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Global Indigenous Women Delegation Discusses Oil Industry in ND

Members of the Fort Berthold Reservation have felt health effects from nearby fracking. (Tim Evanson/Flickr)
Members of the Fort Berthold Reservation have felt health effects from nearby fracking. (Tim Evanson/Flickr)
April 19, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. – A global delegation of indigenous women is in North Dakota to discuss the effects of oil and gas projects on their communities. The delegation was organized by MADRE and the Indigenous Environmental Network and is specifically focused on extractive industries' effects on indigenous women and girls around the world.

They're visiting the Fort Berthold Reservation, which is in the heart of the Bakken oil field.

Kandi Mossett lives in Fort Berthold and is native energy and climate campaign director for the Indigenous Environmental Network. She says delegation members are sharing strategies for fighting back against the oil industry.

"Using, I guess I would say, traditional knowledge and learning traditional knowledge from the women that have come here,” says Mossett, “that's been super powerful to, I think, make us all feel empowered to continue the work we do. And we really do it to protect the babies, the next generation."

Mossett notes that Fort Berthold has felt the health effects of extraction methods such as fracking, which studies have linked to miscarriages and birth defects as well as increases in respiratory diseases in nearby communities.

The delegation is heading to New York next week to discuss extractive industries at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Sana Ibn Bari is a delegation member and attorney who advocates for the rights of the Bedouin community in Israel. She says Bedouins face similar issues to Native American communities such as Fort Berthold.

"This is a great opportunity for me and for the delegation to learn about the other cases that we have also here in the United States and how industries and factories ruined a specific and unique way of life for small communities," says Ibn Bari.

Mossett says all the women involved in this effort want to protect the same natural resources.

"Clean water to drink, clean air to breathe and clean soil to grow our food,” says Mossett. “Those three main natural resources are things that, no matter who we are, no matter how rich we are, how old or young, what our culture, what our color – we can't live without those."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND