WASHINGTON D.C- Frontline Indigenous leaders from various fossil fuel fights from across Turtle Island have occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. for the first time since the 1970’s. On March 16th, 1970, the first occupation of a Bureau of Indian Affairs office happened in Littleton, Colorado and led to the Indian Hiring Preference and set off a chain of occupations that ended in Washington D.C. in 1972.
For the last week, there has been a historic surge of Indigenous resistance in the D.C. area starting on Monday, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, where “Expect Us” was written on the Andrew Jackson statue outside of the White House ahead of 130 Indigenous leaders and allies being arrested outside of the White House on Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Despite a proclamation declaring October 11th Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Indigenous leaders were met with police violence and lrad was used on Indigenous matriarchs and youth being arrested on the White House fence.
This was followed on Tuesday by two Water Protectors demanding Biden Stop Line 3 climbing the flagpole outside the Army Corp North Atlantic Division Office, replacing it with a “Free Informed and Prior Consent” flag that read “Consultation is not Consent.”
The Indigenous leaders issued this statement:
We will no longer allow the U.S. government to separate us from our relationship to the sacred knowledge of Mother Earth and all who depend on her. Her songs have no end, so we must continue the unfinished work of our ancestors who have walked on before us. Because of colonization, our mission has been passed on generation after generation- to protect the sacred. Just as those who walked before us, we continue their song and rise for our youth, for the land, and for the water. Politicians do not take care of us. Presidents will break their promises but Mother Earth has always given us what we need to thrive. We will not back down until our natural balance is restored.
For the land, for our waters, for our future– we must fight now so our young will thrive.
You can arrest us, tear gas us, poison us but there will always be more hearts to continue the song until we are all free.
Another world is possible.
Our demands for the President of the United States are:
-Abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
-Restoration of 110 million acres (450,000 km2) of land taken away from Native Nations
–Bring Home Our Children Buried At Your Residential Schools
-Restoration of treaty-making (ended by Congress in 1871).
-Establishment of a treaty commission to make new treaties (with sovereign Native Nations).
-Honor the Treaties
-No new leases for oil and gas or extractive industry on public lands
-Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
-Reclaim and affirm health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for all Indigenous people.
-Restoration of terminated rights.
-Repeal of state jurisdiction on Native Nations.
-Federal protection for offenses against Indians.