Democrats propose sweeping police overhaul; Trump criticizes

https://indiancountrytoday.com/outside/democrats-propose-sweeping-police-overhaul-trump-criticizes-X6S-hJT6OkeoRWRCJ-HJRQ?utm_source=maven-coalition&utm_medium=salish&utm_campaign=email&utm_term=notification&utm_content=featured

The Associated Press

Outlook is deeply uncertain for Dems’ proposed police overhaul
Lisa Mascaro
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats proposed a far-reaching overhaul of police procedures and accountability Monday, a sweeping legislative response to the mass protests denouncing the deaths of black Americans in the hands of law enforcement.

The political outlook is deeply uncertain for the legislation in a polarized election year. President Donald Trump is staking out a tough “law and order” approach in the face of the outpouring of demonstrations and demands to re-imagine policing in America.

“We cannot settle for anything less than transformative structural change,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, drawing on the nation’s history of slavery.

Before unveiling the package, House and Senate Democrats held a moment of silence at the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, reading the names of George Floyd and many others killed with police interactions. They knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — now a symbol of police brutality and violence — the length of time prosecutors say Floyd was pinned under a white police officer’s knee before he died.

Trump, who met with law enforcement officials at the White House, characterized Democrats as having “gone CRAZY!”

As activists call for restructuring police departments and even to “ defund the police,” the president tweeted, “LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE.” He declared later, “We won’t be dismantling our police.”

Democratic leaders pushed back, saying their proposal would not eliminate police departments — a decision for cities and states — but establish new standards and oversight.

Joe Biden, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, “does not believe that police should be defunded,” said spokesman Andrew Bates.

The Justice in Policing Act, the most ambitious law enforcement reforms from Congress in years, confronts several aspects of policing that have come under strong criticism, especially as more and more police violence is captured on cellphone video and shared widely across the nation and the world.

The package would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents and ban police choke holds, among other changes.

It would revise the federal criminal police misconduct statute to make it easier to prosecute officers who are involved in “reckless” misconduct and it would change “qualified immunity” protections to more broadly enable damage claims against police in lawsuits.

The legislation would ban racial profiling, boost requirements for police body cameras and limit the transfer of military equipment to local jurisdictions.

Overall, the bill seeks to provide greater transparency of police behavior in several ways. For one, it would grant subpoena power to the Justice Department to conduct “pattern and practice” investigations of potential misconduct and help states conduct independent investigations.

And it would create a “National Police Misconduct Registry,” a database to try to prevent officers from transferring from one department to another with past misconduct undetected, the draft says.

A long-sought federal anti-lynching bill that has stalled in Congress is included in the package.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a co-author with Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and Democratic senators, will convene a hearing on the legislation Wednesday.“

The world is witnessing the birth of a new movement in this country,” said Rep. Bass, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is leading the House effort. She called the proposal “bold” and “transformative.”

While Democrats are expected to swiftly approve the legislation this month, it does not go as far as some activists want. The outlook for passage in the Republican-held Senate is slim.

Republican campaign officials followed Trump’s lead in bashing the effort as extreme.

“No industry is safe from the Democrats’ abolish culture,” said Michael McAdams, a spokesman for the House Republican campaign committee, in an email blast. “First they wanted to abolish private health insurance, then it was capitalism and now it’s the police.”

Democrats fought back.

“This isn’t about that,” Pelosi said. Congress is not calling for any wholesale defunding of law enforcement, leaving decisions to local cities and states, Democrats noted. Some cities are shifting police resources to other community services in response to the protests.It is unclear if law enforcement and the powerful police unions will back any of the proposed changes or if congressional Republicans will join the effort.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose Louisville hometown faces unrest after the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in her home, said he would take a look at potential Senate legislation.Republicans are likely to stick with Trump, although McConnell was central to passage of a 2018 criminal justice sentencing overhaul the president signed into law, and some key GOP senators have similarly expressed interest in changes to policing practices and accountability.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said his panel intends to hold a hearing to review use of force and other issues. And Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has said he’d like to review the package coming from Democrats.

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, who marched in support of Floyd in Houston, penned an op-ed Monday about how his own black father instructed him as a teen driver to respond if he was pulled over by the police. Hurd offered his own proposals for changes in police practices.

