November 30, 2021

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“People vs. Fossil Fuels”: Over 530 Arrested in Historic Indigenous-Led Climate Protests in D.C.

2 min read

This week over 530 climate activists were arrested during Indigenous-led civil disobedience actions in Washington, D.C., calling on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. Indigenous leaders have issued a series of demands, including the abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose offices they occupied on Thursday for the first time since the 1970s. The protests come just weeks before the start of the critical U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which President Biden and senior Cabinet members are expected to attend. “We’re not going anywhere,” says Siqiñiq Maupin, with Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, who traveled from Alaska to D.C. and was among those arrested during the BIA occupation. “We do not have time for negotiations, for compromises. We need to take this serious and take action now.” We also speak with Joye Braun, with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Indigenous Environmental Network, who was deeply involved in the Standing Rock protests to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. “The United States government brought the frontlines to us, to the Indigenous people, to our doorsteps,” says Braun. “And we wanted to bring the frontlines to his doorstep to let him see that we are very serious about climate change and declaring a climate emergency.”

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