IEN Staff Delegates:
Tom BK Goldtooth
Tom Goldtooth (Dine’ and Dakota), Executive Director – Tom is Dine’ and Dakota and lives in Minnesota. Since the late 1980’s, Tom has been involved with environmental related issues and programs working within tribal governments in developing indigenous-based environmental protection infrastructures. Tom works with indigenous peoples worldwide. Tom is known as one of the environmental justice movement grassroots leaders in North America addressing toxics and health, mining, energy, climate, water, globalization, sustainable development and indigenous rights issues. Tom is one of the founders of the Durban Group for Climate Justice; co-founder of Climate Justice NOW!; a co-founder of the U.S. based Environmental Justice Climate Change initiative and a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change that operates as the indigenous caucus within the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change. Tom is a policy advisor to indigenous communities on environmental protection and more recently on climate policy focusing on mitigation, adaptation and concerns of false solutions. Tom networked with the Society for Threatened Peoples, and other researchers and writers on publishing a booklet for Indigenous peoples on False Solutions of Climate Change. Tom co-authored the REDD Booklet, an indigenous publication reporting the risks and dangers of the implementation of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) within indigenous territories.
Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), Native Energy & Climate Campaign Organizer - Kandi was born in North Dakota and grew up in an area known today as the Fort Berthold Reservation. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota (UND) in Natural Resource and Park Management. After working in the Park Service for 3 years she went on to earn a Masters of Environmental Management Degree within UND’s Earth Systems Science and Policy Program. She began working for the Indigenous Environmental Network as the Tribal Campus Climate Challenge (TCCC) Organizer in February of 2007. Since then, over 30 tribal colleges have been engaged in the TCCC and many have worked on projects ranging from light bulb swaps and community tree plantings to small-scale community solar panel installations and community gardens. The main goals have been to introduce and support initiatives within tribal colleges for students to pursue renewable energy alternatives such as solar and wind power; reduce their carbon footprint and global warming pollution; connect students to environmental justice and climate justice issues in their communities; promote collaboration between students and communities, and to do so in line with Indigenous traditional knowledge and belief systems. Her work has expanded over the years to include work in the international arena in order to create more awareness about international decision-making and its effect at the local level. She took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen during December of 2009 to speak out against tar sands development and demand that the U.S. sign on to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She also attended the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia helping to put forth The People’s Agreement. She attended the UNFCCC in Cancun, Mexico at the end of 2010 where she spoke out against the idea of commodification of the sacred through such carbon trading schemes as REDD. Kandi continues to work primarily at the grassroots level bridging generational gaps in tribal communities while connecting the local to the national and the national to the international in an effort to raise awareness about sustainability and continue the fight towards just climate and energy solutions for all.
Ben Powless is a Mohawk citizen from Six Nations in Ontario, currently living in Ottawa, Canada. He has recently completed an interdisciplinary degree in Human Rights, Indigenous and Environmental Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa with an Honours Research Paper on the subject of Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change. He works mostly with the Indigenous Environmental Network (www.ienearth.org), focused on climate justice and resource extraction in Indigenous territories, particularly the tar sands in Canada. He is also an organizer with the Defenders of the Land network, a national Indigenous network. He has spent time working in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru on human rights and environmental issues.
Indigenous Environmental Network Canadian Tar Sands Delegates:
Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Ta’Kaiya, 10, lives in North Vancouver and is from the Sliammon First Nation. “Shallow Waters, recorded July 2010, is one of 5 songs co written by Ta’Kaiya and her singing instructor/professional songwriter/pianist Aileen De La Cruz. Ta’Kaiya is also known for singing “Amazing Grace” in the Sliammon language, translated by her grandfather. Ta’Kaiya began working with Aileen since the age of 5 and has performed at large events in both BC and Washington State. She also sings and plays the violin at various coffee shops in Vancouver and North Vancouver. Ta’Kaiya has also recorded the songs “Carried Away,” “Watching Over Me,” and “Wonderful, Beautiful” in June 2011.
A home-schooled student entering Grade 5 this fall 2011, Ta’Kaiya particularly enjoys studying about the oceans and marine life. It was her idea to write a song about an oil spill. When Ta’Kaiya and Aileen began writing “Shallow Waters,” it was to raise awareness about a proposed oil pipeline planned between the Alberta Tar Sands and Kitimatt, BC. By the time the song was almost finished, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico suddenly happened.
The message from the song “Shallow Waters” is urgent because an oil spill in the northwest coast could tragically end the traditional way of life for many coastal First Nations. It would also devastate all marine and coastal life and habitat.
Adam Thomas, a Dakelh (Carrier) from Saik’uz First Nation and an environmental and Indigenous rights activist in the fight against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The Enbridge project, proposing to build an oil pipeline across British Columbia to the Pacific coast, is facing strong opposition from among the fifty First Nation communities, which sit on the pipeline route. One of these communities is the Saik’uz First Nation. Currently he is pursuing a bachelor degree in Environmental Planning, majoring in First Nations Planning at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Crystal Lameman is a single 30 year old mother of two – a 5 year old boy named Grey-Sky and a 3 year old girl named Gena and she is from the Beaver Lake Cree Nation which is located in N.E. Alberta, Canada. In 2008 her nation filed a statement of claim to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench where at that time her nation claimed 17, 000 Treaty violations thus a rejection of her nations Constitutionally protected rights as First Nations people of Canada; her nation has recently set historical precedence and been granted a trial by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, a first in the Alberta judicial system. Through her involvement at the grassroots level she has traveled to England to deliver her message in relation to the Fuel Quality Directive and the Canadian tar sands importation into Europe, she was a keynote speaker at the People and Planet Shared Planet conference, and rallied for support around England in the campaign against the tar sands destruction. Crystal has a 2-year Aboriginal Social Work diploma from Maskwacis Cultural College, a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from Athabasca University, and is currently a candidate for a Bachelor of Education (June 2012) from the University of Alberta. She is actively involved in all that encompasses Indigenous rights and issues – socially, economically, and environmentally. Crystal is currently doing work on a voluntary basis with the Indigenous Environment Network and actively speaks out to media and plays host to the many people who travel to her community seeking information regarding her nations court case, all of her work is done at the grassroots level.
Clayton Thomas-Muller, of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, Canada, is an activist for Indigenous rights and environmental justice. With his roots in the inner city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Clayton began his work as a community organizer. Over the years Clayton’s work has taken him to five continents across our Mother Earth. Based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement for energy and climate justice. He serves on the board of the Global Justice Ecology Project, Canadian based Raven Trust and Navajo Nation based, Black Mesa Water Coalition. Recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States and as a “Climate Hero 2009” by Yes Magazine, Clayton is the Tar Sands Campaign Director for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He works across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states with grassroots indigenous communities to defend against the sprawling infrastructure that includes pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the tar sands, the largest and most destructive industrial project in the history of mankind.