WMAN Indigenous Caucus

Goals

The WMAN Indigenous Caucus developed goals during its one Indigenous face-to-face meeting in 2010. The goals were reaffirmed at the 2018 Biennial WMAN Conference in Kamloops, British Columbia and are as follows:

  1. To assert our own Indigenous natural water laws and standards and to initiate a National and International effort to have water recognized as a spiritual entity essential to continued life on Mother Earth;
  2. To hold corporations and government agencies accountable to clean contaminated water;
  3. To strengthen and maximize the WMAN Indigenous Caucus voice to protect Mother Earth by holding regular face-to-face meetings of the Indigenous Caucus to advance our overall goals.

Leadership

The Indigenous Caucus is led by 100% Indigenous leadership and these leaders are elected to the WMAN Steering Committee every two years. The Steering Committee is a volunteer, community-based leadership team and is the main decision-making entity which guides WMAN programs, activities, and the strategic direction of the WMAN Network. The WMAN Steering Committee is elected via regional and Indigenous caucuses at the WMAN Biennial Conferences (20 seats).

Earl Hatley (right) giving a Toxic Tour, Tar Creek, Oklahoma.

Chair of Indigenous Caucus

Earl Hatley, Local Environmental Action Demanded (L.E.A.D.) Agency/Grand, Cherokee (Oklahoma/Southeastern U.S. Seat)

Indigenous Caucus Leaders elected to regional seats

  1. Carla Rae Marshall, Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, Lakota Nation (U.S. Great Plains Seat)
  2. Tara Lamothe, Fair Mining Collaboration, B.C., (USA- West Seat)
  3. Russel Burns,Treaty 6- Alberta, UFMJ (Canada-Central Prairies Seat)
  4. Travis Marr, St’emkumlupsec Nation, B.C. (Indigenous Canada Seat)
  5. Ramona Nicholas- Wolastog Grand Mothers (Indigenous Canada Seat)
  6. Florinda Poyer-Whiskers, White Mesa Concerned Community, Dine’ (Indigenous U.S. Seat)
  7. Leona Morgan, U.S. at Large seat
  8. Jacob Burns- Treaty 6/UFMJ. (Youth Rep. Seat)

Alternates:
Jennifer Hanlon-SE AK Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC) (Indigenous US AK Seat)
Denise Brown- Nuclear Issues Study Group (NISG) (Indigenous US SW Seat)

Indigenous Caucus Coordinator

Sayo:’kla D. Williams, Indigenous Caucus Coordinator

The Indigenous Caucus Coordinator provides programming, network communications, grant development, research and the coordination of all Indigenous activities. Sayo:’kla D. Williams, from the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, was hired as the Indigenous Caucus Coordinator for WMAN in December 2017. Email: Indigenous.coordinator@gmail.com

Indigenous Caucus Community

The Indigenous Caucus comes together to support one another, exchange ideas and resources, and build community.

Our Work

Increasing our Power to Stop Unwanted Mining and Calling for the clean up of mining pollution and contamination

This is an endeavor that we take on personally, locally (tribal govts/state/federal) and collectively – with all of our voices, and it’s ongoing work. We will continue to uplift the local stories of struggle and look for ways to support efforts on the ground through education, funding, and unity.

2020 Virtual Conference 

Indigenous communities face structural inequities which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, including: lack of healthcare/Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), lack of access to clean water, overcrowded housing, digital divide, poverty, and food insecurity. To address the isolation of the pandemic and stay in touch with mining impacted rural communities, we decided to have a virtual conference.

Co-hosted by our partner, L.E.A.D. Agency (Local Environmental Action Demanded, N.E. Oklahoma), we held our 1st ever Virtual WMAN Conference: “Addressing Mining and Systemic Racism: Staying Connected During A Pandemic.” This was a huge success, reaching so much community online, and with many others watching afterward. L.E.A.D. Agency told their powerful story about the Tar Creek Superfund Site (historical lead and zinc mining) and how it impacted eight local tribes in N.E. Oklahoma.

Even though we had to be apart because of COVID, we organized this event to overcome isolation, come together, and continue to motivate our work on mining.

WMAN Biennial Conferences

You can watch the conference recorded panels at L.E.A.D. Agency’s Facebook page here

With the exception of 2020, Biennial Conferences occur every two years and are important networking opportunities. No decision has been made about a WMAN Conference for 2021. Generally, we will announce our Conference and registration in July for Oct/Nov. conference dates. Indigenous Caucus scholarships may be available. Keep checking our website for updates.

Resources

IEN-WMAN Grassroots Communities Mini-Grant Program

The goal of the mini-grants program has been to support grassroots community groups across the U.S. and Canada; 50% of awards are made to indigenous-led groups. Learn and apply for our mini-grant program here

WMAN/IC/Uranium Listservs

Where individuals can share mining related information, community updates, ask for sign-ons/support, and ask questions of mining scientists/technical experts. Ask Sayokla to sign you up! 

Find-An-Independant Mining Expert (FAIME) Database Project

This database will assist communities facing mining by providing contact information of scientific/technical/legal mining experts, making these resources more accessible. The IC is providing Indigenous experts in the development of this database which will be available through WMAN in 2021.

Training: Diversity/Inclusion

Taking a stand against racism — making the connection between resource colonization. Utilizing the 2019 Declaration on Mining, developed by the Indigenous Caucus of WMAN, we seek to address racism, undertaking a WMAN-wide training that will: help us look at and understand systemic racism, how we enable the current system, what we can do to understand our own racism/isms, how we can work together in a way that is supportive and shares power, and build-in/up WMAN policy that will uphold the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing.

Indigenous Caucus Declaration with Jemez Principles.

Mapping environmental justice zones:

EJ zones in Canada
EJ zones in the U.S.A.

Join the Indigenous Caucus

We are updating our list of active Indigenous communities on the frontlines of resource extraction. To add your organization to this list, email: indigenous.coordinator@gmail.com 

U.S.A.

Southwest

Bears Ears Coalition 
Grand Canyon Trust 
Chaco Canyon
Navajo Nation/ Di’ne  
Dine’ C.A.R.E. 
Tó Nizhóní Ání
San Carlos Apache / Nde  
Laguna/Acoma Coalition for a Safer Environment  
Southern Ute 
Red Water Pond Road Community Association
Black Mesa Water Coalition 

Alaska

Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission
Nez Perce Tribe 

Southeast 

L.E.A.D. Agency 

Mid-West

Sokaogan Chippewa 
Menominee Nation 
Oneida Nation of WI 
Forest County Potawatomi 
Ho-Chunk Nation 
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa – Mashkiiziibii  
WI Coalition to Save the Menominee River
Hannavile Youth Community

Canada

MiningWatch Canada 
Idle No More
Raven Trust 
Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc

How we stay connected

Monthly Meeting-Indigenous Caucus meets on Zoom with dial-in ability from the U.S.A. and Canada. Meetings are currently scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month (except holidays) from 1 – 2:20 PM EST. To sign up to be a part of this meeting or to get on the Indigenous Caucus Listserv, please contact Sayokla Williams: Indigenous.coordinator@gmail.com