Denver demonstrators disrupt Wells Fargo in answer to international call for solidarity with Standing Rock

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Posted Sun, Feb 19, 2017

Demonstrators surround the Wells Fargo bank during their action on Friday February 10, 2016. -MMM

Demonstrators surround the Wells Fargo bank during their protest on Friday Feb. 10, 2016. [Photo: Miriam Mimi Madrid]

DENVER — About 300 protesters filled the Wells Fargo Center lobby, 1740 Broadway, on Feb. 10, 2017 demanding divestment from companies investing in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline that’s scheduled to run through North and South Dakota’s Standing Rock Reservation.

The thunderous sounds from the large drum carried by five men reverberated in the atrium lobby as passersby and security stopped to witness the unfolding action.

Wells Fargo officials offered no comment.

Demonstrators began at the State Capitol where elder Robert Cross asked supporters to bring good thoughts for protections during a traditional Eagle whistle prayer of honoring the seven directions.

Demonstrators gather on the west steps of the Capitol before marching to the Wells Fargo Center building on 1724 Lincoln St. -MMM

Demonstrators gather on the west steps of the Capitol before marching to the Wells Fargo Center building on 1724 Lincoln St. [Photo: Miriam Mimi Madrid]

Colo. State Reps. Joe Salazar and Adrienne Benavides shared their support of the protest in direct response to the Sioux tribe’s call for an international day of solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock Reservation. “Follow our ancestors and always resist in every way that we can, it is our duty and it is our right,” Benavides said.

Groups present with the Colorado Chapter of the American Indian Movement included Black Lives Matter 5280, Buried Seedz of Resistance and the International Indigenous Youth Council created last August in the camps at Standing Rock to empower youth to become leaders.

IIYC member Hokshila Luta IronShell said how important it is to keep the spiritual umbilical cord between them and mother Earth.

“These youth need to know that,” IronShell said. “One day they are going be sitting in this Capitol building. They are going to be writing laws and fighting for us.”

IIYC member Hokshila Luta IronShell addresses audience during rally in Solidarity for Standing Rock on Friday February 10, 2016.

IIYC member Hokshila Luta IronShell addresses audience during rally in Solidarity for Standing Rock on Friday Feb. 10, 2016. [Photo: Miriam Mimi Madrid]

Before marching from the Capital’s west steps, AIM’s Glenn Morris asked the crowd to go forward in safety and care for each other.

“We don’t ask for permits on our land,” he said. Led by elders and young people carrying sacred items the group walked from the Capitol on Lincoln Street straight toward Wells Fargo Center building with signs that read – Standing with Standing Rock, Ban Pipelines Not People, #NoDAPL, #REZpectOurWaters.

Organizers eluded locked doors and security guards within the building and eventually found their way into the bank lobby where they met a dozen police officers with zip-tie handcuffs hanging from their belts. Bank tellers watched as business stood still while chanting, drums and elders yelled towards the corporate offices in the back.

Elders and children at the front line inside the lobby of Wells Fargo on Friday February 10, 2017. [Photo: Miriam Mimi Madrid]

Elders and children at the front line inside the lobby of Wells Fargo on Friday Feb. 10, 2017. [Photo: Miriam Mimi Madrid]

“What am I gonna do when my grandchildren are crying? Cross lamented. “What am I gonna do when I can’t swim in the Missouri River?”

Wells Fargo officials refused to meet with organizers, and after 45 minutes of occupying the lobby, police ordered the crowd to disperse. The order was engulfed by the loud chants of the group.

Morris shouted into the bullhorn, “Wells Fargo you are criminals. Your money is covered in oil and blood. If you think this is the last time you will see us, you are mistaken.”

AIM announced plans to bring this issue to city council as residents in Seattle did a few weeks ago to get their city to successfully divest $3 billion from a relationship with Wells Fargo.

“If you didn’t learn anything from ripping off your own customers,” Morris said, “you are going to learn something from ripping off native people.”

The crowd exited the lobby shouting, “We will be back!!! We will be back!!!…”

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Miriam Mimi Madrid

One Response to “Denver demonstrators disrupt Wells Fargo in answer to international call for solidarity with Standing Rock”

  1. Montana Martin Says:

    Mimi,

    The quotes you used from the event were really effective in moving the narrative along. Very powerful stuff, specifically the quote you used to end the story.

    Wonderful photos, as well!

    Reply

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