Minneapolis, MN – Wells Fargo’s corporate office and two banks were targeted in three well-coordinated concurrent actions in Minneapolis, starting the Global Month of #NoDAPL Action on December 1st. Actions across the globe have occurred, with more upcoming events planned, demanding that funders of the Dakota Access Pipeline divest from their funding and sheriffs departments end their brutalization of water protectors.
WELLS FARGO CORPORATE OFFICE – MINNEAPOLIS, MN
At 7:30 a.m. CST, dozens flooded the Wells Fargo corporate office in downtown Minneapolis. Six people wearing arm-locks blocked the hallways of the lobby that lead to the elevators in efforts to “stop business as usual“, “affect their bottom line“, and “demand that Wells Fargo divest from DAPL” as one person locked-down stated.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) December 2, 2016
A large banner reading “Wells Fargo Funds Genocide“, was unfurled as the dozens of water protectors that weren’t locked down were stopping the passageway through the hallways of the main lobby.
A small amount of Wells Fargo employees and other workers attempting to reach their floors, were recorded verbally and physically assaulting the water protectors blocking their passageway. An employee in the building also punched the phone out of a Unicorn Riot journalist’s hand, grazing his face in the process. See the below video for some of the confrontations.
As the morning continued on, the water protectors produced their two demands to Wells Fargo: divestment from funding the Dakota Access Pipeline and meeting with Wells Fargo administrators to have them set a date to meet with Standing Rock Tribal elders before January 1st, 2017.
A meeting with administrators was eventually agreed upon. Two representatives of the water protectors met with Wells Fargo’s Head of Government and Community Relations, Jon Campbell, who said he’s unwilling to do anything publicly, such as a press release or be in front of the camera, but Wells Fargo would be willing to meet with Tribal elders.
After much deliberation, the water protectors demanded that Wells Fargo put into writing that they were willing to meet with Tribal elders. Wells Fargo obliged them with their request, and provided the following letter in which they thanked the water protectors for their discussion, stating “we appreciate the dialogue with you this morning“. The letter further states:
“we should be pleased to meet with a select group of tribal elders to discuss their concerns related to Wells Fargo’s investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline prior to January 1, 2017.” – Wells Fargo letter on Dec. 1, 2016
— UNICORN RIOT 🦄 mastodon.social/@UnicornRiot 👈 (@UR_Ninja) December 1, 2016
To read the letter in full, see below.
Around noon, approximately five hours after the non-violent civil disobedient direct action started, we interviewed the participants who had received the letter.
The group decided to “leave peacefully” and did not face arrest. They summarized their action:
“We’ve been locked down since 7:30 this morning demanding that Wells Fargo divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Vice-President [Jon Campbell] met with others in our group and wrote a document that they agree to meet with Tribal elders about their investment and divesting from The Dakota Access Pipeline.
That doesn’t meet our demand for divestment, which clearly we didn’t expect to actually happen today, but we just want to say that the pressure is going to continue for Wells Fargo to divest and this is just the first step in an act of goodwill. We’re going to leave peacefully today because they came and met with us.” – Water Protectors Summarize Action After Receiving Letter
For further context into the action that took place, we spoke with a water protector who spoke about fossil fuel extraction, pipeline investors, and the Global Month of #NoDAPL Actions:
“This action here today is just to demand that Wells Fargo divest […] in this genocidal behavior as well as their destruction of this Earth and its water shed that is where many Americans get their drinking water.
So we’re at a turning point in this country where we have to decided if we want to continue to live this fossil fuel lifestyle or if we want to have clean water to drink and these people here are saying that they want to have clean water. That’s the choice that they’re making.” – Garrett
To view the full livestreams of the action, see below:
WELLS FARGO CENTER – MINNEAPOLIS, MN
As the action was ending at Wells Fargo’s corporate office, several blocks away, a group of water protectors who had just arrived from Standing Rock, the frontlines of the struggle against DAPL, staged a small action at Wells Fargo’s downtown bank. A person in the group attempted to close his bank account and he was given the run-around during the process. Meanwhile, the others spoke messages through a megaphone. Below is a small video of some of the speeches.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) December 2, 2016
Customers on the second floor filled in, around the atrium area and listened to the Indigenous voices being spoken on the first floor.
