalate the militarized police presence, meet with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, and hear their demands:

That the province cease construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project and suspend permits.

That the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and tribal rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected by the state and RCMP.

That the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and associated security and policing services be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands, in agreement with the most recent letter provided by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimiation’s (CERD) request.

That the provincial and federal government, RCMP and private industry employed by Coastal GasLink (CGL) respect Wet’suwet’en laws and governance system, and refrain from using any force to access tribal lands or remove people.

Bear Creek Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
19186 Bear Creek Road, Earlham, Iowa, 50072

Several of us gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, for a vigil in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en peoples, February 7, 2020.

Wet’suwet’en Updates 2.7.2020 Evening


Our most recent action was a vigil held at a Chase bank in Des Moines, December, 2021. Chase funds fossil fuel projects. You can see the solidarity, including Des Moines Black Lives Matter. https://landbackfriends.com/2021/12/23/iowa-solidarity-with-wetsuweten/


Writings about the Wet’suwet’en from my blog posts:
https://landbackfriends.com/?s=wetsuweten
https://jeffkisling.com/?s=wetsuweten+wet%27suwet%27en


Building the Future We Want

I wrote about the Rally for Reproductive Justice at the Iowa Women of Achievement bridge in downtown Des Moines last Friday. The event was a case study of how I hope and pray we find our way toward the goal of Beloved community. This is urgent now as the systems we have depended on continue to collapse around us.

White Christian problem

I’m always uncomfortable talking about myself but being asked to take photos at this event represents one principle of how we can work together. White males represent/perpetuate the systems of dominance that we must get rid of. Being a white male, I work to avoid those attributes in what I do.

White people need to wait to be invited into this work. So, I was honored that one of my friends, Sikowis Nobiss, of the Great Plains Action Society asked me to take photos at the rally. It takes a long time for this trust to develop. I’ve been working with the Great Plains Action Society for five years.

Sikowis Nobiss

There were several signs at the gathering like the one below that say “end the white Christian problem and keep abortions legal”. White supremacy is at the root of systems of dominance and oppression. White Christians should work to liberate themselves from their systems of dominance and oppression. In the process, helping liberate those oppressed by those systems.


I’m going to try to explain how the principles of the Red/Green New Deal in the diagram above were represented at the Reproductive Justice event. The Green New Deal (GND) represents the idea of modeling bold initiatives to address environmental disaster on the New Deal of the 1930’s.

LANDBACK

The Red New Deal stands for Indigenous led Green New Deal. This is represented in the diagram above as LANDBACK.

The Reproductive Justice rally was supported by the many justice organizations in Iowa listed in this graphic. My friend Sikowis Nobiss of the Great Plains Action Society was one of the main organizers (and who asked me to take photos). Other Indigenous friends included Mahmud Fitil who took video via a drone, Donnielle Wanatee, who gave prayers, and Ronnie James of Des Moines Mutual Aid who setup the Wells Fargo Kills Communities banner. Our gathering was just across the street from the Wells Fargo Arena.

NOTE: I have another blog which is about LANDBACK titled LANDBACK Friends.

It is the reclamation of everything stolen from the original Peoples.

  • Land
  • Language
  • Ceremony
  • Medicines
  • Kinship

It is a relationship with Mother Earth that is symbiotic and just, where we have reclaimed stewardship. 
It is bringing our People with us as we move towards liberation and embodied sovereignty through an organizing, political and narrative framework. 
It is a catalyst for current generation organizers and centers the voices of those who represent our future. 
It is recognizing that our struggle is interconnected with the struggles of all oppressed Peoples.
It is a future where Black reparations and Indigenous LANDBACK co-exist. Where BIPOC collective liberation is at the core. 
It is acknowledging that only when Mother Earth is well, can we, her children, be well. 
It is our belonging to the land – because – we are the land. 
We are LANDBACK!

LANDBACK Manifesto


Black Liberation

BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. White supremacy is the attempt of White people to dominate those who are not white, i.e. BIOPC people. Much of what I’ve been writing about regarding Indigenous peoples applies to black and other people of color. The obvious differences relate to the history of enslavement and continued injustices related to skin color.

From the LANDBACK Manifesto (above): “It is a future where Black reparations and Indigenous LANDBACK co-exist. Where BIPOC collective liberation is at the core.” This is represented by Black Liberation in the diagram above.

