2020 Keynote Speakers

2020 Building Bridges Conference
Climate Justice:
Unearthing the Climate Crisis as an Issue of Human Suffering

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David Archambault

David Archambault II (Lakota: Tokala Ohitika) is former tribal Chairman of the Standing Rock
Sioux Tribe in North Dakota.

In 2016, Chairman Archambault emerged as a global leader for Indigenous Peoples’ rights
as he led the opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. He continues to
be a voice for tribal sovereignty in championing protection of tribal treaty lands and natural
resources. Archambault testified before the United Nations Human Rights Council in
Geneva, led the Washington, D.C. “Native Nations Rise” march, and published editorials in
The New York Times. Archambault was recently named a “Leading Global Thinker of 2016”
by Foreign Policy Magazine, was given the “Native American Leadership Award” by the
National Congress of American Indians, and received a “Doctorate of Law Honoris Causa”
from the Vermont Law School.

Archambault continues to speak regularly on his experiences with DAPL and as Tribal
Chairman across the world on behalf of his tribe and on behalf of this land. In his address
“Standing with Tribes – Past, Present & Future,” he discusses how the Standing Rock Sioux
Tribe’s stand against the oil industry and United States government to block construction of
the Dakota Access Pipeline just upstream of their lands quickly came to represent the long
and arduous struggle of indigenous peoples everywhere to protect their sovereignty and
ancestral heritage. In this address Archambault reflects on his Tribe’s rich history, and how
honoring the past has powered efforts to preserve that heritage for future generations.
He shares his experiences with the “Standing with Standing Rock” movement, the leadership
decisions he’s had to make in the moment, and strategies he’s learned for successfully carrying
the fight forward. And finally, he discusses next steps, not just for Standing Rock, but for
all of Indian Country to stand together against injustice.

In 2014, then Chairman Archambault hosted the historic visit of President Barack Obama
and the First Lady Michelle to the Standing Rock Reservation. During that visit, he
accompanied the President and First Lady in a meeting with Standing Rock youth, who
spoke about the challenges they face growing up on the reservation and their aspirations for
the future. In his past role as Chairman, Dave was appointed to the United States
Sentencing Commission’s Tribal Issues Advisory Group, the Department of Justice’s Tribal
Nations Leadership Council, and the United States Department of Labor, Native American
Employment and Training Council.

Archambault is the father of two and a husband of over 20 years. He attended Standing
Rock Community College (now Sitting Bull College), Bismarck State College, and earned a
Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from North Dakota State University. He also
earned a Master’s Degree in Management from the University of Mary.

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Nnimmo Bassey

 Bassey is director of the ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth
Foundation (HOMEF) with head office in Benin City, Nigeria.
 
He is member steering committee of Oilwatch International –
and was chair of Friends of the Earth International ( FoEI )
(2008-2012) and Executive Director of Nigeria’s
Environmental Rights Action (1993-2013). Bassey received
the Right Livelihood award in 2010 and the Rafto Human Rights Award in 2012.
 
His books include To Cook a Continent - Destructive Extraction
and the Climate Crisis in Africa (Pambazuka Press, 2012) and
Oil Politics – Echoes of Ecological War (Daraja Press, 2016).