Brandi Douglas · December 16, 2021

Art as Creative Resistance: NDN Collective and Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3) Join Youth-led Actions to Defund Climate Chaos in Ohlone and Tongva Lands

The youth-led global movement utilizes nonviolent direct action as a means of demanding a fossil free future. Spanning 26 countries, participants utilize the power of art to address financial entities across the globe in ceasing their billion dollar investments into fossil fuels.

NDN Collective and Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3) joined two separate youth-led art actions alongside numerous other climate activists as part of #DefundClimateChaos, a nonviolent direct action movement spanning 26 countries, demanding financial entities across the globe cease their billion dollar investments into fossil fuels. 

The October 29th action occurred within Ohlone Lands, otherwise known as San Francisco, CA, and consisted of a street mural, march and speeches – all as a direct call to BlackRock, a prominent fossil fuel investor, in recognizing the destructive impact their investments have on our environment.

“This is a true hands-on experience for using arts as creative resistance. For those who came out on October 29th on the streets of San Francisco this was also a time to visually disrupt business as usual.  We are bringing the ashes from the California fires to the doorsteps of BlackRock. BlackRock is the biggest asset manager who streamlines investments towards climate destruction through resource extraction,” said Cy Wagoner, NDN Collective Creative Resistance Coordinator.

“We are here educating awareness around who is directly responsible through community arts activity with this street mural and march. This is a global direct call to action coming from the youth who have breathed the ashes, witnessed the orange skies here last year, and heard enough false solutions for climate justice that are being brought to this year’s Conference Of Parties (COP 26).”

The November 26th event, organized in honor of Native American Heritage Month, took place within Tongva lands, otherwise known as Los Angeles, California, and was led by the Los Angeles chapter of the International Indigenous Youth Council. Drawing hundreds of participants, art action murals were completed as a means of demanding investors of fossil fuels, such as Wells Fargo and BlackRock, to stop their financial contributions feeding into developments such as Line 3 and other fossil fuel industries.

“Coming together with the community of so-called Los Angeles through the art of creative resistance speaks to the futures that are possible when we organize with youth. Acts of resistance on a day like Black Friday empower our relatives and our youth to strengthen our voices, collectively, and show each other that we are not alone in the fight for the protections of our lands, our water, and our environment,” said Steph Viera, NDN Collective Social Media Manager.

Mini murals created during the November 26th Defund Climate Chaos event in Los Angeles, CA. Photos by David Solnit.

More from the NDN Collective team who were on the ground at the events:

“[We] were organized by the youth and took this busy intersection of 1st and Bryant in downtown San Francisco to call out Black Rock for investing in filthy oil & gas extraction that fuels climate change, which has become climate chaos. I helped paint a huge Jackie Fawn graphic in the center that is painted in shades of grey, made from the actual ash from the fires in Northern California, caused by these investments,” said Marty Aranaydo, NDN Collective Digital Organizer. “Black Rock’s investments created the conditions that caused those fires, so we’re bringing the ash back to their doorstep. The youth are rightfully angry that their future has been sold out to line the pockets of Black Rock & the banks, so they organized 19 like-minded organizations, families, schools, & individuals to demand that Black Rock stop funding climate chaos.”

On October 29th we showed the world what NVDA looks like through art. As Indigenous people we experience first-hand the destruction and devastation caused by climate change,” said Tyler Wade, NDN Action Organizer.

“A beautiful day filled with beautiful people joining together to help defund climate chaos! All ages were on display; painting, protesting, interrupting, and most importantly calling out big corporations. Blackrock makes it clear they are only interested in money, ignoring the direct impact their portfolio has on the planet and the people. We need truth and we need accountability! We need BlackRock to divest from fossil fuel extraction immediately! Until then may the people protecting the Earth stay strong, stay resilient, and keep up the fight,” said Robby Burroughs, NDN Collective Managing Director of NDN Partners and Holdings.

Mini murals created during the November 26th Defund Climate Chaos event in Los Angeles, CA. Photos by David Solnit.

“The action on BlackRock’s doorstep represented how vast their deleterious impact is on communities in the so-called United States and around the world. From Ohlone territory, to Pomo territory, Pacific Island Nations and Palestine, so many communities and organizations came forward to talk back to BlackRock’s greed and corporate destruction. The breadth of our movement on Friday also highlighted how strong we can be when we fight back together,” said Nadya Tannous, NDN Collective LANDBACK Campaign Organizer. “BlackRock is invested in destroying the world we live in but we are invested in building a world that will support us and survive us. The root of combating climate disaster will always be getting to the root of the problem rather than band aid solutions. Returning Indigenous Land back to Indigenous hands is a key solution for climate mitigation. The other is cutting money to profiteers like BlackRock so that we can also cut off the flow of oil.

“The Defund Climate Chaos event was beautiful, the energy and passion everyone present had for the environment and being together to stand up for our earth and animal relatives in the middle of San Francisco was inspiring and motivating. Personally, I am an artist and being given the opportunity to design the NDN Collective mini mural was an honor. Everyone brought their own interpretations of what it means to fight for our planet, said Linnea Kingbird, NDN Action Program Associate. “The art truly reflected the beauty of Nature and why we need to cherish it. During the action there were speakers as well as a youth march happening, this really spoke to the way these large extractors are affecting more than just us but our children and our children’s children.”

Art by NDN Action Program Associate Linnea Kingbird-Martini Red Lake Anishinaabe. Photo by Lewis Bernier.

Watch the full-length livestream of the October 29th Defund Climate Chaos event in San Francisco, CA:

Brandi Douglas
by   Brandi Douglas

Brandi Douglas (she/her), NDN Collective’s Senior Communications Associate, is a Puyallup Tribal member as well as Black and Mexican, from Washington state. In her role, she provides support to the Communications and Narratives Team as well as all aspects of content production and targeted outreach. Brandi is an avid wordsmith, having uplifted various narratives that speak to the experience of being an Indigenous entrepreneur, woman of color and queer. Brandi holds a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from the University of Washington as well as a master’s degree in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma.

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