Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt - The UNFCCC Conference of the Parties concluded its 27th session in the early hours of Sunday, November 20, 2022 with the adoption of the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan. Despite the extended COP, Parties failed to take adequate steps and action to address climate change. The most glaring omission in the Plan is a failure of the Parties to cut fossil fuel emissions at the source and there were only vague references towards achieving the Paris Agreement temperature goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius. False solutions such as REDD+, carbon markets, carbon offsets, climate-smart agriculture, climate geoengineering technologies, and nature-based solutions were focal points at COP27. Additionally, climate finance, adaptation and mitigation as well as loss and damage were at the forefront of negotiations at this year’s session.
Starting in 1452, under the guise of the Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex and later the 1493 Papal Bull Inter Cetera, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, European Christians began their efforts to expand colonial rule, and the Christian Empire, throughout the world. These Papal Bulls sanctioned European Christian Nations to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ, to put them into perpetual slavery, and to take all their possessions and property” and were authorized “to take possession of any lands discovered that were not under the dominion of any Christian rulers.” Early colonial efforts centered on the western coast of Africa as Portugal “claimed” lands and engaged in the trafficking of African slaves.
Washington - November is Native American Heritage Month, when we recognize and celebrate the first peoples of this continent; their resilience, accomplishments, and traditional knowledge. In 2009, President Obama signed “The Native American Heritage Day Resolution,” designating the Friday after Thanksgiving as “Native American Heritage Day.” On this highly commercial day, many United Stated consumers give very little thought about the indigenous people of this land, but the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation encourages you to take a moment to confer. To observe Tiinmamí alxayx, explore the history of this land. The Yakama ancestors and those of the related tribes and bands, lived, traveled, traded, and practiced traditional and religious ceremonies across this region.
In a federal case that many advocates in Indian Country consider to be the most significant threat to sovereignty in modern times, not a single Native voice presented as part of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a 43-year-old federal law designed to keep children who are tribal members with Native families. The law came in response to hundreds of years of tribes being decimated by the forced separation of children and families, in which children were often placed in residential boarding schools and subject to horrific and sometimes deadly abuse. Congress enacted ICWA less than a decade after the Association on American Indian Affairs found that 25 percent to 35 percent of all Native children had been removed from their families and placed in foster homes, nine out of 10 times with non-Native parents.
What are the United States’ foundational myths? Who created them, and who do they erase and harm? For the past 52 years, United American Indians of New England (UAINE) and supporters have gathered on so-called Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to ask these questions, confront settler mythologies and commemorate a National Day of Mourning for the Indigenous people murdered by settler colonialism and imperialism worldwide. The National Day of Mourning protest was founded by Wamsutta Frank James, an Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member. In 1970, Wamsutta had been invited by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to give a speech at a banquet commemorating the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims.
Arizona - A federal appeals court will rehear Apache Stronghold’s case against the United States to save the sacred site of Oak Flat, a 6.7-square-mile stretch of land east of Phoenix that a private venture is seeking to turn into an underground copper mine. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced Thursday (Nov. 17) that it will rehear the case in front of a full 11-judge court instead of the original three-judge panel. Earlier this summer, the divided federal appeals court, in a 2-1 ruling, held that the government could proceed with the transfer of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper, a company owned by the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto. It ruled that Apache Stronghold, a nonprofit working to protect Oak Flat, failed to show a substantial burden on its religious exercise.
“He was my uncle. They killed him during the strike in the center of Puyo, here in Ecuador. He was my uncle, he was Oldemar Guatatoca Vargas.” Yolanda Vargas, a Shuar woman in her mid-30s, sits in her parked car in the remote jungle outpost of Palora, located within the province of Morona Santiago. She drove out there so she could get a cell phone signal to talk to me. The ride from her community takes roughly an hour over the dirt roads winding a narrow path through the Amazon. With everyone else in the community, besides her elderly and sick mother, in the capital of Quito taking part in El Paro Nacional—the National Strike—she’s had to bring her school-aged children with her, smooshed shoulder-to-shoulder in the front and back seats.
Oneida, Wisconsin – On November 9, over 50 people gathered on the Oneida Indian Reservation in northeast Wisconsin to show solidarity with the Oneida people and all indigenous people as a Supreme Court decision regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) looms. The crowd included members of the Oneida Tribal Nation, concerned community members and several organizations that helped facilitate the event. The gathered community members, both tribal and not, were met with hospitality from the Oneida hosts, with homemade corn soup and community-building conversation being shared before the speakers began. The first speaker had firsthand experience seeing the effects of harsh U.S. policy concerning the children of oppressed groups.
