Keep Mason City’s Racist Mascot in the Past

December 20 at 5:30 PM the Mason City Community School District will be meeting at 1515 South Pennsylvania Ave in Mason City (be there by 4:30). Map below.

May be an image of text
https://www.facebook.com/events/4637917899590338/?ti=ls

Monday, December 20, 2021, from 5:30 – 6:30 PM CST
Mason City Community School District Administration Building
1515 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City, Iowa

Important Notes:
– Enter the building on the South side.
If you would like to speak then you must be signed up to speak before 5:30 PM.
– We are encouraging folks to show up by 4:30 PM to fill the room with positivity!
– Folks signed up to speak have 5 minutes allotted, but we encourage shorter testimonies so more may be heard.
– We are there only to make a case to the Mason City School Board that they must NOT reinstate the mascot. We DO NOT encourage any interaction with the “Save the Name” group outside or inside the meeting. We insist on non-violent language and behavior.

The Mason City Community School District realized, after 96 years, that they needed to retire the racist Mohawk mascot. They did so after the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe told them to stop and the Meskwaki Nation/ACLU and Great Plains Action Society have been very public about abolishing racist mascots in Iowa. However, a white-led group of agitators is trying to reverse this decision and their rhetoric is filled with vile, dehumanizing, racist, and transphobic behavior. They managed to present a petition to speak at the December 20th meeting and we would like Indigenous folks and allies to join us in making a strong stand against white supremacy and to set a precedent that racist mascots will no longer be tolerated in Iowa.

Keep Mason City’s Racist Mascot in the Past

This is follow up to previous events about Mason City schools, including an online forum December 12. See more here: Abolish Racist Mascots

Join us for an Indigenous-led forum discussing why mascots in Iowa are harmful and perpetuate white supremacy. Though Iowa has 27 racist “Indian” mascots still being used, we will spotlight the issue in Mason City where white supremacists have organized to protest the rightful retirement of the Mohawk mascot.

Following are graphics from the Great Plains Action Society

“The Des Moines Register identified 27 high schools with Indigenous-themed mascots from a list provided by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. That count does not include the Meskwaki Settlement School Warriors. The Sac and Fox Tribe’s list included elementary and middle schools as well”

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/2021/11/30/mason-city-mohawks-name-removed-mascot-debate-continues-iowa-high-school-sports-indigenous-people/6394646001/

#greatplainsactionsociety
#NotYourMascot

Confronting white supremacy in Johnston community school district

The video below was recorded from last night’s online meeting about the Racist Rise to Ban Anti-Racist Books, Confronting white supremacy in the Johnston School District.

Of all the awful things that have been occurring over the last several years, banning books is the worst, so far, for me as a white person. At Scattergood Friends School we were taught to be lifelong learners. I not only enjoy reading, but that is how I learn about what is going on in the world. Learn about injustice and how others are working for justice.

But there is more to this for black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). Rising authoritarianism, increasingly aggressive and militarized policing, voter suppression, and actions such as banning books are all efforts to perpetuate racism and white supremacy.

Education is one of the most important ways to call attention to racism and to help white people learn ways to call it out. Calls to ban books and ban teaching of “critical race theory” are meant to prevent learning about racial injustice.

As is often the case, Johnston Community School District (JCSD) has equity as one of its strategic goals. But students, parents, and staff feel more unsafe and targeted than ever before. Hostility and violence towards students, parents, and staff of color have been increasing at the district as made evident by the many recent attacks on equity.

Things were particularly bad at the last JCSD school board meeting discussion about banning “The Hate You Give” and “Diaries of a Part-Time Indian”. A white person said several racist or homophobic words from those books out loud. Children were present. There was no context for saying them out loud, and to be spoken by a white person.

White people need to support these efforts to stop banning books and other racial incidents. School boards across the country are being weaponized to promote racism.

One of the principles of justice work is to not add to the burden of those experiencing injustice. Online discussions like last nights are great ways for white people to learn. I encourage you, especially if you are white, to take advantage of these opportunities.

The Racist Rise to Ban Anti-Racist Books.

