April 19, 2016

Environmental leaders come to CSU

On April 5, Cleveland State University welcomed Tom Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN); Kandi Mossett, the lead organizer of native energy and climate in the network; and BJ McManama, organizer of the native lands in the network, who work with indigenous communities that are suffering from ruined water quality and destroyed land.

McManama explained their mission is to help communities protect themselves and give them the resources they need that allows them to build trees and have huge tree plantations.

Mossett was unable to physically attend the event, but was able to join the audience via Skype. She has been the lead campaign organizer for seven or eight years and discussed serveral topics including fracking and indigenous peoples’ rights.

“Fracking is a term used when oil and gas pollute the water, leaving chemicals in the water,” Mossett said.

She showed a picture of what the water looks like to the audience and further explained that fracking is problematic and leaves the indigenous communities with water that is unsafe to drink. Her main goal is to protect future generations, seven generations ahead.

Goldtooth explained that indigenous communities are not necessarily fighting for individual rights, but collective rights to exist with land rights.

“People are urging them to cut their hair and condemn their way of prayer,” Goldtooth explained. “We have our own genesis, our own songs, our land and the sacred bundles [resources]. We are under attack all the time, just for being who we are.”

The IEN wants to keep the integrity of mother earth and father sky.

“Our mission is to build awareness [about the indigenous communities] in the public and the community that we have,” Goldtooth said. “Why can’t we all just get along? We are all part of the human race.”


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