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.

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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.

 

 

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.

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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

RE: North Dakota Public Service Commission

Mon, Nov 25, 2019 12:46 pm
Phyllis Young, Lakota Law (info@lakotalaw.org)

Thanks again to all of you who sent letters to the North Dakota Public Service Commission over the past weeks. First, nearly 20,000 of you put the pressure on to hold a public hearing about doubling Dakota Access pipeline oil. On Wednesday, November 13, before a packed house, the Commission held that hearing. Having received another 15,000 letters from you backing Standing Rock’s call to deny the expansion, and after 15 hours of public testimony, the Commission is now deliberating.

Lakota Law

Of course, the pipeline’s operators came prepared with a team of five bigshot attorneys and two engineers, all of whom did their best to obfuscate the implications of doubling oil flow through the pipeline. These Big Oil advocates spent hours talking around the obvious fact that driving twice the amount of oil through DAPL will increase the potential fallout from a spill. Please watch and share our new video, which clearly shows these obstructionist efforts to hide the truth.

After our team combined with tribal leaders and Sacred Stone Camp to organize the grassroots, more than 150 water protectors attended the hearing. Many Standing Rock tribal leaders — including Chairman Mike Faith and several council members — were in the room as well, and most stayed until everything had wrapped at 12:30 a.m.

The tribe put forward three expert witnesses who punched logical holes in Dakota Access’s effort to make expanding DAPL seem safe. Now, it’s up to the Commission to see through the nonsense and make the right decision.

Please stay tuned over the coming weeks. Our sources tell us that the PSC will take its time before making its call. If they understand their duty, they will do effective research and form a proper analysis. We will, of course, keep our ears to the ground and stay in touch with you about the decision and next steps in the fights against DAPL and Keystone XL.

Wopila tanka — thank you for helping us battle Big Oil!

Phyllis Young
Standing Rock Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

 

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.

 

 

Oil Spill

https://www.lakotalaw.org/our-actions/no-dapl-expansion

Take Action! Say NO to DAPL expansion

Breaking news: Yesterday, the Keystone pipeline spilled again. This highlights the need to thank those of you who recently wrote to the North Dakota Public Service Commission requesting a public hearing on the potential doubling of oil carried by the Dakota Access pipeline. I am very happy to say that, along with the Standing Rock Tribe’s official intervention, your voice helped compel the Commission to schedule that hearing. It’s coming up next week — on Wednesday, November 13th at 9 a.m. at Emmons County Courthouse in Linton, right across the river from Standing Rock.

Now, particularly in light of yet another pipeline spill, I ask you to join four Great Sioux Nation tribal chairmen and our allies around the world in telling the Commission to VOTE NO on this dangerous DAPL expansion. Even if you can’t make it to North Dakota, you can still be heard! Use this form to send an email to the PSC, show your solidarity, and make sure the commission knows it must not further imperil our sacred lands and water. Please stand again with Standing Rock — wherever you are.

Lakota Law
Clockwise from top left: Charles Walker, Standing Rock Tribal Council; Phyllis Young, Lakota Law organizer; Harold Frazier, Cheyenne River Tribal Chairman; Ladonna Allard, Sacred Stone Camp founder.

Even without the needed further study of environmental impact, we already know several reasons the PSC should deny this expansion. One, DAPL’s leak detection system is sub-par; doubling the current oil flow could allow as much as 11,000 barrels to despoil our water before detection. Two, government regulators say they don’t have data to prove that increasing capacity is safe. And three, DAPL will carry tar sands oil from Canada — some of the dirtiest and most corrosive oil in the world — thereby posing an even greater threat of leakage.

This expansion would be a reckless act of greed. As you’ll see in our video, leaders from the Oglala, Rosebud, and Cheyenne River Nations stand with us against this new danger to our people and Mother Earth. We must not be silenced. We must be strong and united in our message to the PSC: all due diligence should be conducted; the tribes, and allies like you, should be heard; the Earth should be respected.

Wopila tanka and mni wiconi — Thank you. Water is life.

Charles Walker
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council
Via the Lakota People’s Law Project

Revoke The Doctrine of Discovery

Lakota Law

 

Steve Newcomb

Steve Newcomb discusses the Doctrine of Discovery

As an Indigenous woman, I feel the heavy weight of history. At Standing Rock, the dual traumas of colonization and the exploitation of Grandmother Earth have collided in our battles against oil extraction and pipelines. I cannot thank you enough for your support—and I ask you to stay with us through November’s hearing on DAPL’s expansion and the planned construction of Keystone XL in 2020. Pipeline resistance must and will remain our top priority for the foreseeable future.

As Native activists, our work to reclaim our own history is also critical. That’s why we’re challenging the root legal argument behind the subjugation of so many Indigenous people, both here and around the world. The Doctrine of Discovery, a papal declaration from the 15th century, was used as a basis for Manifest Destiny and continues to haunt my people today. It was cited by a Supreme Court justice as recently as 2005.

