I was excited to spend August 6-8 helping out behind the scenes at a climate justice gathering put on by Indigenous Climate Action and the Indigenous Environmental Network for grassroots leaders from tar-sands impacted nations.
“Grassroots Grow Deep” was held on the beautiful Cold Lake First Nations' treaty grounds and had 45 participants from Treaty 6, 7, and 8 territories, plus facilitators and guests from the Standing Rock/Oceti Sakowin Camp, the Trans Mountain fight on unceded Coast Salish territories, and other interconnected keep it in the ground struggles across the continent. The camp came about when Indigenous community leaders identified a need to better connect with others doing tar sands resistance work across the massive region that is directly impacted by this extraction.The sunrise over the Grassroots Grows Deep camp on Day 2 came with smoke from the wildfires burning across the Rockies, a harsh reminder that climate change and colonialism continue to unfold as we work.
There were sessions and workshops on climate change, the tar sands, organizing, media,
Indigenous Climate Action was launched a little over a year ago and already the organization has made a huge impact in connecting and supporting Indigenous communities fighting for decolonization and a just transition. Their plans over the next year include facilitating a dizzying array of powerful gatherings similar to Grassroots Grow Deep, taking on the Teck Frontier Mine and other fossil fuel expansion projects, and launching a multimedia journal sharing stories of Indigenous-led climate solutions. The gathering’s co-host, the Indigenous Environmental Network, was founded in 1990 and has been fighting colonialism and environmental destruction ever since.