Archive for the ‘direct action’ Category

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) An overlook in the Book Cliffs area in Uintah and Grand County, Thursday, October 28, 2010. The Book Cliffs are a relatively remote part of Utah that face increasing encroachments from oil, gas and tar sands developments.

Courts » The activists are among 21 who are expected to enter plea agreements resulting from protest in Uintah County.

By Michael McFall | The Salt Lake Tribune

Six of 21 protesters have been charged with felony-level rioting after protesting Utah’s first commercial fuel-producing tar sands mine, with more defendants to face trespassing charges.

All 21 protesters are expected to enter plea agreements as early as Thursday, said Uintah County Attorney Mark Thomas. Soon after the arrests, the protesters’ defense attorneys began negotiations about who would be charged with what, and how to resolve those cases.

Neither Thomas nor an attorney representing some of the defendants would say to what charge the defendants might plead guilty or whether any of them would spend time in jail or prison.

They were also charged with interference with an arresting officer, which is a class-A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Fourteen other protesters have also been charged with misdemeanors; their offenses are mostly related to trespassing. One other was charged with failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, which is a third-degree felony.

Eighty protesters associated with Utah Tar Sands Resistance on July 21 physically blocked access to the equipment being stored off Pope Well Ridge Road in Uintah County, near where U.S. Oil Sands was beginning work on the mine at PR Springs. Several protesters entered a fenced enclosure and locked themselves to equipment, protester spokeswoman Jessica Lee said at the time.

Deputies arrested 13 of them and loaded them into white county vans, according to activists’ social media posts.

But when one of the vans approached protesters who had retreated to the main road, those protesters sat down in the roadway and locked their arms, blocking the vans, according to the charges.

“They started chanting that they wanted us to let their people go,” a Uintah County sheriff’s deputy wrote in a jail document.

The officers warned the protesters several times and asked them to disperse, but the group “advanced on our location,” according to the charges. That’s when deputies arrested Frurwirth, Ibanez, Luzzo, Gottesdiener, Gruppo and Puertas, during which all of them became violent and resisted the officers, the charges add.

Among them, Frurwirth has made headlines before. The local blogger and activist has protested police brutality, other environmental issues, and was active with the local Occupy movement. The Huffington Post even profiled him in October 2013.

One deputy sustained a wrist injury during Puertas’ arrest, according to the charges.

A protester also twisted his ankle while fleeing from the officers, Thomas said.

Activists said at the time that police canine units were also on the scene, including one dog that was unleashed, chasing protesters.

According to Lee, the action was staged in response to a June 12 letter sent to Calgary-based U.S. Oil Sands by the Environmental Protection Agency. That letter indicates that U.S. Oil Sands’ project, which targets state-owned minerals, includes land within the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.

Activists had been camped nearby on public land in the Book Cliffs since May, hoping to bring attention to what they say is destructive strip mining that could spread around the Uinta Basin should U.S. Oil Sands succeed.

The six protesters’ first court appearances are scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday before Judge Edwin Peterson.

At least some of the 21 are expected to enter plea agreements then, said Greg Skordas, an attorney representing some of the defendants.

“Because there were 21 of them, we’ve had to look at each person individually and try to take into account their conduct and their history, and try to fashion a plea [for] each defendant,” Skordas said.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda

Uintah County Sheriff’s deputies stand watch as other law enforcement officials in the background remove and arrest activists who had chained themselves to heavy equipment at a U.S. Oil Sands construction site on Pope Well Ridge Road in Uintah County on July 21. The Grand County Sheriff’s Department is seeking a permit to establish a command center near the site of the protests. [Photo courtesy of Utah Tar Sands Resistance]

By Eric Trenbeath / Moab Sun News

The Grand County Sheriff’s Department is asking a state agency for a “Right of Entry” permit to establish a command center in the Book Cliffs area near the PR Spring tar sands strip mine about 60 miles north of Moab, Utah.

According to the project report posted on the Utah State Public Lands Policy Coordination Office website, the proposed command center “will allow law enforcement officials to have a presence on the Bookcliffs when needed.”

The report anticipates the need to level the ground at the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) site. It also calls for the development of a septic leach field and the construction of a security fence. Development of the project is scheduled to begin on June 15, 2015.

