Occupy Talks: Indigenous Perspectives on the Occupy Movement

Occupy Talks took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at Beit Zatoun, January, 23rd, 2012.  It was sponsored by the Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Labour Congress, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy Ryerson University, Environmental Justice Toronto. Below are several videos of speakers at the event.

Tom B.K. Goldtooth is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), headquartered at Bemidji, Minnesota. A social change activist within the Native American community for over 30 years, he has become an environmental and economic justice leader, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Tom co-produced an award winning documentary film, Drumbeat For Mother Earth, which addresses the affects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous peoples, and is active with many environmental and social justice organizations besides IEN. Tom is a policy advisor on environmental protection, climate mitigation, and adaptation. Tom co-authored the REDD Booklet on the risks of REDD within indigenous territories and a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change — the indigenous caucus within the UNFCCC.

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, working with Aboriginal youth. 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 and Canadian based Raven Trust. 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.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a writer, activist, and scholar of Michi Saagiik Nishnaabeg ancestry and is a band member of Alderville First Nation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, is an Adjunct Professor in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca University. She has also lectured at Ryerson University, the University of Victoria, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Winnipeg. Leanne has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada and internationally over the past 15 years on environmental, governance and political issues. She has published three edited volumes including Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of Indigenous Nations (2008, Arbeiter Ring), and This is An Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Barricades (with Kiera Ladner, 2010, Arbeiter Ring). Leanne has published over thirty scholarly articles and raised over one million dollars for community-based research projects over her career. She has written fiction and non-fiction pieces for Now Magazine, Spirit Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Anishinabek News, the Link, and Canadian Art Magazine.

2 responses to “Occupy Talks: Indigenous Perspectives on the Occupy Movement

  1. Red-Green: the orange revolutionist

    Interesting and enjoyable!
    Is it fair to say “Indigenous Perspectives on the Occupy Movement”, or is it more accurately “Perspectives from a few Indigenous peoples on the Occupy Movement”?
    Either way, good talk.

  2. Not sure what the distinction you see in those two formulations, the speakers each shared a perspective rooted in indigenous values and understandings. We don’t all think the same thoughts or put things the same way, but I as a Tsalagi down here in the states recognize these perspectives as kindred and coming from deep in our indigenous experience.

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