Indigenous Rights Challenged

What you need to know about the Coastal GasLink pipeline conflict

Dispute in Wet’suwet’en territory over natural gas line has high economic and political stakes

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs from left, Rob Alfred, John Ridsdale and Antoinette Austin, who oppose the Coastal Gaslink pipeline, take part in a rally in Smithers, B.C., on Jan. 10. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

The conflict over a natural gas pipeline in northwestern British Columbia is the latest flashpoint between resource development and Indigenous rights and title in a province where large swaths of territory are not covered by any treaty.

At the centre of the conflict is a multi-billion dollar natural gas project — touted as the largest private sector investment in Canadian history — and an assertion by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs that no pipelines can be built through their traditional territory without their consent.

 

Missing and Murdered Women

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/striving-to-make-indigenous-women-girls-feel-safe-in-alaska-bMROecUEz0-uo4-yMFzg2g

 

MM

Organizers of the Vigil and Heartbeat of the Drums for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls shown here left to right: Ruth Miller, Dena’ina Athabascan, Communications Organizer, Native Movement; Rochelle Adams, Athabascan, Indigenous Engagement Coordinator, Native Peoples Action; Kendra Kloster, Tlingit, Executive Director, Native Peoples Action; Charlene Akpik Apok, Inupiaq, Gender Justice and Healing Coordinator, Native Movement; Kelsey Wallace, Yup’ik, Communications Director, Native Peoples Action; and (not pictured), Emily Edenshaw, Executive Director, Alaska Native Heritage Center. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus)

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‘We face total negligence… when it comes to prosecuting attackers or murderers of our women’

As the names of more than 200 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were read, people listened in silence, many staring into space or at the carpeted floor of the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. A few quietly wiped away tears. Healers burned braids of sweet grass and bunches of sage, waving the smoke onto the half-dozen men reading the names.

Charlene Akpik Apok, Inupiaq, director of gender justice and healing for the nonprofit community advocacy and training organization Native Movement, was emcee of the Vigil and Heartbeat of the Drums for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She told the audience of more than a hundred people she had asked men to read the names to remember and honor allies in the fight against the loss of Indigenous women.”

 

 

Saving Lake Huron

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/04/saugeen-ojibway-nation-has-saved-lake-huron-from-a-nuclear-waste-dump/

Photograph Source: Kevin M Klerks – CC BY 2.0Lake Huron

Saugeen Ojibway Nation Has Saved Lake Huron From a Nuclear Waste Dump

A major victory for Canada’s First Nations has just been won in Ontario. On January 31, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) overwhelmingly voted down the proposed deep geological repository (DGR) for storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive nuclear waste next to Lake Huron. The DGR had long been proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), but in 2013 OPG had committed to SON that it would not build the DGR without their support.

Canadian Pipeline

John Ivison: Pipeline dispute raises important question — who speaks for First Nations?

Reconciliation means making one system compatible with another, not Indigenous law trumping Canadian law at the behest of some self-anointed aristocrats

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/john-ivison-pipeline-issue-raises-important-question-who-speaks-for-first-nations

chiefs-1Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline hold a press conference in Smithers, B.C., on Jan. 7, 2020.Amy Smart/The Canadian Press/File

The “territorial re-occupation” of land along the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C. by hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en people has raised some thorny constitutional questions and some surprising interventions.

The $6.2 billion, 670 km pipeline route runs from Dawson Creek, near the Alberta border, to Kitimat in B.C.’s north coast region, crossing through traditional Wet’suwet’en territory.

Reconciliation?

https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/01/10/Not-What-Reconciliation-Looks-Like/https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/01/10/Not-What-Reconciliation-Looks-Like/

By Zoë Ducklow 10 Jan 2019 | TheTyee.ca

judy-wilson

Judy Wilson’s Message for Canadians: ‘The Land Defenders Are Doing This for Everybody’

RCMP raids in Wet’suwet’en territory can’t bring justice, reconciliation or a better future, Neskonlith chief says.

Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith First Nation, east of Kamloops, is secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, a community leader, strong opponent of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and an advocate for clean energy.

 

Coal Plant Closing

Navajo coal plant is the next to close; the end of an industry

 

https _images.saymedia-content.com_.image_MTY5OTY5OTY4MzE2Njg3OTQ1_four_corners_power_plant_-_nara_-_544328

 

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/navajo-coal-plant-is-the-next-to-close-the-end-of-an-industry-TkJ5Gh9Em0-G3YlYAbHxbg

Historical photo via National Archives
The Associated Press

Navajo President Jonathan Nez: ‘We are moving forward with renewable energy as our top priority’

Felicia Fonseca

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The closure of a coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation sooner than expected will be a major blow to a region where coal has been a mainstay of the economy for decades.

The Arizona Public Service Co. now plans to shutter the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, New Mexico, in 2031 when its coal contract expires rather than wait until 2038.

 

 

 

Canada Pipeline

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2020/01/15/Horgans-Pipeline-Push-Betrays-Reconciliation-Promise-UNDRIP/

Horgan’s Pipeline Push Betrays His Reconciliation Promise

First Nations expected a new era; instead the government has embraced colonialism and ignored UNDRIP law.

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-no-those-who-defend-the-wetsuweten-territory-are-not-criminals/

 

Shiri Pasternak is a professor of criminology at Ryerson University and the research director of the Yellowhead Institute.

Over the coming weeks, two stories will be told repeatedly about the police raids and arrests on Wet’suwet’en territory. One story will already be familiar to those reading coverage of the escalating conflict between Coastal Gaslink, the province of British Columbia and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary government. It goes like this: First Nation band councils have consented to this development and welcome the jobs and revenue; Indigenous groups working under hereditary authority who oppose the pipeline, therefore, represent a rogue and non-democratic faction.

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-coastal-gaslink-pipeline-will-be-built-bc-premier-john-horgan/

 

B.C. Premier John Horgan, seen here on Jan. 13, 2020, told reporters Monday that he does not believe the Wet’suwet’en opponents should have the power to veto the project.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

B.C. Premier John Horgan has brushed aside mounting criticism from human-rights organizations of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, saying the infrastructure that is vital to securing a liquefied natural gas industry in British Columbia will be built.

It’s All About the Water

https://www.lakotalaw.org/resources/hot-water-preview?ceid=2659296&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email&utm_content=textlink&emci=3910ff14-db37-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f&emdi=0ee92e56-bc38-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f

 

Thu, Jan 16, 2020 6:00 pm
Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota Law (info@lakotalaw.org)To:you Details

In 2016 and ‘17, you stood with Standing Rock because you knew the importance of the Lakota maxim: Mni Wiconi — water is life. Decades back, a liberal Congress understood that, too, which is why a conduit that carries fresh water from the Missouri River to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is named the Mni Wiconi Rural Water Supply System.

As described here by the Guardian, the Oglala Lakota Nation gets about half of our water through the Mni Wiconi. The other half comes from private wells and the deeper Ogallala and Arikaree aquifers. If the Keystone XL oil pipeline (KXL) is completed, it will traverse the Mni Wiconi in two locations, cross tributaries that flow into the Missouri River, and endanger both our aquifers. There literally isn’t a drop of our water supply that isn’t threatened by KXL.

If that isn’t scary enough, uranium mining — licensed by the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations in the 1950s and ‘60s and tied to nuclear weapons manufacturing — has, at times, contaminated water near Pine Ridge. Extraction looms over us in multiple ways, threatening our water and threatening our health.

It probably won’t surprise you that Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t test our water for uranium. That’s why the Oglala Sioux Tribe has conducted tests at more than a dozen locations on and surrounding Pine Ridge. We helped secure the experts and resources for the field testing and now await results from the University of South Dakota.

“Hot Water,” a powerful documentary available on Amazon, talks about the tragic effects of contamination on our people. The filmmakers have generously allowed us to share a special excerpt with you here.

