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Walk the Talk: Stories of Indigenous-led Resistance to Oil and Waste

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On this edition of Making Contact, we’ll meet people challenging polluters in their own backyard. Not to push hazardous industries into another neighborhood. Instead they’re developing visionary solutions for a better life for all and for the future of the planet. From urban to rural communities, we’ll learn about indigenous-led efforts to protect public health and the environment for future generations.

We’ll meet Community Storytelling Fellow, environmental and indigenous leader Isabella Zizi. In this piece, Zizi talks about how the 2012 Chevron refinery fire in Richmond, California sparked her involvement in indigenous-led environmental movements. Zizi walks us from one refinery town to the next, showing us what it’s like living next door to an oil refinery and how these towns have come together to protect the sacred systems of the planet.

Then we head to Maine where we meet communities fighting the expansion of a landfill. The Penobscot Nation lives on the river that shares their name. Just upstream from their island reservation is Juniper Ridge, Maine’s largest landfill and the only one that’s state-owned. Casella, the corporation operating the landfill wants to double its size. Penobscots who rely on river fish as a culturally important food source are worried about the river being polluted by the growing dump. Along with their neighbors, they’ve been fighting to halt the expansion. In the process, they’ve exposed backroom dealings that have paved the way for the landfill’s continued growth.

Special Thanks to The Christensen Fund for supporting our Indigenous Native-American storytelling fellowships.

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  • Isabella Zizi, Making Contact Community Storytelling Fellow,  Idle No More SF Bay Organizer, Youth Director Earth Guardians Bay Area
  • Alison Ehara Brown, Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty Signer, Idle No More SF Bay Founder

  • Daniel Adel, California Student Sustainability Coalition Online Communications Coordinator

  • Rich Lohman, Healing Walk Volunteer

  • Patricia St. Onge, Idle No More SF Bay Nafsi Ya Jamii

  • Donovin Keomanee, Healing Walk Monitor/Volunteer

  • Kathy Paul, Penobscot Tribal Member and Elder, Water Protector

  • John Banks, Director of the Penobscot Nation’s Natural Resource Department

  • Ed Spencer, Low Impact Logger, Community Activist

  • Paul Schroeder, Retired Librarian, Community Activist

  • Cheryl Spencer, Environmental Researcher, Community Activist

  • Bob Duchesne, Maine State Representative, Environment & Natural Resources Committee Member

  • Ryan Parker,  Environmental Policy Outreach Coordinator, Natural Resources Council of Maine

  • Andy Jones, Community Organizer, Maine Toxics Action Center


  • Host: Laura Flynn
  • Contributing Producers: Laura Flynn, Isabella Zizi, Meaghan LaSala, and Lisa Bartfai
  • Producers: Anita Johnson, Marie Choi, Monica Lopez, R.J. Lozada
  • Executive Director: Lisa Rudman
  • Audience Engagement Director/Web Editor: Sabine Blaizin
  • Development Associate: Vera Tykulsker


Author: Radio Project

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