What started with the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., has transformed with the killings of other black Americans into a diverse and mainstream effort calling for changing the way America polices its population, advocates say.

“I can’t breathe” has become a rallying cry for protesters. Floyd pleaded with police that he couldn’t breathe, echoing the phrase Eric Garner said while in police custody in 2014 before his death in New York.“

All we’ve ever wanted is to be treated equally — not better, not worse,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

Biden’s former presidential primary rivals, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.Y., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are co-authors of the package in the Senate.

AP Logo little

Associated Press writer Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

 

Mashpee Wampanoag ruling a ‘win for all of Indian Country’

Supporters cheer Massachusetts tribe’s victory in lawsuit against U.S. Interior Department over its reservation status

Kolby KickingWoman

Indian Country Today

Support is pouring in for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe following a ruling in its favor in a lawsuit against the U.S. Interior Department.

On Friday evening, Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., blocked the federal government from rescinding the Massachusetts tribe’s reservation status, ordering the department to reexamine a decision that took the tribe’s more than 300 acres out of trust.

Massachusetts’ two Democratic U.S. senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, said in a joint statement that the ruling marks an important victory for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. But they said the fight is not finished, and they will continue to hold the Trump administration accountable.

“The Mashpee Wampanoag have a right to their ancestral homeland,” the statement said. “We are glad that the Court acknowledged the importance of the arguments we made in the bicameral, bipartisan amicus brief we filed with our colleagues opposing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s cruel actions.”

The amicus brief submitted to the court was led by Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblo, and signed by more than 20 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

Haaland, a New Mexico Democrat, said the relationship between tribes and the federal government must be upheld and that the Interior Department had blatantly abused its power.

“Tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship must be respected, but the Department of Interior clearly used a public health emergency to illegally move land out of trust,” said Haaland in a statement.

FILE - In this June 6, 2018, file photo, Deb Haaland, a Democratic candidate for Congress for central New Mexico's open seat and a tribal member of the Laguna Pueblo, sits at her Albuquerque home. More than 100 Native Americans are seeking seats in Congress, governor's offices, state legislatures and other posts across the country in what political observers say has been a record number of candidates. Congressional races in New Mexico and Kansas could determine whether Congress has its first Native American representative. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)
In this June 2018 photo, Deb Haaland, then-Democratic candidate for Congress, sits at her Albuquerque home. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

The Interior Department said in a brief statement Monday that it is examining Friedman’s ruling.

“The Department is reviewing the decision and our options to proceed, and remains committed to upholding our trust responsibilities to Indian Country,” the statement said.

The agency previously told The Associated Press that it was obligated by a recent federal court decision to remove a lands designation bestowed in 2015 under then-President Barack Obama.

Mashpee Wampanoag Chairman Cedric Cromwell told Indian Country Today on Friday it was a great day for Mashpee and that Friedman stood up for justice.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell addressed Indian Country in a video posted to Facebook on Sunday. (Photo by Cedric Cromwell / Facebook)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell addressed Indian Country in a recent video posted to Facebook. (Photo by Cedric Cromwell / Facebook)

“Very happy justice reigned supreme but the battle is not over,” Cromwell said. “We’re praying the Trump administration will do the right thing and stand with Mashpee.”

(Previous story: Mashpee Wampanoag: US Court ‘stood up for justice’)

Also congratulating the Mashpee on its victory was the National Congress of American Indians. The organization’s president, Fawn Sharp, Quinault, said the organization will continue to stand with Mashpee as the process plays out.

“We consider this a win for all of Indian Country,” Sharp said. “The Mashpee Wampanoag relationship with the United States is one of political equality, derived from their inherent sovereignty, powers, and authority that long predates the United States. No federal agency or civil servant has the authority to diminish or in any way undermine that unique political relationship and standing.”

Per Judge Friedman’s ruling, the case has been remanded to the Interior Department, where Interior Secretary David Bernhardt must follow a 2014 “M-Opinion” to determine whether the Mashpee were “under federal jurisdiction before 1934.”

Interior 1
(Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye)

M-Opinions are opinions from the interior solicitor, the department’s head attorney, and are a source for the department’s interpretations of particular laws.

