IEN 2020 Year In Review

Heartfelt Greetings to All Our Relations!

Please accept our sincere gratitude for standing strong with us to achieve so much this year despite the intense suffering so many of our families have faced during all of the traumatic events of 2020 including the mishandled COVID-19 pandemic, racist attacks against Black, Brown and Indigenous lives, extreme violence against womxn & Mother Earth, outrageous politics…and more.  We send continued prayers to the families whose relatives have started their journey home and to those who are coping with painful losses.  We extend our hands to you now in the spirit of reckoning, healing, and deeply transformative action as we enter 2021.

Dear Friends and Relatives,

Thanks to your support this year we not only continued our organizing and campaign work but we were also able to pivot quickly in response to the pandemic providing direct mutual aid to our communities during these extremely difficult times. Thanks to you, the Indigenous Environmental Network was able to purchase and distribute over 160,000 KN95, N95, medical disposable, and reusable cloth masks to over 50 communities from Alaska to the Amazon; and provide $672,251 in small grants to an additional 217 Indigenous community-based/grassroots Mutual Aid efforts and small home business owners. 

Please consider making a targeted contribution this holiday season directly to the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund or to the Protect the Peoples Emergency Fund to keep these lifelines flowing.  With infections and deaths still on the rise in Indian Country, we remain hard at work collecting and distributing emergency resources to the hardest hit communities. 

Please CLICK HERE to make a general support gift if you prefer! 

As always your donation goes to supporting the frontline organizations Indigenous Environmental Network works directly with– consulting and advising members of our network to strengthen their ability to lead effective community organizing, coalition building, legal and policy strategy, media and narrative creation, and non-violent direct action. 

Your support continues to strengthen Indigenous Power by mobilizing movement building strategies standing with a mass-scale of groups rooted in economic, climate, energy and environmental justice. Your donation supports us to continue to strive towards fulfilling our IEN Mission given to us by our youth, elders, women and men societies and spiritual leaders that reads:

IEN is an alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws.

Among those we mourn the loss of this year is IEN Board member and co-founder Chaz Wheelock, who became a staff member and who began his journey home in May to be with the relatives who walked before him. The impact of Chaz’s life and love for his people will continue to echo through this world with his work on the Iroquois Farms, a tribal organic agriculture venture, which established a management structure reflecting the Oneida worldview of cooperation and sharing.

In honor of Chaz and all of the teachings he contributed to IEN’s guiding principles over the last 30 years, we are excited to announce that in 2021 we will be releasing a new Indigenous Principles of Just Transition curriculum that he and others have written!  This curriculum will be used to help tribal communities create and lead their own sustainable community-building projects and provide education on interconnected principles of Responsibility & Relationship of our Indigenous Original Instructions, Tribal and Indigenous Sovereignty, and Transformation for Action.  To reclaim our future, we must change our present!

Each of our staff have prepared brief snapshot reports of our accomplishments this year that you will find below.  We hope you enjoy these year end messages with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee!  

As always, you are in our hearts and minds and we appreciate your friendship.  

With Hope & Courage,

Bineshi Albert, Simone Senogles, Kandi White, and Tom BK Goldtooth
IEN Leadership Team

Staff Reports








IEN Communications, Jennifer Falcon

This year IEN continued to grow in our media presence and our team! We brought on a social media intern, a radio show producer and will bring on a new Media Coordinator in 2021 to expand our capacity to support IEN’s campaigners and our frontline warriors. Our Instagram following hit 175K, Twitter hit over 62K, our IEN FB has 340K followers and our Indigenous Rising Media page hit over 240K this year! We not only provided media and comms support to our frontline KXL and Line 3 fighters but we also held trainings for our frontline groups so they could shape their own narrative and media. We partnered with our sisters at Indigenous Climate Action for webinars and held down our own Indigenous Feminisms webinar series.




