Transition & Resilience grants Click here

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 2020 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 11 months ago Alcatraz Canoe Journey: Honoring 50 Years of Indigenous Resistance and Persistence

Jade Begay

"If we work to reframe Alcatraz as a symbol for Indigenous sovereignty and reposition it in people’s psyche that way, it could be a very powerful thing, especially for people who are so often forgotten overlooked and marginalized like Natives in America."
Posted 11 hours ago Grant Writing Webinar Series for Indigenous Communities and Tribal Nations
This four-part grant writing webinar series for Indian Country is hosted by Kauffman & Associates, Inc. with registration fees sponsored by NDN Collective.
Posted 3 days ago NDN Collective Premiers Ȟesápa, a LANDBACK Film. Now Streaming FREE!
"Ȟesápa" is the first installment in the LANDBACK Film series and is now available for viewing on Facebook and YouTube. Produced by NDN Collective Creative Producer and Oglala Lakota Filmmaker Will White.
Posted 1 week ago NDN Collective to Host Backpack Giveaway for Native American Youth in the Rapid City Area
Distribution of the backpacks will take place on Monday, September 21 at 4:00 pm in the parking lot of the NDN Collective headquarters. Supplies are limited to 500 backpacks, and each backpack also contains some NDN Collective swag.
Posted 3 weeks ago DEADLINE EXTENDED! Transition & Resilience Grants up to $100k for Indigenous Communities, Tribes and Indigenous-Led Non-Profits
NDN Collective has announced Transition & Resilience grants for Indigenous Communities, Tribes, and Indigenous-led non-profits for the specific purpose of creating a ‘new and better normal.’ The deadline for grant applications has been extended to Wednesday, September 16.
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen will go to jury trial for felony charges
A Pennington County judge determined that NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen will go to trial for charges stemming from July 3rd action in Mount Rushmore. Tilsen vows to stand strong.
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen Faces 15 Years in Prison for Protest Against White Supremacy
NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen faces legal backlash from the State of South Dakota with trumped-up charges for the stand he and other land defenders took in the Black Hills on July 3rd leading up to Trump's visit to Mount Rushmore.
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective Launches Second Phase of $10 Million COVID-19 Response Project: Transition and Resilience for Indigenous people
Phase two of the NDN COVID-19 Response Project supports transition and resilience within Indigenous communities impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Posted 2 months ago NDN Collective Responds to Brutal K9 Attack on Native Man in Rapid City
NDN Collective calls out excessive use of force by South Dakota Highway Patrol with K9 unit deployed on Native man and overall systemic violence against Indigenous people at the hands of law enforcement.
Posted 2 months ago “Today we mourn, tomorrow we fight”: NDN Collective Honors the Legacy of John Lewis
NDN Collective honors civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis and calls for honoring his legacy with renewed commitments to fight injustice
Posted 2 months ago Washington Team’s Mascot Change Long Overdue, We Must Eliminate All Racist Portrayals of Indigenous People
The recent announcement of the Washington football team's name change is generations in-the-making, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to the elimination of racist and stereotypical representations of Indigenous people.
NDN Collective
317 Main St #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2020 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.