Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance

DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT

The DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT campaign is a critical intersectional Indigenous-led divestment campaign. It is organized as a partnership between Michelle Cook, a leading Diné (Navajo) human rights lawyer, and the WECAN Fossil Fuel Divestment and Just Transition to Renewable Energy program.

Project Coordinators are Michelle Cook and Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of WECAN. Learn more about Michelle Cook and her vital work here.

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(Left) Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation before a meeting with Deutsche Bank in Germany  

(Right) - Delegates at the Norwegian Parliment - Photos via Teena Pugliese

Divest: Divestment from fossil fuel-related companies and financial institutions that negatively impact indigenous peoples human rights and the water and climate.

Invest: Investment in indigenous peoples as central actors in shaping economic change and decision-making regarding their lands and territories. Investment in sustainable renewable energy and a just transition. Investment in better and more just economic initiatives, paradigms, and structures.

Protect: Protection and advancement of indigenous peoples and human rights, lands and territories. Protection of water, land and climate from pipelines, fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction at the source.

Divest, Invest, Protect – Aims and Goals:

  • Protect the climate and defend human, Indigenous and nature rights through education, advocacy and action that challenges financial institutions and injustices.
  • Partner with grassroots, frontline and Indigenous women leaders for strategic campaigns and targeted delegations to call for divestment and stop pipelines, fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction at the source.
  • Defend Indigenous and nature rights, and Indigenous human rights including, Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
  • Stand up for and with Water Protectors and defenders of the land.
  • Advocate for investment in sustainable renewable energy and new banking structures.
  • Highlight the power, and role of women protecting water, land, climate and communities.
  • Create spaces for dialogue regarding banks and governments and human rights and Indigenous rights.
  • Give voice to the impacts of extractive industries on women and children.

Divest, Invest, Protect - Calls to Action:

  • Divestment and accountability to human rights, Indigenous rights, nature rights, women’s rights.
  • Investment in a just transition to renewable energy. Implementation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Affirm of the rights of nature as stated in the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.
  • Strengthen the protection of Indigenous lands, territories, and natural resources.
  • Call for banks and Nation States to respect human rights, inherent tribal sovereign rights, and Indigenous treaty  rights.

** Click here to see graph of companies, banks and pipelines via our allies at Mazaska Talks **

Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegations

Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland outside of Norges Bank before meeting with Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, Spring 2017. L to R, Wasté Win Young, Dr. Sarah Jumping Eagle, Michelle Cook, Autumn Chacon, and Tara Houska, with Delegate organizer, Osprey Orielle Lake 

A Spring 2017, Autumn 2017, and Spring 2018 Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation To Europe have been central components of DIVEST, INVEST, PROTECT programming.

The central goal of these three Delegations, organized by WECAN with the leadership of Indigenous women and their directives, is to provide a platform for Indigenous women leaders to meet face-to-face with representatives of European financial institutions and insurance companies to expose injustices, and directly share with these entities, and the public, press, and government representatives, exactly how their fossil fuel investments violate human rights and Indigenous rights, while also driving climate disruption. Ultimately, these Delegations and future Delegations seek to put pressure on institutions to divest immediately. Norway, Switzerland and Germany have been the focus of Delegations, due to the fact that these countries are home to some of the largest institutions financing extraction across North America and around the world.

 WECAN International video produced in partnership with Greenpeace Switzerland

During the Spring 2017 Delegation, the women engaged in many high level meetings, including with the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, DNB (the Bank of Norway), the Norwegian Parliament, Credit Suisse Bank and UBS. The Delegation was covered by international news outlets and on national television and radio in each country, helping to raise awareness and to bring more pressure to financial institutions to divest (please see media links below!). The Delegation also met with Sami leaders and local groups for further solidarity and movement building.

     

(Left) Tara Houska & Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle on national television in Norway speaking out for divestment during the Spring Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation To Europe -(Right) Delegates speak out during a public event in Norway - Photo via Charlotte Synnøve

In Norway, the advocacy of the Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation was essential in pushing DNB bank to sell their $331 million dollar credit line to DAPL, following strong advocacy efforts from many groups, and an independent investigation in which DNB affirmed the violation of Indigenous rights and failure to properly consult the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Delegates of the first Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland included Dr. Sarah Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota living and working on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation); Wasté Win Young (Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer); Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer and a founding member of the of the Water Protector Legal Collective at Standing Rock); Tara Houska (Anishinaabe, tribal attorney, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders); and Autumn Chacon (Diné/Navajo writer and performance artist); along with Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN International Executive Director).