Robert Anderson, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, is a law professor at the University of Washington School of Law and said it seems the Interior Department and the current administration have put a lot of resources into this case, and are splitting hairs to prevent recent federally recognized tribes from receiving the same benefit as other tribes.

The Mashpee Wampanoag gained federal recognition in 2007.

“It’s another example of this administration sort of being, you know, going out of its way to chip away at Indian rights in a sort of a mean-spirited, nitpicky way,” Anderson said. “I think it’s really a bad thing.”

As the Interior Department reexamines its decision, the 321 acres of Mashpee Wampanoag land has been placed back into trust, and Cromwell said the tribe will work so that it remains that way.

“We will continue to work with the Department of the Interior — and fight them if necessary — to ensure our land remains in trust,” Cromwell said.

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Kolby KickingWoman, Blackfeet/A’aniih is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He is from the great state of Montana and currently reports and lives in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter – @KDKW_406. Email – kkickingwoman@indiancountrytoday.com

Indian Country Today LLC is a nonprofit news organization owned by the nonprofit arm of the National Congress of American Indians. The Indian Country Today editorial team operates independently.

Removal of Christopher Columbus Statues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2020
CONTACT:
NCAI Statement on the Removal
of Christopher Columbus Statues
WASHINGTON, DC | The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country, does not acknowledge Christopher Columbus as a hero. To Indigenous peoples, he was the opposite:
[O]ut of timbers for the Santa Maria, . . . Columbus built a fort [on Hispaniola], the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. . . . He took . . . Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. . . . [H]e got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail. . . . When the weather turned cold, the Indian prisoners began to die. . . .
In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale. . . .
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 3-4 (1980 Ed.).
“This growing movement across the country to rid our shared spaces of symbols that represent hate, genocide, and bigotry illustrates that it is past time for all cities to stand on the right side of history moving forward,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp.
NCAI also strongly supports the recent actions taken by United States citizens and the international community calling for proper law enforcement reforms and the recognition of basic human rights for the African American community and all communities of color. We are humbled that these voices are including Indian Country’s perspectives. NCAI encourages local governments and their citizens to seek mutual understandings of their diverse perspectives and to develop peaceful solutions that are mindful of all human beings and our rich distinct and shared histories. Together we can build the tomorrow our children deserve to lead.
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About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.

Black Lives Matter

I trust that, as a supporter of Lakota sovereignty, you believe in justice and equity for all people. So I hope you’ll join me in standing with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. My experience as a lifelong activist gives me insight into what a moment that shifts society looks like. It can look messy, it can look dangerous — it can look just like this.

Lakota Law
Lisa Skye and I stand with BLM at the Cheyenne River Reservation border. Photo courtesy of Warrior Women Project. Please click the play button above to watch this video message from me.

As you are no doubt aware, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police on a Minneapolis street, our nation is on fire. This follows the recent murders of Breonna Taylor by police in her home and Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes on a Georgia street.

Now, every day and every night, thousands march and kneel and vocalize to end police brutality and demand a new respect for Black bodies, lives, and communities. A few days back, Lakota Law’s Chase Iron Eyes and his daughter, Tokata, helped lead one such protest in Rapid City.

As a nation, many of us are listening to, and gaining further understanding of, the pain suffered by communities of color for centuries in this land. With that understanding, hopefully we will feel compelled to offer support and advocacy in whatever ways are most appropriate or asked of us. Whatever lane each of us occupies, we can find our role in the struggle.

I and many people of the Oceti Sakowin and other Indigenous nations can empathize with the pain wrought by institutional racism. Seeing the young people of today demonstrating and standing up for what is right takes me back to my own youthful days organizing for Red Power — once upon a time, right there in that same place, the Twin Cities. It reminds me of our American Indian Movement, born from Lakota, Dakota, and Ojibwe activism in that northern midwest metropolis.

And, of course, it reminds me of the #NoDAPL protests at Standing Rock. Anyone surprised to see the president unleash militarized police, security forces, and tear gas on peaceful protesters wasn’t paying attention in 2016 and ‘17. For decades, from Sitting Bull to MLK, from the American Indian Movement to Black Lives Matter, Black and Brown communities have taken turns leading the movement for understanding, equality, and justice.

