Speakers at the protest included Faith Gemmill of Arctic Village in Alaska—she works with the group Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands—and Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Canadian-based Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign.
FAITH GEMMILL: We’re here today to send a message to the US government that no longer can their energy policy and their unsustainable development practices threaten the future of indigenous peoples. This is what’s happening in America. All these indigenous communities are under threat by fossil fuel extraction and the fossil fuel issues that affect us, the energy issues.
Alaska is ground zero for US energy policy. Many of our indigenous homelands, our ancestral territories, are under threat, and it threatens the very existence of our communities. We live a subsistence way of life that’s very, very much connected to our homelands. And for us to live that way of life, our homelands have to be intact.
CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER: You know, today President Obama accepts his Nobel Peace Prize, when we all know that it’s just representing such immense hypocrisy, with calling out 30,000 US troops to continue to go into Afghanistan and oppress peoples in the Middle East.
The administration continues to oppress indigenous peoples and racialize communities in the United States and in Canada through their energy and climate policies. So we’re here in Copenhagen at the United Nations international climate negotiations to call out the US government and their little bully brother, the Darth Vader of Copenhagen, the Canadian government, in their ridiculous and oppressive energy policies and to say we want a just and clean future, a new economic paradigm that doesn’t sacrifice our communities at the altar of irresponsible policies for the economic benefit of the select few who pull the political strings.