WECAN Frontline Community Delegations
In an effort to increase visibility and advocacy efforts for frontline community climate struggles and their women leaders, and to facilitate solidarity between worldwide women, WECAN has developed a dynamic Delegations program.
Through the Delegations program, WECAN team members and allies visit frontline communities to document and bear witness to their struggles and solutions, create media opportunities for awareness building, support local leaders and help develop cross-sectoral strategies for advocacy and climate justice.
Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland: Experiences from Standing Rock - Winter 2017
Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland members outside of Norges Bank before meeting with Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global. Left to right: Wasté Win Young, Dr. Sarah Jumping Eagle, Michelle Cook, Autumn Chacon, Tara Houska and Osprey Orielle Lake
In March and April 2017, in response to the leadership and request of Indigenous women on the frontlines of the Standing Rock movement, WECAN International organized and facilitated the ‘Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation to Norway and Switzerland: Experiences from Standing Rock’.
The objective of the Delegation was to create a platform to bring Indigenous women who have witnessed and been harmed by human rights and Indigenous rights violations at Standing Rock, North Dakota, to meet with representatives of financial institutions, and the Norwegian and Swiss public, press and government representatives to call for them to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and other fossil fuel developments, and support human rights, constitutional rights, and the inherent tribal sovereign rights, water rights, and treaty rights of Indigenous People’s in the United States.
Standing Rock, No Dakota Access Pipeline WECAN Solidarity Delegations - Fall 2016
Women stand for water protection on the frontlines of the Standing Rock, No Dakota Access pipeline resistance movement - Photo via Emily Arasim/WECAN
Indigenous women have stood, and continue to stand on the frontline of ongoing action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota - embodying women as protectors and bearers of water, and beacons of hope and resistance that shine far beyond the corporate pillage of Energy Transfer partners and the banks and corporations financing the pipeline.
Left to right: Jaslyn Charger (Cheyenne River Sioux of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, Founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council); Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara from New Town, North Dakota, Indigenous Environmental Network lead organizer on the Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign); and LaDonna Brave Bull Allard (Standing Rock Sioux of Fort Yates, North Dakota) - Photos by Emily Arasim/WECAN
Between August and November 2016, the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network traveled to Oceti Sakowin Camp, Standing Rock, North Dakota on many separate occasions to stand in physical solidarity and participate in actions, bring donations, support advocacy efforts and petitions, learn, document and conduct interviews with Indigenous women leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux Peoples, and allies from Indigenous Nations across the U.S.
WECAN is very honored to have been able to be present in Standing Rock, and to share the voices of some of the outstanding Indigenous women leaders through interviews collected during WECAN delegations via a feature article in EcoWatch - '15 Indigenous Women on the Frontlines of the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance'.
WECAN team members additionally participated in solidarity marches and actions in the Bay Area, California, and in #NoNewLeases and #NoDAPL days of action in Washington D.C., as a part of which WECAN’s Executive Director and 13 allies from across the country were arrested during a non-violent direct action inside of the U.S Department of the Interior. More information about WECAN solidarity with Standing Rock is also available via a November 2016 blog and various support letters and updates shared throughout 2016.
WECAN remains dedicated to ongoing action and media support - until the Dakota Access pipeline is completely stopped, until Indigenous rights are upheld, until sacred sites are respected, and until the voices, struggles and solutions of Indigenous women leaders become the base of social and ecologic decision making as we confront systemic oppressions and build the future we want. We must remain watchful, continue to help disseminate the correct information, and move forward with bold direct action and divestment in North Dakota, and across the world.
