for immediate release: January 8, 2020
Nationwide– Today, NDN Collective released the following statement in response to the white supremacist-led insurrection carried out on Wednesday in Washington, DC.
“As Indigenous people, we have endured generations of oppression and inequality,” said Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of NDN Collective. “There is a glaring double standard in the police response to right-wing and white supremacist protests compared to the way Indigenous, Black and POC have been brutalized by police throughout history, and continue facing violence and death at the hands of the state today. We’re targeted for just being ourselves, or, in response to our movements for justice in our own lands.”
Tilsen, a well-known political organizer in the Native American community, is currently facing felony charges and up to 17 years in prison for a stand he took on July 3 leading up to Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore, which is situated in his ancestral homelands of the Black Hills. Tilsen was joined by over 200 other land defenders in the Black Hills who also exercised their First Amendment rights in nonviolent direct action that day, ending in 21 arrests being made alongside Tilsen.
“In the State of South Dakota, Republican Governor Kristi Noem has pushed an agenda to criminalize protests with her Riot Boosting Act, and yet under those same standards of ‘riot boosting’ President Trump would be guilty of committing that crime in blatantly inciting the mayhem that unfolded,” said Tilsen. “It’s long overdue for the double standards to be called out– for over-criminalizing protests led by people of color, and yet little to no accountability for white supremacist acts of violence– and it’s also long overdue for State officials to be held accountable for their complicity and support of Trump’s violence. They all have blood on their hands.”
“We call upon Congress and the incoming Biden-Harris Administration to take swift action, to listen to the people who organized in our communities to bring them this victory on how to rebuild a nation that truly serves, protects and keeps our people safe,” said Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director for NDN Collective. Begay played a critical role in 2020 GOTV efforts in Indian Country with the Sko Vote Den podcast. “They must listen to the Indigenous and Black people who have faced outrageous police violence during our attempts to protect our land, water, and people.”
“The abhorrent actions at the Capitol are the culmination of a fascist Trump presidency that has repeatedly incited violence in an effort to maintain the white supremacist power structures that this country has been built upon” said Sarah Sunshine Manning, NDN Collective Director of Communications. “NDN Collective vehemently supports the calls for impeachment of President Trump, but more importantly, and beyond this presidency, this moment illuminates the urgent need to dismantle white supremacy and radically imagine a new future.”
Supporters are urged to donate to the DC Street Medic Fund, which provides safehouse funding, snacks for jail support, and money for supplies for folx on the ground: Paypal.me/DCStreetMedic
About NDN Collective
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.