The struggle is now being live-streamed, and it’s not easy to watch. We know that a few irresponsible people on our side and, more often, counter-protesters with hate-filled hearts are infiltrating, looting, and trying to paint legitimate civil disobedience with the brush of violence. But we know the difference. We know that we are not terrorists, and neither is anyone who truly seeks justice and calls out tyranny.

The world is changing, and it’s long overdue. I hardly need to remind you that Black and Native people die at the hands of police and are incarcerated at far higher rates than white folks. So yes, I empathize. And I offer you my deep gratitude for your compassion. Thank you for standing with us through our struggle. I hope we can all say we also stand arm-in-arm with Takomni Hesapa Wiconi Heĉha — #BlackLivesMatter.

Wopila tanka — Thank you for your friendship and your support,

In solidarity, always,
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

A Victory: Recommitment to Tribal Sovereignty 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2020
CONTACT:
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Native Organizations Encouraged by Recent Decision in Mashpee v. Bernhardt and Now Call on DOI for Recommitment to Tribal Sovereignty
Yesterday, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rendered a decision in favor of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in the case of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe v. Bernhardt. In its opinion, Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled:
The Court will grant the Mashpee Tribe’s motion for summary judgment and deny the federal defendants’ and defendant-intervenors’ motions for summary judgment. Furthermore, because the Secretary of the Interior’s September 7, 2018 Record of Decision is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law, the Court remands the matter to the Secretary of the Interior for a thorough reconsideration and re-evaluation of the evidence before him consistent with this Opinion, the 2014 M-Opinion, M-37209 – its standard and the evidence permitted therein – and the Department’s prior decisions applying the M-Opinion’s two-part test.
For the first time since the termination era, the Department of the Interior (DOI) attempted to disestablish a Tribal reservation, ordering the homelands of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to be taken out of trust. The order from DOI Secretary David Bernhardt came on March 27, 2020, as the Tribal Nation worked to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, during active litigation on the status of the land, and following the rescission of the 2014 Carcieri M-Opinion and the issuance of a new 4-part test to qualify under the first definition of “Indian” in the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). On March 30, 2020, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe asked the Court to issue an emergency restraining order to prevent DOI from taking immediate action to disestablish its reservation.
“The DC District Court righted what would have been a terrible and historic injustice by finding that the Department of the Interior broke the law in attempting to take our land out of trust,” said Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman, Cedric Cromwell. “We will continue to work with the Department of the Interior — and fight them if necessary — to ensure our land remains in trust.”
The Court ruled DOI’s 2018 decision that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe did not prove it was “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934, and therefore did not meet the first definition of “Indian” under the IRA—making the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ineligible to acquire land in trust—was arbitrary and capricious. It remanded the decision to DOI with clear direction to issue a decision consistent with the 2014 M-Opinion’s standard and the evidence permitted therein, as well as DOI’s prior decisions applying the 2014 M-Opinion test. The Court further directed DOI to properly address each piece of evidence, give a reasoned analysis as to whether it is probative, explain any departure from past DOI precedent, and view all probative evidence in concert rather than in isolation. And importantly, the Court’s decision also mandates that DOI maintain the land in trust pending DOI’s new determination and prevents DOI from applying its new 4-part test in this case.
“USET SPF is pleased that the Court acted swiftly and justly to provide necessary certainty to the Mashpee Wampanoag in these uncertain times,” said USET SPF President, Kirk Francis. “The Department of the Interior was under no order to take the land out of trust, and so to attempt to rob the Mashpee of their homelands is nothing short of shameful. The Department should be assisting Tribal Nations as we work to reestablish our homelands after centuries of federal action designed to assimilate and terminate. Instead, actions by this Administration are aimed at perpetuating antiquated and regressive federal policies, resulting in the destabilization of our governments. While we celebrate this victory with Mashpee and all of Indian Country today, the centuries-long fight to protect and restore Tribal homelands is ongoing and we must remain steadfast in our vigilance. We continue to stand with Mashpee as the Department reexamines its evidence on remand.”
“On behalf of the National Congress of American Indians, we congratulate the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on their historic victory. We consider this a win for all of Indian Country,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “The Mashpee Wampanoag relationship with the United States is one of political equality, derived from their inherent sovereignty, powers, and authority that long predates the United States. No federal agency or civil servant has the authority to diminish or in any way undermine that unique political relationship and standing. We will remain vigilant and stand united with Mashpee who have shaped and supported this country from the arrival of the first European settlers and will coexist as sovereign equals for generations to come.”
USET SPF and NCAI share a profound commitment to Tribal sovereignty and the restoration of Tribal homelands. In light of this commitment, we have been advocating for a fix to the Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar since it was handed down in 2009. Carcieri has created a deeply inequitable 2-class system, in which some Tribal Nations have the ability to restore their homelands and others do not. This 2-class system serves to deny these Tribal Nations a critical component of the trust relationship, vital aspects of the exercise of inherent sovereignty, and the opportunity to qualify for several government programs.
We continue to call for the immediate passage of a fix that contains the two features necessary to restore parity to the land-into-trust process:
(1) A reaffirmation of the status of current trust lands; and
(2) Confirmation that the Secretary has authority to take land into trust for all federally recognized Tribal Nations.
While this decision is an important step toward righting centuries of wrong against the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, our collective work is not finished. We urge and await a positive determination from DOI on Mashpee’s homelands once and for all. Our organizations will continue to fight for the restoration of Tribal homelands and the full delivery of trust and treaty obligations. We call upon DOI to recommit itself to the restoration of homelands, the trust obligation, and Tribal sovereignty.
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About the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe:
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, also known as the People of the First Light, has inhabited present day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. After an arduous process lasting more than three decades, the Mashpee Wampanoag were re-acknowledged as a federally recognized tribe in 2007. In 2015, the federal government declared 150 acres of land in Mashpee and 170 acres of land in Taunton as the Tribe’s initial reservation, on which the Tribe can exercise its full tribal sovereignty rights. The Mashpee tribe currently has approximately 2,700 enrolled citizens.
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.
About the USET Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF):
Established in 2014, the USET Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF) is a non-profit, inter-Tribal organization advocating on behalf of thirty (30) federally recognized Tribal Nations from the Northeastern Woodlands to the Everglades and across the Gulf of Mexico.  USET SPF is dedicated to promoting, protecting, and advancing the inherent sovereign rights and authorities of Tribal Nations and in assisting its membership in dealing effectively with public policy issues.
National Congress of American Indians
Embassy of Tribal Nations
1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Siberian Fuel Leak

