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Seeking Climate Justice for the Ponca Nation


“We all know that water is life. The years of fish kills related to the fracking and injection wells amount to environmental genocide. It is going to take all of us humans because we’re talking for those without voices, for the deer, for the cattle, for those that fly. In our tribe we have a funeral a week now. We’re being fracked to death.” Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca Tribal Council member 

Casey Camp Horinek leading an action at the Conoco Phillips refinery in Ponca City, 2016.

Fracking is the most environmentally destructive energy extraction technique ever developed.    Due to fracking and injection wells, Oklahoma is now the “Earthquake capital of the World.”   From massive fish kills to bubbling crude, poisoned air and flammable groundwater and rivers, the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma’s tribal lands lie in the epicenter of the destruction and represent the frontline of the climate justice battle in the state. The Ponca nation is also uniquely positioned to be the first in the state to deny fracking (which has been endorsed and protected from local regulation or bans), and leading the path toward widespread community action and new environmental protections.

Last year, Movement Rights was invited to come to visit the Ponca lands,  around which  Ponca City, OK grew, and took its name.  We were asked to assist them in exploring whether recognizing the rights of nature in tribal law could be not only a way to ban fracking, but begin the process of transforming their economy away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

Visiting the Ponca lands is hard—the Ponca people and the Earth have been dizzyingly polluted by an industry that pervades every aspect of life. In any direction you can see the ravages of oil pipelines, wells, refineries, petro-chemical plants and more.  The ground is wet and black where leaks bubble up to the surface on farming lands, and blackened wheat stands wave in the breeze.  The smell is headache-inducing and curls in your nose. Swimming pools are drained—cracked from ongoing earthquakes, as are most homes. Read here for information, videos and photos from our 2016 actions.

Since that time the Ponca Nation passed a resolution recognizing rights of nature.  Casey Camp Horinek has traveled sometimes with Movement Rights, to strategic Indigenous, fracking, and rights of nature events statewide, nationwide and worldwide.


Water is life. We must stop fracking in our communities & respect the Rights of Nature.

Friday, October 20 (not open to the public) our delegation will give a presentation to the Ponca Business Council, including William Greendeer, Ho-Chunk tribal member, who was instrumental in assisting his tribe to become the first in the nation to recognize rights of nature in tribal law. This event is not open to the public.  Following that, Casey will lead our delegates and media representatives on a “Toxic Tour” of Ponca City.

On Saturday, October 21, join us for an exciting day of action: 

9:00 am Sign-making at Tribal Affairs Building in White Eagle

10:30 am Gather at Dan Moran Park, T-shirt Giveaway

11:00 am Speakers & March to Conoco Phillips

12:30 pm Indian Tacos, Booths, Speakers & Public Testimonials, Door Prizes at Tribal Affairs Building in White Eagle

Casey will lead all events, and welcome national speakers including:

  • William Greendeer, Ho-Chunk tribal member who helped recognize Rights of Nature into tribal law
  • Bryan Parras, TEJAS and Sierra Club oil campaigner from Houston, TX
  • Robby Diesu, coordinator for the national Stop the Frack Attack Network (Washington DC)
  • Pennie Opal Plant, Co-founder, Movement Rights, Indigenous & Rights of Nature leader
  • Shannon Biggs, Co-founder Movement Rights, Community & Rights of Nature leader

Visit here for more information,  or to register for the Day of Action on Facebook.

To get your own Ponca “Water is Life” T-shirt make a donation of $50 or more to Movement Rights, and your size preference (S-XL) or contact [email protected]