Parents, students, and allies will gather online this Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at 7 PM CST to highlight a recent incidence of hate speech used at a board meeting and the inaction by Johnston Community School district administration and school board. The meeting largely revolved around the recent attempt by a few Johnston parents to ban the books “The Hate You Give” and “Diaries of a Part-Time Indian”, both written by BIPOC folks, which address oppression and racism in the US. There has been a rise in attempts to ban anti-racist books since 2020 when Trump tried to enact a federal ban on critical race theory. The recent state of racism and discrimination in Johnston will be discussed highlighting recent incidences that propagate racism and discrimination in the district and throughout the community.

Though the Johnston Community School District (JCSD) has equity as one of its strategic goals, students, parents, and staff feel more unsafe and targeted than ever before. Hostility and violence towards students, parents, and staff of color have been increasing at the district as made evident by the many recent attacks on equity. JCSD released a statement saying the district is continuing “to partner with parents and students to create an inclusive environment where everyone in our community has access to a high-quality educational experience” but students, parents, and staff are saying this is simply not happening. Students, parents, staff, and community members called for the district to interrupt hate speech including racist and homophobic slurs used by a parent at a recent school board meeting asking for the policy when individuals share such words. The superintendent and school board members did not stop this from happening and cited instead of the policy on public participation and did not seek to disrupt or disallow these words to be used during a school board meeting.

This event is hosted by: Johnston Parents for Equity and Anti-Racism (JPEAR) is a collective of parents organizing the Johnston Community School District (JCSD) to respond to the needs for equity and anti-racism in our schools and community.

Great Plains Action Society works to resist colonial-capitalist institutions and white supremacy through Indigenous ideologies and practices. Our goal is to reclaim what has been stolen and oppressed to create a better world for us all. Iowa Coalition for Collective Change specializes in empowering organizations and marginalized communities through education, research, and advocacy.

Points of Unity

The second anniversary of my connections with Des Moines Mutual Aid is approaching. Our experiences together have literally changed my life. The Spirit led me to this and continues to do so. This can be a way to live through these increasingly uncertain times.

True security lies in the unrestrained embrace of insecurity — in the recognition that we never really stand on solid ground, and never can.

– Oliver Burkeman –
May be an image of text that says 'POINTS OF UNITY DES MOINES MUTUAL AID'
May be an image of text that says '0. We believe in working shoulder to shoulder and standing in solidarity with all oppressed communities. We ourselves are oppressed, and our mutual aid work IS a fight for our collective liberation. We do not believe in a top-down model of charity. Instead we contrast our efforts at horizontal mutual aid, the fostering of mutually beneficial relationships and communities, to dehumanizing and colonizing charity.'
May be an image of text that says '1. We believe in community autonomy We believe that the communities we live and organize in have been largely excluded from state social services, but intensely surveilled and policed by the state repressive apparatus Capitalism is fundamentally unable to meet people's needs. We want to build self- sustaining communities that are independent of the capitalist state both materially and ideologically, and can resist its repression.'
May be an image of text that says '2. We are police and prison abolitionists. oractice Abolition and the mutual aid that we are inextricably linked. We dn' on capitalist institutions or the police to do our work. We believe in building strong and resilient communities which make police obsolete, including community systems of accountability and crisis intervention'
May be an image of text that says '3. We work to raise the political consciousness of our communities. Part of politica education is connecting people's lived experiences to a broader political perspective. Another component is working to ensure that people can meet their basic needs. It is difficult to organize for future liberation when someone is entrenched in day-to- day struggle.'
May be an image of text that says '4.We have open disagreements with each other about ideas and practices. We believe there is no formula for resolving our ideological differences other than working towards our common aims, engaging with each other in a comradely manner, and respecting one another, whether or not we can hash out isagreements in the process.'

The next American Revolution, at this stage in our history, is not principally about jobs or health insurance or making it possible for more people to realize the American Dream of upward mobility. It is about acknowledging that we Americans have enjoyed middle-class comforts at the expense of other peoples all over the world. It is about living the kind of lives that will not only slow down global warming but also end the galloping inequality both inside this country and between the Global North and the Global South. It is about creating a new American Dream whose goal is a higher Humanity instead of the higher standard of living dependent on Empire. It is about practicing a new, more active, global, and participatory concept of citizenship. It is about becoming the change we wish to see in the world.

