Indigenous Americans rally outside White House to demand greater climate action

The mostly peaceful protest, which began with a march through Washington DC and ended outside the White House, took place on the Columbus Day federal holiday.

Indigenous and environmental activists protest in front of the White House.

Indigenous and environmental activists protest in front of the White House. Source: AP

Chanting "we are the protectors," dozens of Native Americans and environmental activists have rallied outside the White House to demand the United States take larger steps to stem the impact of climate change.

"If we're going to have Indigenous People's Day, we have to honour the people that were given that day too. We were the original caretakers of this land and we need our voices to be heard in how to take care of it," Denise Bright Dove Ashton-Dunkley said.

Ms Ashton-Dunkley travelled from New Jersey to attend the event.

At several points during the rally, demonstrators confronted Park Police officers who ordered the crowd to vacate the area directly by the White House fence.

Indigenous and environmental activists protest in front of the White House in Washington DC.
Source: AP

Park Police said the group had not filed for a petition to protest on the sidewalk outside the White House and attempted to steer demonstrators to an authorised demonstration area further from the White House.

Ahead of the rally, the organising group - People vs Fossil Fuels - advised its supporters that many of the protesters intend to risk arrest.

Many in the crowd have called for the Keystone Pipeline to be shut down.

While US President Joe Biden in June revoked a key permit needed for a US stretch of the 1,930 kilometre project, many in the crowd say more action is needed.

"You made promises to the Indigenous communities across this land that you were going to uphold, but you haven't upheld those promises. You've been speaking with a forked tongue, just like that one that was before you," Joye Braun said.

President Joe Biden on Friday issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Source: AP

Demonstrator Erica Jones was briefly detained and interrogated by Secret Service who claimed she hurled an orange over the White House fence.

Speaking to Reuters, Ms Jones did not confirm or deny the claim, saying only that she had experienced 'an episode'.

Shortly after she was placed in handcuffs and questioned, Ms Jones was released and could be seen dancing and chanting in the authorised demonstration area.

The mostly peaceful protest, which began with a march through Washington DC and ended outside the White House, took place on the Columbus Day federal holiday.

Last week, Mr Biden announced the day would also be called Indigenous People's Day in recognition of the contributions of Native Americans.


Share
Published 12 October 2021 at 7:32am
Source: Reuters - SBS