CODY, WY. 05-08-2015 — James Walks Along was forced to abandon an address to the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee (YES) of the joint federal and state Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) by Brian Nesvik, IGBC Chair and Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) Wildlife Division Chief, at the committee’s meeting in Cody, Wyoming on April 30, 2015. “This has never happened before,” said James Walks Along, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Northern Cheyenne Nation. “I was shocked by the disrespect I was shown.” The YES-IGBC is a joint federal and state agency cross-jurisdictional body that takes the lead on grizzly bear management in Greater Yellowstone. In 2013 the YES-IGBC voted to delist the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and supports opening trophy-hunting seasons on the grizzly.
For centuries, Linda Thomas’ ancestors walked this rugged landscape near modern-day Superior as she does today. “We have always harvested acorns and berries and had ceremonies here,” says Thomas, who lives in the small Apache town of San Carlos about 50 miles away. “My granddaughter won’t be able to come here and do that anymore if it’s . . . it’s going to be poisoned.” Thomas talks of her granddaughter as wind whips through the 5-year-old’s hair, both of them standing on a hill of rocks and cactus overlooking sites at the Oak Flat campground. Thomas says the child’s Apache name is Zuhnabah. The girl says her name is Serenity, which Thomas agrees also is her name. Yavapais and Apaches used this land for generations.
On the fifth anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the United Houma Nation (UHN) of southern Louisiana is taking yet another stand in its 30-year campaign to win recognition, launching a petition this week calling on the Obama administration to support the tribe’s fight for federal recognition. The UHN is an indigenous tribe with 17,000 members residing in a six-parish area along the Gulf Coast where the land is literally slipping away from under them. Due to coastal erosion, southern Louisiana is losing over 16 square miles of land per year, or the equivalent of one football field every hour. “The United Houma Nation is severely affected by coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and the lack of corporate and government accountability around the pollution of their traditional lands and waters,” the petition states.
A United Nations mission is due to take place this month to assess the impact of Ethiopia’s massive Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric power project on the Omo River which feeds Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, lying mostly in northwest Kenya with its northern tip extending into Ethiopia. The report of the visit by a delegation from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) from Ethiopia’s state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) comes amid warnings by Survival International that the Kwegu people of southwest Ethiopia are facing severe hunger due to the destruction of surrounding forests and the drying up of the river on which their livelihoods depend. The UK-based group linked the Kwegu’s food crisis to the massive Gibe III Dam and large-scale irrigation taking place in the region, which are robbing the Kwegu of their water and fish supplies.
Thousands of protesters rallied in Australia’s two largest cities Friday against government plans to forcefully shut down Indigenous communities. Indigenous elder and activist Jenny Munro said the rallies were a “call to arms” to all Australians. “This is about the community being made aware about the truth of what goes on in this country,” she told progressive news website New Matilda. Munro joined thousands of other protesters in Sydney who marched from Belmore Park to the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy. In a statement issued online, march organizers said they were both frustrated by plans to redevelop the Block – a chunk of the suburb of Redfern earmarked for affordable Indigenous housing. Activists say the very organization charged with providing affordable housing – the Aboriginal Housing Authority (AHC) – is now trying to gentrify the area with commercial office blocks and student accommodation at the expense of Indigenous residents.
Under smokescreen cover of a admirable petition to help the Navajo protect their sacred San Francisco Peaks against a ski resort, the University of Arizona and its partners have secretly renewed their Mount Graham telescope permit for another 20 years. On Mount Graham, in order to promote their astronomers, the University of Arizona has achieved several firsts, including securing two congressional exemptions from federal cultural, religious and environmental laws. In order to promote the Mt. Graham telescopes, the University of Arizona has become: the first University to fight against the listing of an Endangered Species ( July 21, 1986) the first University to secure a congressional legislative exemption from federal environmental, religious and cultural laws (1988) the first University to promote a project whose biological basis (1988 USFWS Biological Opinion on the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel) is acknowledged to be fraudulent the first University to litigate against the rights of Native Americans to practice their religion (1992)
Today marked the sixth day and sixth night since a group of Kanaka Maoli warriors representing several islands in the Hawaiian Islands and a multi-ethnic group of supporters formed a blockade at 9,000 feet above sea level at Mauna Kea also known as Mauna A Wakea on Hawaiʻi Island. They are protesting the construction of a 30-meter telescope (TMT), which they say is a desecration of the most sacred place in the Hawaiian Islands. The peaceful protest has been ongoing for several years but in the past several months has gathered more momentum and support from Hawaiians and other non-Hawaiians around the world. Today also marked the first day that TMT workers showed up since the protest began six days and six nights ago.