SITLA resource specialist Bryan Torgerson said that the main purpose of the command center is to respond to environmental activists who have been protesting the development of the first tar sands strip mine in the United States.

“The protesters are doing illegal activity up there and they have caused damage to private property,” he said.

In June of this year, environmental activists from the group Utah Tar Sands Resistance (UTSR) announced plans to establish a permanent “vigil” at the PR Spring tar strip mine site. They were joined by members of the Moab-based Canyon Country Rising Tide, and Peaceful Uprising.

In July, about 80 protesters clashed with the Uintah County Sheriff’s Department and 21 were arrested. The protesters blocked a road and locked themselves to earth-moving equipment in order to halt construction on the Canadian owned U.S. Oil Sands strip mine project.

Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen said that approximately 10 deputies from his office and three agents from the Utah Attorney General’s Office made the arrests. Members of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office also arrived at the scene just after the confrontation between the protesters blocking the road and law enforcement.

Laursen described the scene as one that escalated quickly from a peaceful protest to one that suddenly became physical.

“The folks who had chained themselves to the equipment were very polite and cooperative,” he said.

“But as we were removing them, the six other protesters who tried to block the road created quite a melee. There were some fisticuffs.”

Denise Davis, a spokesperson for UTSR, said that climate change protesters were peaceful and that they had suffered under “selective enforcement of laws designed to make peaceful protest a felony.”

Davis also denied allegations of property destruction.

“The protests have been brave and sustained but peaceful and nondestructive,” she said.

Grand County Sheriff Steve White acknowledged that protesters are part of the reason for the command center, but he said that law enforcement just wants to establish a presence in the area.

“There have been some oil field thefts and other activities going on up there,” he said. “As a matter of fact, this is something we’ve been thinking about for years.”

White said that the project is a joint effort with Uintah County and SITLA. He said they want to establish a camp trailer and a place to park some ATVs so they can have a base of operations should law enforcement personnel be needed in the remote area.

Davis said that she is “perplexed” by the sheriff’s request to establish a remote police post in the Book Cliffs when none of the protests have occurred in the Grand County portion of the mine site.

“It is very unfortunate that Grand County Sheriff Steven White is proposing to further step up surveillance and intimidation of peaceful protesters while continuing to ignore the air and water pollution that is resulting from leaking wells, tanks and toxic ponds of oil and gas waste that continue to threaten Grand County residents and visitors,” she said.

U.S. Oil Sands holds a lease to strip mine up to 32,000 acres of land – an area equivalent to approximately half the size of Arches National Park. A portion of the lease is in Grand County.

Environmentalists claim that the operation will severely impact the environment by polluting groundwater, displacing wildlife and destroying large swaths of wilderness.

“The Book Cliffs have been called the Serengeti of Utah and they are of significance to all Americans,” Davis said.

Living Rivers executive director John Weisheit said that the Utah Division of Air Quality never should have issued permits for the tar sands mine. His organization waged a legal battle on the grounds that sufficient water wasn’t available for the tar sands mine, and that what groundwater did exist was at risk of contamination.

Weisheit wants to know why the citizens of Grand County are paying for security up on the Book Cliffs, particularly as it relates to U.S. Oil Sands and the PR Spring Mine.

“The job of the Grand County Sheriff is to protect its citizens,” Weisheit said. “This is a foreign corporation. Power companies and other industries hire security guards, why aren’t they (U.S. Oil Sands)?”

Canyon Country Rising Tide spokesperson Sarah Stock agreed.

“This is yet another example of public money being used to facilitate tar sands development,” she said.

“The real danger to our community is tar sands, oil shale, and unregulated oil and gas development, not peaceful protesters. If the Grand County Sheriff’s Department has extra time and money to burn, they should help the understaffed BLM inspect and enforce regulations on the thousands of potentially leaking oil and gas wells in the state.”

Torgerson said that he respects the rights of people and their views, and he fully expects protesters to return to the site when the weather improves.

“We welcome the right of free speech,” he said. “We just hope they will respect private property.”

Parts of U.S. Oil Sands mine site extend onto Ute tribal lands. The Environmental Protection Agency warned the company in June that it didn’t have permission to operate on Ute land. On July 21, 2014, fifteen people chained themselves to a fence and to machinery on the tar sands mine site operated by U.S. Oil Sands.

