RAPID CITY, S.D. — A 16-year-old environmental activist from Sweden urged politicians Monday at a South Dakota appearance to listen to indigenous people on climate change.
Greta Thunberg spoke at a rally in Rapid City that attracted hundreds of people. She spoke out against the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline through South Dakota, which she said is “not morally defensible.”
“Indigenous peoples have been leading this fight for centuries,” Thunberg said. “They have taken care of the planet and they have lived in balance with nature and we need to make sure that they’re voices are being heard. We need to listen to them because they have knowledge that is valuable right now.”
Also speaking was Tokata Iron Eyes, a 16-year-old from Pine Ridge who planned the rally and invited Thunberg to speak at the Pine Ridge and Standing Rock reservations.
“We are marching for our lives, we are marching for climate justice and we are marching for indigenous rights at the same time — because those two things go hand in hand,” Iron Eyes said. “There’s no one without the other. Indigenous people need to be in the forefront of the climate movement because we are the frontline communities who are suffering the most from this crisis and Greta knows that.”
Thunberg plans to appear Tuesday on the North Dakota side of the Standing Rock Reservation.
Thunberg traveled to the United States in August on a sailboat to promote her climate change campaign. She garnered international attention when she scolde d world leaders at the United Nations.