From the Bakken oil fields to Standing Rock, to the Bayou Bridge; from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Keystone XL and Kinder Morgan pipelines, to the Northwest Coastal Salish Sea; Indigenous Peoples are standing up to private corporations and governments that want to treat their ceded or UN-ceded territories, waters and lands, as a sacrifice zone for profit. Native Nations have inherent and legal rights to decide what happens to their land, their waters, air, sacred sites and the climate.
The Protecting Mother Earth (PME) conference 2018 is slated to be held in the Nisqually Nation territory, near Olympia, Washington. The four day outdoor conference will be held at a location known as Franks Landing. The Nisqually are known as the southern Coast Salish people. The conference is a call to action for Indigenous Peoples of North America to build narrative and action leading to a response to the protection of Native rights, treaties and the protection of the sacredness of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
The PME conference will be a convergence of U.S. and Canadian Indigenous grassroots, frontline communities and Native Nations –First Nations (Tribal governmental leaders-Chief and Council) to articulate the political moment for building strategic opposition, shifting power, strengthening the popular momentum (from Standing Rock) and confronting the challenges of a new U.S. administration that is weakening protection mechanisms of mining, sacred sites-national monuments, like Bears Ears, and fast-tracking dirty energy development in “Indian Country”. As exemplified by the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Army Corp of Engineers and the U.S. administration rejected the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes’ request to have a full environmental impact study before any final decision was made to drill under the Missouri River. The U.S. administration blatantly disregarded tribal sovereignty.
The PME convergence will also strengthen the Indigenous Rising movement to influence and build power with broader environmental-climate-social justice allies on intersectional issues. Rapid response efforts will be a long-term organizing strategy for political, social, cultural and economic power building. From an indigenous organizing perspective, it's generally known that Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. do not have sufficient political power for change, thus, justifying a need for multi-sectoral collaborative campaigns and alliance building.
The Protecting Mother Earth Gathering will predominantly take place outdoors with camp-out style facilities. The Franks Landing Wa He Lut Indian School will provide use of its gymnasium and kitchen. Nearby motel accommodations will be available for elder, handicap and those preferring indoor overnight accommodations. The PME has an indigenous spiritual foundation with the lighting of a Sacred Fire that remains lit for four days. This is a drug and alcohol free event.
Rosalinda Guillen and Edgar Franks from C2C will be leading a workshop on Friday, June 29th from 11:10-1 pm.