Parts of U.S. Oil Sands mine site extend onto Ute tribal lands. The Environmental Protection Agency warned the company in June that it didn’t have permission to operate on Ute land. On July 21, 2014, fifteen people chained themselves to a fence and to machinery on the tar sands mine site operated by U.S. Oil Sands.

By Anna Simonton, Oil Change International

Lauren Wood grew up in a family of river guides in the Uinta Basin region of Utah. She navigates tributaries of the Colorado River like her urban counterparts navigate subway systems. She learned to ride a horse, and then drive a car, on the Tavaputs Plateau. And she can name most any gorge or gully in the place she calls home.

After clear-cutting trees and sagebrush, U.S. Oil Sands digs open-pit mines to test their tar sands extraction process. If the company starts producing tar sands on a commercial scale, 32,000 acres in Utah’s Uintah Basin could be covered with these pits, along with tailings ponds that would store huge amounts of waste water and chemicals used in the extraction process. (Courtesy of Utah Tar Sands Resistance).

But this landscape so familiar to her has transformed over the past decade to one in which drill rigs are more common than cattle herds, and methane emissions have degraded the air quality in this wilderness region to rival that of Los Angeles.

New technologies like fracking––along with government subsidies––have ushered in an energy boom reliant on extreme extraction methods to produce oil and natural gas. Now the Uinta Basin is ground zero for what threatens to become the next phase in extreme energy extraction: strip mining for tar sands and oil shale.

Tar sands are a sticky mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen that can be processed into fuel, but require more refining than conventional crude oil, releasing more greenhouse gases and toxins in the process. Despite the fact that Canadian tar sands mining is pushing the Earth toward disastrous climate change, some companies are moving forward with tar sands mining projects in the United States.

Oil shale, not to be confused with shale oil (which is oil released by fracking), is a solid mixture of chemical compounds––called kerogen––inside sedimentary rock. When heated at high enough temperatures, it’s possible to break the kerogen down into liquid hydrocarbons and release them from the rock. This requires a whole lot of fuel just to make more fuel, and also promises to drastically worsen the effects of climate change.

Part one of this article delved into the history of how, in the past, taxpayers have footed costly bills for government-sponsored tar sands and oil shale development that never turned out to be commercially viable. The last of these projects fizzled out in the 1980s. Now, thanks in large part to a provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005––written by Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch––oil shale and tar sands are back on the table.

Red Leaf Resources and U.S. Oil Sands are two companies that have led the renewed crusade to develop oil shale and tar sands in the United States. Red Leaf leases Utah state land for its oil shale mine site near the Tavaputs Plateau in Uintah County. A few miles away, straddling the boundaries of the Uintah-Ouray Reservation, sits the tar sands mine site of Canadian-based U.S. Oil Sands.

In 2008, one of Red Leaf’s Vice Presidents, Laura Nelson, teamed up with a U.S. Oil Sands Executive to co-write a white paper for the Utah Mining Association (UMA), a lobbying group. In it, they spelled out the ways that state and federal governments should subsidize tar sands and oil shale development. Since then, several of their recommendations––including millions of dollars in tax breaks, leasing public land at rock-bottom prices, and government-funded infrastructure projects––have become reality.

(more…)

Nihígaal béé Íina: Our Journey For Existence

The Navajo Nation sits on one of the richest energy corridors in the United States, and for close to a century, we have been on the frontline on resource colonization to provide cheap energy and water to the cities in the Southwest. Since the 1920’s, our land and people have been sacrificed for energy extraction for oil, gas, uranium, and coal, which is poisoning our land, water, air, and people. Despite being at the forefront of energy extraction, our people do not see its benefits; approximately 1/4 of our people today live without electricity and running water on the Navajo Nation, while our economy functions at an unemployment rate of about 60%, and our young people are leaving due to lack of opportunity. Now our people and land are facing the onset fracking and a proposed pipeline, which will transport crude oil through 130 miles in Dinétah, the emergence place of our people, in the name of “economic development”.

