Indigenous-led movements have shifted oil transport infrastructure from the margins to the center of political contestation throughout North America. These campaigns include confrontation with pipeline financiers. We argue that there are both strategic and theoretical reasons to examine the complex relationship between finance and extractive infrastructure. We provide a broad description of this relationship, starting from the significance of finance in an analysis of colonial expansion and resource extraction, with an outline of the Canadian context generally and the tar sands specifically. We continue with an examination of the link between the banking sector and resource extraction in Canada, a history of financing arrangements for the first major pipelines built across Indigenous territories claimed by colonizers, and the basics of pipeline financing today. Finally, we give an overview of contemporary efforts to stop pipelines by constraining companies’ access to money, arguing that detailed understandings of industry dynamics strengthen such work. Most importantly, we contend that processes of financial valuation provide opportunities for political intervention.

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