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Indigenous Sovereignty

After A Century, Oil And Gas Problems Persist On Navajo Lands

It’s a Saturday morning in late June and Garry Jay, a member of the Navajo Nation, pilots a white crew-cab Chevy pickup on a lumpy dirt road across the grasslands north of his house in Shiprock, New Mexico, heading for the round, wood-framed hogan his grandfather built by hand in the 1970s. His route weaves 20 miles among the hundreds of oil wells that dot Horseshoe Canyon as he chases the bittersweet memories of childhood weekends and summers 40 years ago in that house, on that land, with his grandparents. The family’s former winter sheep ranch sits at the base of a sharp cliff, five miles south of the Colorado border.

Protect Wet’suwet’en Land!

New details have emerged about the militarized campaign of state and corporate persecution targeting land defenders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in so-called Canada. The third annual Peace and Unity Summit was held August 15-16 in Gidimt’en Clan territory, home of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. Wet’suwet’en leaders detailed how private security operatives and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have attacked and terrorized Indigenous activists using tactics taken directly from a U.S. counterinsurgency “playbook” written by David Petraeus, retired U.S. Army general and an architect of U.S. invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Indigenous Resistance Challenges Ontario’s ‘Mining Boom’

As Canada’s governments hungrily scour domestic and foreign territory in search of critical minerals—an essential part of Ottawa’s new Cold War on China—Ontario Premier Doug Ford is attempting to spin demand into a provincial mining boom. Ontario’s first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy (CMS), announced alongside a federal initiative of the same name, proclaims that the province is “incredibly fortunate” and “blessed with exquisite deposits of nickel, lithium, platinum, cobalt and dozens of other strategically important raw materials.” Ford’s economic policies are catering to mining companies that yearn for unfettered access to these resource supplies, even as Indigenous communities organize to resist the extractivist bonanza.

Tipi Erected At Thacker Pass; Law Enforcement Issues Final Warning

Peehee Mu'huh, Nevada - On Thursday, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s department issued a final warning to Indigenous land defenders at Thacker Pass. Members of law enforcement are demanding that the land defenders vacate a service road leading into the lithium mining operation. The Indigenous land defenders have erected a tipi on a proposed water line, set to feed lithium development at the rate of 500,000 gallons for every ton of lithium processed. Dorece Sam, an enrolled member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, spoke during a Facebook livestream on Friday, saying “Mother’s Day is coming up. This here is our mother - Mother Earth, and we want to protect her.

What Does Indigenous Reclamation Mean?

In the past year alone, the movement led by Native communities to reclaim lands and spaces — sometimes called the “Land Back” movement — saw huge gains in mainstream momentum. Some of that has come from rallies, like those led by Indigneous activists fighting to close Mount Rushmore. Other conversations about Native lands have been sparked by major court decisions, like the Supreme Court's landmark decision in the McGirt case in which it ruled that a large portion of Oklahoma is still Native land. And with U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland now the country’s first Native secretary of the interior, many Land Back advocates are finding renewed hope in their aspirations.

Court Case Could Change The Future Of Mining In British Columbia

Imagine finding someone you’ve never met digging through your backyard, looking for gold. You tell them it’s your property, but they don’t leave. Instead, they tell you they’re allowed to be there because they’ve made a mineral claim on your land — and they’re right. B.C.’s current system, governed by the Mineral Tenure Act, allows almost anyone to make an online mineral claim to explore an area for minerals and have rights over what they find. They don’t have to consult or alert First Nations or private property owners if the claim is on their land.  The Gitxaała Nation and Ehattesaht First Nation are fighting to change that.   The two First Nations start presenting their case against how the province gives out mineral titles on their land Monday at the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

The Toxic Legacy Of The Nuclear Age

The world is awash in radioactive waste. We simply haven’t a clue where to put it. The best we have come up with in the United States is a harebrained scheme to ship the lethal carcinogenic garbage from nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear power plants, by rail and by truck, from the four corners of the continent, and bury it in a hole in the ground in Nevada at Yucca Mountain. Citizens groups, like the proverbial boy with his finger in the dike, have been holding off the onslaught of this devastating disposal solution, preventing the legislation from passing in the Congress. Deadly plutonium remains toxic for 250,000 years and there is no way of guaranteeing that the Yucca site could prevent radioactive seepage into the ground water over this unimaginable period of time.

What You Don’t Know About The Willow Project

On March 13, 2023, President Biden approved the Willow project, an oil drilling venture by the large crude oil producer, ConocoPhillips, occurring on Alaska’s North Slope. The proposed drilling area is believed to hold 600 million barrels of oil, which will be extracted from three different drill pads. While there is no exact date for the project to begin, construction is set to commence at any time and will continue for decades. The detrimental climate impact is by far the project’s most severe effect. However, the media is ignoring a crucial factor: the drill site sits next to the Nuiqsut tribe, an Inupiaq community that strongly opposes the Willow project.

The Doctrine Of Discovery: Repudiate Is Not Revoke

This morning, I had to call my cousin and tell her to stop doing the Snoopy Happy Dance. She was dancing because we had heard the Pope had revoked the Doctrines of Discovery. That was not true. He only ‘repudiated’ the Doctrines of Discovery, not “revoked” them. Then another cousin called and I had to tell him the same thing. There is a difference between ‘repudiate’ and ‘revoke’. The word “repudiate” according to the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary means “to cast off” or “to refuse to have anything to do with” or “to refuse to acknowledge.” We can all do that to those atrocious, horrible, abominable, appalling, and revolting Doctrines that were established by the Catholic Church.

My People Don’t Need To Be Saved, We Want To Be Respected!

I believe that if one is going to work or volunteer in American Indian communities, then 1. You must have the heart for it, not everyone from the outside can handle Indian Country. My people have suffered hundreds of years of trauma and still live the effects of it in our communities. So if you aren’t coming to our lands with a genuine heart and the want to really understand our people, then you aren’t ready to help us. 2. If you have never lived among us, been around us, learned our ways or even aware of them… then as outsiders you must learn or have value in it enough to respect it.

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.
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