Like his accomplice Naomi Klein, Tom Goldtooth was once a principled and articulate spokesman in opposition to Wall Street, until he was seduced by the dark money flowing from the oil industry into the non-profit industrial complex. Now, like Klein, he is a caricature of his former self, hobnobbing with the elite of the NGO champagne circuit. Reduced in his role to the status of token indigenous front for the pseudo left — living out their psychodrama as Wall Street dependents in the toy revolution entertainment sector — Goldtooth has become co-opted, or as Chief George Manuel described the phenomenon — assimilated.
Always present in media events where Fourth World nations are fighting Wall Street, Goldtooth and Klein bolster the credibility of Wall Street-funded con artists like Bill McKibben, thus leading social media followers astray. Although Goldtooth is a charming speaker, he only speaks half-truths, otherwise known as whole lies. Having accepted more than half a million dollars over the years from the Tides Foundation oil industry money laundry, his organization Indigenous Environmental Network — like its partner 350 — promotes consumerism as activism. This, in turn, inhibits recruitment by authentic grassroots organizations.
Instead of taking on the formidable tasks of stopping fracking of the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota, or ending the laying waste to the Athabaskan watershed at the Alberta Tar Sands, ‘the beautiful people’ merely travel from one photo-op to the next — between pit-stops where they replenish their coffers with ill-gotten gains from the financial elite. Vanity arrests and airtime on ‘toy Che’ media like Democracy Now! help to maintain their celebrity status; as Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer observe, “There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is protecting it.”