Regarding DAPL/COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the nation, we’re aware that it could have an outsized impact on Indian Country. Relief programs may not provide needed tests and medical supplies for us — or anyone — on an appropriate scale. Please know we are monitoring this, and as my colleague Chase Iron Eyes mentioned a few days ago, we’ll keep you updated on developments. May we all stay safe and healthy.

In the meantime, I write with some wonderful news. Just yesterday, Standing Rock won a big victory in the ongoing legal battle against the Dakota Access pipeline when a federal judge granted the tribe’s request to strike down DAPL’s federal permits!

Lakota Law

Thank you for all you have done to aid our struggle! Today I ask that you take a few moments to watch our video about the win in court and send a note of solidarity to Standing Rock. I will deliver your messages to the tribal chairman and tribal council. This is a big moment!

The judge ruled that Trump’s Army Corps of Engineers must complete a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) — the much more comprehensive review we’ve all been demanding since the beginning of this movement (and that President Obama required, only to be reversed by Trump). The Corps fell short in three specific ways, according to the judge.

First, the Corps failed to respond adequately to claims by the tribe’s experts that DAPL’s leak detection system is wholly inadequate. Second, the company’s dreadful history of oil spills wasn’t properly addressed. Finally, the oil company failed to account for the adverse repercussions a “worst case discharge” might have on our treaty rights — our ability to hunt, fish, and perform traditional religious ceremonies near Lake Oahe, which the pipeline crosses under.

I was asked by the tribal chairman to represent Standing Rock’s interests at the hearing in Washington, D.C., but I couldn’t go because of Coronavirus travel restrictions. I’m gratified that, despite our troubles, we have been victorious, at least for now.

The logic of the judge’s ruling suggests the pipeline should not remain operational without a federal permit. The ruling actually references both the Titanic and Chernobyl concerning the possibility of human error, and I’m hopeful shutting down the flow will be the judge’s next step. He has now requested legal briefs on that issue.

Please stay tuned, as we hope to share more good news soon. In the meantime, stay safe and please listen to the medical professionals with knowledge about the requirements of this pandemic. We’re all in this together.

Wopila tanka — as always, we’re so grateful to you for standing with Standing Rock and Mother Earth.

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.

‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux

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‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as Federal Court Rules DAPL Permits Violated Law

“This is what the tribe has been fighting for many months. Their fearless organizing continues to change the game.”

Thousands of water protectors and allies spent weeks at the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota in 2016 to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Photo: Reuters)

A federal judge handed down a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota on Wednesday, ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The USACE must complete a full environmental impact study of the pipeline, including full consideration of concerns presented by the Standing Rock Tribe, the judge ruled. The tribe has asked the court to ultimately shut the pipeline down.

The court chastised the USACE for moving ahead with affirming the permits in 2016 and allowing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) crossing the Missouri River after President Donald Trump assumed office in 2017, without considering the expert analysis put forward by the tribe.

“After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win. It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet.”
—Mike Faith, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

The Standing Rock Sioux had raised concerns regarding the likelihood and danger of potential oil spills, DAPL’s leak-detection system, and the safety record of Sunoco Logistics, the company behind the pipeline. Sunoco “has experienced 276 incidents resulting in over $53 million in property damage from 2006 to 2016” and has “one of the lowest performing safety records of any operator in the industry,” the tribe’s experts found.

The federal ruling “validates everything the Tribe has been saying all along about the risk of oil spills to the people of Standing Rock,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman in a statement. “The Obama administration had it right when it moved to deny the permits in 2016, and this is the second time the court has ruled that the government ran afoul of environmental laws when it permitted this pipeline. We will continue to see this through until DAPL has finally been shut down.”

DAPL and the fight against the pipeline was the subject of international attention in 2016 when thousands of water defenders gathered at camps in North Dakota, facing a highly militarized police force armed with tanks, riot gear, rubber bullets, and other weapons.

Since Trump reversed former President Barack Obama’s December 2016 order denying the permits and allowed the construction to be completed in June 2017, the tribe has challenged the permits and demanded the USACE conduct a full environmental analysis.

Wednesday’s ruling represented a “huge victory” for the tribe, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben tweeted.

“Such thanks to all who fight!” he wrote.

“After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith. “It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet. Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns.”

Others on social media celebrated the victory and applauded the “tireless efforts” of the campaigners, with the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America calling the decision the “absolute best possible outcome” of the court battle.

“This is why we never stop fighting,” Earthjustice president Abbie Dillen said.

The Coastal GasLink

Opinion

A worthwhile journey

The Coastal GasLink process was needlessly divisive

LNG Pipeline 20200301

It didn’t have to be this way.

After four days of meetings between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser, an agreement appears to be reached to acknowledge Wet’suwet’en traditional leaders as rights holders over their territory.

The dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline isn’t over by any means — the majority of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs still oppose the project and the agreement must be presented to their nation — but this is the first step to reconcile what had become a national stalemate between traditional Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state.

