Kandi Mossett’s indigenous name is Eagle Woman. She is a Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara woman from North Dakota, and works with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Here are some out-takes from her conversation with Sarah Jaffe.
On the Native Nations Rising March in Washington, DC:
It was like a family reunion. It did really lift up everyone’s spirits again because the whole idea was always that what we did at Standing Rock was much more than just a physical encampment. It was helping to ensure that people were connecting with each other that maybe didn’t connect in Standing Rock. That people understood how to lobby their congressman and congresswoman on the hill in D.C. and that people understood that the power lies in the people.
I feel like it was a great success and it led people to work on all the other pipeline sites, because we do have Keystone XL back on because of Donald Trump. There are already camps. There is a camp in South Dakota already near the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. They are fighting, again, the same way they did before because the Dakota Access Pipeline encampment, all of that was a result of the success we had with Keystone XL. Now, all the people are going back to Keystone XL to continue to fight that. But there are people going to the Two Rivers Camp in Texas to fight against the Trans Pecos Pipeline which is the same company, Energy Transfer Partners. A lot of people are going to Louisiana where a camp is being set up against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is the one that will connect to the Dakota Access Pipeline in Illinois so that the oil can continue to go down to Port Arthur, Texas where it will be refined and then shipped to foreign markets. It is all part of the same project. A lot of people didn’t understand that until they went to D.C. and saw the different information and made that connection that we need to continue to fight.
It is so much bigger than Standing Rock and one pipeline.
On Youth Organizing:
It was amazing to see youth like Jasilyn Charger and Bobbi Jean Three Legs and other youth that decided to do these runs where they ran in their own community, it was just a few miles and they were like, “This is fun. We should organize another run.” That is when they called up and included the Indigenous Environmental Network. We had helped them with their first run.
Then they said, “We want to go further.” I was like, “Okay, how about Nebraska? The Army Corps of Engineers Offices?” My co-worker Dallas Goldtooth was helping to say, “Yes, let’s make it happen.” All we did was make a few phone calls for solidarity housing, food along the way, gas for the vans that were going to be following the runners. And they successfully ran to Nebraska. Then, they said, “We want to keep running!” They ran to D.C. In doing this run, they were able to connect with each other as youth with the pain that they were having in their own households, in their own communities, that their grandpas and grandmas experienced.
What You Can Do:
A call went out at Two Rivers Camp in Texas. A call went out at the Sabal Pipeline fight in Florida. A call went out in Louisiana for people to come and stand with them. The other thing that people should continue to work on even if they can’t go to a camp is the defund campaign and the divestment campaign. That has been extremely successful. We have DefundDAPL.org which shows you the seventeen banks that are funding these projects. It goes even larger than those seventeen banks, because a lot of these large banks are funding energy projects somewhere. We are continually asking people to take their money out of these big banks and to put it into their local community and credit unions to bring back the power to your community.