Denver’s first end-of-summer Idle No More (INM) rally was held in support of Canada’s Day of Solidarity and in anger at oil and gas companies that INM has charged with failing to clean up spills caused by September’s massive flooding in northeast Colorado.
“So far we haven’t heard of any efforts to clean the spills, and we want them to clean the earth,” said Tessa McLean, Ojibwe, who organized the event.
The rally took place October 5 outside offices of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., a large oil and gas operation in the area.
“Even though their offices are closed (for the weekend), the Creator knows we’re here,” she said. “We want a clean-up because it’s a destruction of nature. We protest oil companies that won’t clean up their spills.”
A letter will be sent by Denver INM querying the company’s policy on cleaning up the spills, she said.
Virginia Allrunner, Cheyenne, 81, a long-time activist, said “We have to uphold our Indian way of life” in the present challenge to earth embodied in the oil spills.
Recalling struggles in South Dakota in the 1970s, she said some people committed crimes—the “bad people”—but were able to cast blame on good people, who bore that misnomer for years.
Oil and gas spills numbers have changed from day to day, but at this point about 40,000 gallons of leaks have been reported, mostly from damaged storage tanks.
Critics have also expressed concern about gas and oil operations near rivers and streams because of their potential to cause pollution to the waterways and they criticize hydraulic fracturing chemicals for their damage potential.
Closed and flood-impaired roadways have made some repairs difficult, including those to gas and well operations, officials said.
But “It’s time to start stirring things up right now,” said Rudy Balles, a Latino activist from Pueblo. Although the customary distinction among people is to the right or the left, “we need to find a way for global humanity to begin.”
“Canada’s Solidarity Day was scheduled for October 7, but we in Denver decided on October 5 (a Saturday),” McLean said.
A Round Dance, customary in INM rallies, concluded the event.