“We came here today so a friend of ours can close his bank account and withdraw his money and end his ties to Wells Fargo. We suggest you do the same. What you’re supporting is corporate genocide of Indigenous peoples. We are sick and tired of this. We have been shit on our entire life and we our lands and our people are no longer expendable.” – Charlie Thayer, Last Real Indians
After having to go to many different tellers, the customer (in video below) trying to close his account was finally allowed to do so and receive his money. The group left the downtown Wells Fargo Center with no incident.
WELLS FARGO FRANKLIN AVENUE BRANCH – MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Around 1 p.m. CST, on Franklin Avenue in the Seward neighborhood in South Minneapolis, two water protectors locked down to the front table in the lobby of the Wells Fargo bank on 26th Avenue.
Unicorn Riot was live to document this action. One of those taking part in the non-violent direct action stated, “we’re here to bring awareness, what’s going on in Oceti Sakowin right now, they’re hurting people, people are physically hurt just for doing free speech and the right to protest.“
We caught up with the customer who had just closed his Wells Fargo at the downtown branch (detailed above) and he told us why divesting was important to him.
“No matter where you are, no matter what you do, if you want to help, go to the bank. Withdraw your money. They need money to fund this pipeline. Without this pipeline there is no head to this black snake that threatens our country.“
While inside the bank, Nataani Means stated that Wells Fargo is “funding, literally funding the State of North Dakota and the Dakota Access Pipeline security, who have sicced dogs on us.” He spoke about the police forces brutalization on October 27, saying, “Hennepin County clubbed us while we were protecting our sacred sites and grave sites. Hennepin County is responsible for the cultural genocide of our people.” He further stated:
“we can’t live without water, a lot of these people are immigrants and they come from countries where they have no clean water. This is what we are trying to prevent, because on the reservations we don’t have clean water anymore. We have uranium infected water! We have oil in our water! We have fracking in our water! … Defund the Dakota Access Pipeline.” – Nataani Means
Police threatened most people participating in the action in the bank with arrest and told a Unicorn Riot cameraman he could not film inside the Wells Fargo building. A dozen or so people left the bank and brought their message to the streets.
After over an hour and some conversations between the two locked-down and Wells Fargo administrators, the firefighters who had arrived began to unfurl large tarps, placing them over the windows to block the view of the crowd that was increasing outside of the bank.
Eventually, the arrested water protectors were taken out of a side door of the Wells Fargo in handcuffs, placed into a police transport headed to jail, charged with trespassing.
To see a list of the funders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and financial reports, this report from September has detailed information, as we see more articles continue to come out questioning the financial strength, viability, contracts and deadline of the pipeline. (As of November 21st, Sunoco Logistics has bought out Energy Transfer Partners)
Below is an image from Food & Water Watch detailing specific banks’ involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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Below is Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the [#NoDAPL] anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present:
March – May 2016
- March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.
- April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“.
- May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“.