IEN/WMAN (Western Mining Action Network) Mining Mini-Grant Initiative

This year, our joint partnership with the Western Mining Action Network, which offers financial grant assistance to communities threatened or adversely affected by mining in the U.S. and Canada, disbursed 58 IEN/WMAN Mini Grants totaling $200,455. We experienced a reduction in the number of overall IEN/WMAN applicants, particularly with Indigenous communities, as our communities were facing another level of a long-term structural issue of inequities in health care exacerbated by COVID-19. This year, states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada were taking advantage of the distraction of COVID-19 by pushing through mining development without proper consultation and consent of Indigenous Nations in the U.S. and First Nations in Canada. For more information on seeking grant information or overall mining information, contact: Sayokla Kindness Williams, WMAN Indigenous Coordinator and IEN board member at


Executive Director, Tom BK Goldtooth

Working with the Leadership Team of Simone Senogles, Kandi White and Bineshi Albert, we came out of a December 2019 meeting with the IEN board of directors (Manny Pino, Sayokla Kindness and Debra Harry) that laid out the 2020 agenda for continuing our organizational development and need for strategic planning. We all recognized the growth we are experiencing. However, we didn’t know of the upcoming pandemic virus that would hit and change our personal and organizational work in more ways that could have been imagined. 

By late March to the current time, I and the Leadership Team shifted gears implementing COVID-19 policies with travel restrictions. Following March, we entered a world of virtual meetings, sometimes with over four meetings per day. Our commitment to our work with community and movement building with allies increased with a commitment to the importance of communication.

This year I spent a lot of time serving on the Green New Deal Network (GNDN) Coordinating Team, consisting of 16 organizations. This got us involved in assuring our Indigenous voices are represented and heard in the development of 2020 stimulus federal packages. This year, with the help of Prairie Rose Seminole, IEN started a new focus to stay on top of federal policies that impact Indigenous peoples and our Tribal Nations. Together with our other movement creation– the United Frontline Table that created the Peoples’ Orientation to a Regenerative Economy– and with the GNDN, we created intentional formations working to align frontline positioning on policies needed for fundamental sectoral shifts toward a living, regenerative economy rooted in justice, equity, and living in balance with the territorial integrity of Mother Earth and her natural systems. 

Much of my work this year has been to provide the leadership needed to strengthen the power of frontline communities to advance cross-movement organizing and policy strategies to push congressional action that strengthens the rights of Indigenous Peoples and an overall Green New Deal agenda. The agenda to Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) has been part of my work this year and will continue into 2021. With staff and members such as Native Movement in Alaska and many others, we are using THRIVE as an organizing tool for change. It allows us to define how a large-scale stimulus and Green New Deal related federal package in 2021 must be aggressively focused on real climate action, economic justice, and securing funding programs for tribes and communities for clean renewable energy investments and jobs in Indian Country, for example.

In 2020 there was a need to amplify our Indigenous traditional knowledge within the Green New Deal National Network table to be about changing the system and to say we already have our platform of solutions based on the Indigenous Principles of Just Transition. This year we educated new allies and politicians about the need for real climate policy that do not include false solutions of carbon pricing mechanisms that do not cut emissions at source and that gives way to the marketing and financialization of nature that separates, quantifies, privatizes and commodifies Mother Earth’s cycles and functions, such as carbon, water, conservation and biodiversity – a new buzz word called “Nature-Based Solutions.” This year we also advocated for Indigenous Nations and the non-Indigenous governments and local governing bodies to recognize their duties and responsibilities to recognize the territorial integrity of, and rights of Mother Earth.

In 2020, there was the establishment of language within the Green New Deal initiatives that would push Executive Actions with the new President that centers codifying Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and other directives that would institutionalize federal standards and procedural requirements of federal agencies respecting inherent tribal self-determination and sovereignty, with stringent requirements of tribal consent regarding federal actions affecting our Indigenous Nations. This would be inclusive of lands held in trust; off-reservation hunting, fishing, gathering and sacred sites; and cultural and spiritual practices. The implementation of strengthening and healing the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous nations through systemic changes in US policies is necessary to honor and strengthen its Trust Responsibilities to Indigenous Nations, with specific attention to environmental and social issues.  It also calls on reversing the erosion of sovereignty of Indigenous Nations and advancing policies that reflect the nuanced relationships between our Nations.

This year led to the Winter Solstice of Indigenous spiritual leadership in Turtle Island (North America), and globally, speaking of Indigenous prophecies of this moment for the reawakening to our true human nature of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. IEN was formed by a spiritual foundation of our Indigenous knowledge, passed down by our understanding of the Original Instructions. 

This calendar year 2020 consisted of many moving pieces calling for the need to join together in transforming the economic and social structures, institutions and power relations that underpin conditions of oppression and exploitation; to reevaluating our relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth and Father Sky and for our governments, private corporations and banks to not be at war with Mother Earth and to learn to love her. 


Indigenous Rising Radio

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