As young Diné people, we realize that we can’t continue on like this. We need clean air, water, and a viable lifeway for our people and for all human beings. In facing this crisis of our future, the idea of walking to raise awareness was born.

We are walking to honor the legacy of our ancestors during Hwééldi, who, a 150 years ago, were forced to walk hundreds of miles in the winter during away from our homelands in the winter to be imprisoned for four years in the name of American colonization. During this time of great suffering, our ancestors thought of our homeland, mountains, and prayed that future generations would carry on our way of life. It is in their memory and out of this profound love for the land that we are walking. It is time to heal from the legacy and trauma of colonization that we having been living under for too long.

It is our intention to walk throughout the Navajo Nation to document both the beauty of land and people and how this is being desecrated by resource extraction. We will do this through a social media campaign and a documentary films. Along our route, we will visit communities to listen to the issues our people are facing and share information about the state of water, air, land, and health, as our communities often have very little access to media or information about these issues. Our hope is that we can help to inspire our people to become engage in the care our land, air, and water, and culture so that we will have a future as Diné.

On January 6, 2015, we will start from the fireplace and doorway of Diné Bikéyah, at Dził Nahodiłii (Huerfano, NM) and Ch’ool’i’i , the emergence place of our people, which is threatened by fracking. There are over 400 proposed drill sites and within the past couple months over 100 have been started in the region. From there we will walk to communities through the Eastern Agency, and then to Tsoodzil (Mt. Taylor, Grants, NM) which also threaten by uranium mining. This first leg of our journey will be nearly 300 miles, and will take us approximately 3 weeks.

In the seasons to come, we will extend our walk to the other mountains and regions of Diné Bikéyah. To Doo’o’k’osliid (San Francisco Peak, Flagstaff, AZ) in the Spring, the Dibé Ntsáá (Hesperus, CO) in the Summer, and in the fall we will go all the way to Sisnajiní (Blanca Peak, Alamosa, CO). All combined, we will be walking over 1000 miles in 2015.

We are asking for support to cover the expenses of this journey through 2015 including gear, food, media/outreach and educational materials.

Gear – It is our intention to use as little fossil fuels as possible during our journey, so we want to carry as much as possible, therefore we are asking for funding for packs and lightweight gear including sleeping bags, tents, etc… We will also be facing extreme weather during this walk, so funding will also be used for jackets, thermals, and other cold/extreme weather clothing. We also will be needing socks, good shoes, and first aid supplies to keep us going.

Food – food to feed our walkers daily and our support crew.

Media/Outreach – a major component of this walk is to raise awareness about the issues we are facing and document the impacts of resource colonization, so we need funding for media equipment and too get the word out via internet, newspaper, radio, and television.

Educational Materials – this is to cover the expense of printing materials and documents to distribute to communities as we pass through. We want to share as much information as possible

Axhé’hee! Thank you for your support!

Fundraiser | Facebook

nihigaalbeeiina [at] gmail [dot] com

“Disorderly Conduct” by Sidhe, a message to US Oil Sands and other killers

On Sept. 4th, Utah Tar Sands Resistance interrupted the 2014 Uintah Basin Energy Summit, a yearly conference where tar sands and oil shale speculators are exalted and anyone “not excited” about the destruction of the Book Cliffs is shut out and silenced.

Land defender Sidhe had planned to share her entire poem with the 700 conference goers, but police–already aware of the conference organizers’ insecurities and impatience–would not cede a moment to their dissenters. Sidhe was booked into the Uintah County Jail on suspicion of “disorderly conduct,” an exceedingly fitting charge police could level against the tar sands speculators destroying the planet who were in the room, but alas, the police work for the capitalists, not the people.

“Disorderly Conduct” by Sidhe

A message to all of you short-sighted killers
What kind of world will you leave behind for your children
When you’ve squeezed every last drop of life from the land
With your greed and your murder you’ve wrought with your plans

I’d like to remind you your money means nothing
When the water’s been blackened and the creatures are starving
You toy with a force you do not understand
Your chemicals won’t wash all that blood off your hands

First Nations fight cancer up in Athabasca
Your oil trains are time bombs impending disaster
Your pipelines will leak and your cesspools will sprawl
And your babies are left with the brunt of it all

What of the animals caught in the tar?
What of the forests left clear cut and scarred?
What of those atrocities I didn’t witness?
Like Serafino in Columbia sending assassins
To murder union organizers who stood up and spoke out
In the back of my mind I can still hear them shout
I am made of this land you are made of the same
The planet is dying and you are to blame

Are you proud of yourselves? Look at what you’ve become
Heartless machines, so frigid and numb
So reluctant to think that you may just be wrong
That you hear the dissent and you send in the guns.