The courage, commitment, and strategies required for this kind of revolution are very different from those required to storm the Winter Palace or the White House. Instead of viewing the U.S. people as masses to be mobilized in increasingly aggressive struggles for higher wages, better jobs, or guaranteed health care, we must have the courage to challenge ourselves to engage in activities that build a new and better world by improving the physical, psychological, political, and spiritual health of ourselves, our families, our communities, our cities, our world, and our planet.

Grace Lee Boggs,The Next American Revolution

Future of Fossil Fuels

“The Future of Fossil Fuels Hinges on Two Huge Midwestern Pipeline Fights” by PETER MONTAGUE, Common Dreams, December 9, 2021, caught my attention. It is essential to stop construction of so-called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) infrastructure that article is about.

But I think the extraction and use of fossil fuels will end prior to the construction of CCS because increasingly frequent and devastating environmental catastrophe will wipe out existing fossil fuel and other infrastructure. Just this year the “atmospheric river” in the northwest caused oil pipelines to be exposed and move up and down as water flowed around them.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, one of the world’s largest oil pipelines, could be in danger.

Thawing permafrost threatens to undermine the supports holding up an elevated section of the pipeline, jeopardizing its structural integrity and raising the potential of an oil spill in a delicate and remote landscape.

The slope of permafrost where an 810-foot section of the pipeline is secured has started to shift as it thaws, causing several of the braces holding up the pipeline to twist and bend.

This appears to be the first instance that pipeline supports have been damaged by “slope creep” caused by thawing permafrost, records and interviews with officials involved with managing the pipeline show.

Trouble in Alaska? Massive oil pipeline is threatened by thawing permafrost. The slope of permafrost where an 810-foot section of the pipeline is secured has started to shift as it thaws, causing braces holding up the pipeline to twist and bend. David Hasemery, Inside Climate News, July 11, 2021

The recent, horrendous tornadoes flattened everything in their path. Including water towers so there is no water. Including gas stations. Including power transmission infrastructure. Hospitals, pharmacies, news outlets, churches, schools, prisons, fire and police stations and equipment. Grocery and other stores, banks, car lots, manufacturing facilities. Local, state, and Federal offices, nonprofits, and systems they support such as Social Security and other social safety nets. Homes.

And renewables, including solar panels and wind turbines.

The center of fossil fuel refineries is New Orleans, below sea level, which will flood, wiping out that infrastructure. Transatlantic shipment of fossil fuels will likely end.

Sea level rise will have similar effects on millions who live on the coasts.

The question is what will we do now?

I’ve been working on this diagram that summarizes what I think needs to be done. We haven’t had the will to voluntarily move toward LandBack, abolition, participatory economy, conservation, and Mutual Aid. In the face of all that is collapsing, these are the solutions we need to build on now. This is what I’ve been writing about on LANDBACK Friends. https://landbackfriends.com/

#LANDBACK

International Human Crime

The hundreds of square miles of forests in Canada ripped up for the extraction of tar sands is unbearable to see. Those images have been kept out of the mainstream media. As disturbing are the huge tailings ponds that hold the huge volumes of waste water contaminated during the extraction.

How to deal with that water is a problem that has been continually postponed. But now there are discussions about draining those lakes. Of course, the fossil fuel companies are saying they can clean the water, not to the level of drinking water, but “safe” enough for discharge into the Athabasca River.

Indigenous communities near these tailings ponds have long seen dramatically increased levels of cancer.

NAFTA Commission Probes Toxic Leaks from Tar Sands/Oil Sands Tailings Ponds
https://www.theenergymix.com/2021/12/08/indigenous-communities-face-international-human-crime-as-ottawa-considers-tailings-pond-releases/

Some Indigenous communities in northern Alberta say they’re being handed a choice between terrible options as the federal government develops regulations to allow treated tailings from tar sands/oil sands operations to be released into the environment. One advocate is calling the prospect of tailings releases into the Athabasca River an “international human crime”.

It takes three to four barrels of water to produce one barrel of bitumen, CBC News reports. And under current rules, “companies must store any water used to extract oil during the mining process because it becomes toxic. The massive above-ground lakes are known as tailings ponds, which are harmful to wildlife and have resulted in the death of birds that land on the water, on multiple occasions.”