https://indiancountrytoday.com/outside/putin-declares-emergency-after-siberia-fuel-leak-O-0pNaAH5EWPqQiwJP7tXg

Joaqlin Estus

Diesel pollutes waters that will drain into the Arctic Ocean
MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency in a region of Siberia after an estimated 20,000 tons, or 5.7 million gallons, of diesel fuel spilled from a power plant storage facility and fouled waterways.

The spill took place Friday at a power plant in an outlying section of the city of Norilsk, 2900 kilometers (1800 miles) northeast of Moscow.

Booms were laid in the Ambarnaya River to block the fuel. The river feeds a lake from which springs another river that leads to the environmentally delicate Arctic Ocean. The area where the spill occurred is closer to the traditional homelands of the Nenets and northern Norway than Alaska. However, the fish and marine mammals of the Arctic Ocean and its interrelated coastal seas are an important source of food for Inuit and other Arctic Indigenous peoples.Siberia

Telemedicine

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https _images.saymedia-content.com_.image_MTcyNDAwOTY1OTc3MTIyMzA0_anthc_telehealth1

‘It’s going to be a very integral part of how we move forward with medicine’

Joaqlin Estus

Indian Country Today

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted countless changes. One that’s likely to stick is the more common use of telecommunications in the health field.

Both telemedicine, or the delivery of clinical care by telephone or the internet; and telehealth, which includes training, education and other communications; already play a bigger role than before the pandemic.

“In our practice, we never used telehealth before two months ago, and now I feel like I’m almost a mini expert in telehealth,” said Dr. Joseph Bell, Lummi, a pediatrician with the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center in South Carolina.

New Information:Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

Lakota Law

 

You may recall that, in late March, the Standing Rock, Oglala, Yankton, and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes won a key round in their legal battle against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). In a reversal of his prior decision, D.C. District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled that the pipeline hadn’t undergone proper environmental review. Though logic would dictate a subsequent cease to DAPL’s operations, Boasberg hasn’t taken that step. That’s why, last week, the Lakota Law team joined an Earthjustice-led effort and submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief to the judge, a strong legal argument that the oil flow must stop immediately.

