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Indigenous Sovereignty

Indigenous Australians Win Legal Fight Against Gas Project

A group of indigenous Australians hailed a "historic decision" by the country's Federal Court on Friday to delay plans for a massive gas project in the Timor Sea. Dennis Tipakalippa, a Munupi clan elder from the remote Tiwi Islands, has been fighting a legal battle against oil and gas producer, Santos, who has been drilling for gas off northern Australia. "We have fought to protect our sea country from the beginning to the end and we will never stop fighting," Tipakalippa said. Santos, one of the country's largest oil and gas producers, said it would apply for fresh approvals for the $3.6 billion (€3.41 billion) Barossa gas project.

Innu Communities Say Logging Threatens Their Cultural Identity

The Montreal Gazette reports: “Two Innu communities on Quebec’s North Shore say they are ‘exasperated’ by the province’s ‘inaction’ when it comes to protecting the woodland caribou, a species threatened by logging.” “They say the Quebec government is not taking seriously ‘the irreversible damage the loss of biodiversity’ has on the Innu.” The article adds: “Councils representing the Pessamit and Essipit communities on Tuesday accused the province of dragging its feet on a proposal to create a 2,700-square-kilometre biodiversity reserve, about 150 kilometres north of Saguenay.” Marielle Vachon, head of the Innu Council of Pessamit, says: “[The loss of biodiversity] caused in large part by logging on Innu ancestral lands — without regard to our needs, our values, our rights and interests — generates inestimable cultural losses for our communities.

Indigenous People Push Back Against US ‘Thanksgiving Mythology’

The United American Indians of New England and allies gathered at noon Thursday at Cole's Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts for the 53rd National Day of Mourning—an annual tradition that serves as "a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against the racism and oppression that Indigenous people continue to experience worldwide." "We don't have any issues with people sitting down with their family and giving thanks," Kisha James—who is an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and is also Oglala Lakota—told BBC. "What we do object to is the Thanksgiving mythology." In a Thursday speech, James—whose grandfather founded the National Day of Mourning in 1970—challenged the lies of "mythmakers" and history books, instead highlighting "genocide, the theft of our lands, the destruction of our traditional ways of life, slavery, starvation, and never-ending oppression."

How To Participate In The 53rd National Day Of Mourning

According to UAINE youth organizer Kisha James, who is Aquinnah Wampanoag and Oglala Lakota and the granddaughter of Wamsutta Frank James, the founder of National Day of Mourning, “Native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims. We want to educate people about the true origins of the first Thanksgiving, which were far bloodier than the ‘Pilgrims and Indians’ story in the Thanksgiving myth. The first official day of ‘thanksgiving’ was declared in Massachusetts in 1637 by Puritan Governor Winthrop to celebrate the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women and children on the banks of the Mystic River in Connecticut. Wampanoag and other Indigenous people have certainly not lived happily ever after since the arrival of the Pilgrims. To us, Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning.

Yakama Nation Calls On Washington State And Supporters To Honor Native American Heritage Month

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.

Lack Of Native Voices, Little Familiarity With ICWA Law In Brackeen Case

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.

A Revolutionary Lens On US Elections

While the public endured months of campaign jostling by the capitalist Republican and Democratic party candidates in this U.S. midterm election, there are some self-styled revolutionaries and Pan-Africanists who peddle the propaganda of the bourgeoisie. Their message is a call for Black people to turnout to “save U.S. democracy” or else face certain doom at the hands of the Republican Party led by the ominous orange menace, Donald Trump. The concept of “fascism” is often bandied around with no regard for it as a historically constant condition for African descendants and Indigenous people. As always for the U.S. oligarchy, at stake is which wing of the duopoly will dominate the legislative branches of government. The Republicans need five seats to take control of the house and only one to control the senate.

Supreme Court Takes Up The Indian Child Welfare Act

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.