Indigenous groups in the northern part of the province have been concerned for years that tailings ponds could further pollute their land and drinking water, the news report adds. But with tar sands/oil sands production continuing, fossils intent on increasing their output, and the volume of toxic tailings now standing at about 1.4 trillion litres—the equivalent of 560,000 Olympic swimming pools stretching from Edmonton to Melbourne, Australia—the fossil industry and some scientists say the water “can be treated enough so it can be safely discharged”.

“First Nations and Métis Nations have complained for years how the oilsands, as well as other industries, have caused water volumes and quality to drop, which they say has caused fish populations to decrease sharply over the years and some species to disappear,” the national broadcaster writes. “Research has found elevated cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan, a community located north of Fort McMurray on the western tip of Lake Athabasca, and high levels of heavy metals, such as mercury, and arsenic in animals that are hunted and consumed in the region.”

That reality has fossils, regulators, and researchers worried about the risk of accidental release, with a dam failure or natural disaster triggering a torrent of toxic water. One such dam disaster in Brazil killed 270 people, CBC says. As they continue extracting bitumen, Alberta fossils are required to keep building tailings dams to hold the waste water in perpetuity, and “this scenario is not tolerable,” said Calgary-based water resources engineer Les Sawatzky.

Indigenous Communities Face ‘International Human Crime’ as Ottawa Considers Tailings Pond Releases, The Energy Mix, December 8, 2021

…That’s the sort of conundrum facing Albertans right now when it comes to the massive tailings ponds created by the province’s oilsands companies. Those ponds contain approximately 1.4 trillion litres of water, the equivalent of more than 560,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and it’s about to come rushing down the Athabasca River — one way or another.

According to a recent report, the federal government is in the process of developing regulations to allow oil producers to treat and release the water in those ponds, which contain toxic chemicals like mercury, ammonia and naphthenic acids. It’s not like the oil and gas companies that built and filled those ponds have just discovered a new way to make that water safe for the people living downstream. But the longer they’re allowed to collect and grow, the bigger the danger gets of an unplanned release — one that could be caused, ironically, by a climate change-aided weather event like the torrential rains B.C. just experienced.

For an industry that loves to talk about how comparatively “ethical” its operations are, this is a very bad look. After all, the small Indigenous communities downstream from Alberta’s oilsands operations have raised the alarm for years now about the environmental impacts they’re seeing, which range from dwindling fish and wildlife populations to elevated levels of certain cancers. As Bori Arrobo, Fort McKay’s director of sustainability, told CBC, “We don’t want to swap one environmental liability, which is the tailings ponds at the moment, for another, which could be the deterioration of the quality of the water in the Athabasca River and the downstream.”

Feds must protect Albertans from tailing ponds pollution By Max Fawcett, National Observer, December 9th 2021

https://redpaper.yellowheadinstitute.org/
https://redpaper.yellowheadinstitute.org/

Battle of the Indianola “Indians”

First a reminder about today’s Indigenous-led forum discussing why mascots in Iowa are harmful and perpetuate white supremacy. Though Iowa has 27 racist “Indian” mascots still being used, they will spotlight the issue in Mason City where white supremacists have organized to protest the rightful retirement of the Mohawk mascot.
https://landbackfriends.com/2021/12/11/abolish-racist-mascots/

My Mutual Aid mentor and friend Ronnie James has been working on the use of the team name of The Indianola Indians and the usage of Native imagery on school property and apparel. Knowing I live in Indianola, Ronnie asked me to take some photos related to this which I was glad to do. He wrote an excellent article about the Indianola school board meeting he attended in August published by the Great Plains Action Society that he is part of.

After initial discussion among the board, they voted on tabling the issue until after their Nov. 2021 election, where it will be brought back with the intention of an extensive process of public debate. During public comments, there was just one person who argued in favor of the name and imagery by claiming he spent a lot of time asking Natives in Oklahoma their opinion. Another commenter stated they needed more “facts”, while another said something similar but referred to Native “traits” as something they want all students to aspire to, but mentioned Natives in the past tense repeatedly.