We send enormous thanks, support and solidarity to all of the individuals who have and continue to put their bodies on the line at the forefront of this prayerful and non-violent movement to protect the water - to all who shared their stories and fires - and to of our allies and Indigenous leaders including - Sacred Stone Camp; Indigenous Environmental Network; International Indigenous Youth Council; Honor the Earth; Indigenous Peoples Power Project; Water Protector Legal Collective; Indigenous Rising Media
Michelle Cook - Photo via Osprey Orielle Lake/WECAN
“We are fighting the Dakota pipeline, but we're also fighting the whole system of violence. The whole system which has called us savages. Which has denied us our ability to be human—and we're responding to that by creating a community that has it's own values. That respects its women. That gives its children priority. That will teach its children the traditional knowledge of life, that will give them life … When I saw the young women crying out for help, I said I have to be there because I'm not going to watch these people be desolated for the greed of a corporation that does not love this land, that is not part of this land. That's the beautiful work that we're here for.... We're not going to let the future of America, the future of Turtle Island to be robbed and taken and stolen from us.”
- Michelle Cook (Diné of the Walk Around Clan from Oak Springs, Arizona, legal advisor at Standing Rock)
Featured in '15 Indigenous Women on the Frontlines of the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance' on EcoWatch
Dakota Access Pipeline Construction in October 2016
Joye Braun (Cheyenne River Sioux of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, Indigenous Environmental Network representative and Dakota Access community organizer) and Osprey Orielle Lake (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network) speak following an interview
Oceti Sakowin Camp, Standing Rock in November 2016 - Photo via Osprey Orielle Lake/WECAN
No Extraction In the Amazon International Women's Day Delegation to Ecuador - March 2016
Women of seven nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon lead a march against oil extraction in the Amazon – March 8, 2016 – Photo by Emily Arasim
In late January 2016, the government of Ecuador signed a contract with Chinese corporation Andes Petroleum, handing over rights for oil exploration and extraction in two controversial Amazonian blocks which overlap the traditional territory of the Sápara and Kichwa peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
The new oil contract threatens irremediable environmental pollution of one of the worlds most biodiverse habitats; severe violation of Indigenous, community and Earth rights; and incalculable destabilization of our global climate.
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network has been in ongoing collaboration with the women of the Ecuadorian Amazon since the organizations inception. In response to dire new developments and the requests of solidarity by Indigenous Amazonian women leaders, a WECAN delegation and our allies at Amazon Watch traveled to Ecuador to stand in solidarity on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016, as the women rose to denounce to the dire threats facing the living systems of the Amazon and it’s Indigenous communities as a result of the new oil contract.
More than 500 women leaders from across the Ecuadorian Amazon stand for the rights of their communities and the Earth in Puyo, Ecuador on International Women’s Day 2016 – Photo by Emily Arasim
Gloria Ushigua, President of the Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador, speaks during the International Women’s Day forum in Puyo – Photo by Emily Arasim
Women leaders from seven diverse nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, including the Andoa, Achuar, Kichwa, Shuar, Shiwiar, Sapara and Waorani peoples, organized and carried forth a powerful march of more than 500 allies, reaffirming their commitment to defend the land and resist oil extraction, while also bringing critical attention to the struggles and strength of local women Earth defenders.
WECAN International supported, documented and participated in the vital march and forum, and presented a dynamic recap event, ‘Women of Ecuadorian Amazon and International Allies Stand For Protection of the Amazon Rainforest’, in partnership with Terra Matter at FLASCO University, Quito, Ecuador the following day.
Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca Nation Leader and WECAN Special Projects Advisor and Delegation member speaks at an International Women’s Day gathering in Puyo after the march against oil extraction – Photo by Emily Arasim
Natalia Green, Osprey Orielle Lake and Casey Camp Horinek present on the importance of women land defenders during an event at FLASCO University in Quito, Ecuador – Photo by Emily Arasim
Learn more about the International Women’s Day Delegation and ongoing work in solidarity with women Earth defenders of the Ecuadorian Amazon via select links below.