Upcoming Events on the Land:

Sept. 12-15: Join Trans & Women Organizers on the Plateau

Sept. 19-21: Fall Campout in the Book Cliffs: A Weekend of Stories & Connecting with the Land

More in recent actions:

Colorado Plateau Resistance shuts down tar sands mine construction

Utah Tar Sands Resistance received information regarding a direct action that took place at the US Oil Sands strip mine construction site. These folks are bad ass!

The group released the following video and below the video, a communique:

The Colorado Plateau and its inhabitants are under invasion on multiple fronts of the energy industry. This tar sands mine is a bloody blip in a bigger scheme threatening this land, including the reopening of uranium mines that have poisoned indigenous communities for generations; the planned construction of a nuclear generator in Green River, Utah; violent and vast scraping of the land and squandering of sacred water in pursuit of lowest-grade fuel sources like tar sands and oil shale; a new “oil” refinery in Green River perhaps to centralize production and distribution of those super-toxic tar sands and oil shale fuels; and all of this paid for and made possible by the dangerous fracking boom, which is poisoning our air and water and killing the most vulnerable members of our communities, our babies and old people. This second Big Buildup of the Colorado Plateau is similar to the first Big Buildup of the 20th Century, which fostered disastrous projects like the Glen Canyon Dam, the Navajo Generating station, and the Peabody coal mine at Black Mesa; this second Big Buildup of the Colorado plateau also resembles the initial conquering and genocide of this land by the American government and white settlers. In those prior historical times and today, masters of industry and thus colonialism must control the land and subjugate its people in order to consolidate the wealth of the land in the hands of very few white elites. Their most powerful weapons are and always have been racism and patriarchy and their value system is heartless capitalism. We are forever in contempt of their scheme. This energy industry is a murderous syndicate whose business plans for the future entail the destruction of life on the planet via climate-change catastrophes and crises. Now is the time for all who have something to contribute to give all that you can to the final shut-down of projects like the US Oil Sands tar sands mine and all the many tentacles sucking the life of the Colorado Plateau and Grand Mother Earth herself.

The Vigil Continues! The plateau needs us, and we will do our best to fulfill the commitment we have made to this land, which has already given us so much.

Video: Work stopped ALL WEEK at tar sands strip mine!

National Environmental Groups Stand With Utah Land Defenders

PRESS RELEASE: Opponents to enforce shutdown of tar sands mine today (July 21st)

UPDATE: ALL 21 LAND DEFENDERS HAVE BEEN RELEASED.

Utah Tar Sands

After a massive direct action protest today at the site of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands strip-mining site, a total of 21 were arrested and are currently awaiting charges at Uintah County Jail in Vernal, Utah. In addition to protestors, those acting as legal observers, independent media, and jail support were arrested, as well as several indigenous and trans individuals whose safety we are deeply concerned about.

Early this morning land defenders locked themselves to equipment being used to clear-cut and grade an area designated for the tar sands’ companies processing plant, as well as a fenced “cage” used to store the equipment. Others formed a physical blockade with their bodies to keep work from happening, and to protect those locked-down to the equipment. Banners were also hung off the cage that read: “You are trespassing on Ute land” and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.”

13 people were arrested for locking to equipment. An additional six people were arrested after sitting in the road to prevent the removal of those being taken away in two police vans. Two of the protesters arrested were injured. One was taken a nearby hospital to be treated, while the other is being treated at the Uintah County Jail. The nature of their injuries is not being disclosed by the county sheriffs.

Two additional people were arrested when they arrived at Uintah Country Jail to provide support to the land defenders inside. An estimated 10 armed deputies with police dogs were standing outside the jail wearing bullet proof vests. Those at the jail to provide support were told that the deputies were there to “deter” any supporters from actually coming to the jail.

Currently all 21 individuals are still being processed and held.