In February of 2017 at Standing Rock, the Oceti Sakowin issued a declaration in defiance of the Doctrine’s objectives. And earlier this year, I helped the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe organize and host a Doctrine of Discovery Conference, where we brought in top experts to explore solutions. I encourage you to watch our new video, in which a world-recognized Shawnee and Lenape expert, Steve Newcomb, sits down with us to explore how the Doctrine of Discovery still allows the domination of Indigenous peoples to this day.

We also went straight to the source. In 2016, the support of friends like you helped us organize 35 organizations to submit letters to Pope Francis demanding that he overturn the Doctrine. We also met in Rome with Cardinal Peter Turkson, a progressive from Ghana who oversees social justice ministry for the Church. The Vatican knows the deeply problematic nature of the Doctrine of Discovery and is considering Indigenous communities’ desire to have it revoked.

So, we fight on many fronts. I invite you to stay tuned and reach out to our team with ideas and solutions. Together with you, we are empowered. My hope is that in 2020, we can use our collective strength to stem the tides of imperialism, colonization, environmental racism, and the climate crisis.

Wopila — thank you for your solidarity!

Phyllis Young
Standing Rock Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

 

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

Greta Thunberg Visit to Standing Rock and Pine Ridge

https://www.facebook.com/LakotaPeoplesLawProject/?emci=e1613360-b3e7-e911-b5e9-2818784d6d68&emdi=ec502f73-c9e7-e911-b5e9-2818784d6d68&ceid=2659296

 

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg (L), Jamie Margolin (C), and me in Washington, D.C.

I’m excited to share with you that my friend, Greta Thunberg, is joining me for three events over the next three days in Lakota Country. More on that in a minute, but first, let me introduce myself. I’m Tokata Iron Eyes, daughter of Chase Iron Eyes, whom you have heard from many times in the past.

My father’s work on behalf of Native justice and environmental concerns is also my work. I will add that, as a young woman of color, I focus much of my energy on the issues of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and the climate crisis, as they are particularly close to my heart. I may be a high school junior, but I have already traveled the world and made many appearances to speak on these critical topics, including at January’s Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

 

I met Greta on a later trip to the capital. We were both in town to speak at an Amnesty International event. Being both the same age and vocal climate warriors, we quickly found that we have much in common, even though our backgrounds may look different.

As you likely know, Greta comes from Sweden, where, at 15, she began protesting a lack of climate action in Parliament. From there, she quickly rose to worldwide prominence, organizing school climate strikes, giving a TED Talk, and appearing on the cover of Time magazine.

I felt it was important to invite her to come see my homelands, and I’m so happy she accepted my invitation. We’ll be speaking on my home campus of Red Cloud Indian School tomorrow at 5 p.m. MST, then hosting an event in Rapid City on Monday before heading to Standing Rock, where I spent most of my earlier years, on Tuesday at 10 a.m. CST.

Together, we want to share our mutual inspiration to take action on the climate with more kids — and with adults, too. Our struggles here against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines are the tip of the spear in a global effort to move away from fossil fuels and begin living more conscious lives together, in harmony with our Grandmother Earth.

I can’t wait to share more with you later in the week. In the meantime, you can catch a video stream of our talk at Red Cloud at the Lakota People’s Law Project Facebook page. Stay tuned!

Pilamaya — I appreciate your solidarity with our struggle!

Tokata Iron Eyes
The Lakota People’s Law Project

 

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

 

NoDAPL Depositions Unsealed

Victory! NoDAPL Depositions Unsealed
Wed, Sep 11, 2019 3:15 pm
Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota Law (info@lakotalaw.org)To:you Details

https://www.lakotalaw.org/our-actions/lplp-donate

I write to you to share a big win for our movement. On Aug. 28—the day a North Dakota court wiped clean my record from the protests at Standing Rock—my legal team succeeded in convincing our judge that discovery material from my trial must be made public. This important victory for transparency and the First Amendment can better position water protectors for the battle against Keystone XL. These depositions now become valuable legal resources, especially as more states criminalize protest and hire private armies to protect their fossil fuel investments.

It’s critical that friends like you make an alternative investment in our movement. Your gift today can help us counter efforts to protect profits over people and oil over water by growing the power and reach of our resistance. We’re dedicating considerable staff hours to honing and disseminating our discovery materials so we and other legal teams can be fully prepared to fight environmental racism in court. We are all in this together.

Lakota Law
Outside the courthouse in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, Daniel Sheehan and I discuss the importance of the judge’s decision to release discovery materials from my trial.

In depositions, our Lakota Law legal team pressed law enforcement officers on their lack of knowledge about treaty law and their inappropriate collusion with TigerSwan, a private military security firm for hire. These records can now assist other water protectors, attorneys, journalists, and filmmakers still trying to accurately convey the real story of Standing Rock and protect the importance of free speech in America.

Today, our movement to safeguard sacred water and ancestral lands has new momentum, but we still have much to do. White nationalists beholden to the oil lobby remain in power and, every day, our climate slips closer to the brink—just two more reasons to fight harder together. Free at last of any legal restrictions, I’m ready to press forward with all required urgency! I hope you’ll keep standing at my side, in person and in spirit.

Wopila tanka — Thank you, always, for your compassion and determination.