- Eco Watch - Women of the Amazon Defend Their Homeland Against New Oil Contract on International Women’s Day
- Press Release - Over Five-Hundred Indigenous Women of the Amazon and Allies March for Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights on International Women’s Day
- WECAN Blog - #MujeresPorLaSelva – Indigenous Women of Ecuador Stand for an Amazon Free from Extraction on International Women’s Day
- Full Ecuador Delegation Photo Album (accessible via Facebook)
- WATCH - Indigenous Women Stand for Justice on International Women's Day
- PETITION - No Extraction In The Amazon! Women of Ecuadorian Amazon and International Allies Reject Oil Concessions, Stand For Rights of the Earth and Communities
North Dakota, USA Bakken Fracking Fields Delegation - September 2015
In September 2015, members of the WECAN team traveled to Williston, North Dakota, USA to participate in the Stop Extreme Energy Summit and stand in solidarity with longtime WECAN ally, Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Kandi Mossett led a heart wrenching ‘toxic tour’ through the traditional lands of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara peoples, now decimated by a rapidly expanding and poorly regulated fracking industry, and presented a series of powerful talks contextualizing local social, political, economic and ecologic crisis.
Throughout the delegation, WECAN engaged with Kandi and allies to expose critical information around the fracking industry and spikes in sexual violence, rape and human trafficking of local women.
While on-the-ground in North Dakota, the WECAN team shot a series of videos and photos, to be used in short term and long term media and storytelling.
Click here to READ and SHARE the dynamic multimedia article produced by the WECAN Delegation: Eco Watch - Women on the Front Lines Fighting Fracking in the Bakken Oil Shale Formations
Select Photos from the North Dakota delegation - Copywrite: Emily Arasim 2015
Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN International) and Shannon Biggs (Movement Rights) speak with Kandi Mossett (Indigenous Environmental Network) while visiting a massive frack water spill site during the toxic tour
WECAN ally Pennie Opal Plant of Movement Rights and Idle No More SF Bay Area presents during the Extreme Energy Extraction Summit and North Dakota Toxic Tour. Pennie serves on the Steering Committee of WECAN’s US Women’s Climate Justice Initiative
Attendees of the Stop Extreme Energy Summit outside of a crude oil train export terminal
Alberta, Canada Tar Sands Healing Walk Delegation - July 2013
On July 5th and 6th 2013, more than 500 allies from across North America united at the Tar Sands Healing Walk near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, walking to bring attention to the toxic industry and focus energy on healing the land and the people who are suffering from tar sands expansion.
Members of the WECAN team joined the Healing Walk in solidarity with the Indigenous women of Alberta, walking for 8.5 hours through lands dominated by toxic, lifeless sand, tailing ponds, smoke stacks, endless trucks and poisoned air and water.
Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN Executive Director) with Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree Nation) during the 2013 Tar Sands Healing Walk
WECAN has been working ongoingly with Indigenous women leaders of Alberta including Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree First Nation), Melina Laboucan Massimo (Lubicon Cree First Nation) and Eriel Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation).
Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth and Osprey Orielle Lake of WECAN during the Healing Walk
Women of the Land Delegation in Washington D.C. - February 2013
WECAN Women of the Land Delegation to the EPA during the Forward on Climate rally in Washington D.C
In Feburary 2013 a 'Women of the Land Delegation' traveled to Washington D.C, USA to lead and participate in 'Forward on Climate' rallys and events, and to meet with public officials regarding tar sands development and infrastructure.
The delegation spoke out, marched, held meetings and strategized, exerting a powerful presence inside government forums and at peoples movement actions. The WECAN delegation met with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to express urgent concerns and demands regarding the social and environmental impacts of the tar sands, and presented a dynamic public event featuring women leaders speaking out on their experiences and calling for climate justice and respect for the rights of the Earth, our communities and Indigenous peoples.
Women of the Land delegates included Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta, advocate for Indigenous rights), Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree Nation activist and Alberta Tar Sands Campaigner), Eleanor Fairchild (78 year old farmer from Texas defending her land against the Keystone XL pipeline), Julia Trigg (Crawford Texas family farmer protecting property rights and the environment), Kandi Mossett (Indigenous Environmental Network representative from North Dakota), Janet MacGillivray Wallace (J.D., LL.M., environmental attorney), Claire Greensfelder (WECAN 2013 Consultant and Conversations with the Earth) and Osprey Orielle Lake (Executive Director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network).
WECAN Women of the Land delegation meets with the U.S EPA in Washington D.C