One of the main organizations involved in the Rally for Reproductive Justice was Des Moines Black Liberation. The concept of black liberation represents moving beyond the concept of Black Lives Matter.


Abolition

Today abolition commonly refers to abolition of police and prisons. The public lynching of so many unarmed Black and other people of color appear relentlessly because of news and bystander videos. There are incredible inequities of prison populations and long sentences of BIPOC people compared to white people. Prisons are abused to keep BIPOC people off the streets.

There are numerous examples of the success of dispatching mental health personnel instead of police where appropriate.

Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid has been my focus for justice work for the past several years. While Des Moines Mutual Aid is not listed in the organizations supporting the Rally for Reproductive Justice, several of us were at the Rally. One thing they did while I was taking photos was set up this banner calling attention to missing and murdered Indigenous relatives (MMIR).

The Rally for Reproductive Justice was in solidarity with the annual day of awareness about MMIR that is observed at this time. The Wells Fargo banner calls attention to the bank’s financing fossil fuel projects. Pipelines are often intentionally built near native communities. Violence against native peoples occurs from the men in the camps at the construction sites. The Wells Fargo Arena is just across the street from where the rally was held.

The color red is associated with MMIR. Many in the crowd at the rally wore red, and the Women of Achievement bridge was lit in red for the same reason.

Bridge lit in red in support of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives

As shown in the graphic above, Mutual Aid is about getting rid of vertical hierarchies, which is fundamental for building Beloved communities. There won’t be power structures of superiority, dominance, and oppression if we commit to the framework of Mutual Aid.

Conservation

For healing for Mother Earth to occur, it is essential to dramatically reduce extraction and consumption of resources. We must act in a manner that will be best for the next seven generations.

Spirituality (Religious socialism)

My friend Donnielle Wanatee offered prayers during the Rally.

Donnielle Wanatee

That briefly covers what is included in the graphic above (Red/Green New Deal).


I wanted to mention there were people at the rally to sign for those with hearing impairments.

One of the other organizations supporting the Rally was Iowa CCI (Citizens for Community Improvement) that I’ve just begun to become involved with. One of my friends is Jake Grobe, who is the Climate Justice Organizer for Iowa CCI. Jake and I often see each other at the Des Moines Mutual Aid food giveaway each Saturday morning.

Jake and Sikowis are two of the people who did a great deal of work creating a new coalition, the Buffalo Rebellion. This coalition will do much to help us build the future we want. The Buffalo Rebellion recently held an intense Climate Summit that I was blessed to attend, to build a network of climate and justice advocates.

Sikowis Nobiss and Jake Grobe

As my Mutual Aid friends and I left the Rally we said, “I’ll see you in the morning” where we’ll be at our food giveaway.

Rally for Reproductive Justice

Last night we gathered at the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge in downtown Des Moines. This was a solidarity rally for Reproductive Justice and awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous relatives (MMIR). The bridge was lit with red, the color associated with MMIR.

I learned two friends were connected to two of the women honored by the bridge.

I was glad to see so many of my friends, from Great Plains Action Society, Des Moines Mutual Aid, Des Moines Black Liberation, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Sierra Club Beyond Coal.

This sign was erected, with the Wells Fargo Arena in the background. Wells Fargo is one of the banks that fund pipelines. Many Indigenous women are taken and/or killed by pipeline construction workers because, as another example of environmental racism, the pipelines are often built near Indigenous communities. I was going to say near Indigenous lands, but it is all Indigenous land.


NATIONAL MOBILIZATION FOR REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE

NOTE: The date has been changed for the Rally for Reproductive Justice I wrote about yesterday. That event will be this Friday, May 6, 6:45 – 8:30 PM Central. More information here: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2022/05/04/reproductive-justice/


Rally for Repro Rights

Saturday 3 PM Central

Iowa State Capitol

Saturday, May 7, 2022
3:00 PM Central
Public · Anyone on or off Facebook
Come and gather with others in response to the leaked SCOTUS draft opinion on Roe v. Wade. Join us on the west side of the Capitol.

𝗪𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗹𝗹.
𝗔𝗯𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲.
𝗥𝗲𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗵𝘂𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀.