When representatives of Great Plains Action Society were afforded time to speak, we brought a large packet of peer reviewed academic research demonstrating the harm that Indigenous mascots and imagery has on Native youth, which we left with the board. We also addressed the board’s intention to table the item. We reminded them that putting this issue aside so as not to harm their chances at reelection and playing politics with it is an act of white supremacy as these actions put their comfort first at the expense of the peoples that it actually affects.

We also offered to begin dialogues with local and national Native orgs and individuals that were not trying to sell them something. In response to one of the board’s reasons to table the item, they claimed that Covid was their highest priority. The room was crammed with 20 or more people (with less than 5% wearing masks) and their school system has no mask mandate. If they were tackling this issue in good faith while getting the school back into pre-Covid shape, then now is a perfect time to act on changing the team name so that when/if we return to normal, the school can start on a good footing working to end white supremacy.

Great Plains Action Society believes some of the school board is acting in good faith, but that they still do not view the name and imagery change as a priority. Based on social media comments, the town itself has a split of those extremely hostile to change and those that support it. We will continue to work with the Board of Education and our relatives that live in the town to keep this in the forefront and finally change the team name.

The Battle of the Indianola Indians
Ronnie James

Debate over the use of Native American-related mascots spans nationwide, with leaders of athletic programs from youth to professional sports grappling over their logos and team names. The Washington Football Team and the Cleveland Guardians, two professional teams that attracted national attention for their use of Indigenous-related mascots, decided in the past two years to remove Native American-related imagery and language from their branding.

Also this fall, the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa — or the Meskwaki Nation — in late October called on 66 Iowa schools to retire their mascots.

Mason City schools’ removal of ‘Mohawks’ leaves 27 Iowa high schools with Indigenous-themed mascots by Alyssa Hertel, Des Moines Register, Oct 30, 2021

A Special Message and Invitation on School Mascots

Greetings Iowa school leaders, school board members, and community members:
We, the undersigned Tribal Nations and local and national Native organizations, call upon you – the 66 K-12 schools in the state of Iowa with Native “themed” school mascots – to retire your mascots.

Meskwaki Nation
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

https://www.kcci.com/article/indianola-iowa-to-hear-opinions-on-school-mascot/37372273

https://www.kcci.com/article/indianola-school-board-tables-mascot-discussion-turns-focus-to-covid-19/37378481

12/12/2021 at 5:00 pm Central

Watch on YouTube at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mJic8TyeCs
Watch on GPAS’s FB Page at
https://www.facebook.com/GreatPlainsActionSociety/posts/3027458207541906

Photos I took of the imagery of Indianola schools.

#greatplainsactionsociety #NotYourMascot

Abolish Racist Mascots

The use of Native symbols and names has come to attention as pressure has come to change such names and symbols of national sports teams for example. Tomorrow’s discussion will be about the use of Mohawk in Mason City, Iowa.

The Mason City Community School District reached out to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and asked if the tribe would be open to a partnership and allow the use of imagery and name. The tribe said no and asked for the end of the usage of the “Mohawk” mascot and nickname. (Info from the Globe Gazette).

Last month, the Mason City School Board decided to end the use of the name “Mohawks,” at athletic events and on merchandise. Over the long term building signs and school décor will also be scrubbed of the name, as the district assesses costs related to rebranding.

Shortly after the decision was made, Mason City resident Tom Stalker created the “Mason City Mohawk Save the Name” Facebook page. The group has shared their frustrations about the decision and was given time to speak at Monday night’s meeting.

Mason City school board will revisit Mohawk nickname at Dec. 20 meeting by Abby Koch Dec 6, 2021 Updated Dec 7, 2021

There is an excellent opportunity to learn more about this tomorrow, 12/12/2021 at 5:00 pm Central time, when my friends of the Great Plains Action Society (GPAS) host a discussion of why these mascots are harmful and perpetuate white supremacy.


