New Report Shows How Fracking and Mining are Hurting Indigenous Women

The first chapter of the Story of Stuff starts with extraction, or natural resource exploitation. As Annie Leonard says in the first movie, extraction is basically just a fancy word for trashing the planet.

Recently WEA and Native Youth Sexual Health Network launched an important new initiative to help understand how extractive industries are inflicting violence on vulnerable populations living near those industries. “Violence on the Land, Violence on our Bodies: Building an Indigenous Response to Environmental Violence” is a groundbreaking community-based report and toolkit for action that exposes the devastating impacts that extractive industries like fracking and mining have on the health and safety of Indigenous women. It also highlight the voices of leaders who are working to resist this violence and curtail the impacts of industry on Indigenous communities and lands.

Here is an excerpt from the toolkit explaining why this initiative is important:

Fracking, mining, logging, pipelines, and other extractive industries not only cause severe environmental damage, but they have significant impacts on people’s health, safety and human rights. There is nowhere this is more apparent than on Indigenous lands — where industries including chemical manufacturing and waste dumping have also set up shop. Many communities have seen an introduction of large encampments of workers (called “man camps”) who are brought in to work for the gas and oil industry. The combination of industry presence and a disregard for Indigenous peoples rights, safety and health has led to a growing wave of sexual and domestic violence, drugs and alcohol, murders and disappearances, reproductive illnesses and toxic exposure, threats to culture and Indigenous lifeways, crime, and other social stressors. Indigenous leaders call these impacts “environmental violence.” In general, this onslaught of dirty development wreaks havoc on communities — tearing apart social fabric, assaulting people’s bodies, and injuring the land. Their experiences and testimonials tell a story we all need to know, so that the violence can stop and communities can begin to heal.

Read the toolkit and support this #LandBodyDefense campaign by following some of their suggested actions and social media posts to raise awareness.  Let’s stand with Indigenous land/body defenders to demand an end to environmental violence.


Photo credit: Women’s Earth Alliance

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