Sponsors of the event include:
Great Plains Action Society
Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
Iowa Abortion Access Fund
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Iowa Coalition for Collective Change
League of Women Voters of Iowa
New Frontier
No Justice No Peace
One Iowa
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa
Progress Iowa
The Urban Impact Show
Young Women’s Resource Center


NATIONAL MOBILIZATION FOR REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE

The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice was initiated by Radical Women last year. It has been organizing in several states and gearing up for “day of decision” demonstrations for when the Supreme Court ruling is released. We stand together around a strong set of demands that reflect the whole spectrum of reproductive justice, from ending forced sterilization and overturning the Hyde Amendment, to guaranteed affordable childcare and accurate sex education. Mobilization participants including feminists, unionists, people of color and LGBTQ+ activists.

National and local activities, the full set of demands and endorsers, and information about the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice are posted at www.ReproJusticeNow.org.

What we call for:

  • Protect & expand Roe v. Wade; safe, legal abortion on demand without apology
  • Repeal the Hyde Amendment
  • Overturn state barriers to reproductive choices
  • Stop forced sterilization
  • No to caged kids, forced assimilation, & child welfare abuses
  • End medical & environmental racism; for universal healthcare
  • Defend queer & trans families
  • Guarantee medically sound sex education & affordable childcare
  • Sexual self-determination for people with disabilities
  • Uphold social progress with expanded voting rights & strong unions

Initiated by Radical Women



Radical Women

A trailblazing socialist feminist organization, Radical Women is the revolutionary wing of the women’s movement and a strong feminist voice within the Left. Immersed in the daily fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-trans bigotry, and labor exploitation, Radical Women believes in multi-issue organizing around the needs of the most marginalized. We view the leadership of gender-oppressed people, especially those who are of color, as decisive to social change and we train women to take their place in the forefront of the struggle. Radical Women is an autonomous group of ciswomen, transwomen and non-binary people, united on the basis of shared socialist feminist ideals expressed in The Radical Women Manifesto.

Get involved if you want to change the world and collaborate with a dynamic bunch of feminist rebels of all colors, sexualities and ages. Everyone has something to learn, teach and contribute!

Buffalo Rebellion and Red/Green New Deal

The Sunrise Movement was launched as a national campaign for a Green New Deal (GND) in 2017. From the beginning I heard my native friends talk about the importance of a GND to be Indigenous led. In 2019 Sunrise’s Green New Deal tour began with a stop in Des Moines. There my friends Trisha Cax-Sep-Gu-Wiga Etringer and Lakasha Yooxot Likipt spoke about Indigenous leadership as a requirement for a GND. https://landbackfriends.com/2021/09/01/indigenous-led-green-new-deal/


Last weekend’s Climate Summit of the newly formed Buffalo Rebellion provided an opportunity for organizations and people to come together to share what is being done to address the climate crisis. And lay the groundwork for working together, focusing on action related to the racial and economic consequences of environmental devastation. That requires taking on entrenched white supremacy, systemic racism and rapacious capitalism.

The Buffalo Rebellion is a coalition that includes Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Great Plains Action Society, Des Moines Black Liberation Movement, Iowa MMJ, SEIU Iowa, Sierra Club Iowa Beyond Coal, and Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement.

We believe that we must address the root of climate change, insatiable corporate greed and white supremacy, to make change happen. This will require a multi-racial movement of working people struggling together to upend politics as usual.

Buffalo Rebellion

… what if the question all water protectors and land defenders asked was, why don’t we just overturn the system that makes development a threat in the first place? This system, again, is capitalism. Rather than taking an explicitly conservationist approach, the Red Deal instead proposes a comprehensive, full-scale assault on capitalism, using Indigenous knowledge and tried-and-true methods of mass mobilization as its ammunition. In this way, it addresses what are commonly thought of as single issues like the protection of sacred sites—which often manifest in specific uprisings or insurrections—as structural in nature, which therefore require a structural (i.e., non-reformist reform) response that has the abolition of capitalism via revolution as its central goal. We must be straightforward about what is necessary. If we want to survive, there are no incremental or “non-disruptive” ways to reduce emissions. Reconciliation with the ruling classes is out of the question. Market-based solutions must be abandoned. We have until 2050 to reach net-zero carbon emissions. That’s it. Thirty years. The struggle for a carbon-free future can either lead to revolutionary transformation or much worse than what Marx and Engels imagined in 1848, when they forewarned that “the common ruin of the contending classes” was a likely scenario if the capitalist class was not overthrown. The common ruin of entire peoples, species, landscapes, grasslands, waterways, oceans, and forests—which has been well underway for centuries—has intensified more in the last three decades than in all of human existence.

