Indigenous Environmental Network Mourns the Police Killing of a Land Defender


Date: Friday, January 27, 2023

Media Contact: Daisee Francour –

Bemidji, MN – Last week in the homelands of the Tsalagi & Mvskoke nations, Atlanta and Georgia State police raided peaceful protests in the Weelaunee Forest, killing 26-year-old Venezuelan land defender Manuel “Tortuguita” Estaban Paez Teran, who had been protesting “Cop City” a proposed $90M Atlanta police training facility.  

The Indigenous Environmental Network would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family, relations and comrades of Tortuguita. We further extend our love and solidarity to the land defenders of the Weelaunee Forest in Atlanta

As a network of Indigenous Peoples, we know too well the dangers of defending our lands and waters. In these struggles we have experienced brutal crackdowns on land defense, we have seen our leaders and communities marked as eco-terrorists, and we have felt the direct impact of police who have been given the authority to exercise military tactics and force upon our bodies.

The Indigenous Environmental Network advocates for the understanding that our fight for climate justice cannot be deemed a success without dismantling the legacies of colonialism and slavery, of which the police state and its violent methods are used as brutal tools. 

We join others in the call for the immediate resignation of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens in light of this police murder and urge all supporters to make a public statement on behalf of their organization/community/tribal nation condemning Tort’s murder and expressing solidarity with the forest defenders in Atlanta. 

Here are some additional ways to support the Atlanta forest defenders and Tort’s family: 


Indigenous Rising Radio

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