August 25: Turtle Island and Abya Yala Converge in the Indigenous Struggle for Life

Today is a day of great relevance in the continental struggle of indigenous peoples in defense of their territories and the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consultation. It is a day when the struggles of the northern and southern hemispheres converge in the recognition of indigenous peoples as subjects of law, as fundamental actors in the protection of nature, of water and defenders of Mother Earth.

The Native peoples on Turtle Island and allied environmental organizations called for a day of action in Minnesota, Treaties Not Tar Sands, against the construction of the Line 3 pipeline. While thousands of indigenous people of Abya Yala, joined the Luta pela Vida Campaign to keep vigil on Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court (STF) decision on the constitutionality of “marco temporal”. These two separate struggles are a single effort against the imposition of an archaic, outdated patriarchal colonialism system, which has failed to offer us anything but death and suffering. A colonialism that is already on its way out.

On this great day of mobilizations in Brasilia and St. Paul, MN, we know that each act of solidarity is defending life itself, and that raising our voices together makes us more powerful. It is how we break the isolations imposed by genocidal colonialism, across invented borders, we master foreign languages and as a collective task we weave our interaction networks of solidarity and community. 

Although the construction of Line 3 ends today, activists have announced that their resistance will continue until the tap that feeds the black oil snake is closed. In Brazil, this struggle is not just about today, it is millenary and will continue in future years for life and our Mother Earth. We share statements from these two resistance camps:

Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Apib)
SOURCE: nacional-dos-povos-indigenas-da-historia-do-brasil-eo-que-isso-significa /
For 521 years, the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil have lived and experienced the meaning of the struggle. We fight to survive, so that we are respected by a State that despises our existence, usurps our traditional territories and relegates us to the condition of sub-citizens. The legacy of the colonial past is persistent and violent and, today, gains support and new momentum under the administration of Jair Bolsonaro, the President of the Republic who chose us as his number one enemies even before his inauguration.
The history of the indigenous movement in Brazil is a history of struggle and resistance, ongoing mobilization and innovation, and an effort to build bridges and alliances between our 305 peoples, who live in all regions of the country. Such ethnic, geographical, cultural and linguistic diversity, in addition to an incalculable wealth, also becomes a challenge when it comes to seeking unity in the struggle. To overcome this difficulty, which is reinforced and exploited by enemies who try to artificially divide and forge disputes and oppositions between our relatives, we renew our alliance from our shared ancestry.
The struggle for life, the motto of the camp that now brings together 6,000 indigenous people in Brasilia, is established as a necessity and an urgency for us, indigenous peoples, as soon as the perverse and genocidal face of the colonialist project is revealed. We have lived in a state of alert since the first European set foot on this land, even before it was called Brazil.
Our peoples can no longer bear to tell stories of death, fire, pain, destruction. We want to tell other stories, we want to talk about our riches, our cultures, our joy.
And this leads us to the second conclusion: the clarity that the indigenous movement in Brazil has reached a level of maturity, organization, and strength that definitely places us as subjects of our own history. Our protagonism has its roots in centuries of struggle of our ancestors, and in the clarity that there is no longer a place for silence. The world is watching and listening to what is happening with our peoples, and it is we, relatives, we are the ones who have control of our narrative!
Letter to Joe Biden from indigenous and environmental organizationsSOURCE: 
Dear President Biden,Please use the power of your position to stop Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. Slated to carry nearly a million barrels of tar sands oil per day across the treaty territory of Anishinaabe Peoples, it threatens water, food sources, pristine wetlands, and Indigenous culture.In addition, expanding any pipeline infrastructure at this time runs counter to your administration’s stated climate objective to transition toward renewable sources of energy from fossil fuels that exacerbate the climate crisis. And this pipeline is particularly dangerous.Tar sands oil is some of the dirtiest in the world, and its extraction emits up to three times more global warming pollution than does producing the same quantity of conventional crude. The carbon impact of this project is equivalent to 50 new coal plants. Is the completion of this project — now, when the extent of the climate crisis has become all too obvious and the need to address it all too clear — something you want on your record and attached to your legacy?We know that pipelines leak, and Line 3 is a disaster waiting to happen. A single spill has the potential to contaminate the drinking water of 18 million people, as Line 3 will extend from Canada to the shores of Lake Superior. To make things worse, this 1,097 mile project is managed by Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline company responsible for the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.Line 3 directly poses a major threat not just to our climate, but also to the way of life of Indigenous peoples. It’s already perpetuating the ongoing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). So far, two contractors working on Line 3 have been charged with sex trafficking, which comes as no surprise considering that pipelines — along with their temporary, cash-rich workforce — lead to increased sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and murders of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit People.Please listen to the Native People leading this call, and listen to the host of allied organizations and elected leaders who back them. It is essential for the federal government to serve and protect its people, including defending the rights of Indigenous communities to life and land. We are depending on you to place the good of the people and planet over fossil fuel profits. Please stop Line 3 now.


In Brazil, indigenous peoples organized under the Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Apib), have also undertaken a legal defense of their territorial rights against extractivist projects that threaten to destroy the Amazon. The Bolsonaro government seeks to nullify the territorial rights of indigenous nations through PL 490 legislation that would redefine the territoriality of indigenous peoples based on a specific constitutional date (October 5, 1988), or “marco temporal,” ignoring indigenous constitutional rights. 

The Apib has declared “In practice, this project represents a new genocide against indigenous peoples. The PL is unconstitutional and could end the demarcation of Indigenous Lands in Brazil, allowing the opening of territories for predatory exploration. In addition to PL 490, other anti-indigenous proposals that pose a threat to the environment are on the Congress agenda.”

In the United States, the federal government has a legal responsibility to comply with the rights guaranteed in the treaties signed in 1837 and in 1855 with the Chippewa, Ojibwe and Anishinabe, on territorial sovereignty as well as hunting, fishing, wild rice and cultural resources integrated in the treaty. Even though the United States Supreme Court upheld the rights of Native peoples to hunt, fish, and subsist on the land, the federal government has authorized the expansion of an oil pipeline project, which carries tar sands from Canada.

The construction and expansion of a new pipeline has been undertaken under the pretext of replacing an old oil pipeline, in fact threatening the viability of sustaining living conditions of the Ojibwe. Activists monitoring the construction have so far counted 28 frac spills in 12 rivers. Line 3 threatens water sources, the rights of nature, and is essentially an extension of the genocide that indigenous communities have experienced under ongoing colonial governments.