Indigenous Caucus Complaint:
Charmaine Barros is an indigenous activist from Denver. The Green Party of Colorado nominated her as Harry Hempy’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, but she subsequently withdrew her candidacy. She is a Denver resident.
Dawn Neptune Adams was the “Progressive Party” nominee for Vice President who was placed on Colorado’s ballot by Green Party members who were purged by Andrea Merida’s faction.
Barros and Adams filed this grievance against Andrea Merida.
Attachments include comments from the Green Party’s Indigenous Caucus. Kent Mesplay was the only recognized candidate for the Green Party’s 2020 presidential nomination other than Hawkins who did not sign a grievance concerning rigging of the Green Party primary for Hawkins.
Mesplay ejected Dawn Neptune Adams from the Green Party Indigenous Caucus discussion group.
Charmaine Barros & Dawn Neptune Adams complaint regarding Andrea Merida:
To our colleagues on the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States:
On behalf of Charmaine Shark Barros from the Apache Tribe and Dawn Neptune Adams from the Penobscot Nation, we place before you the following Report.
We support the concern raised by Shark and Dawn in this Report and we recommend that we members of the National Committee take this Report into consideration for its own sake and as an important perspective in the voting for Co-Chairs of our Green Party.
Report on Standing Rock – Concern from Green Indigenous Women
We are Indigenous Greens, Charmaine Shark Barros from the Apache tribe and Dawn Neptune Adams from the Penobscot Nation. We are long term, committed Greens, with one of us having run for Lt Governor of Colorado, and the other now serving on the Maine GP steering committee. We were part of a Green team at Standing Rock along with Andrea Merida in the week preceding the 2016 election, sponsored by the Stein/Baraka campaign. Our mission was to provide support to Standing Rock and to lay groundwork for deeper relations between Indigenous communities and the Green Party.
Our experience was disturbing. We were initially reluctant to publicly discuss it and requested others not raise this issue. As events unfolded, however, we came to feel it would be unfair to the party and to our Indigenous brothers and sisters to keep this experience to our selves, especially because demeaning, false accusations have been made by Andrea Merida against Charmaine.
We feel that Andrea’s actions at Standing Rock violated Green values of respect and fairness, especially towards members of oppressed communities. We have provided many specific details in this report for thorough documentation. It was the totality of these incidents that we believe amounts to a serious problem that the National Committee deserves to know about.
We realize the contents of our report may come as a surprise to those who hold a different view of Andrea Merida. We stand on our credibility as Indigenous leaders and elder. We ask that preconceptions not stand in the way of your hearing our experience as Indigenous leaders who’ve built a lifetime of credibility in our communities as activists and devoted advocates for Standing Rock, Mother Earth, humanity and the Green Party.
Our concerns are as follows:
I. Andrea assumed control of our group undemocratically and made unilateral, authoritarian decisions that were hostile to the Standing Rock people, culture and Elders. She was disdainful of our suggestions as Indigenous Greens for showing respect and building community with the Indigenous people.
1. Andrea over-rode our desire to be a part of Oceti Sakowin Camp life, insisting the Green camp be placed at the river where we would encounter few people. When members of the Standing Rock community did come visit us, Andrea treated Indigenous and other visitors with hostile indifference. When the founders of the national group “Natives Lives Matter” visited, she offered food to everyone but them. Eventually, Andrea clarified that she was willing to speak only with Greens registered to vote from North Dakota.
2. Andrea ignored Shark’s critical guidance about fire safety at the camp, insisting the fire be built directly outside her personal tent, rather than using an existing hole in the ground. Ignoring Shark’s instructions, she started an above-ground fire that put everyone at risk while we were attending a prayer meeting.
3. Andrea rudely silenced Indigenous people who came down to the river to pray in the mornings, shouting out “Don’t you know people are sleeping?” In fact, formal activities began at Standing Rock an hour before sunrise.
4. Andrea subverted the distribution of medical supplies, food and equipment by insisting on dropping the materials off in a haphazard, arbitrary manner that put supplies in places they could not be effectively used. This was an affront to Shark’s knowledge of the camp as an Elder who had helped build Standing Rock Resistance since its founding.
5. Andrea refused to show respect by attending the Sacred Fire or Sunrise Ceremonies, insisting that people would have to come to our out-of-the-way Green campsite if they wanted to interact with us. She refused to attend a workshop on decolonization with her fellow Greens, saying she already knew enough about that.
6. Andrea prevented us from connecting to Indigenous and other press to cover our visit and the growing Green-Indigenous relationship. By refusing to take us to an arranged interview in the van rented by the campaign for our collective use, Andrea scuttled our interview with a journalist from Indian Country Today Media Network. In the same way, Andrea gave Dawn no choice but to hitch-hike on the day before the election to get a time-critical video uploaded to the campaign staff.
7. Rather than build bridges to the Standing Rock community, Andrea spent the bulk of each day off site in Bismarck or at the casino.
The above is only part of the full complaint uploaded publicly to Facebook. For the full report contact the Green Party National Committee.