- May 27th, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- September 6, indigenous water protectors swarmed Dakota Access Pipeline site, stopped work
- September 7, Uŋpa Nuŋpa was interviewed about ongoing #noDAPL actions
- North Dakota highway patrol refused to release email correspondence with Energy Transfer Partners
- September 8, ND National Guard took over Dakota Access Pipeline checkpoints
- Friday, September 9, US Govt. overruled federal judge and requested pipeline construction halted at Lake Oahe
- Meanwhile, cultural activities continued at #NoDAPL camps despite more arrests/warrants
- September 13, 20 were arrested during #NoDAPL lockdown, including 2 Unicorn Riot journalists
- September 14, direct actions continued against Dakota Access Pipeline while legal repression intensified
- On September 16 a federal judge dissolved the unconstitutional temporary restraining order Dakota Access, LLC had filed against Stranding Rock tribal members
- September 19, as solidarity protests spread nationwide, the federal appeals court ordered construction temporarily stop on Dakota Access segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide
- September 21, #NoDAPL noise demo demanded freedom for jailed water protector Olowan Martinez
- September 22, water protectors disrupted the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council
- September 25, water protectors planted trees on DAPL construction site
- In Iowa on September 26, a non-violent direct action from the Mississippi Stand camp stopped DAPL construction for the day
- September 26, a caravan of water protectors stopped work at DAPL site
- September 27, militarized police arrested 23 water protectors in DAPL work stoppage
- September 29, a #NoDAPL solidarity action took place at MN Enbridge office
- October 3rd-4th saw the “Toxic Tour,” Governor debate disruption, and water protectors attend their court arraignment
- October 4, we learned North Dakota Governor Dalrymple’s email inbox was full of support for #NoDAPL
- October 5, Buffer Zone Holds as Caravans Continue to Disrupt DAPL – New Felony Charges
- October 7, 6 Arrested in Iowa #NoDAPL Action, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 8, Iowa Water Protectors Blockade DAPL Drill Site Twice in 24 Hours
- October 9, Federal Appeals Court Rules to Allow DAPL Construction
- October 10, 27 Arrests After Water Protectors Pray at DAPL Site on Indigenous People’s Day
- October 12, Lockdown Stops DAPL Construction in Iowa, 3 Arrested, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 14, Emails Show North Dakota Budget Bureaucracy Behind #NoDAPL Policing
- October 16, Direct Actions Continue to Stop DAPL Construction in Iowa and North Dakota
- October 17, Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges For Covering #NoDAPL
- October 17, Water Protectors Blockade Highway in Bismarck, Some Charges Dropped
- October 20, As DAPL Construction Advances, Water Protectors Continue Direct Action
- October 22, Water Protectors’ Prayer Walk Ends up with 127 Arrests, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 23, Law Enforcement Attack Private Drone as Water Protectors Erect Blockade & New Winter Camp
- October 24, Mississippi Stand Blockades Iowa DAPL Drill Waste Site, Drilling Stops
- October 25, Records Release: Morton County’s Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement
- Hundreds Flood Minneapolis City Hall to Demand Local Sheriff Withdraw from North Dakota
- October 26, Tensions Rise as Pipeline Construction Nears #NoDAPL Blockade
- October 27, Police and Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp
- November 1, #NoDAPL Solidarity Rally & Sit-In in Minneapolis Prods Sheriff into Removing Deputies
- November 1, DAPL Resistance Continues Despite Advancing Construction
- November 2, Police Attack Water Protectors Defending Sacred Sites
- November 5, DAPL Construction Nears US Army Corps Land While Still Lacking Permits
- November 6, Water Protectors Attempt to Reclaim Sacred Burial Site, Demonstrate in Cemetery
- November 8, Dakota Access Announces Plan to Drill Under Missouri River Within Weeks
- November 11, Dakota Access Pipeline Work Stopped As Water Protectors Storm Site; 30+ Arrested
- November 14, #NoDAPL Water Protectors March on ND State Capitol after Caravan Disrupts Construction
- November 14, Mississippi Stand Goes Inside Pipeline and Shuts Down DAPL Construction
- November 14, Army Corps Delays DAPL Easement
- November 15, “No More Stolen Sisters” Demonstration Blockades DAPL Man Camp; 25+ Arrests
- November 16, Despite Army Corps Statement, DAPL Moves Horizontal Drill to Missouri River Crossing
- November 17, Demonstration in Bismarck-Mandan, Cass County Deputies Beat Man Bloody
- November 20, Police Attack Unarmed Water Protectors w/ Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and Water Cannons; 300+ injured
- November 21, Land Defense & Water Protection Actions Ripple Across Turtle Island
- November 22, Hundreds Target U.S. Army Corps Building in St. Paul w #NoDAPL Message
- November 22, Anonymous DDOS Munitions Vendor After Sheriffs Attack #NoDAPL
- November 22, #NoDAPL Water Protector Faces Possible Loss Of Her Arm After Police Attack
- November 24, Water Protectors Bridge onto Turtle Island; Mandan Thanksgiving Street Feast
- November 25, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Announces Intent to Close Oceti Sakowin #NoDAPL Camp
- November 29, Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against Morton County Sheriff for November 20 Bridge Assault