The Red Nation, The Red Deal (pp. 21-22). Common Notions. Kindle Edition.


My Mutual Aid community models many Green/Red New Deal concepts.

I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.

So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”

Ronnie James, Des Moines Mutual Aid, Great Plains Action Society

Building a coalition

I’m reflecting and praying about what happened this past weekend during the Climate Summit of the newly formed Buffalo Rebellion, a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice.

Buffalo Rebellion is a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. The Earth Day Rally will be an afternoon of honoring Mother Earth through sharing stories and visions for climate justice and taking action together for a world that puts people and the planet before profits for a few.

Following the Earth Day Rally, Buffalo Rebellion will be holding two days of immersive training to develop 100 grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement.

Formed in 2021, Buffalo Rebellion is comprised of seven Iowa organizations: Great Plains Action Society, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement, SEIU Local 199, and Iowa CCI.

Buffalo Rebellion


Extremely thankful for this community we built this weekend. Looking forward to fighting for the future alongside all of you.
Thank you to the organizers, and big love to the participants.
Keep an eye out for Buffalo Rebellions next move.

Photo by @karl.ajconrad
@iowacci@iowammj@desmoinesblm@greatplainsactionsociety@sunrisemvmtcr
#climatecrisis#climatejustice#landback#racialjustice
Buffalo Rebellion 4/24/2022


How do you build a coalition? You bring together organizations and people who have demonstrated they are effective at building community and organizing for change. And who are aligned in their purpose.

My experience is there are a small number of people and organizations who shoulder justice work in a city or geographical area. Which means they are acquainted with each other. A given individual often belongs to multiple organizations.

But these groups often don’t work together. Building a coalition is how to remedy that. The organizations listed above are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. That is our common purpose. Rapidly evolving environmental chaos is an existential threat that requires radical action now.

Centering on racial and economic justice is crucial for many reasons. Blatant environmental racism is seen over and over again by the location of hazardous infrastructure in Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) communities. Conversely, solar panels are not often seen there.

There are many aspects of economic injustice as well. Those economically disadvantaged also tend to live in areas of environmental hazards. And supply the labor for jobs such as coal, oil, and tar sands mining, while white capitalists receive (steal) the profits.

Building a coalition requires us to know and trust each other. And to learn about each other’s work. Tools that we can bring to our organizations. Or know who has expertise we can turn to for help.

This past weekend of Buffalo Rebellion meetings and action went a long way in beginning to accomplish these goals. It was important to have the action of marching to the offices of MidAmerican Energy. Demonstrating how direct actions work.

The many excellent presentations shared the tools and knowledge of experts in our coalition. The following table of presentations gives an idea of what was done.

Community Building & StorytellingCedar Rapids Sunrise
End-Stage Iowa, Indigenous Land Stewardship & the Green
(Red) New Deal
Great Plains Action Society (GPAS), Iowa Citizens Community Improvement (ICCI)
NoDAPL Reunion Panel
Fundamentals of Organizing (Starting an Issue Based Campaign
and Fundraising 101)
DSM Black Liberation, ICCI, Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Police, Prison, & Military Abolition for Climate JusticeDSM Black Liberation Movement
Lobbying: Get Your Local Green New Deal Passed into LawCedar Rapids Sunrise
Migration in Iowa and Big-AgIowa Migrant Movement for Justice
Art and ActivismSay Poetry, DSM Black Liberation Movement
Frontline Tactical Methods to Protect the Land: From Direct Actions and Resistance Camps
Landscapes: The Kinship of Climate, Wildness, and Community
Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance MovementsGPAS, DSM Mutual Aid
Linking the Origins of Iowa’s Contemporary Environmental Problems to the Extractive Nature of White Settlement
Ending White Supremacy in Climate OrganizingCPAS, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Launching the Movement: Strategic Applications of Drones for Grassroots ActionsGPAS
Building Power with Public NarrativeCedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall
Damn Lies and C02 pipelinesScience and Environmental Health Network
Deep Canvassing ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall
Urban Farming and Community FridgesSweet Tooth Farms
Bird-Dogging 101Cedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM Black Liberation Movement
Youth Caucus ReportSeventh Generation Youth Climate Caucus

You can see the videos of most of these presentations on the Buffalo Rebellion Facebook page.