Support these brave land defenders who put their hearts and bodies on the line by donating to their legal fund.

Rising Tide North America is handling donations through The Action Network. Donate to the land defenders’ legal support fund using this secure link

Canadian company U.S Oil Sands has paid their reclamation bond of $2.2 million and has now begun major construction at their second tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of Utah.

U.S Oil Sands’ immediate plans are to clear cut 62 acres of forests and sagebrush land, according to their operations plan, but this spat of clearing may not end until 213 acres of Douglas firs, Pinyon pines, sagebrush and grasses are razed. Long-term plans by this one company threaten up to 32,000 acres of diverse wild lands.

U.S Oil Sands giant belly scrapers and bulldozers have already observably cleared an estimated 20 acres, or the size of a football stadium.

With grasses, shrubs and trees obliterated, the bulldozers are creating massive dust storms that are pummeling PR Canyon to the east, vital habitat for elk, deer, black bears and much more. The dangerously opaque dust clouds routinely cross Seep Ridge Road, substantially blocking drivers’ visibility, causing a major road hazard for which no signage has been posted. Our extensive monitoring of their operations reveal that absolutely no dust control efforts–like water sprinkling–are currently being used to protect the environment, wildlife or motorists.

Click here to read more…

http://www.wildearthguardians.org/1PM Thursday June 19th @ Wild Roots Feral Futures (exact location TBA)

Bob Brister, an organizer with WildEarth Guardians, will share information and volunteer opportunities about two major campaigns he works on:

http://trapfreenm.org/Trap Free New Mexico: a coalition of wildlife conservation and animal protection groups are working to pass legislation in New Mexico to ban the poisoning and trapping of animals on public lands. Learn how you can be part of ridding New Mexico of animal traps.

Colorado Wolf Campaign: WildEarth Guardians is organizing local wolf advocacy groups we call “Wolf Packs” to carry out pro-wolf educational and advocacy projects in their communities. Learn how you can be an “alpha wolf” and start a wolf pack in your area.
———

For the 6th year running, the Wild Roots Feral Futures (WRFF) eco-defense, direct action, and rewilding encampment will take place in the forests of Southwest Colorado this coming June 14-22, 2014. WRFF is an informal, completely free and non-commercial, and loosely organized camp-out operating on (less than a) shoe-string budget, formed entirely off of donated, scavenged, or liberated supplies and sustained through 100% volunteer effort.

We would like to invite groups and individuals engaged in struggles against the destruction of the Earth (and indeed all interconnected forms of oppression) to join us and share your stories, lessons, skills, and whatever else you may have to offer. In this spirit we would like to reach out to frontline community members, local environmental groups, coalitions, and alliances everywhere to come collaborate on the future of radical environmentalism and eco-defense in our bio-regions and beyond.

If you are interested in facilitating a workshop, skill share, discussion, etc., or would like to otherwise get involved, contact us at feralfutures [at] riseup [dot] net

704901_493045424050316_1076545837_o_218x30057fa18e7fbfbFrom Black Mesa Indigenous Support:

BIG MOUNTAIN SPRING TRAINING CAMP
MAY 16th-23rd, 2014
BIG MOUNTAIN, DINEH NATION

#Honor40Years
#Not1MoreRELOCATION
#KeepitintheGround

“What we are trying to save—the Female Mountain—is alive. She is alive, she has blood flowing through her veins, which is the Navajo Aquifer, and the coal they are digging is Her liver. They are destroying Her.” –Marie Gladue, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

“We need to exercise our right to be human. To gather on the land and have our words be heard by the ground, the trees, and each other.” –Louise Benally, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

During this moment of peak visibility around climate change, we extend this invitation for a training camp on Big Mountain. We’ll gather to honor 40 years of Indigenous resistance to cultural genocide, forced relocation, and large-scale coal mining.

*Application link at bottom of email*

The Elders Circle of the 40-Year Sovereign Dineh Nation Resistance, with Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS)–a collective working in solidarity with the Big Mountain and surrounding resistance communities–as well as Radical Action for Mountain Peoples Survival (RAMPS),  Missourians Organizing for Reform/Revolution & Empowerment (MORE), and Save the Confluence are collaboratively organizing this camp.

