The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the homeland to the Gwich’in (Athabascan) people of interior Alaska and the Inupiat (Eskimo) people of the North Coast. Both cultures have depended on the caribou and the land for food, clothing and their subsistence way of life, for thousands of years. The Gwich’in have respected this land for millennia, caring for its clean air and clean water, and call the caribou birthing place on the coastal plain ‘Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit,’ The Sacred Place Where Life Begins. Debate over Arctic National Wildlife Refuge goes back decades, as more than 6,000 square kilometers of the refuge’s coastal plain contain the largest untapped land-based oil reserves in Turtle Island / North America. U.S. President Biden recently issued an Executive Order placing a moratorium on all oil and gas development activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but permanent protection is still needed.

Gwich’in Steering Committee Executive Director Bernadette Demientieff. Photo by Dylan McLaughlin.


The Canadian tar sands lie just downstream of the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in Canada’s boreal forest. The region contains some 2 trillion barrels of oil, but accessing it all would require destroying an area larger than the U.S. state
of Florida. Tar sands oil is the world’s most climate-damaging oil, producing three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventionally produced oil due to the enormous amount of energy required to extract and process it. Cree, Métis, and Dene
communities have been fighting the expansion of the Canadian tar sands for over 20 years, and this critical work continues to the present day.

Tar Sands Gathering, Cold Lake First Nation. Photo by Jade Begay.


The canceled Teck Frontier tar sands mine was the largest open-pit tar sands mine ever proposed. If it had been built, Teck would have been located on Dene and Cree territory in Treaty 8, an area with little to no existing industrial development. These lands and waters are home to one of the last free-roaming, disease-free herds of wood bison. The area also lies near many Indigenous settlements, along the migration route for the only wild population of the endangered whooping crane and just 30 kilometers from the boundary of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site Wood Buffalo National Park — an area valued and protected for its cultural sites and biodiversity. Following sustained resistance from the Dene Nation, Indigenous Climate Action, and many others, owner Teck Resources cancelled the
project in early 2020.

Indigenous Climate Action Executive Director Erel Deranger speaking at Reject Teck Frontier Mine Action. Photo by Ayse Gursoz.


The canceled Pierre River tar sands mine would have significantly expanded the footprint of the Canadian tar sands, locking in additional oil production for decades and desecrating First Nations territory in northern Alberta. Proposed at a time when
tar sands expansion was fashionable, the project’s financial viability was damaged by strong resistance to export pipelines such as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway.

Following sustained opposition to the project by Dene, Cree and Métis peoples and allies, owner Shell cancelled the project in 2015.

Tar Sands Banner, photo Courtesy of Tar Sands Resistance Grassroots.


The canceled Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline would have crossed many First Nations territories and nearly 1,000 rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. In 2010, over 60 First Nations issued a declaration that called the pipeline a “grave threat” to “our laws, traditions, values and our inherent rights as Indigenous peoples,” and the pipeline was stridently opposed by the Yinka Dene Alliance, Heiltsuk Nation, Coastal First Nations, Wet’suwet’en First Nation, and many other Indigenous resisters. A Canadian Federal Court of Appeals ultimately agreed that the project had failed to provide full consultation, ignoring issues like unceded land title and First Nations governance, and the project was canceled by the Canadian government in late 2016.

Yinka Dene No Pipelines Banner, April 2011, photo courtesy of Yinka Dene Alliance.


The canceled Energy East tar sands pipeline would have been the largest in Turtle Island / North America, carrying more than 1.1 billion barrels of tar sands on a daily basis. Groups including the Wolastoq Nation, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Kanesatà’ke Mohawk, as well as the Iroquois Council and the Assembly of First Nations Quebec and Labrador, strongly opposed the pipeline over its likely damages to waterways, air quality, and unceded lands, and the project was canceled by owner TransCanada in 2017.

The Anishinaabe Water Walk to protest the Energy East Pipeline. Photo by Samantha Samson/Kenora Daily Miner.


The proposed Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline project was formerly owned by Kinder Morgan and currently owned by the Canadian government, and would stretch from Edmonton, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia. The pipeline is strongly opposed by the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, due to a lack of Indigenous consultation and the severe harm the project would cause to communities and the climate. The project was temporarily halted in 2016 due in part to a failure of proper consultation, and is currently facing a sustained campaign against its key insurers as well as ongoing lawsuits and protests.

Tiny House Warriors. Photo courtesy of Tiny House Warriors.

“Advocacy and direct action by Indigenous Peoples in opposition to threats to lands, waters, air, and future generations are not optional measures by those that adhere and live by traditional Indigenous knowledge. They are obligations.”


The proposed Coastal GasLink Pipeline would carry fracked gas from the Dawson Creek area in northeast British Columbia through the Canadian Rockies and other mountains to a proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) facility near Kitimat, British Columbia. This facility would be operated by Shell Canada and partners, where the gas would be prepared for export to global markets by converting it to a liquefied state.