For example, this is the presentation by my friend Ronnie James of Des Moines Mutual Aid and Great Plains Action Society.

Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance Movements

– Ronnie James, DSM Mutual Aid & Great Plains Action Society

An introduction to the how and why of supporting frontliners that suffer arrest during Movement activities. Instruction will cover the reason for, creation of, and implementation of a Bail Fund. We will also touch on the main phases of the arrest and court process: Arrest, Pre-Trial, Trial, Post-Trial, Sentencing, and Incarceration, and some of the avenues of support the defendant will require during these phases. We will discuss the role of the Defense Committee, and how they compare and contrast with the Legal Defense Team. Finally, there will be a brief summary of how this works in Des Moines, Iowa in the present moment.

Click here to see video.


The goal of this weekend of immersive training was to develop grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement. I think that was accomplished.



#IAClimateJustice #ClimateJustice @NoCCSIowa

@iowacci @iowammj @desmoinesblm @greatplainsactionsociety @sunrisemvmtcr
#climatecrisis #climatejustice #landback #racialjustice

Earth Day Rally Des Moines

As I’ve written about recently, we held an Earth Day Rally in Des Moines yesterday. The rally was part of the three-day Climate Summit of the Buffalo Rebellion I’m attending.

After a number of people spoke, we walked to the offices of MidAmerican Energy, which has been the focus of climate activists for some time because of their refusal to close their coal burning plants. https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/?s=midamerican

As we chanted outside the building the security guard called the police. Several Des Moines police cars arrived, but then left when they saw we were peaceful and exercising our right of free speech. At least I assume that’s why they left. Then we returned to Cowles Commons.


Earth Day Rally

I’m excited about attending this Earth Day Rally organized by the Buffalo Rebellion. And attending the immersive training Saturday and Sunday. The organizations that make up this coalition can be found below.

We believe that we must address the root of climate change, insatiable corporate greed and white supremacy, to make change happen. This will require a multi-racial movement of working people struggling together to upend politics as usual.

This Earth Day, millions of people are demanding that world leaders take the crises we’re facing seriously.

Join us Friday, 12-4pm for an Earth Day Rally & Action!

If you listen to Iowa Public Radio today, you’ll hear about Buffalo Rebellion, an exciting new coalition of Iowa organizations working to grow a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. 

This weekend, Buffalo Rebellion is holding two-days of immersive training to develop 100 grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community.

But first, we want to come together for an afternoon of honoring Mother Earth through collective action.
WHAT: Honor Mother Earth Rally & Action! 
WHEN: Friday, April 22 from 12 pm – 4 pm 12 pm – we’ll gather for lunch with local food trucks at Cowles Commons, 1 pm – rally around stories and visions for climate justice, 1:45 pm – we’ll take action together for a world that puts people and the planet before corporate profit.
WHERE: Cowles Commons, 221 Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50309
DETAILS TO KNOW: The event will happen rain or shine  (forecast looking ok though)! Bring money for lunch (or bring your own) and parking (parking maps and info here). The action will consist of a <1 mile march. Family friendly, the action is youth-led. 
WHY: The latest IPCC report continues to make the path forward very clear: it’s either people and the planet or fossil fuels. It’s up to us to build power and push our leaders to action.  For a brighter future,

Jake Grobe (he/him)
Climate Justice Organizer
——————–

We believe that we must address the root of climate change, insatiable corporate greed and white supremacy, to make change happen. This will require a multi-racial movement of working people struggling together to upend politics as usual.

“Iowa has been made into a sacrifice zone by government sanctioned Big-Ag corporations, which have a stranglehold on the climate and environmental legislation. Colonial-capitalist farming practices are poisoning our water, depleting the soil, and are a leading contributor to Iowa’s greenhouse emissions causing climate chaos.” – Sikowis Nobiss, Plains Cree/Saulteaux, Executive Director, Great Plains Action Society

Buffalo Rebellion was formed in November 2021 and consists of:
Great Plains Action Society
DSM Black Liberation Movement
Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice
Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Sunrise Movement Cedar Rapids
SEIU Local 199
and Iowa CCI.

The coalition is part of the national Green New Deal Network.

If you’re interested in attending the training potion of the summit or have any other questions, please email us at IowaBuffaloRebellion@gmail.com.