The recent not guilty verdict in the murder trial of an Ontario man accused of killing Cindy Gladue, whose body was found in the bathtub of an Edmonton hotel room, has prompted protest and calls for an appeal. Gladue, a 36-year-old sex worker, was a Cree mother of three who lived in Edmonton. Found dead in an Edmonton hotel room in June 2011, she had bled to death from an 11-centimetre wound in her vagina. The defence for Bradley Barton, a long-distance trucker from Ontario, argued the wound was the result of rough sex, while the prosecution said Barton used a weapon on Gladue. On March 18, a jury found Barton not guilty of first-degree murder, as well as of manslaughter in Gladue’s death.
The court finds that Judge Davis, States Attorney Vargo, Secretary Valenti and Ms. Van Hunnick developed and implemented policies and procedures for the removal of Indian children from their parents’ custody in violation of the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act and in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case directly addressed section 1922 emergency removal standard of evidence and return of the child; and due process claims at those emergency hearings (48-hour hearing) of notice, the right of parents to present evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, attorney representation, and a decision based on evidence at that hearing.
Beginning on Friday, March 27 at 9:00am, everyone who cares about the future ecological health of the UP is invited to join us in protest against the proposed Graymont mine near Rexton, Michigan and other concerns like the Enbridge pipeline that is in disrepair under the Mackinac Bridge, and the proposed Eagle mine road (County Road 595) that would cut through a fragile ecosystem near Marquette, Michigan. It is time for us to stand up and speak loudly about these serious issues that are impacting our communities now and in the future. We will meet at the rest stop on the UP side of the bridge at 9am each day for three consecutive days to symbolizeour deep concern about these issues. Dr. Martin Reinhardt, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and an assistant professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, initiated this demonstration to cast a light on how the State of Michigan is violating the treaty rights of Michigan tribes.
A strike that has brought activity to a halt since January on three major banana plantations on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, along the border with Panama, has highlighted the abuses in a sector in the hands of transnational corporations and has forced the governments of both countries to intervene. More than 300 labourers, almost all of them indigenous Panamanians working on plantations for a branch of the U.S. corporation Del Monte Foods, have been on strike since Jan. 16 to protest harassment of trade unionists, changes in schedules and working conditions, delayed payment of wages and dismissals considered illegal.
Today the Pit River Tribe, Native Coalition for Medicine Lake Highlands Defense, Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, Save Medicine Lake Coalition, Medicine Lake Citizens for Quality Environment, with their attorney Deborah A. Sivas of the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic and supporters, optimistically exited the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today following oral arguments in Pit River Tribe vs. US Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, & Calpine Corporation, Defendants-Appellees. Today the Pit River Tribe, Native Coalition for Medicine Lake Highlands Defense, Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, Save Medicine Lake Coalition, Medicine Lake Citizens for Quality Environment, with their attorney Deborah A. Sivas of the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic and supporters, optimistically exited the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today following oral arguments in Pit River Tribe vs. US Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, & Calpine Corporation, Defendants-Appellees. Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 10.39.16 AM“Medicine Lake is a sacred place and it needs to be protected at all costs,” said Pit River Tribal Chairman Mickey Gemmill.
Just upstream from Connors, a company called Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) proposed to blast and dig a 1,000-foot hole in the ground in order to tap iron ore deposits, a $1.5 billion dollar projects. While some welcomed the promise of jobs, others worried it would threaten the fragile rice sloughs, as well as the headwaters of Lake Superior — home to 10 percent of the world’s fresh water. After three years of heated argument over the project, the company announced last week that it is closing its office in Hurley, Wisconsin — effectively putting the mine on hold. This is welcome news to local activists at the Harvest Education Learning Project, who for two Wisconsin winters have camped outside in protest. It’s also good tidings for the Wisconsin Federation of Tribes, who brought the local fight to the federal level last summer when they asked the Environmental Protection Agency to stop the mine under the auspices of the Clean Water Act.
For years, Standing Fox and a dedicated core group of Apache activists have joined with a coalition of national tribes, environmentalists and concerned retired miners to oppose the land exchange transfer of the Oak Flat region to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, a mining company headquartered in London. Over the past decade, Arizona Republicans have attempted unsuccessfully to pass the land exchange legislation – twice in 2013 failing to get enough votes to bring it to the floor of the House of Representatives. The land exchange also violates a 1955 executive order by President Eisenhower that explicitly puts the Oak Flat Campground land off limits to future mining activity. Standing Fox joins us in the car to give us a quick tour of San Carlos.
If Indigenous voices in the Maritimes had up until now been relatively silent in publicly opposing TransCanada’s ‘Energy East’ pipeline, on Monday, February 23rd, a cross-sectional panel of Indigenous grassroots leaders spoke collectively, and firmly, against TransCanada’s latest and largest proposed pipeline to date. Their message was simple and clear: The pipeline will not pass through the Maritimes, and they are prepared to name and out Indigenous collaborators with TransCanada. Ron Tremblay, a member of Negutkuk (Tobique) First Nation and a member of the Wolustuk (Malicete) Grand Council, likened the process in front of Indigenous grassroots leaders to turning over a large rock on a sunny day and watching the insects scatter from the sunlight.