Divest from DAPL; Three Wells Fargo Locations Targeted in Minneapolis, Eight People Locked Down and Two Arrested

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.


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.

The six who locked-down in Wells Fargo for over 5 hours forcing meeting

Unicorn Riot was live during the five-hour action. Below is our coverage when the water protectors arrived at Wells Fargo’s new $300 million corporate office building:

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

To read the letter in full, see below.


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:


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.

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.


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.

Water protectors lock themselves into lock-box at Wells Fargo bank demanding they divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline

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.

Dozens disrupt traffic on Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis

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.


Unicorn Riot will continue to regularly provide direct updates about resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Follow our media on Twitter, Facebook, and our website for more information.

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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

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

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