In response to the recent court case in which a former employee of Honor the Earth (HTE) was awarded compensation for the harassment and retaliation they experienced, Great Plains Action Society (GPAS) would like to issue a formal statement. We unequivocally stand with the victim. GPAS has long been aware of the problematic behavior HTE has engaged in. As an organization, we have intentionally avoided working with HTE because of this. There is no excuse for allowing an environment in which sexual harassment occurs, and harboring sex offenders in one’s organization is absolutely appalling. HTE is a 30 year old organization with a multi-million dollar budget. Their claim that they did not have any sexual harassment policy in place when these events occurred (2015-2015) shows an almost unbelievable lack of responsibility. GPAS is a relatively young organization, but one of the very first steps in our formation was to ensure there were policies in place to protect the safety and well-being of our members.
The community of water protectors and land defenders is small and connected. The people who dedicate their lives to this work are sadly often taken advantage of, because they are doing this work regardless of how they are treated. We’ve heard first-hand from people who have had their work taken for granted or appropriated by HTE. There is no honor in such behavior. HTE is at the forefront of very important work fighting pipelines in northern Minnesota. We stand with and support our relatives on the ground continuing this fight. HTE has changed leadership in the aftermath of this recent court decision. We are hopeful that the organization will make the necessary changes to create a safe environment for all who work with them. Until we see concrete evidence that HTE has improved, GPAS will continue to refrain from working with them.