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From North Dakota to Paris with Love.

by Antonia JuhaszNewsweek
November 11th, 2015


From North Dakota to Paris With Love

Natural gas burns off an oil well in what the industry calls "flaring," throughout Fort Berthold Indian Reservation near New Town, North Dakota on August 13, 2014. The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations are the three affiliated tribes represented on Fort Berthold, which is also at the epicenter of the fracking and oil boom.

Kandi Mossett plans to accompany an extraordinarily influential lobbyist to the United Nations 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21): her 2-year-old daughter, Aiyana. Mossett, a member of the Native American Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation, has spent most of her life on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, which, since 2006, has been the center of what would become the second-largest domestic oil boom in U.S. history. It came with little warning or government regulation, but a lot of jobs and money followed. So did a host of climatic, environmental, public health, social, political and even economic costs. “It’s been like death by a thousand cuts,” says Mossett, the native energy and climate campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and one of an estimated 20,000 nongovernmental organization delegates to the U.N. conference.

Mossett hopes Aiyana’s presence will force President Barack Obama and every other head of state and government negotiator present to see with their own eyes “the people who they are making decisions for…those of us who live on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction. Those of us who will bear the full consequences of their decisions.”