Indigenous Struggle Is Key to a Green New Deal

Newly inaugurated Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez made headlines with her bold proposal for a Green New Deal.

The plan is an aggressive proposal to be off fossil fuels by 2030. A Green New Deal of this scale would require mass mobilization and demands to resist current fossil fuel projects while demanding a new future.

One of the points in Ocasio-Cortez’s plan is calling for the protection of Indigenous nations and communities.

Indigenous people have been on the front lines of extractive policies in the US and Canada, while also being frontline resisters. Two years ago, we witnessed the inspirational struggle at Standing Rock calling to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Indigenous resistance is attempting to push back increased attacks on Indigenous lands by both Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the service of fossil-fuel energy projects.

One of Trump’s first executive actions was to pursue completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump also dramatically reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, opening the way to possible resource extraction. The monuments were expanded under Obama after Indigenous people called for these sacred areas to be protected.

On the other side of the border, Justin Trudeau may not be as cruel with his words, but his actions are like those of Trump. Trudeau recently had the Canadian government purchase the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which was been challenged by First Nations in Canada. Now, a state-owned pipeline cuts through Indigenous land, violating treaty rights.

* * *

Another example of Indigenous resistance to pipelines is in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia — the site of a battle against TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Driving up to the Unist’ot’en camp in unceded Wet’suwet’en Territory, the road is blocked with a sign that says,…

Read more