12/12/2021 at 5:00 pm Central

Watch on YouTube at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mJic8TyeCs
Watch on GPAS’s FB Page at
https://www.facebook.com/GreatPlainsActionSociety/posts/3027458207541906

Join us for an Indigenous-led forum discussing why mascots in Iowa are harmful and perpetuate white supremacy. Though Iowa has 27 racist “Indian” mascots still being used, we will spotlight the issue in Mason City where white supremacists have organized to protest the rightful retirement of the Mohawk mascot. We will be joined by:

  • – John Kane, Kahnawake Mohawk, Let’s Talk Native With John Kane Radio Show
  • – Rev. Le Anne Clausen de Montes, Mason City resident and the Cofounder of the Iowa Change the Name Coalition
  • – Salvi Montes-Clausen, Latino/Nahuatl and Youth Cofounder of the Iowa Change the Name Coalition
  • – Edouardo Zendejas, Omaha Tribe of NE and author of Mascots That Honor Indians
  • – Keely Driscoll, Meskwaki Nation and Youth Organizer with Great Plains Action Society
  • – Trisha Etringer, Winnebago Tribe of NE and Operations Director with Great Plains Action Society
  • – Jessica Engelking, Anishinaabe and Education Director with Great Plains Action Society
  • – Alexandrea Walker, Winnebago Tribe of NE and Youth Organizer with Great Plains Action Society
  • -Sikowis Nobiss, George Gordon First Nation and Executive Director of Great Plains Action Society
Following are graphics from the Great Plains Action Society

“The Des Moines Register identified 27 high schools with Indigenous-themed mascots from a list provided by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. That count does not include the Meskwaki Settlement School Warriors. The Sac and Fox Tribe’s list included elementary and middle schools as well”

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/2021/11/30/mason-city-mohawks-name-removed-mascot-debate-continues-iowa-high-school-sports-indigenous-people/6394646001/

#greatplainsactionsociety #NotYourMascot

Call on RBC to stop funding Coastal GasLink pipeline

Divestment from banks that fund fossil fuel projects has long been an effective way to bring attention to the financial institutions involved in such projects. https://jeffkisling.com/?s=divest

I’ve (@ran activist @jakislin) been involved in numerous divestment campaigns.

As one example, in 2015 I was involved with a divestment campaign by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to stop fossil fuel funding by Morgan Stanley. https://jeffkisling.com/2015/11/30/morgan-stanley-stops-financing-coal/

As a result, Morgan Stanley shareholders decided to cut coal financing.

Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Cut Coal Financing, Join Growing Movement by Banks in U.S. and Europe

Following is a toolkit from the Wet’suwet’en peoples who are asking us to pressure the RBC and other financial institutions to withdraw funds from the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

If investors are serious about their commitments to social responsibility and racial justice, they must commit to not financing projects that threaten Wet’suwet’en sovereignty, violate our land and sacrifice our future. Molly Wickham

A difference today is an increasing trend of financial institutions withdrawing support from fossil fuel projects because such projects are increasingly seen as liabilities.

Following is a toolkit from the Wet’suwet’en to help people to apply similar pressure to RBC to stop such financing. These projects and banks have a global reach. Those who are not living in Canada are still affected and are encouraged to join these campaigns.

RBC TOOLKIT https://www.yintahaccess.com/news/rbc-toolkit
https://www.yintahaccess.com/news/rbc-toolkit
Yintah Access — December 9, 2021  

WET’SUWET’EN HEREDITARY CHIEF’S RESPONSE TO RBC LETTER – A TOOL KIT DECEMBER 2021

In this toolkit, you will find template emails, shareable graphics, quick links and template social media posts to amplify the response from Gidimt’en Checkpoint    

What’s happening:  On October 19th 2021 The Gidimt’en Checkpoint from the Wet’suwet’en Members issued a letter to over 35 Coastal GasLink (CGL) investors and banks in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. The letter demands investors and banks  — including JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, Royal Dutch Shell, and CaixaBank  — cease and withdraw all support from Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada and highlights how financing the project violates Indigenous rights and breaks any investor commitments to racial justice, reconciliation, and social responsibility. 

RBC sent this response letter on November 8th 2021 back to Gidimt’en Checkpoint leadership.

The email response was sent from a basic company email address and was unsigned by RBC leadership.  In their email response they claim “RBC highly values the relationships we have with Indigenous Communities and the unique social,  cultural and historic contributions that Indigenous peoples have made in Canada.”   We know this to be false and if they really valued these relationships they would not be funding a destructive project that violates Indigenous sovereignty and ravages sacred headwaters through Wet’suwet’en territory.

