The Struggle Is Never For Nothing

200 members of Indivisible San Pedro formed the word "RESIST!" on Satruday at the Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Photo: Twitpic/@indivisible_sp)

By Leonard Peltier for Counter Punch – Well, here we are, another year, another memorial. After 42-years this does not get any easier. It seems as if you get lost for words. At times I feel as if it has all been for nothing, but I know that’s just weakness speaking. The struggle is never for nothing. So many of our children, grandchildren and in my case now, great-grandchildren, depend on us to try and save our lands, our Nations, our culture, religion and our People. But the young people should know many of us are growing old and soon it will be our time to leave this world. The next generation has to step into our shoes and become leaders. As they say, they will have to step up to the plate and be a strong hitter of the ball. These are words that I have repeated many times over the years. To see the younger Sisters and Brothers who are doing just that is an enormous relief from the stress that stems from feeling we may have lost the Battle for Survival as a Nation of Peoples. From in here all I can see is a lot of areas where we are losing ground. Like the young drinking, drugging and gang banging – KILLING our own kids on our Rez. Streets with these drive by shootings, “How cowardly is that!” Then there are so many children who are living in this world of oppression. They take their own lives because they believe it is their only way out.

Huge Victory: Blackfeet Nation To Control Its Own Water After 35 Years Battle

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By Staff for Counter Current News – Harry Barnes, Chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, called it a “historic day for the Blackfeet people,” and well worth the time that Blackfeet staff and leaders had put into the effort the past four decades. “My faith in the wisdom of the people’s vote has come to reality,” he said in a statement. The history of the struggle between the tribes in Montana, and the State of Montana, over water rights began in the 1970s, when the federal government filed court water rights cases on behalf of all Montana tribes. Montana filed competing water rights cases in state court. The U.S. and the tribes challenged Montana’s assertion that it had jurisdiction over Indian water rights on the reservation. What ensued was a history of court battles, meetings and negotiations that eventually led to the compact agreed to by Montana and the federal government. The last step was an April 20 vote by the Blackfeet membership. The compact confirms the Tribe’s water quantity and rights, the Tribe’s jurisdiction and its authority to manage those rights on the reservation. Montana’s legislature ratified it in 2009, Congress approved the bill, and it was signed by President Barack Obama in January 2017.

Indigenous Youth Took Center Stage At People's Climate March

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By Cherri Foytlin for AlterNet – The ceremony, which welcomed the spirits from the four directions, officially opened the People’s Climate March, a massive show of resistance on a day that also marked Trump’s 100th day in office. Within a few hours, the youth would be braving record heat, to take the lead of the 1.5 mile march, which covered eight city blocks and ended near the Washington monument. As participants made their way along the route, gigantic banners, puppets and signs could be seen above the crowd. “Water is Life,” “Native Nations Rise,” “Defend the Sacred,” and “Respect the Rights of Mother Earth,” were some of the messages. As the convoy reached the White House, the crowd sang and native drum lines took to the front. Merlejohn Lone Eagle, from Bridger, South Dakota, was among them. Although he is only 13, Merlejohn is already an experienced pipeline fighter. He said he worked with youth in his community to send videos to President Obama showing their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. He was overjoyed in the fall of 2015 when Obama rejected the pipeline.

Indigenous Peoples – Best Allies Or Worst Enemies?

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By Baher Kamal for IPS – In a world in which climate change brings new challenges and uncertainties, we cannot eliminate hunger without the participation of youth, said da Silva, noting that “they must participate in these issues that will affect their children and their children’s children. Let’s work together and do it right now.” The Sustainable Development Goals provide an opportunity for countries, indigenous organisations and the United Nations to work together to make an impact starting now through to 2030, he added, while reminding that since the creation of its Indigenous Peoples team in 2014, FAO is strengthening its work with indigenous organisations based on a double approach: “On the one hand, we consider indigenous peoples as fundamental allies in the fight against hunger, food insecurity and poverty because of their wealth of ancestral knowledge and good practices. “On the other hand, “we are aware that the lack of recognition of their rights in the management of natural resources and the marginalization they suffer places them in a vulnerable position. I speak above all of your ancestral rights to land tenure.”

