Bureau of Indian Affairs Occupation
Indigenous activists and allies take part in an occupation at the headquarters of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., on October 14, 2021. Photo: Jennifer Falcon / Indigenous Environmental Network
Statement from occupation at Bureau of Indian Affairs central office
Thursday, October 14, 2021

Note: This post has been updated with additional social media posts from Jennifer Falcon of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The following is the text of an October 14, 2021, statement from a group of people who entered the central office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. The central office is located at the headquarters of the Department of the Interior in the nation’s capital.

We will no longer allow the U.S. government to separate us from our relationship to the sacred knowledge of Mother Earth and all who depend on her. Her songs have no end, so we must continue the unfinished work of our ancestors who have walked on before us.

Because of colonization, our mission has been passed on generation after generation — to protect the sacred. Just as those who walked before us, we continue their song and rise for our youth, for the land, and for the water. Politicians do not take care of us. Presidents will break their promises but Mother Earth has always given us what we need to thrive. We will not back down until our natural balance is restored.

For the land, for our waters, for our future — we must fight now so our young will thrive.

You can arrest us, tear gas us, poison us but there will always be more hearts to continue the song until we are all free.

Another world is possible.

Our demands for the President of the United States are:

-Abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

-Restoration of 110 million acres (450,000 km2) of land taken away from Native Nations

-Bring Home Our Children Buried At Your Residential Schools

-Restoration of treaty-making (ended by Congress in 1871)

-Establishment of a treaty commission to make new treaties (with sovereign Native Nations)

-Land Back

-Water Back

-Honor the Treaties

-No new leases for oil and gas or extractive industry on public lands

-Free, Prior, and Informed Consent

-Reclaim and affirm health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for all Indigenous people

-Restoration of terminated rights

-Repeal of state jurisdiction on Native Nations

-Federal protection for offenses against Indians