October 11, 2021 — In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
From our offices on occupied Lenape territory in lower Manhattan, we stand in solidarity with the nearly seven million Indigenous people in this country, who continue to fight to protect their rights, lands, and cultures against the perpetual onslaught of colonialism and racism. The Indigenous people of Turtle Island have survived and resisted more than 500 years of colonial violence and occupation of their land, including the largest genocide in human history. Today, colonization of Indigenous land continues with the plunder, extraction, and destruction of the Earth for corporate profits — political decisions by the U.S. government and corporations that have devastating consequences for all present and future generations.
This week, in Washington, D.C., Water Protectors and Land Defenders from across Turtle Island are gathering to take part in the People v. Fossil Fuels week of action, in what organizers say will be one of the country’s largest acts of civil disobedience in decades. In defense of the planet and to halt climate catastrophe, organizers are demanding that the Biden administration stop approving fossil fuel projects, like Line 3, ban federal fossil fuel leasing and drilling, and stop all fossil fuel exports.
Our support for this action grows out of a long history of standing with Indigenous peoples in their struggles against the U.S. government and the oil and gas industry. We are proud to have defended the rights of American Indian Movement leaders who faced criminal charges for their historic occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. More recently, we represented Krystal Two Bulls, an Oglala Lakota and Northern Cheyenne organizer who faced a spurious legal attack from the co-owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline stemming from her activism at Standing Rock; and we defended Indigenous Water Protectors in 2017, when that same company came after them for resisting construction on the other end of that pipeline in Louisiana. We also stood with the Ramapough Lenape Nation when their opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline led to harassment and outrageous fines. In a report that we produced with The Red Nation and other allies, we detail how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) exerts corporate influence over state lawmakers to wage attacks on Indigneous and allied Water Protectors.
Today and every day, we will continue to defend the rights of Indigenous people as they maintain their fight for sovereignty, accountability, and a world where all can live in a dignified relationship to the Earth.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.