Background on the Training Camp

Building on alliances made during last June’s gathering on decolonization, the collaborative planning process for this gathering has been a combination of conference calls and in-person meetings. Since September, there have been five community meetings on Black Mesa with elders, second generation resisters, and collective members from BMIS. Additionally, monthly meetings are held in Flagstaff with youth and local organizations. Through these meetings, community members have guided the tone, outreach, messaging, goals, and ceremonies necessary for the preparation of this camp. When asked what kind of action elders wanted to see, they shared examples of the different forms of action they have taken while defending their right to remain on their ancestral homeland. They expressed looking forward to sharing their stories as to inspire next generations.

Camp organizers are connecting with trainers and workshop presenters from organizations such as Multicultral Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), Save the Confluence, Palestinian Youth Movement, RAMPS, MORE, No One is Illegal (Canada), Puente Human Rights Movement, Sixth World Solutions, Black Mesa Water Coalition, Anti-Uranium Groups, and the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. The camp offers a variety of  non-violent direct action (NVDA) skills and workshops grounded in legacies of land-based resistance. Spiritual, cultural, artistic practices and healing will be foregrounded.

The workshops and trainings will include:

  • Introduction and History of NVDA

  • The History of the Struggle and Land Dispute on Black Mesa

  • Cultural Work as Resistance to Colonialism

  • Frontline Movement Updates

  • Cultural Sharing and Storytelling

  • NVDA techniques

  • Decolonial visioning

  • Art and prop making

  • People’s Media and Communication (including messaging, social media, and live-streaming)

  • Know Your Rights and legal training

  • …and many more

“During this gathering, we want to re-create harmony between Indigenous peoples who have been harmed by relocation policies. We want to re-spark the cross-movement connections made at last June’s Gathering by taking action at the site of disruption–the coal mine itself.” – Danny Blackgoat, community organizer and son of Resister Matriarch, Roberta Blackgoat.

Goals:

*To honor 40 years of resistance on Big Mountain and confront resource colonialism

*To build on strategic alliances between anti-extraction struggles in Appalachia and Black Mesa

*To strengthen connections between Indigenous communities on the front lines of land defense

*To build on cross-movement connections made at last June’s gathering for decolonization (on Black Mesa)

*To expand the solidarity network

*To center cultural and spiritual elements of resistance

Logistics:

The training camp is free, including all food, lodging and training. However, we are encouraging participants to fundraise and donate as they are able to help offset costs. BMIS has limited funds for travel stipends and we are prioritizing funding for Indigenous and frontline communities. There will be limited indoor space for sleeping; most participants will be camping.  The camp will be in a remote area with no running water, paved roads, or electricity.  More details are provided in the application (below).

Call for Sheepherders/ Human Rights Observers:

Resistance community members are requesting returning sheepherders/ human rights observers this spring. Because this camp is held on actively disputed land (see background), it will not be possible without human rights observation during and following the camp. Your involvement will make it possible for the resistance community to participate in the camp and will help mitigate further harassment.

Contact us if you are able to come a week early and help set up base camp!

Click Here to Apply

Contact: BigMountainCamp2014@gmail.com with application questions

In Honor of 40 Years,

The Elders Circle of the Sovereign Dineh Nation, The BMIS Collective, RAMPS, MORE, & Save the Confluence

mesoamerica resiste

The Beehive Design Collective is coming to Fort Lewis College (Chem 130 auditorium) in Durango to present their latest giant narrative graphic poster “Mesoamérica Resiste” on April 8th at 7 PM.

SLC appearance! 7pm, May 12th @ The Mestizo Coffee House

The Beehive Design Collective is a wildly motivated, all volunteer, activist artist collective that has gained international attention for their collaboratively produced graphics campaigns focusing on globalization, resource extraction, and stories of resistance. “Mesoamérica Resiste” is their most recent project, a culmination of 9 years of story gathering in Mesoamérica, research, and illustration. The intricate, double-sided image documents resistance to the top-down development plans and mega-infrastructure projects that literally pave the way for resource extraction and free trade. It highlights stories of cross-border grassroots social movements and collective action, especially organizing led by Indigenous peoples.

For more detailed information and images on this project we recommend checking out their website and youtube video.