Everything Connnected to the Land is Connected to our Bodies

Project: Shedding Light on Environmental Violence in North America

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The links between land and body have never been more apparent than in recent years, with extractive industries drilling, mining and fracking lands on or near traditional Indigenous territories, providing economic benefits to transnational corporations and national economies at a cost impacted communities are still grappling to understand. A cost most deeply felt by Indigenous women and young people.

This is why WEA is currently working in partnership with Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN) to explore this critical intersection and ways to support the leadership of young Indigenous women who are resisting environmental violence in their communities.

To learn more about this work, please visit our website.

This beautiful piece was done by WEA Intern, Katie Douglas, for WEA’s initiative on environmental violence.

 

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From the artist: Each day that I spend interning at WEA teaches me more on the intersectionality that binds women’s rights, indigenous communities, and the environment. While the natural symmetry of these three elements is beautiful, the reality of their existence in our world is often one of destruction and injustice. As the greed of industry spreads, it is impossible not to see the direct correlation between detrimental environmental practices and their impacts on women with regard to health, culture, and actions of violence. From this, I was inspired to create an image that could begin to express humanity’s violation of the Earth as a parallel to humanity’s violation of the women’s bodies.

The open copper pit mine of the her belly shows that humanity is not only extracting Earth’s resources, but also that by plundering straight from her womb we are destroying any chance of future life. An oil well symbolizes the pollution that degrades the environment of so many native communities, while the flag is a symbol of the widespread domination of the Earth, indigenous peoples and women. Deforestation and waste are represented by the stump and can, and placed on her breasts to show our extreme dependence on these non-renewable resources. Despite the bleak outlook of the image, the ball of light in her hand represents my feeling of hope. Because if WEA has taught me anything, it is to trust to in the immense and impenetrable power that women hold in our hands to change this world for the better.

Keystone XL Pipeline: The Effects on the Environment and Indigenous People

Project: Coordinating Advocacy to Protect Native Lands and Rights

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“I urge our allies to stand with Native people, heed our call for systemic change to how we create and utilize energy and the policies that regulate both, support our right to self-determination, and join our movement to protect the territorial integrity and sacredness of Mother Earth.”                    

 –Dallas Goldtooth

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Dallas Goldtooth, the Keystone XL Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, wrote a fantastic article concerning the devastating effects the 1,179 mile long oil pipeline would have on drinking water, tar sand development, carbon emissions, and especially the indigenous people. As an Oceti Sakowin, he cannot remain silent with the possibility of his people’s traditional knowledge and teachings totally being disregarded. WEA’s comments to the State Department on the Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline, along with the collective effort of indigenous people, helped to delay the approval of the pipeline project.

WEA’s New Partnership to Address Environmental Violence

Project: Shedding Light on Environmental Violence in North America

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We are so proud to be in partnership with The Native Youth Sexual Health Network on a community-based research and advocacy initiative to address the environmental violence Indigenous women and  youth face as a result of extreme extraction.

Everything that impacts the land in turn impacts our bodies.

Visit the link below to learn more about this initiative, how it aims to address the impacts of extractive industries on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of Indigenous communities, how you can get involved or share your knowledge, or other ways you can support.

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WEA Partnership with GREEN Foundation Supports Women Farmers in Karnataka

Project: Traditional agriculture solutions for women farmers in India

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In India, climate change, the steady degradation of natural resources, as well as political and social unrest and inequity, has severely affected the lives of millions of rural poor—a majority of which are women—who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. These barriers help to make women and girls more vulnerable to societal and health dangers, and reinforces patriarchal practices that deny them access to arenas where decisions affecting them are made.

That’s why WEA was thrilled to partner with GREEN Foundation last year to recognize the knowledge and expertise of women farmers to promote food security and build community resiliency. Through this partnership and GREEN Foundations amazing efforts on the ground, women farmers in Karnataka were mentored, trained and supported as they shared and built their skills in sustainable agriculture, seed saving, income generation, community organizing, and leadership around climate adaptation.

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Environmental Injustice: Communities on the Frontlines

Project: Coordinating Advocacy to Protect Native Lands and Rights

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One of the key concerns in much of WEA’s work is around the continued presence of environmental racism and environmental violence in Indigenous communities around the world, and how that presence impacts women in particular.  We see this appear in many ways: the siting of hazardous waste facilities, American corporations’ sale and exportation of poisonous pesticides otherwise banned in the U.S., mining and exploitation on Indigenous lands, and much more.

To illustrate this point, here’s an infographic specifically highlighting the impact of hazardous and toxic waste facilities, and abandoned or working mines in racially, ethnically and socially underrepresented communities in the United States.

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