Watch: Native American Climate Change Protester: ‘We Are Literally Dying’

A Native American climate change activist who took part in Monday morning’s “Shut Down D.C.” protest decried the construction of pipelines on Native American land, said that children are “getting ripped from us because of war conditions that we live in,” and proclaimed that they are “literally dying.”

Climate activists took to the streets of Washington, DC, Monday morning as part of the “Shut Down D.C.” protest, which promised to “take action all over the district to disrupt business as usual.” Protesters held signs reading “Stop pipelines now,” “resist,” and “Climate emergency” and forced cars to idle in the streets by blocking intersections. Some of the protesters even started a dumpster fire in the middle of a street.

A Native American activist explained her reason for action on camera, decrying the construction of pipelines on Native American land. She could be heard saying, “Our water is so polluted. It comes out of the faucets red, yellow and orange– smelling of petroleum.”

She said that children are “getting ripped” from us due to the “war conditions” they live in, and added that we are “literally dying.” She also called out fellow resisters for paying more attention to the “children being taken at the border.”

“Our children are getting ripped from us because of the poor conditions that we live in. Everyone’s crying around about the children being taken at the border, why don’t they care about our people and what’s been happening to us for generations?” she asked.

“We’re literally dying. We’re having our children ripped from us and we deserve to live,” she continued, before decrying “colonization.”

“We did not ask for colonization. It was forced on us and colonization is killing the planet,” she added, echoing the remarks of other climate change activists.

Last week, teen activists Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Margolin directly blamed climate change on “colonialism, slavery, and natural resource extraction” and accused the U.S. of attempting to “colonize and buy and sell our way out of a problem caused by colonization and buying and selling.”

Similarly, a Native American climate change activist took the stage at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol as part of Friday’s global climate strike and declared that the ecosystem in D.C. has been “destroyed” by climate change, which was furthered by colonization:

She said in part:

What caused the roads to be paved over with asphalt, the sidewalks with concrete? What caused the Capitol to be built? The answer is colonization. The genocide of indigenous people. The enslavement of Africans. Some may say that this doesn’t matter, that it happened a long time ago, that it doesn’t affect us today. But it affects counties of color every single day. Today across our nation and here in D.C. it is still brown and black communities that have the least amount of access to clean water and healthy green spaces.

“This is not just an environmental issue. This is a race issue. This is an immigration issue–feminist issue,” she added. “We can’t solve anything unless we understand the connection between these issues.”


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