Tribal Members In Oklahoma Defeat Natural Gas Pipeline Company

From nationofchange.org

By Kristi Eaton for Nation of Change – The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma has ordered a natural gas pipeline operator to cease operations and remove the pipeline located on original Kiowa Indian lands Anadarko. The ruling in Davilla v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., issued at the end of March, found that Enable Midstream was continuing to trespass on the land and ordered the company to remove the pipeline within six months. The plaintiffs are 38 enrolled members of the Comanche, Caddo, Apache, Cherokee and Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma. Additionally, the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma has an interest in the land. The interests vary from nearly 30 percent to less than 9/10th of a percent. David Klaassen, a spokesman for Enable, said the company doesn’t comment on active legal issues. The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved an easement across the land in 1980 for Enable’s predecessor, Producer’s Gas Company, to construct and install a natural gas pipeline. The original easement expired in 2000, according to court documents. By 2002, the company had changed to Enogex, Inc., and had submitted a right-of-way offer to the BIA and the plaintiffs for another 20 years. The majority of the landowners rejected the offer.

Chile’s Indigenous Mapuche Protest Deadly Police Brutality

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By Staff of Tele Sur – Chile’s Mapuche, who make up roughly 10 percent of its population, are more likely to be killed by police than non-Mapuche people. Dozens of Chile’s Indigenous Mapuche protested police terror in Temuco on Friday, calling on law enforcement to stop violence against their youth. The protest was organized by the parents of Brandon Hernandez, a 17-year-old Mapuche student who was shot by police last December during an anti-government demonstration. Chilean police sergeant Cristian Rivera shot Brandon in the back with a shotgun, leaving the teenager in critical condition.

Native Nations Rise In March To White House

Native Americans march to White House. Photo: John Zangas

By John Zangas for DC Media Group – Thousands of Native Americans rallied early Friday at the Government Accountability Office, location of the Army Corps of Engineers Headquaters, in a protest of its final approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over 150 tribes came from around the country, some joining from Canada and Mexico. Their message to the Trump administration: the fight for their sovereignty, protection of their land and water, against the Dakota Access Pipeline project is not over. From the Army Corps of Engineers they marched through the city with youth and women leading the way. They carried a giant banner reading “Recongize Indigenous Peoples Rights, We Exist, We Resist, We Rise”. Their drums echoed loudly through the concrete canyons of office buildings. Many carried colorful banners and streamers reading ‘Water is Life’ and ‘Mni Wiconi’.

Oklahoma Tribe Sues Oil Companies In Tribal Court Over Earthquake

One of five banners entitled The Worker in the New World Order, painted for the founding convention of ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mine & General Workers’ Unions–now merged into INDUSTRIALL). Dedicated to then-imprisoned Nigerian oil workers. Copyright © 1995.  Mike Alewitz

By Shaun Murphy for Global News – OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma-based Native American tribe filed a lawsuit in its own tribal court system Friday accusing several oil companies of triggering the state’s largest earthquake that caused extensive damage to some near-century-old tribal buildings. The Pawnee Nation alleges in the suit that wastewater injected into wells operated by the defendants caused the 5.8-magnitude quake in September and is seeking physical damages to real and personal property, market value losses, as well as punitive damages. The case will be heard in the tribe’s district court with a jury composed of Pawnee Nation members.

The Ramapough Have A Protected Right To Self-Expression

On Alcatraz Island, a sunrise ceremony saw hundreds gather to honor the culture of Indigenous peoples and express solidarity with the fight against Dakota Access. (Photo: Fusion/Twitter)

By Chief Dwaine Perry and Betty Lyons for New Jersey – The Ramapough Lenape Nation is part of the great Lenape nation that populated broad swaths of what are now the Middle Atlantic States, from Connecticut to Maryland, when the first Europeans sailed across the ocean to seize land we had lived on since time immemorial. Despite centuries of genocidal exploitation of the land and peoples, here and across the United States, the Ramapough – recognized by the state of New Jersey as an indigenous nation – have survived and have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon. Critical to our continued identity – indeed, to our very existence – is our right to express ourselves culturally and collectively, as we have done on a 13.5 acre piece of riverfront land we have owned since 1986 in Mahwah Township.

Society Of Native Nations – Official Two Rivers Camp

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By Staff of Two Rivers Camp – Stop Trans Pecos Pipeline – All people coming to Two Rivers Camp, ONCE AGAIN there is “NO alcohol, weapons or DRUGS” allowed at camp and that means “Marijana” in case anyone does not understand that. PLEASE honor and respect the rules of the camp that are stated on the pined post on this page and on the sign as you drive in to camp that says no drugs allowed. The rules are to protect the camp, people at the camp, the elders requests, the teachings, and the sacred fire. If anyone DISRESPECTS the rules of the camp, you will be asked to leave the camp. Please dont be selfish, dont just think of your own wants or needs, and please dont be disrespectful. Please remember why we are coming together “we need you all” Please help to protect the camp and all the people that come to the camp, especially the children, it is the children and there future we are fighting for.

Defund DAPL Spreads Across Indian Country As Tribes Divest

by Ethan Buckner

By Frances Madeson for Counter Punch – “Many people are, rightfully, afraid that executive support [President Trump’s] now means that the pipelines are full steam ahead,” said Melanie Yazzie, co-founder of The Red Nation, an activist coalition dedicated to the liberation of Native people from capitalism and colonialism. She views divestment as obstruction—the good kind—something akin to water protectors locking down on construction equipment and as a continuation of the widespread resistance that has united under the cry of #NoDAPL. “The investors and financiers will not move forward if the projects are deemed financially unfavorable,” Yazzie said.

Tohono O'odham Nation Tribal Leaders Say Wall With Mexico Will Not Be Built On Their Land

Public Art In Philadelphia Tells The Stories Of The Undocumented

By Carrie Jung for KJZZ – Tribal leadership of Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona said they won’t support a border wall project on their land. Part of their reservation extends into Mexico and covers 75 miles of the international border. The tribe’s chairman and vice chair said the plan was always to try to work with whoever holds the office of the United States President. But, they added, it’s still too early to tell exactly how Donald Trump’s administration will impact the tribe. Vice Chairman Verlon Jose explained tribal members have traversed their ancestral land since time immemorial, and a wall of any sort would not be supported by the community.

5 Ways Indian Country Can Resist Trump’s Chaos

Sioux women at Mandan, North Dakota, in 1912.

By Mark Trahant for Yes! Magazine – How does Indian Country survive the Donald Trump era? The new administration is only a few days old, and already the chaos of the times has upset business as usual—and possibly the very structure of federal Indian law. And it’s not just Washington. The North Dakota Legislature in Bismarck acts as if it has permission to ignore the Constitution and legal precedent in its relationship with tribes. House Concurrent Resolution 3017 calls on Congress to “modify” the reservation system and put the state in charge. This resolution will last about 15 minutes if and when legislators put a pencil to what it would actually cost its taxpayers.

Indigenous-Led Direct Action Campaign Continues In West Texas

An Indigenous Water Protector with the Frontera Water Protection Alliance locks to a track hoe, a machine being used to construct Energy Transfer Partner's Comanche Trail pipeline in El Paso County, on Friday, January 13, 2017. (Photo: Courtesy of Frontera Water Protection Alliance)

By Candice Bernd for Truthout – Marfa, Texas—A new Indigenous-led direct action campaign is gaining momentum with two more lockdown actions targeting Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) twin pipeline projects in far West Texas. An Indigenous Water Protector and an Alpine resident were arrested Saturday, January 14, after locking themselves to pipe-laying equipment at an ETP easement and work site in Presidio County, Texas. The lockdown disrupted construction on the company’s 148-mile Trans-Pecos pipeline that, if completed, would carry 1.4 billion cubic feet of fracked gas from West Texas to Mexico every day.

The Rights Of Nature: Indigenous Philosophies Reframing Law

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By Kiana Herold for IC – Indigenous battles to defend nature have taken to the streets, leading to powerful mobilizations like the gathering at Standing Rock. They have also taken to the courts, through the development of innovative legal ways of protecting nature. In Ecuador, Bolivia and New Zealand, indigenous activism has helped spur the creation of a novel legal phenomenon—the idea that nature itself can have rights. The 2008 constitution of Ecuador was the first national constitution to establish rights of nature. In this legal paradigm shift, nature changed from being held as property to a rights-bearing entity. Rights are typically given to actors who can claim them—humans—but they have expanded especially in recent years to non-human entities such as corporations, animals and the natural environment.