In their letter they also claim “As stated in our Human Rights Position Statement, we respect the inherent right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination in accordance with international and domestic law.” Recent violence perpetrated on land defenders at the hands of RCMP further demonstrates that RBC does not actually practice what they claim are core values.

Help us call out RBC for continuing to perpetuate colonial violence and oppression on Wet’suwet’en people, who have never ceded their right to exclusively use and occupy their territories, they are complicit in this violence by financing Coastal GasLink and TC Energy.

“Reconciliation isn’t financing a project that’s destroying our land, without our consent. Coastal GasLink has not engaged in respectful consultation with us. Backing this project implicates investors in perpetuating violence to our land and on my people,” says Molly Wickham, Gidimt’en, Wet’suwet’en Nation, Hereditary name Sleydo’. “If investors are serious about their commitments to social responsibility and racial justice, they must commit to not financing projects that threaten Wet’suwet’en sovereignty, violate our land and sacrifice our future. Otherwise, when companies talk of reconciliation, it’s just empty promises — and we’ve had more than enough of those already.”

The action that we are currently asking partners to take is amplifying the response letter and targeting RBC

In this toolkit, you will find template emails, shareable graphics, and template social media posts to amplify the response from Gidimt’en Checkpoint

Template Email for your Supporters

Please consider sending this email (or one like it) to your supporter base to help amplify the response letter OR a call to action.
_____________________________________________________________

Hello { {Name}}
RBC, the largest bank in Canada, is one of the biggest funders of the Coastal Gaslink project – a pipeline that would bring fracked gas to the coast for shipping overseas. For years now, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have opposed the project, as the pipeline runs through their unceded land.

On October 19th 2021 The Gidimt’en Checkpoint from the Wet’suwet’en Nation issued a letter to over 35 Coastal GasLink (CGL) investors and banks in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. The letter demands investors and banks — including JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, Royal Dutch Shell, and CaixaBank  — cease and withdraw all support from Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada and highlights how financing the project violates Indigenous rights and breaks any investor commitments to racial justice, reconciliation, and social responsibility. 

RBC sent this response letter on November 8th 2021 back to Gidimt’en Checkpoint leadership. The email response was sent from a basic company email address and was unsigned by RBC leadership. 

In their email response they claim “RBC highly values the relationships we have with Indigenous Communities and the unique social,  cultural and historic contributions that Indigenous peoples have made in Canada.”   We know this to be false and if they really valued these relationships they would not be funding a destructive project that violates Indigenous sovereignty and ravages sacred headwaters through Wet’suwet’en territory.

In their letter they also claim “As stated in our Human Rights Position Statement, we respect the inherent right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination in accordance with international and domestic law.” Recent violence perpetrated on land defenders at the hands of RCMP further demonstrates that RBC does not actually practice what they claim are core values. Help us call out RBC for continuing to perpetuate colonial violence and oppression on Wet’suwet’en people, who have never ceded their right to exclusively use and occupy their territories, they are complicit in this violence by financing Coastal GasLink and TC Energy.

RBC could stop this violation of Indigenous rights tomorrow, simply by pulling its funding for the Coastal GasLink project. Yet, the Bay Street bank continues to believe that a pipeline transporting fracked gas overseas is more important than averting the climate crisis and respecting Indigenous sovereignty. Over the past five years, RBC has invested $200 billion in fossil fuel projects. It’s the industry’s biggest banker in Canada… and the fifth largest in the world.

But despite its size, a movement is growing across the globe. More and more institutions are quickly realizing that fossil fuels are bad assets. Banks, insurance companies, foundations, universities, and private funds are shifting their money away from fossil fuels.

In order to stop the climate crisis, we need to stop the financing of fossil fuels.

Tell RBC to protect Indigenous rights and pull its money from the controversial Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline.

In Solidarity,    

#WetsuwetenStrong #LandBack #AllEyesOnWetsuweten #ShutDownCanada

Pipelines and soil destruction

Fossil fuel pipelines have been a target of water protectors for many years.