California - Today, the Hoopa Valley Tribe renewed a 2020 lawsuit it had filed against the Trump Administration for financial misconduct, environmental depredation, and violation of tribal sovereignty and fishing rights in California’s Trinity River fishery. For more than a year, the Tribe made repeated attempts to have the Biden Administration hold the Bureau of Reclamation accountable for illegally waiving at least $400 million owed to the Treasury by contractors who use water and power from Reclamation’s massive Central Valley Project in California, and falsely claiming that federal programs to restore environmental damage caused by industrial farming operations and other actions were both complete and successful.
The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are inscribed above the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. The terse phrase powerfully underscores the conviction that the nation’s judiciary occupies a special plane of existence in which momentous decisions are made in a protected sphere of legal purity. For many Supreme Court watchers, however, the court’s recent rulings overturning abortion rights, expanding gun rights, limiting the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and blurring the lines separating church and state reflect the alarming impact of an ultra-conservative majority among justices. Indeed, a September 2022 Gallup poll shows that 42 percent of Americans think the Supreme Court is too conservative, a new high for that response.
On October 27, Wet’suwet’en water protector Eve Saint spoke at a protest outside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto as the London, Ontario-based Ivey Business School presented RBC CEO Dave McKay with their Ivey Business Leader award. Ivey notes: “More than 400 guests, including some of Canada’s most distinguished business leaders, attended the formal dinner at The Ritz-Carlton. The award honours individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of business in Canada, and demonstrated leadership in both business and their communities.” The day before the award ceremony RBC released its 2030 emission reduction targets. McKay claimed: “RBC is committed to helping build a cleaner future.” But Saint said of McKay: “You are not a climate leader, you are a leader in genocide.
Seattle, Washington - A recently obtained letter reveals further fallout from the Snoqualmie Tribe’s exposing the Seattle-based land conservancy Forterra of misleading the tribe and the federal government in obtaining a grant worth up to $20 million. Last week, 78 Forterra staff members issued a letter expressing their support for Snoqualmie Tribe risking their careers. Now, LRI has obtained by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation that calls for the, “Replace[ment] (of) Forterra’s executive team with an experienced team that can restore trust with partners.” The letter further states, “Communications to the Hilltop community and recent letters from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Forterra’s CEO, and former Forterra employees reveal misrepresentation and plans that were never intended to be delivered on to begin with.Seattle, Washington - A recently obtained letter reveals further fallout from the Snoqualmie Tribe’s exposing the Seattle-based land conservancy Forterra of misleading the tribe and the federal government in obtaining a grant worth up to $20 million. Last week, 78 Forterra staff members issued a letter expressing their support for Snoqualmie Tribe risking their careers. Now, LRI has obtained by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation that calls for the, “Replace[ment] (of) Forterra’s executive team with an experienced team that can restore trust with partners.” The letter further states, “Communications to the Hilltop community and recent letters from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Forterra’s CEO, and former Forterra employees reveal misrepresentation and plans that were never intended to be delivered on to begin with.
“Land Back.” You may have seen this slogan recently on T-shirts or hashtags, but its roots are as old as the colonization and displacement of Native people in the U.S. In recent years, Washington has seen several new Native land reclamation efforts, ranging from ancestral land purchased by tribes themselves to land returned to tribes that was purchased by conservation groups or other entities. At their core, Land Back initiatives are intended to support the sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous people. The reclamation efforts begin to remedy the injustice of government policies that stripped land, language and culture from Native people. They also recognize the urgent need to approach our environment and ecology in a more sustainable way that protects life for seven generations and beyond.
We, the undersigned, are former staff members and leaders of Forterra who are writing to express our solidarity and support for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, which has made public very serious allegations of misconduct by Forterra. It is clear from publicly available information that Forterra has, at minimum, behaved in an inappropriate, disrespectful, and misleading manner inconsistent with the organization’s stated value: We show respect for people, place, culture and each other. It appears that Forterra has mistreated a sovereign Tribal Nation on its own ancestral lands while claiming to act in its best interest. Beyond that, instead of approaching this embarrassing mistake with “accountability, humility and care”, it appears Forterra’s executive team has engaged in victim blaming, pointing to the Tribe’s “bad faith”.