Autumn 2017 Delegates meet with Norwegian Parliamentarians

Over two weeks in early October 2017, a second Delegation traveled to Germany, Switzerland and Norway to follow up and continue forward motion on advocacy efforts, and participate in a variety of strategic platforms, high-level bank, insurance company and government meetings, public events and press conferences. Delegates shared their experiences and analysis, emphasizing that Indigenous people are demanding their rights as outlined in international law (including Free, Prior and Infomred Consent), and calling for divestment of corporate level or project level finance from extractive fossil fuel projects at the source and in infrastructre, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, Line 3 and Keystone XL,  which threaten Indigenous rights, sovereignty, lands and ways of life.

Autumn 2017 Delegation members included - LaDonna BraveBull Allard (Lakota historian, member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and founder/landowner of Sacred Stone Camp); Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer and a founding member of the of the Water Protector Legal Collective at Standing Rock);  Jackie Fielder (Mnicoujou Lakota and Mandan-Hidatsa, Campaign Coordinator of Lakota People's Law Project and organizer with Mazaska Talks); and Tara Houska (Anishinaabe, tribal attorney, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders), alongside Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN Executive Director, Delegation organizer).

Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation To Europe Autumn 2017 Delegates (left to right): Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo), LaDonna Brave Bull Allard ( Standing Rock Sioux Lakota), Tara Houska (Anishinaabe), and Jackie Fielder (Mnicoujou Lakota and Mandan-Hidatsa) in Norway - Photo via Teena Pugliese

During the Autumn 2017 Delegation, WECAN International helped organized ten high-level meetings, including with Norwegian Parliamentarians, DNB, the Council on Ethics to the Norwegian Oil Fund, UBS, Credit Suisse, Zurich Insurance, Swiss Re Insurance, BayernLB, Allianz, Deutsche Bank and organized two strategy sessions with local groups in Switzerland and Germany and held three public events.

The Delegation was invited to return by Norwegian Parliamentarians to support further efforts to include Indigenous rights in the guidelines of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund. Reuters reported on the Delegation's divestment meeting with the Council on Ethics to the Norwegian Sovereign Fund held on October 3rd 2017, after the Council stated that it is now reviewing allegations that Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline company behind Dakota Access Pipeline and many others, may be breaching the fund’s investment guidelines related to the environment, human rights and other issues. 

On November 21, 2017 the executives of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund recommended to the Norwegian Parliament that all gas and oil investments be removed from the fund. In December of 2017 DNB and UBS, two of the banks the Delegation met with and sent evidence to regarding rights violations, chose not to renew ETP’s credit facilities with their institutions.

Representatives of the Spring 2018 Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation to Europe, in Germany outside of Deutsche Bank

The third Indigenous Women's Delegation returned to Germany and Switzerland in Spring 2018, engaging in high-level meetings with officials from UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and the Swiss government; holding a public education event in Zurich; participating in a direct action outside bank headquarters; and presenting powerful testimony at the Credit Suisse annual shareholder meeting. 

The Spring 2018 Delegation was comprised of both frontline community leaders, and tribal officials who serve or have served in official capacities for their Tribal Nations - Charlene Aleck (Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada); Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle (Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota pediatrician, living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota); Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young (Ihunktowanna/ Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer); Monique Verdin (Member of South Louisiana's United Houma Nation Tribal Council and the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative); and Michelle Cook (Diné/Navajo, human rights lawyer, Founder and Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign, and Delegation Co-Organizer) - along with Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN Executive Director, Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign and Delegation Co-Organizer).

Divestment Delegates and Swiss allies during a direct action outside of Credit Suisse and UBS banks in Zurich - Photo via Alexander Boethius/WECAN International

Key press releases from Spring 2017, Autumn 2017, and Spring 2018 Divestment Delegations:

Select media highlights from the Spring 2017, Autumn 2017, and Spring 2018 Divestment Delegations: