Thunberg and Tokata Iron Eyes Join Forces and Elevate Climate Justice Conversation | NDN Collective

Sarah Sunshine Manning · October 8, 2019

Thunberg and Tokata Iron Eyes Join Forces and Elevate Climate Justice Conversation

Today’s rally and march to the Mayor’s office continues the long effort of climate justice and Indigenous activists to pressure government to honor Indigenous rights and to take bold climate action.

Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg and Indigenous youth leader Tokata Iron Eyes have joined forces in the name of climate justice.

On Sunday evening, the pair spoke at a gathering at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Hours later on Monday morning, Iron Eyes and Thunberg led a climate rally and march in downtown Rapid City, demanding that political leadership take swift action and that everyday people join the cause.

“This crisis does not care about the imaginary political boundaries that we put up among each other,” said Iron Eyes at the Rapid City rally. “This crisis does not care whether you’re rich or poor, you’re black, you’re white or Indigenous.”

Hundreds of people gathered and marched with the two youth, from Rapid City’s Memorial Park to the Mayor’s office. Thunberg, at just 16 years old, and Iron Eyes, also 16 years old, have walked similar paths in different hemispheres of the globe, both fighting for climate justice, protection of the land, air and water. 



“Indigenous people have been leading this fight for centuries,” said Thunberg to the crowd. “They have taken care of the planet and they have lived in balance with nature, and we need to make sure that their voices are being heard. They have knowledge that is valuable right now.”

Thunberg led climate strikes in her home country of Sweden that soon gained international following, and Iron Eyes has been traveling the globe since the historic resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016 in Standing Rock, calling for the protection of the land and water, and an end to fossil fuel development. Iron Eyes, who is Lakota, grew up on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

“All of us have a responsibility to do something,” said Iron Eyes. “Choices that we make every single day are what built this crisis, and we need to make sure that we are making the right choices now.”

Tokata and Greta will be speaking in Standing Rock, North Dakota on Tuesday, October 8.  The Lakota People’s Law Project, Last Real Indians and the NDN Collective co-organized and sponsored the series of events in the Dakotas.  

Livestream of the March and Rally

Climate Rally and March with Greta Thunberg and Tokata Ironeyes, Rapid City, SD. PT 3

Posted by NDNCollective on Monday, October 7, 2019

Climate Rally and March with Greta Thunberg and Tokata Ironeyes, Rapid City, SD. Pt. 2

Posted by NDNCollective on Monday, October 7, 2019

“As Lakota people, we have always fought for our communities, carrying forward ceremonies and teachings that can regenerate the earth,” said NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen. “As we work for climate justice we must find solutions to end the world’s largest, dirtiest, and most destructive oil extraction projects, which stem from the Alberta Tar Sands.”

While on the bullhorn, Thunberg also took the opportunity to address the Keystone XL pipeline, an Alberta Tar Sands project which is slated to cut across Indigenous lands, from Alberta, to Montana and South Dakota, to the Gulf of Mexico to oil refineries. 

“The Keystone XL pipeline is not morally defendable– it will fuel the climate crisis” said Thunberg. “We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. We cannot continue to build new pipelines. That is insane.”

In preparation for construction of the highly contested Keystone XL pipeline, the South Dakota state legislature passed the “Riot Boosting” act in the final days of the 2019 legislative session. This act threatens organizers and activists with criminal charges for participating in or supporting protests loosely defined as “riots,” and came after Governor Kristi Noem met with TransCanada, a Canadian energy corporation responsible for the Keystone XL pipeline.  The act has since been challenged in a lawsuit, and has been deemed unconstitutional in an order of a preliminary injunction.

“We are not just fighting to lower carbon emissions. We are fighting for the people all across the world who have been saying this for generations; Indigenous activists throughout the world are being assassinated for saying what we are saying right now.”

“This Keystone XL pipeline will threaten the land, the drinking water and communities, and that is not acceptable,” said Thunberg. “We are all affected and we are all in the same boat, but some are more affected than others. We need to make sure that the voices of those who are at the frontlines are being heard.” 

Thunberg and Iron Eyes together have underscored the need to lift up Indigenous voices in the climate fight. This, alone, makes their shared message one that elevates the global climate conversation, filling huge gaps in climate politics.

“We are not just fighting to lower carbon emissions,” said Iron Eyes. “We are fighting for the people all across the world who have been saying this for generations; Indigenous activists throughout the world are being assassinated for saying what we are saying right now. Those are the people that we are speaking for. Those are the people we need to fight for.”

STAND WITH US

Donate To Support NDN’S ONGOING LEGAL BATTLE WITH THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA

NDN Collective is a 501(c)3 tax-deductible organization.

Sarah Sunshine Manning
Sarah Sunshine Manning

Sarah Sunshine Manning, NDN Collective Director of Communications, is a citizen of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Idaho and Nevada, and Chippewa-Cree of Rocky Boy, Montana. Manning directs NDN Collective’s communications strategy and impact. She also serves as producer of the NDN Podcast While Indigenous and as editor of the NDN blog. Manning has Bachelor’s degrees in American Indian Studies, Social Science-History, and licensure in Secondary Education. She has a Master’s degree in journalism and mass communication.

July 2021 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.

Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Posted 9 months ago NDN Collective Selects Ten Indigenous Radical Imagination Artists from Across Turtle Island
Over the next year, each selected artist will receive a grant up to $50,000 to support their community embedded project that envisions the future world we are striving towards.
Posted 2 days ago Memo: The Climate and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Crises: Intersections, root causes, and immediate steps towards ending both
In collaboration with partners, NDN Collective’s Climate Justice and Racial Equity Campaigns provided this memo as guidance to the federal government on how to equitably address the interlocking crisis of Climate Change and the MMIWR+ epidemic
Posted 3 days ago Art as Activism: NDN Collective Collabs with Artists to DEFUND the Line 3 Pipeline

Brandi Douglas

Artists create and call others to join the fight to stop Line 3. Nationwide wheatpasting action occurs with some 6,000 Defund Line 3 newspapers making their way to over 400 groups and activists.
Posted 1 week ago Red Road To D.C.: NDN Welcomes Totem Pole Journey to Hesapa

Brandi Douglas , Brandy Calabaza

NDN Collective had the honor of hosting and offering blessings to the groups responsible for leading this year’s Totem Pole Journey creating space for rest, healing and community.
Posted 4 weeks ago Four Arrested after NDN LANDBACK Campaign Mounts Upside-Down Flag From 100-Ft Grain Silo
Action Calls Out Hypocrisy of July 4th, Uplifts Demand for Reparations and Justice 
Posted 4 weeks ago NICk Tilsen Files Motion to Dismiss Case, Citing Prosecutorial Misconduct and Constitutional Violations
The motion filed by Tilsen states that the Pennington County Attorney's Office's actions to punish Tilsen for his constitutionally-protected free speech violated his rights to due process and equal protection, chilled his First Amendment rights, and violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.
Posted 1 month ago Application Phase Now Open for NDN Changemaker Fellowship
The NDN Changemaker Fellowship is a 12-month opportunity for Indigenous leaders to articulate their vision for social change, to identify the support they will need to get there and to invest in their own development, health, healing and wellbeing.
Posted 1 month ago Meet the 2021 Cohort of NDN Changemaker Fellows
Meet all 21 of the 2021 NDN Changemakers from Turtle Island and surrounding island nations who are actively making radical change and transforming their communities.
Posted 1 month ago "We carry the spirit of a People who are victorious!": Honoring the Battle of Greasy Grass

Brandy Calabaza

In a victory that transcends time, the Battle of Little Bighorn would become one of the most studied in history. Known as the “Battle of Greasy Grass” to the Lakota, and as "Victory Day" to many Native people today, this battle would also become a symbol of the continued plight of Indigenous Peoples to retain our traditional homelands, culture, and lifeways.
Posted 1 month ago "Our families deserve justice": NDN Collective on Haaland’s Announcement of US Investigation into Native Boarding Schools
“We applaud Sec. Haaland’s leadership in creating a concentrated effort to continue uncovering the dark history of Native boarding schools in this country. Secretary Haaland knows that the United States government cannot treat these horrifying discoveries as a Canadian problem, when the same practices took place here for decades."
Posted 1 month ago Disrupting Rainbow Capitalism: ‘We will not be commodified or erased.”

Brandi Douglas , Steph Viera

"Commodification of the rainbow flag and Queer culture does little to nothing to benefit those within the 2SLGBTQ+ community itself, nor does it address the violence continually directed towards these relatives."
NDN Collective
408 Knollwood Dr
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2021 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.