FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 9, 2020
Rapid City, SD– On Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2020, NDN Collective will be launching the highly anticipated LANDBACK Campaign, a multi-pronged effort to dismantle white supremacy and achieve justice for Indigenous people. Through the restoration of ecological health to Indigenous lands and the actual recovery of Indigenous land ownership, NDN Collective’s LANDBACK Campaign aims to empower Indigenous people across Turtle Island. The LANDBACK Campaign will officially launch on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which falls on Monday, October 12.
“We are on the verge of what could be a revolutionary moment,” said Krystal Two Bulls, LANDBACK Campaign Director. “As systems of colonization, oppression and white supremacy start to become dismantled, getting Indigenous lands back into Indigenous hands is necessary. Truth is, that all systems and institutions of oppression that uphold white supremacy were built on top of stolen land by stolen people; so to truly achieve racial justice and move into a revolutionary moment, we have to talk about how racial injustice on this continent began with settler colonialism, the theft of Indigenous lands, and the genocide of Indigenous people.”
NDN Collective first announced the development of the LANDBACK campaign on social media back in August, which was catalyzed by the powerful stand taken by Land Defenders on July 3rd as Trump made his way to Mount Rushmore in Hesapa, the sacred Black Hills, for his highly controversial Fourth of July event. After Land Defenders blocked the road to Mount Rushmore and stopped traffic for nearly three hours in the lead up to the event, 21 of them were ultimately arrested, including Two Bulls and NDN Collective President and CEO, Nick Tilsen.
“Mount Rushmore is an international symbol of white supremacy, and as people across America rightfully pull down statues of white supremacy, we have to look long and hard at how this national monument in the Black Hills upholds and maintains white supremacy on Indigenous lands” said Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and CEO. “Our LANDBACK efforts started at Mount Rushmore as we not only took a stand against white supremacy and Trump’s racist rhetoric that day, but also in demanding that Mount Rushmore be shut down as a national monument and that all public lands in the Black Hills be returned to Indigenous people.”
In preparation for the Indigenous Peoples’ Day launch of the LANDBACK Campaign, NDN Collective shared out four calls-to-action outlining ways that friends, partners and allies can support and take part in LANDBACK and Indigenous Peoples’ Day Efforts. Calls-to-action include signing a petition to close Mount Rushmore and return all public lands to the original stewards, organizing marches on state capitols and city halls to change to Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to create LANDBACK streetscapes, and to plan continued LANDBACK actions across Turtle Island. NDN is also inviting people to register their Indigenous Peoples’ Day LANDBACK actions at the LANDBACK website.
“This campaign is a way to resource and support ongoing LANDBACK struggles across NDN Country and throughout the globe” said Conor Varela Handley, NDN Collective LANDBACK Campaign Organizer. “We are living in an era of unprecedented environmental change and destruction, where Indigenous Peoples worldwide continue to caretake a large portion of the Earth’s remaining biodiversity and carbon sinks. Returning land to Indigenous hands is the quickest, most effective form of environmental protection and climate action.”
The LANDBACK Campaign and NDN Collective will also be participating in a live webinar with the Movement for Black Lives on Saturday, October 10, at 1:00 pm MST discussing LANDBACK and collective liberation in this moment of mass mobilization for racial justice. The webinar will be streamed on NDN Collective’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
NDN will also be hosting an Indigenous Peoples’ Day LANDBACK event in downtown Rapid City in Mainstreet Square, with a community feed at 1:00 pm starting at the Memorial Park bandshell, followed by a march at 2:00 through downtown to Mainstreet Square. At 3:00, invited speakers and entertainment will begin at Mainstreet Square. The event will be streamed on NDN Collective’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Masks and safe distancing are required.
To learn more about the LANDBACK campaign and sign up for updates, visit https://landback.org.
About NDN Collective:
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms. Together, we decolonize and transform systems while providing tools and strategies for Indigenous self-determination and movement-building.