First North American Insurer To Adopt Policy On Free, Prior And Informed Consent

Bermuda –AXIS Capital recently became the first insurer in North America to adopt a policy stipulating that it will not underwrite projects without ensuring clients have obtained the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of impacted Indigenous communities. This sets a best practice globally for insurers’ policies on Indigenous rights. AXIS’ new policy, which was published in the company’s broader Human Rights Guidelines, states: “We expect insureds to respect and observe the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (“FPIC”) in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and it is our policy to not provide insurance coverage on projects undertaken on indigenous territories without FPIC.”

Response To Biden’s Proclamation On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2022

When reading your Proclamation regarding Indigenous Peoples, for a second there was a spark of hope that this time we might be free. Then we read on and cold water was poured on that spark of hope when you continued with words that refer only to the "Tribes" your government created in the Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934. It was also called the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) and means the "tribal governments" that Act created without our consent. This is a major Human Rights violation. However, as an elder in the family of nations trying to teach your young nation, the United States (US), the essence of Human Rights, we are sending you this letter. Remember, your colonizing government is only a little over 200 years old. We have a civilization that is more than ten-thousand years old and know a few things about Human Rights.

President Biden Can’t ‘Heal The Nation’

President Joe Biden makes me laugh. One would think at his age, he would know that you can't heal a major illness, or wound, until you start at the source. I am referring to his continually saying, "We have to heal the soul of the United States (U.S.)." That's never going to happen until the powers-that-be, including President Biden, begin to heal the original illness, or wound, as you wish, which is the mistreatment and injustice they continue to give to the Original Nations, the American Indian Nations who are us. Some call it Karma. We call it the circle. Whoa!! No one wants to think about that let alone verbalize such an idea. Yet, that is precisely what the 1894 Sioux Nation Treaty Council has been doing for the past few years through letters to President Biden. He has been given the opportunity to "heal" the U.S. What is his response? The first year, there was NO response. So another letter was sent.

After Years Of Tribal Resistance, DHS Finishes Its ‘Virtual Wall’

When I come across surveillance towers in the borderlands, I first look to see if there are any communities, towns, or houses in its view. I did this on Monday, on the Tohono O’odham Nation in the southern Arizona borderlands, when I found an “integrated fixed tower,” built by the Israeli company Elbit Systems. It took me, two other journalists, and O’odham member Raymond Daukei all day to find it. I could see that homes in Topawa—a community of 380 people backed by the verdant western side of the muscular Baboquivari mountain range—were easily in range of the tower’s sophisticated camera system, which can see up to seven and a half miles.

The Better Way To Right An Old Wrong

Imagine one day City Hall seized your home’s front and back yards, along with your driveway, front walk and back porch. Yes, you’d still have a house where you could eat, sleep and reside. But you’d no longer have your full home and what was rightly yours. Now, imagine you were given the opportunity for that land to be returned to you. All you’d have to do is promise to never change a thing. You could maybe do something benign – pruning the trees or mowing the grass – but you could not build a shed, start a garden, or add a swing set for your children. Would you take the deal? This, in essence, is the deal Indian Country is commonly offered when land conservation organizations offer to return anywhere from 10 to 10,000 acres of land to Native American tribes. Land that was wrongly taken from tribes more than 100 years ago is often only returned if the tribes agree to adhere to someone else’s interpretation of what’s best.

Onondaga Nation Regains 1,023 Acres Of Land From New York State

The Onondaga Nation will recover more than 1,000 acres of forest lands in the Tully Valley through an historic agreement with New York State and the federal government. This property, identified for restoration and preservation as part of the Onondaga Lake Natural Resource Damages and Restoration process, will now be returned to the care of the Onondaga Nation. “It is with great joy that the Onondaga Nation welcomes the return of the first substantial acreage of its ancestral homelands. The Nation can now renew its stewardship obligations to restore these lands and waters and to preserve them for the future generations yet to come.

Indigenous Leaders And Climate Groups Respond To West Virginia vs. EPA

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a rule that limits the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gasses from the power sector using a specific provision of the Clean Air Act. Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that existing and planned fossil fuel projects are more than the climate can handle, confirming that without sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use, we are, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says, “on a fast track to climate disaster.” The report also warns investors of stranded fossil fuel assets that will amount to $4 trillion in a world where warming is limited to 2°C, and even more in a world where it is limited to 1.5°C.
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