Lakota Law
For a comprehensive picture of the history of DAPL and current legal landscape, check out our in-depth blog, which also features our television ad targeted to the D.C. market in 2017 arguing for a full Environmental Impact Statement.

It’s not complicated. Because Boasberg’s latest decision voids the easement granted for DAPL, it should no longer be permitted to carry oil, at least until we’ve seen an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) compliant with the National Environmental Policy Act. We’ve been arguing for a proper EIS since the beginning, recognizing that — given the oil company’s horrendous safety track record — it may be impossible to produce.

As you know, the Obama administration agreed that a comprehensive review was needed in late 2016, shutting down construction as thousands cheered at Standing Rock during the #NoDAPL protests. Sadly, everything changed when Trump took office. One of his first executive orders fast-tracked the pipeline without the EIS. Then, when Standing Rock took legal action, Judge Boasberg cited an exception in the law allowing construction despite known, potential hazards.

Boasberg’s latest ruling has changed the game again, this time in our favor. In our brief, LPLP Chief counsel Daniel Sheehan argues that if the oil flow doesn’t stop now, the Court will send a perilous message that litigation against the government is “meaningless and tantamount to a bait and switch designed to fool those naïve enough to believe that the rule of law still has efficacy.”

We’re not alone. Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee have also joined U.S. senators including Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren to submit a powerful amicus brief. Their legal argument was prepared by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, both of whom met face-to-face with our team in recent months.

We are aligned with powerful people, and the support you have shown to the Lakota means we can keep fighting nonstop to cancel pipelines and forward justice. The tide may be turning. I hope that if you stay with us, we can bring additional legal victories — and safety — back to our homelands.

Wopila tanka — Thank you for your friendship and your support,

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

COVID-19 in Indian Country

https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/indian-country-s-covid-19-syllabus-EiN-p5Q-XkW-smnaebJV6Q

Indian Country’s COVID-19 SyllabusIndian Country COVId

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COVID-19 Cases in Indian Country
Indian Country Today needs your help to gather positive COVID-19 cases and deaths related to COVID-19 in your tribal community.

INSTRUCTIONS: Let us know if there are any confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or deaths related to COVID-19 in your tribal nation or announced by your tribal nation. Please fill out this Google Form as complete as you can. Once we receive your response, we follow up with the tribal or health official to confirm the cases.

Take a look at Indian Country’s COVID-19 syllabus where you can find the COVID-19 tracker, stories, roundtables, op-eds and more: https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/indian-country-s-covid-19-syllabus-EiN-p5Q-XkW-smnaebJV6Q.

The Native Vote Intiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 28, 2020
CONTACT:
NCAI to Launch 2020 Native Vote Efforts with Star-Studded Virtual Rally
WASHINGTON, D.C. | On Thursday, May 28th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. EDT, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp and DJ Emcee One will co-host the Native Vote Taking Action in 2020 Virtual Rally. This event will serve as the official kick-off for NCAI’s Native Vote initiative for 2020 and will stream live online via NCAI’s Facebook and YouTube channels to launch voter engagement in one of the most important years for civic engagement in Indian Country.
The evening’s lineup features appearances by:
·        Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM)
·        Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today and The Trahant Report
·        Natalie Landreth, Native American Rights Fund
·        OJ Semans, Sr., Four Directions, Inc.
·        Shelly Diaz, Native Vote Coordinator, Minnesota
·        Nichole Donaghy, Native Vote Coordinator, North Dakota
·        Jasha Lyons-Echohawk, Native Vote Coordinator, Oklahoma
·        Lindsey McCovey, Native Vote Coordinator, California
·        Teresa Melendez, Native Vote Coordinator, Nevada
·        Travis Lane, Native Vote Coordinator, Arizona
·        Anthony Tamez-Pochel, Youth Board Member, Center for Native American Youth
Native Vote is a legacy, nonpartisan voting initiative of NCAI which focuses on the key pillars of Voter Registration and Get-Out-The-Native-Vote (GOTNV), Election Protection, Education, and Data Collection. To read more about the Native Vote initiative, visit www.nativevote.org.
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About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.
National Congress of American Indians
Embassy of Tribal Nations
1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005