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

 

Lakota People's Law Project

Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th #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.

Public Hearing Set on DAPL Expansion!

9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Emmons County Courthouse in Linton, North Dakota.

Great news! Nearly 20,000 of you sent letters to the North Dakota Public Service Commission supporting the call of Lakota leaders for a public hearing on the proposed expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline—and you have been heard! The Commission has set the time and place for the hearing: 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Emmons County Courthouse in Linton, North Dakota.

Now, it’s up to all of us to keep the pressure on the powers that be to make the right decisions. We are prepared to mount a fierce ground campaign to ensure that Native perspectives are well-represented and heard in November. Can you contribute now to help us win this critical pipeline fight?

Lakota Law
Lakota People’s Law Project Standing Rock Organizer Phyllis Young at the Democratic presidential debates in Detroit. Phyllis actively combats pipelines and works as an ambassador for clean energy solutions in Lakota Country.

There is much still to do. The process must be fully transparent, the public must be heard, and tribal concerns about the safety of pipelines must be properly addressed. This expansion aims to double the amount of oil DAPL carries to more than 1 million barrels each day—further endangering the environment we share.

And as you know, it’s not just DAPL we must resist; the Keystone XL pipeline buildout will soon be upon us here in Lakota Country. For this reason, we are working tirelessly with tribal leaders, other nonprofit organizations, and visionary politicians in D.C. to develop a cohesive, coordinated strategy to protect water and climate from dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure.

Following our recent meeting with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, my colleagues Dan Nelson and Phyllis Young marched the streets of Detroit alongside other activists during the Democratic debates. Afterwards they met at length with Sunrise Movement founders. We’ve also engaged Bernie Sanders’ senate staff to produce a video about KXL—I urge you to stay tuned for that.

Your friendship helps us to keep working tirelessly to prevent the oil industry from despoiling the sacred. We won’t stop in our mission to elevate Indigenous voices in the national conversation. We’re building the connections that can—and will—have real impact, and we hope you will stay at our side at this crucial moment for Mother Earth.

Wopila Tanka—we can’t thank you enough for all that you do!

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

Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th #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.

New: Presidential Forum

https://www.lakotalaw.org/news/2019-08-27/na-presidential-forum?emci=4918c543-e0c8-e911-bcd0-281878391efb&emdi=6f127674-f3c9-e911-bcd0-281878391efb&ceid=2659296&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email&utm_content=textlink&sourceid=1036775Lakota Law

“We are thrilled that many major presidential contenders came to Indian Country to court our votes and are addressing our key issues, both in-person and in their platforms.”

To see what they had to say, you can view full videos of several of the candidates here.

As a 501(c)(3), we cannot endorse any one candidate or party. That said, we do believe it’s essential to share the information we have and to empower people to vote with as much knowledge as possible. We pushed back hard last November against vote suppression in North Dakota for that very reason, highlighted by this ABC Nightline episode featuring my colleague, Phyllis Young.

I am constantly inspired when working alongside President Julian Bear Runner. He is the second-youngest president in the Oglala Nation’s history, and as a fellow water protector at Standing Rock in 2017, he was arrested by my side. At the Forum, he used his panel appearance (with NY City Mayor Bill De Blasio) to challenge candidates to resist pipeline construction in Indian Country, combat meth use on the rez, and free Leonard Peltier.

I’m pretty sure this will be the only moment during the 2020 campaign when a candidate for president will have been asked to openly endorse Leonard’s release—and, to his credit, De Blasio didn’t hesitate. I encourage you to watch that exchange and the rest of the candidates in action.

It’s an exciting time, and I hope you will continue to stay informed and stand by us!

Wopila — Thank you, as always, for your friendship.

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

DAPL Action Update

DAPL expansion? No way!

Your voice is needed. For though the resistance at Standing Rock has been forcibly paused and oil now flows through the Dakota Access pipeline, the struggle to protect the health and safety of the tribe and people downstream isn’t over. Quickly and quietly, Energy Transfer Partners is planning to more than double the amount of oil DAPL carries, to more than a million barrels a day. And they’re doing this — once more — without the consent of the people.

It’s time to stand again with Standing Rock. We interviewed leaders from Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, and Rosebud — and together we’re demanding transparency and input through a public hearing. Will you take a moment now to join us? You can use our form to send an email telling North Dakota’s Public Service Commission that the people must be heard!

 

mail

 

Big Oil assures us that increasing oil flow through pipelines isn’t dangerous, but U.S. regulators say their information doesn’t back that claim. And tar sands crude — the type of oil DAPL carries — is a special threat: corrosive to infrastructure, it caused a million-gallon spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan not long ago. The United States suffers hundreds of liquid pipeline incidents every year. Why should we trust Big Oil’s word?

Between now and the deadline for input on Aug. 9, we will do everything we can to ensure a public hearing — the first step in stopping DAPL from becoming twice as dangerous. The Black Snake’s presence must not be allowed to fester and grow without pushback from every corner of Turtle Island. Will you stand with us once again to ensure the safety of our people and our sacred land and water?

Wopila Tanka — Thank you for making a difference! Mni Wiconi.

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