Lakota Law

Oglala Lakota President Julian Bear Runner and I were both unlawfully arrested in 2017 for trying to stop the Dakota Access pipeline from traversing our Oceti Sakowin Oyate — with all charges now dismissed. In 2020, we pledge to keep fighting to safeguard water by attending to contamination issues and by doing all we can to stop KXL in its tracks.

I wish a happy New Year to you and yours, and I ask that you stay active with me in this battle. By holding our coalition together, we water protectors can and will continue to make a tremendous difference.

Wopila — Our gratitude for your attention,

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

 

 

Canadian Pipeline News

Hereditary First Nation chiefs issue eviction notice to Coastal GasLink contractors

A hereditary chief with the Wet’suwet’en Nation said a work site for the Coastal GasLink pipeline near Houston, B.C., has been vacated after he and other hereditary chiefs issued an eviction notice.

“We’ve tried the avenues available,” said Na’Moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/wet-suwet-en-coastal-gaslink-na-moks-1.5415586

bc-lng-pipeline-camp-20190203

A checkpoint is seen at a bridge leading to the Unist’ot’en camp on a remote logging road near Houston, B.C., on Jan. 17, 2019. In a statement, Coastal GasLink said staff discovered felled trees near the work site on Sunday, making the road impassable. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

 

Coastal GasLink gives pipeline opponents 72-hour notice to clear way to worksite

Coastal GasLink has posted an injunction order giving opponents to its pipeline project 72 hours to clear the way to its work site in northern B.C.

The order, stamped Tuesday by the B.C. Supreme Court registry, addresses members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and supporters who say the project has no authority without consent from the five hereditary clan chiefs.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/lng-company-posts-notice-to-clear-way-1.5419257

 

Supporters of Wet’suwet’en First Nation erect camp near road to pipeline work site

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/video-supporters-of-wetsuweten-first-nation-erect-camp-near-road-to/

 

‘What cost are human rights worth?’ UN calls for immediate RCMP withdrawal in Wet’suwet’en standoff

 

Experts say the world is watching to see if Canada heeds a call from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to immediately suspend work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline and the Site C dam until ‘free, prior and informed consent’ is obtained from Indigenous peoples

 

https://thenarwhal.ca/what-cost-are-human-rights-worth-un-calls-for-immediate-rcmp-withdrawal-in-wetsuweten-standoff/

Standing Rock Nation 2020

I hope your holiday season has been filled with love, family, and all the comforts of home. As mentioned a couple times over the past few weeks, we’re grateful to bring these human necessities to children in our new foster home on Standing Rock Nation very soon. As we enter 2020, we’re equipping their new house so they can enjoy it for years to come.

Lakota Law

This is about far more than mere shelter. As Madonna Thunder Hawk says in our video, we Lakota don’t call it foster care; we call it kinship care because keeping Lakota kids with Native guardians means the preservation of families, culture, and tradition. Only with all of these elements together do our children have the best possible foundation for their future.

As 2019 draws to a close, we wanted to offer you a final chance to help us build that critical foundation this calendar year. We have purchased and started renovating the home, but additional funding will help us fully equip it with insurance, computer workstations, beds and linens, dressers, and kitchenware. Your contribution will also help cover utility and move-in costs and a reliable vehicle to transport the children. Your support now can make a difference that lasts a lifetime!

Located on the South Dakota side of Standing Rock, the home is almost ready. We’ve recruited our first tribal foster parent, and we expect to have children in the home early in the New Year.

Standing Rock’s tribal leaders support this effort, and in time we hope to aid them and other tribal nations in creating additional foster homes for more kids in need. There are far too many. According to the ACLU, American Indians comprise less than nine percent of South Dakota’s population, but 52 percent of the children in its foster care system are Native. Our children are 11 times more likely to be placed in foster care than a white child.

That’s why your support is so important. Together, we can put some of Standing Rock’s most vulnerable kids on solid footing for the coming year.

Wopila tanka — I can’t thank you enough for supporting our next generation!

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project