February 28, 2022

NDN Collective Responds to Russian Government’s Attacks on Ukraine

NDN Collective firmly stands as a proponent of anti-militarism and anti-imperialism, drawing on the direct impacts that war has on surrounding communities, ecosystems and the world at large. This invasion is a continuum of the military industrial complex that continues to serve as a pathway for exploitation and destruction.

For Immediate RElease: February 28,2022

Rapid City, SD — Today, in response to the ongoing news of the Russian government’s invasion into Ukraine, NDN Collective laid out implications this attack has for both human rights and the climate crisis in the following statements:

“As the People of Russia launch waves of anti-war protests, sacrificing their freedom and safety, we must dig deeper and look beyond the propaganda from all governments involved.  The invasion of Ukraine is deplorable and illegal – but there is no response from the US Military that will end in good. We must be both in solidarity with the People of Ukraine and in opposition to US militarism and imperialism.

“War only benefits corporations, specifically war profiteers and the oil & gas industry. It is the People who will suffer under sanctions. The US is not the savior here. So, I call on People to continue to center the voices of the people who will be hurt most by the invasion. Lastly, I challenge us to ask ourselves why Russia invading Ukraine has gained more criticism than the so-called US invading Iraq, Afghanistan or any of the other Nations it has invaded and/or still occupies? As we welcome Ukrainian refugees – as we should – we should ask ourselves why there is no outcry about the mistreatment of Haitan refugees or lack of welcome to refugees from the Middle east? 

We are in a moment, where we have to both address the immediate suffering and deepen our understanding of how these major world issues are connected,” said Krystal Two Bulls, NDN Collective LANDBACK Campaign Director

“Indigenous Peoples know the impacts of war and displacement all too well. We also know that wars are often driven by the desire to exploit and colonize people and land for profit. It is no coincidence that this war is taking place in Ukraine, a land rich in natural gas reserves and valuable minerals such as lithium, iron, and coal. 

“In addition to calling this invasion an attack on human rights, it is also important to name it as an attack on the ecosystems of Ukraine. What’s more is that working class folks, marginalized communities, and Indigenous Peoples will have to deal with the long term impacts of war when it comes to the environment. Across the world, Indigenous Peoples are already suffering from legacy pollution because of militarism, imperialism, and war. The impacts of this invasion will undoubtedly further climate change and the rise of global emissions. As sanctions are imposed and as the West stops the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline that begins in Russia, we will likely see the expansion of oil and gas development domestically which threatens to further displace and endanger Indigenous Peoples. 

“To put it simply, this war is climate injustice in action and we, climate and environmental organizers and advocates, must remain diligent about holding the line against the encroachment of oil and gas projects on our territories,” said Jade Begay, NDN Collective Climate Justice Campaign Director

“The crisis started by the Russian government has the potential to impact the entire world – and while the US government has already been quick to get involved, we must be wary of their imperialist tactics. 

“At this moment, it is critical that we stand in solidarity with Russians and Ukranians who are protesting the moves towards war. The future of humanity depends on our ability to divest from the fossil fuel industry, and nothing is a greater threat to our environment than increased militarization. 

“As the war machine ramps up, there will be direct impacts on Indigenous people from the Ukrainian region and globally. They will extract resources from our lands and recruit our young people to risk their lives for a fight rooted in greed, pride, and colonization. We need to center ourselves in the truth that the US is not the hero – that only the people have the answers we need to build a safe and peaceful world,” said Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and CEO

In November 2021, NDN Collective’s LANDBACK team released ‘Demilitarization is Decolonization,’ a position paper naming the military industrial complex as a pathway for exploitation and destruction of Indigenous communities within the so-called United States and internationally.


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.

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