November has been a momentous month for the interrelated struggles of climate justice and Indigenous resistance. Climate justice brings attention to the disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis on frontline communities of color globally, centering the solutions and proposals coming from them. Among those most directly impacted by the climate crisis — as well as holding solutions critical to the survival of the planet — are the Indigenous Peoples across the world whose lives and livelihoods are intimately connected to the territories they inhabit. Because of this inextricable connection to territory, violence against Mother Earth and violence against her people cannot be separated. In response, Indigenous movements are at the forefront of the global climate justice movement, building upon centuries-long struggles for Indigenous sovereignty over land, water and other forms of territory.
Grassroots International stands with our Indigenous partners, grantees, and allies whose recent actions include:
Exposing false solutions and promoting real ones at COP26
The intersections between climate justice and Indigenous resistance ran deep at the mobilizations around the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) that took place earlier this month in Glasgow, Scotland. While the official proceedings of the COP reflected growing recognition of the critical importance of Indigenous land stewardship and ancestral knowledge, the outcomes of COP were “disastrous” in the words of our grantee ally the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). According to IEN, the “net zero” carbon offset schemes advanced at the COP are none other than continued “colonialism and unbridled violence upon Mother Earth.” Grassroots International supported members of IEN and the Huni Kui People’s Federation of the Brazilian Amazon to participate at COP both inside the official proceedings and in mobilizations outside to denounce these false solutions and push for real ones – like Indigenous forest stewardship and agroecology grounded in food sovereignty.
Nurturing a movement of water protectors in the US
The contributions of IEN at COP26 were grounded in intense frontline struggles back home, also supported by Grassroots International. In Minnesota, IEN served a key support role in the struggle against the Line 3 pipeline cutting through Indigenous territory. IEN provided communications, media and infrastructure support to encampments on Indigenous land like the Red Lake Treaty Camp, as well as taking part in direct actions. While the struggle against Line 3 saw a devastating setback in October when the pipeline became operational after a 4-year delay, the “water protectors” movement of which the Line 3 struggle is part continues to grow and gain ground.
Mobilizing in record numbers in Brazil
When Brazil’s far-right Bolsonaro regime sought to reclassify hundreds of thousands of acres of Indigenous territories to open them up for agribusiness and resource extraction, Indigenous movements mobilized in Brazil’s largest protests of Indigenous Peoples since the 1980s. Among these was our grantee ally the Huni Kui People’s Federation of the Brazilian Amazon, who placed a special emphasis on participation of youth in the mass mobilizations. As a court decision slated for August has stalled up until now, Indigenous movements of Brazil have continued to mobilize — supported in part by over $25,000 of Grassroots funds spread over multiple movements.
Resisting mining and state repression in Guatemala
Maya Q’eqchi’ communities in the municipality of El Estor, Guatemala have been facing down both a large-scale mining project and violent repression by state forces, which came to a head with a government-imposed state of siege over the past 2 months. Grassroots International partner Comité de Unidad Campesina/the Peasant Unity Committee (CUC) has been bringing these violations to the attention of the international community, calling for international solidarity in demanding that the state of siege imposed by the government be lifted, the illegally detained community members be released, and that process of free, prior and informed consent be respected, in accordance with international law.
As November comes to a close following the National Day of Mourning exposing the realities of genocide and territorial theft behind the Thanksgiving story and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – a global reference in struggles for Indigenous territory – Grassroots International affirms its ongoing commitment to stand with Indigenous struggles for people and the planet.