Native groups protest fossil fuels in Washington, D.C.

Native American groups have been protesting fossil fuel production this week in Washington, D.C., in order to help shine a light on the connection between fossil fuel extraction and violence against Native women. Members of the New Mexico Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW) traveled to participate in the protest that began on […]

Native groups protest fossil fuels in Washington, D.C.

Native American groups have been protesting fossil fuel production this week in Washington, D.C., in order to help shine a light on the connection between fossil fuel extraction and violence against Native women.

Members of the New Mexico Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW) traveled to participate in the protest that began on Indigenous People’s Day in front of the White House to demand that President Joe Biden declare a climate emergency and end fossil fuel production. Many Native leaders from around the country are participating in the week-long protest.

Angel Charley, Laguna Pueblo and executive director of CSVANW, told NM Political Report from the nation’s capital that “we don’t necessarily think of extractive industries as a violence against women issue.”

“It’s a connection folks aren’t making. We know that where these industries exist, there’s a heightened rate of sexual violence against Native American women, especially in the Dakotas in the Bakken region,” Charley said.

She said that, for Native women, violence against their bodies is not a matter of “if” but “when.” More than 80 percent – or four of out five Native women – will experience violence in her lifetime. More than half of the approximately 80 percent experience sexual violence, Charley said.

In addition, it is not an issue that Native women are able to transcend through educational attainment or economic stability, she said.

“Rates of violence and sexual violence increase when extractive industries are present,” she said.

She said that, more often than not, extractive industries enter into a region that borders tribal lands. She said that in New Mexico, the Navajo are particularly vulnerable because of fracking and oil drilling happening in the northwest part of the state. The Navajo Nation includes a vast swath of land that includes northwest New Mexico, southern Utah and northeast Arizona.

“Our man camps in New Mexico don’t look like others. There are whole hotels and motels rented out (by oil workers) in border towns,” she said.

A large part of the problem, Charley said, are jurisdictional constraints. A nonnative person cannot be prosecuted on Tribal land.

She said tribes in New Mexico aren’t set up to prosecute nonnatives and some tribes don’t adopt a western system of justice.

“Nor should they have to, but their women shouldn’t be left vulnerable,” she said.

She said last year the U.S. Congress passed two laws, Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act. Savanna’s Act is intended to help facilitate and improve protocols between agencies to address missing or murdered Native American women. The Not Invisible Act of 2020 directs an increase in coordination among agencies to reduce violent crimes on Tribal land and to Native people.  

The Not Invisible Act of 2020 was sponsored by former U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-CD1. Haaland is now Biden’s Secretary of the Interior.

Charley said these laws help because “for so many people it’s been too easy to pass the buck for too long,” when it comes to murdered and missing Native women.

She also said there is a lack of adequate funding for missing and murdered Native women.

Despite the somberness of the issue, Charley said the mood in Washington DC, is “a lot of energy” and that it was “good to see so many Indigenous leaders at the front, really leading the action itself.”

CSVANW traveled to the nation’s capital with another group from New Mexico called Pueblo Action Alliance, she said.

Charley said CSVANW is “inspired” after two days of protesting.

“[We’re] ready to continue and bring the fight back to New Mexico. When it comes to gender justice issues, it’s easy to keep it quiet. People want to keep gender violence quiet. It thrives in silence,” she said.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Bill to end detention of immigrants in New Mexico fails soon after new report on poor conditions

Bill to end detention of immigrants in New Mexico fails soon after new report on poor conditions

A bill to prohibit immigration detention in New Mexico failed a few weeks after an organization issued a report regarding the conditions for a…
Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

House Speaker Javier Martinez said that the Paid Family and Medical Leave will return to next year’s legislative session. SB 3, sponsored by state…
State’s sexual assault services receive state funding but still a gap in federal dollars 

State’s sexual assault services receive state funding but still a gap in federal dollars 

New Mexico sexual assault services will come up short in Fiscal Year 2025. New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs advocated for $4 million…
Hearing examiner recommends that PRC reject controversial LNG storage facility

Hearing examiner recommends that PRC reject controversial LNG storage facility

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Hearing Examiner Anthony Medeiros recommended that the commissioners deny New Mexico Gas Company’s request to build, own and operate…
SCOTUS hears interstate air pollution case

SCOTUS hears interstate air pollution case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday regarding a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule known as the good neighbor plan. The good neighbor plan…
Legislation focused on reforms of oil and gas extraction fails to pass

Legislation focused on reforms of oil and gas extraction fails to pass

This legislative session brought few changes to the oil and gas industry that provides a substantial part of the state’s budget. Going into the…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Supreme Court censures attorney over conduct in anti-COVID policy suits

Supreme Court censures attorney over conduct in anti-COVID policy suits

The New Mexico State Supreme Court censured a New Mexico attorney because of her “misconduct” in two unsuccessful cases pushing back on COVID-19 regulations…
Guv outlines some health priorities on state spending

Guv outlines some health priorities on state spending

During her state of the state address on Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham told legislators that one of her legislative priorities is a request…
Referendum on Edgewood’s anti-abortion ordinance moves forward

Referendum on Edgewood’s anti-abortion ordinance moves forward

The town of Edgewood is moving forward with its ballot referendum on its anti-abortion ordinance at a cost of more than $35,000. The town…
2023 Top Stories #1: Anti-abortion efforts go local

2023 Top Stories #1: Anti-abortion efforts go local

Note: Every year, we count down the top ten stories of the year, as voted on by NM Political Report staffers. Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral…
NM Supreme Court to decide if local anti-abortion ordinances are legal

NM Supreme Court to decide if local anti-abortion ordinances are legal

The New Mexico Supreme Court will decide whether anti-abortion ordinances passed by local governments in eastern New Mexico over the last 13 months can…
Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

House Speaker Javier Martinez said that the Paid Family and Medical Leave will return to next year’s legislative session. SB 3, sponsored by state…
Paid Family Medical Leave bill dies in the final days of the session for a second year in a row

Paid Family Medical Leave bill dies in the final days of the session for a second year in a row

A bill that would have provided paid leave for several weeks died on the House floor when 11 Democrats sided with Republicans to vote…
Paid Family and Medical Leave bill passes Senate

Paid Family and Medical Leave bill passes Senate

A bill that seeks to provide several weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers in the state passed the state senate by…

Bill to require disclosure of use of AI in campaign materials goes to governor

The Senate approved a bill aiming to require the disclosure of the use of artificial intelligence or other changes made by computers to campaign…
House amends, passes bill banning firearms near polling places

House amends, passes bill banning firearms near polling places

The House narrowly approved a bill that would ban firearms near polling places. The House voted 35-34 to pass the bill following an extensive…
Manny Gonzales doesn’t qualify for Senate GOP primary ballot

Manny Gonzales doesn’t qualify for Senate GOP primary ballot

Nella Domenici is the lone Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, after Manny Gonzales III failed to qualify for the ballot. Gonzales did not file…
Hearing examiner recommends that PRC reject controversial LNG storage facility

Hearing examiner recommends that PRC reject controversial LNG storage facility

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Hearing Examiner Anthony Medeiros recommended that the commissioners deny New Mexico Gas Company’s request to build, own and operate…
SCOTUS hears interstate air pollution case

SCOTUS hears interstate air pollution case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday regarding a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule known as the good neighbor plan. The good neighbor plan…
Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

House Speaker Javier Martinez said that the Paid Family and Medical Leave will return to next year’s legislative session. SB 3, sponsored by state…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report