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(SD)-Swedish Teen Climate Activist Urges Politicos To Listen To Indigenous Peoples

By: John Axtell Posted at: 10/08/2019 02:20 PM
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg used a rally in Rapid City yesterday to urge politicians to oppose the planned path of the Keystone XL pipeline through South Dakota and to listen to indigenous people on climate change.

       Rapid City police estimated the crowd at between 300 and 400 for the event that began in Memorial Park before marching to City Hall with chanting support for water and "climate justice" and against the Keystone XL.  It was organized by Tokata Iron Eyes, a 16-year-old from Pine Ridge who planned the rally and and is responsible for Thunberg's visit.

      The two became friends last month during an Amnesty International event in Washington, DC, and Iron Eyes invited Thunberg to visit her homelands. The Swedish teen spoke Sunday at a youth climate crisis panel in Pine Ridge and will appear at similar event Tuesday on the North Dakota side of the Standing Rock Reservation.

     Thunberg told the Rapid City rally that when it comes to protecting the earth, "Indigenous peoples have been leading this fight for centuries. They have taken care of the planet, and they have lived in balance with nature and we need to make sure that they're voices are being heard. We need to listen to them because they have knowledge that is valuable right now."

      Thunberg said "No matter if you are at school striking for the climate, if you are protecting a forest from being cut down, or if you're protesting a pipeline, it is the same fight across the world. These are just symptoms of a worldwide ecological and climate crisis, and we are all affected. We are all in the same boat."

      Iron Eyes told the rally that "We are marching for our lives, we are marching for climate justice and we are marching for indigenous rights at the same time because those two things go hand in hand. There's not one without the other," adding that "Indigenous people need to be in the forefront of the climate movement because we are the front-line communities who are suffering the most from this crisis."

      The Rapid City Journal reported that at least one person showed up to counter-protest by holding a sign about Sweden's income tax rate that also said 16-year-olds shouldn't decide climate policies.


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