Currently under construction and one-third completed as of February 2021, the Coastal GasLink Pipeline would pass  through significant Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia, and all 13 house chiefs of the five Wet’suwet’en clans oppose the pipeline.

Building on their past opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline, the Wet’suwet’en and supporters established the Unist’ot’en Camp in the path of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline and supported sustained protests that reverberated internationally and continue to challenge the pipeline’s construction to the present day.

Land defender walks through an Unistoten No Coastal Gaslink road blockade comprised of red dresses that represent Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, Photo by Amber Bracken / The Narwhal.


The proposed Alton Gas Pipeline and Storage Facility, located in so-called New Brunswick, would use water from the Shubenacadie River to hollow out underground salt deposits, emptying the salt into the river and creating space for 10 billion cubic feet of fossil gas storage. The Sipekne’katik First Nation and Mi’kmaq water protectors are part of multiple coalitions who have resisted the project over a lack of consultation and potential damages.

Mi’kmaq March against Alton Gas. Photo courtesy of the Council of Canadians.


The proposed Line 3 oil pipeline would stretch more than 300 miles across northern Minnesota, crossing more than 200 bodies of water and threatening sacred wild rice beds along the Mississippi River, and Gitchigumi / Lake Superior. Groups including Mississippi River Band of Ojibwe are leading the fight against this massive tar sands pipeline, which threatens Treaty rights to hunting, fishing, and gathering, and endangers sacred sites along its route. Indigenous communities have established several frontline encampments along the route of Line 3 as protests mount and pressure builds on U.S. President Joe Biden to reject this pipeline’s improperly issued permits and stop its construction.

Stop Line 3 Treaty People Gathering 2021. Photo by Thaiphy Phan-Quang / Indigenous Environmental Network.


The Dakota Access oil pipeline passes through four U.S. states on its way from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Illinois, where it connects to larger pipeline systems linking to the Gulf Coast and refining and export facilities. A portion of the 1,200-mile pipeline in North Dakota became the site of headline resistance and often violent repression by authorities and private security forces. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe led the fight against the pipeline, which desecrated a sacred burial ground and threatens their water supply. Indigenous activists from across the country and beyond came to fight the pipeline, which was temporarily defeated in late 2016. Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s election, Dakota Access was completed and began operating, but continued legal advocacy by Tribes and allies resulted in key permits being invalidated. The pipeline is currently undergoing an environment review process led by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, which could result in its shutdown within the next year. Meanwhile, the company has secured permission from all states along its route to double its capacity.

Shut Down DAPL die-in action at Army Corps of Engineers HQ, April 2021, photo courtesy of Indigenous Environmental Network.


The 800,000 barrel-per-day canceled Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was planned to be a 1,200 mile-long project that crossed from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. It was fiercely opposed by groups in both the United States and Canada, including Dene, Cree, Metis, Oceti Sakowin, and Ponca tribes and communities.

Indigenous leaders helped lead a coalition that also included Nebraska landowners and environmentalists in more than a decade-long struggle. In 2021, President Joe Biden revoked the presidential permit for KXL and 6 months later, in June 2021, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) announced the project was officially dead.

Reject and Protect Protest in Washington DC, Reuben George speaking, April 2014. Photo by Garth Lenz / iLCP.


The proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and 229-mile Pacific Connector gas pipeline in southern Oregon have been opposed by Indigenous Peoples in the region, including the Karuk, Yurok, Klamath, and Round Valley Tribes. This resistance arose due to severe concerns about tribal sovereignty, water impacts, climate damage, fisheries, and cultural sites, and some tribes have been fighting the project for more than 15 years. In 2020 and 2021, the U.S. state of Oregon and U.S. federal government denied key permits needed by the project, leaving it with no clear route forward. Despite this, owner Pembina Pipeline has not yet given up trying to build the pipeline and export terminal, and resistance continues from Indigenous groups and allies in southern Oregon.

No Jordan Cove LNG Rally, Salem. Photo by Rick Rappaport.


The proposed Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline would cross areas of West Virginia and Virginia, while its ‘Southgate’ extension would continue into North Carolina. The pipeline has already incurred hundreds of complaints and fines from water crossing damage and erosion during construction, which is still only partially completed.

Members of tribes including the Monacan, Cheyenne River Sioux, Occaneechi-Saponi and Rosebud Sioux have been fighting the pipeline’s construction, which could impact dozens of sacred sites, including multiple burial mounds. The project is also facing strong resistance from landowners and finance campaigners, and still missing several key permits required to finalize construction. Pressure is mounting on President Joe Biden to stop the pipeline.

March against Mountain Valley Pipeline. Photo by Crystal Cavalier-Keck.


The canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline would have carried fracked fossil gas from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina, traversing lands home to many Native Americans, damaging or destroying sacred places, unmarked burial grounds, and the environment. State-recognized Tribes Haliwa-Saponi and Lumbee joined many other groups in court challenges and protests to stop the pipeline; other tribes affected by the proposed pipeline included the Coharie and Meherrin. The Atlantic Coast Pipelin’s route would have disproportionately affected Indigenous communities — one study found that 13.2% of the impacted North Carolina population identified as Native American, despite Native Americans representing just 1.2% of North Carolina’s population. Due to mounting community opposition and costs as a result of significant delay, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was canceled by owners Dominion Energy and Duke Energy in 2020.

March against Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Indigenous leaders, photo by Stop ACP Grassroots.


The Chaco Canyon region and San Juan oil and gas basin in New Mexico in the southwestern United States have been the site of an intense battle over extraction for decades, with Indigenous resistance winning important protections against fracking and extraction while corporations continue to apply to drill and frack the region. The Navajo and Pueblo peoples are currently fighting an expansion of fracking that would threaten spiritual and cultural sites, including the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Drilling-related development has already destroyed ancient roads and worsened air quality in the area, and vibrations from preliminary drilling has harmed ancient Indigenous sites.

No New Leases Action, New Mexico 2020, photo courtesy of Pueblo Action Alliance.


The Permian oil and gas basin in southeast New Mexico and west Texas in the United States is one of the world’s largest carbon bombs; it is already being exploited but stands to increase fossil fuel production more than any other region over the next decade if action is not taken to constrain the buildout. Collectively, emissions from Permian oil and gas could amount to over 60 billion tons of carbon dioxide over the coming decades. Indigenous groups like the Society of Native Nations have led resistance to leases, extraction, and infrastructure projects in the Permian basin region, while other groups like the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas have strongly resisted ‘downstream’ projects like pipelines and export terminals that carry the oil and gas from the Permian basin to refineries and processing facilities along the Gulf Coast. The Permian Basin is likely to continue to be one of the major sites of struggle and Indigenous resistance against carbon until a just transition is implemented and extraction is phased out in the region.

Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe marching to fight the expansion of the permian basin fossil fuel projects. Photo courtesy of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe.


The Trans-Pecos fracked gas pipeline is a 42-inch pipe that runs 148 miles across west Texas, from the heart of the Permian Basin across the wilderness of the Big Bend region and into Mexico for transport and distribution. Its current capacity is 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day. The Society of Native Nations resisted this pipeline from its inception with deep concerns over Indigenous rights, climate impacts, and threats to drinking water, establishing the Twin Rivers Camp as a point of organizing in the region and successfully deploying direct actions to slow the pipeline’s construction.

Society of Native Nations and other indigenous members joined Defend Big Bend members at march on ETP’s Trans-Pecos Pipeline. Photo courtesy of Greg Harman.


The Permian Highway gas pipeline is a 42-inch, 430-mile long project running from west Texas to the U.S. Gulf Coast and Mexico for distribution. Its current capacity is 2.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day. Like they did with the Trans-Pecos Pipeline in learning from the lessons of fighting Dakota Access at Standing Rock, the Society of Native Nations aggressively opposed the Permian Highway project, fearing its potential for grievous harm to drinking water and the climate. These Indigenous resisters joined environmental groups in opposition to the Permian Highway project, fighting statelevel permits throughout its construction process.

March against Texas pipeline. Photo courtesy of Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe.


The Bayou Bridge oil pipeline runs through Louisiana in the southeast United States, carrying Bakken oil to Gulf Coast refineries and export. Indigenous water protectors established the L’eau Est La Vie protest site along the route of the pipeline, where they faced brutal attacks and arrests by police and private security forces in scenes comparable to the violence at Standing Rock. Female Indigenous activists also confronted the pipeline’s operators and a key financial backer, Credit Suisse, over lack of consultation and threats to the water supply for the United Houma Nation.

Water Protectors stopping construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, L’eau La Vie Camp. Photo by Dallas Goldtooth.


The proposed Rio Grande liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal and Rio Bravo gas pipeline, owned by Enbridge and NextDecade, would facilitate a large expansion in LNG operations in south Texas, where it would be located near Brownsville. The Rio Bravo pipeline would consist of two parallel 42-inch pipes and carry up to 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day along its 137 miles, transporting the gas to NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG export terminal. The Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas has played a major role in fighting these connected projects, opposing the dangerous air quality, land destruction, and damage to cultural items and sacred sites. The Rio Grande LNG project would destroy wetlands and the endangered species who live in them, and threatened nearby communities. Resistance continues against the project, including campaigns against its financiers and work to uplift the sacred sites in the region that would be disrupted by construction and operation of the pipeline and LNG export terminal.

LNG Protest in Texas. Photo courtesy of Sierra Club TX Chapter.

“Advocacy and direct action by Indigenous Peoples in opposition to threats to lands, waters, air, and future generations are not optional measures by those that adhere and live by traditional Indigenous knowledge. They are obligations.”