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

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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

 

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!

 

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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

A Victory!

Mission accomplished! After more than 1,200 of you sent emails in a single day, the White House declared a public assistance disaster for the Oglala Sioux Tribe — a major victory for Pine Ridge.

Lakota Law

This incredible news means that the Oglala will receive more than $10 million in support to rebuild public infrastructure like roads, water systems, and public housing. While it’s an extremely satisfying conclusion to months of hard work, we must not rest on our laurels.

LPLP’s flood relief efforts have been costly but well worth the investment. Your generosity now can provide for the crucial battles ahead. Please give today — and consider making a monthly contribution — as we gear up to defeat the Keystone XL pipeline and assist Pine Ridge’s full recovery.

At Pine Ridge, where 97 percent of people live below the poverty line, my role as public relations director for OST President Julian Bear Runner has given LPLP a new and powerful way to serve Lakota Country. As an officially-designated “Promise Zone,” Pine Ridge can apply for significant federal grant funding, but the tribe lacks the resources to do so. In addition to ensuring the FEMA process ends well, our Lakota Law team will help OST to optimize its Promise Zone opportunities.

Your ongoing friendship can also empower my colleagues, Phyllis Young and Madonna Thunder Hawk, at their home nations. Phyllis’ efforts to #GreenTheRez at Standing Rock are in full swing, and Madonna is organizing resistance to KXL at Cheyenne River.

Today, as we celebrate a great, shared victory, I ask that you stay with us and continue to pledge your support to our team so we can accomplish every critical goal we have for 2019 and the years to come.

Wopila Tanka — I can’t thank you enough for standing with Pine Ridge and LPLP!

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

Pine Ridge Needs Your Help

Stand with Pine Ridge: Federal Flood Relief Needed Now!
Months after the Pine Ridge Reservation was flooded by devastating winter storms, it’s still awaiting its own federal disaster declaration. Tell President Trump to do the right thing—declare an official public infrastructure disaster for the reservation and provide for the Oglala Lakota Nation.

From: https://www.lakotalaw.org/

We are now several months into our team effort to remind FEMA of its obligations to Indian Country. With the support of friends like you, we have made real progress: FEMA has now pledged to assist individual homeowners on the Pine Ridge Reservation with repairs—a major victory which will generate millions of dollars in aid.

That said, the federal process isn’t over, and we must push Washington D.C. one more time to get us across the finish line. Repairs to our public infrastructure — roads, water systems, bridges, culverts, and more — are still unfunded. We estimate that at least $10 million in damage exists, and that’s why politicians in D.C. need to know you’re paying attention.

 

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Please watch our new video, then send an email to the White House telling President Trump to grant the public assistance disaster declaration that Pine Ridge needs for infrastructure support.

When poor communities suffer disasters, they become even poorer — unless FEMA steps in to level the playing field. In the past, FEMA’s record has been terrible here at Pine Ridge. Last year, when a hail storm did millions of dollars of damage to homes, FEMA deemed the fallout “cosmetic” and did nothing. This time around, we’re committed to getting a better result for the people of one of the poorest communities in the nation.

So far, moral support from friends like you has helped us work with Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner and the emergency management office here to bring more than a dozen skilled workers to the reservation. Together, we’ve raised money directly for the tribe, helped fill a warehouse with in-kind donations, and provided expert media and public outreach to keep the community and the wider world informed.

Now, the tribe’s request for infrastructure assistance is on Trump’s desk, and we’re awaiting his response. Watch our new video, sign our letter to the White House, and share this action with your networks. Please make your voice heard on behalf of Pine Ridge one more time.

Wopila — Your solidarity can keep the momentum going!

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

Special thanks to the United Methodist Committee on Relief for offering essential financial support to our team during this period of crisis. Together with UMCOR and allies like you, we’ve been able to make a huge difference. Now it’s time for one last push to bring FEMA into the fold!