Presidential approval for the Keystone XL pipeline gave rise to the Keystone Pledge of Resistance which was probably the reason the Obama administration eventually denied the permit. (See: https://landbackfriends.com/?s=keystone)

In a textbook example of racial injustice, the route of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) was changed from crossing the Missouri River upstream of Bismarck, North Dakota, to instead cross the water at Standing Rock.

Now the fossil fuel industry is applying significant pressure for the approval of pipelines to move liquified carbon emissions from sites of high CO2 production to underground storage in rock formations.

These carbon capture pipelines have the same problems as the Keystone XL, DAPL and other pipelines, including disrupting Indigenous sacred sites and lands, abuse of eminent domain, missing and murdered Indigenous relatives because of the “man camps” at the construction sites.

Another problem that needs attention is the damage to the soil by the pipeline construction. Pipeline companies say they will protect the rich, fertile topsoil by setting it aside, to be replaced on top of the covered pipeline.

That is not done. Instead, the fertile topsoil is mixed with the subsoil, causing problems that include poor water drainage and lower crop yields.

AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University study looking at the impacts of soil disturbance and early remediation practices from construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline finds significant soil compaction and gradual recovery of crop yield in the right-of-way over five years.

The research, funded by Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), aimed to investigate construction influences of the underground pipeline on farmland. The pipeline transports crude oil over 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, passing through South Dakota and about 347 miles in Iowa.

According to a university news release, the study’s primary goal was to assess the extent of soil and cropping disturbances in the approximately 150-foot right-of-way caused by land clearing, topsoil removal and soil mixing, pipeline trenching and backfilling during the construction process.

Researchers also wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of state-mandated remediation requirements and a DAPL agricultural mitigation plan designed to minimize impacts to cropland. The Iowa Utility Code requires pipeline projects to remove topsoil and apply deep tillage to exposed subsoil before replacing the topsoil. The researchers are continuing to study the benefits of these practices, which can be costly.

Such field-based research quantifying soil properties and recovery in the years after a pipeline installation on farmlands is limited.

“Our findings show extensive soil disturbance from construction activities had adverse effects on soil physical properties, which come from mixing of topsoil and subsoil, as well as soil compaction from heavy machinery,” said Mehari Tekeste, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, director of the Soil Machine Dynamics Laboratory at Iowa State and leader of the project.

“Overall, in the first two years, we found the construction caused severe subsoil compaction, impaired soil physical structure that can discourage root growth and reduce water infiltration in the right-of-way,” said Horton, the lead soil physicist on the project. They also found changes in available soil water and nutrients.

The team found crop yields in the right-of-way were reduced by an average of 25% for soybeans and 15% for corn during the first and second crop seasons, compared to undisturbed fields.

Study: Pipeline construction affects crop yield, Iowa Farmer Today, Nov 29, 2021

Following are some photos related to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline that we observed during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March.

Does this path have a good heart?

It is alarming but unsurprising to hear of yet another type of fossil fuel pipeline project.

Far too late, many people are finally being confronted with the consequences of decades of excess fossil fuel burning. And of course, they are clamoring for the problem to be taken care of immediately.

There are no quick fixes.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is being promoted as part of a solution to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. My last blog post was an introduction to CSS.
https://landbackfriends.com/2021/12/04/carbon-capture-in-iowa/

Carbon capture involves several complex processes. The infographic Carbon Capture 101 below from the Department of Energy attempts to explain these processes.

There are many reasons to reject the idea of carbon capture and storage.

But how you look at CSS comes from what you believe about your relationship with Mother Earth. Carbon capture and storage is an attempt to placate us, so we won’t object to continued, wildly excessive fossil fuel burning. Despite the clear consequences of that, greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb!!

Instead of CCS, we need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions (green line below).

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https://www.facebook.com/NoCCSIowa/

Great Plains Action Society

December 4 at 1:48 PM Navigator Heartland Greenway is a Texas-owned company and Summit is an Iowa company owned by Bruce Rastetter, a shining example of the predatory white heteropatriarchy that steals, cheats, and perpetuates violence on the land and the people. CO2 Pipelines are not the answer at all to the climate crisis and are in, fact, just perpetuating the corrupt fossil fuel industry. Find out more at the Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition page.
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