The implications of Canada and B.C. recognizing a traditional Indigenous government are enormous. This not only ratifies the 1997 Supreme Court Delgamuukw decision (which also determined the Wet’suwet’en hold title over 22,000 square kilometres of territory) but opens the doorway for First Nations traditional forms of government — virtually gutting one of the most central tenets of the Indian Act: the Chief and Council system.

Now, Canada and B.C. must invite the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to treaty negotiations over land. The future role of the Wet’suwet’en Indian Act chiefs and councils — most of whom signed “benefit agreements” to receive money and jobs as a result of the pipeline — is now uncertain.

In fact, the future of the Indian Act may be in doubt too. For decades, consecutive federal governments have promised to remove the 148 year-old legislation intended to assimilate “Indians” into Canada. Now, pressure will be on as some First Nations may refuse to govern themselves according to the chief and council model. This, above the pipeline project itself, may be the lasting legacy of Sunday’s agreement.

Recognizing Indigenous traditional governments also represents an ironic moment where Canada and B.C. will follow the “rule of law.” Not only did the Supreme Court recognize Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in 1997 but last November the province of BC unanimously adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples via Bill 41, “The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.”

If B.C. follows through on implementing the Declaration, they must reconcile that Indigenous peoples “have the right to self-determination” (Article 3), “have the right to autonomy or self-government” (Article 4), and “the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social, and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the State” (Article 5).

In this, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs may have shown Canada what reconciliation could look like.

The immediate question though is what’s this mean for the Coastal GasLink pipeline? The agreement doesn’t address that question directly and Coastal GasLink announced Sunday “construction will resume.”

Well Canada’s “duty to consult” under section 35 of the constitution is fulfilled, this will end in the courts.

This could be found through B.C.’s Bill 41, which directs the provincial government to appoint a member of the B.C. cabinet to “negotiate and enter into an agreement with an Indigenous governing body” over any use of Indigenous lands and resources, with the purpose to obtain “the consent of the Indigenous governing body before the exercise of a statutory power of decision.”

These negotiations could even include Indian Act chiefs and councils — appeasing political opponents and even some Wet’suwet’en who believe in them — but this will take time, energy, and resources. This may be exactly what Canada, B.C., and the Wet’suwet’en need — as cooler and calmer airs will likely be found.

Time, however, may be up for the Coastal GasLink’s $6.6-billion 670-kilometre pipeline project (190 kilometres cross Wet’suwet’en territory).

The cost of building the project is already exponentially increasing and if an alternative route is agreed upon this will add hundreds of millions more. Meanwhile, the price of oil and gas is dropping (especially with the coronavirus), the pipeline will consume a huge share of B.C.’s carbon budget, and fracking for gas and the burning of fossil fuels are lacking wide-scale public support.

Soon, the only argument for the pipeline will be within the subsidies, grants, and commitments Canada gives to the corporate sector — who will, in the end, choose profits over the jobs and money the project promises.

Sunday’s agreement may have come from discord, blockades, and a loss of investment but may result in a new relationship with Indigenous nations, the law being followed, and long-term savings due to the cancellation of an unsustainable project with much fewer benefits than advertised.

The journey may be worthwhile but the path was divisive — and it didn’t need to be.

niigaan.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

MMIW Healing Center: A Place for Remembrance

https://www.lakotalaw.org/resources/mmiw-healing-center

I recently wrote to you about my Tribe’s emergency declaration over Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children (MMIW/C) and its relation to the Keystone XL pipeline’s (KXL) incoming man camps. Today, I want to highlight another effort in my home state to bring about awareness and healing around these ongoing acts of genocide against the heart of our people.

Last month, my sister Mabel Ann and I attended an MMIW action in Rapid City. There, we met Lily Mendoza, co-founder of the Red Ribbon Skirt Society (RRSS), a grassroots collective dedicated to confronting the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, children, two-spirit, and transgender people. In 2019, they opened the MMIW Center for Healing, Prayer, and Remembrance — a small, permanent space to honor and grieve the people our community has lost. We invite you to watch and share our video, in which we interview Lily.

Lakota Law
Medicine Wheel riders and RRSS members honor their lost sisters.

The notion for the center came from an art installation curated just over a year ago. Around Valentine’s Day last year, RRSS hung 70 red dresses on cottonwood trees to symbolize our stolen sisters and relatives. What they discovered was the need for a space our community didn’t have, a space for people to go and reconnect.

Lily, who like me is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, told us: “People were going there, amongst the dresses, and they were going there to pray and to remember those that they lost or those that are still missing. We’ve felt we need to do this then, to have a space for community to come.”

As you may know, Indigenous women, children, two-spirit, and transgender folks are more likely to be targeted by human traffickers and/or be the victim of a violent crime. And, all too often, when our relatives go missing, they also go missing in the news. But centers like the one in Rapid City can help us keep their memories alive.

Members of the collective also participated in the MMIW Medicine Wheel Ride last year — a massive motorcycle journey bringing together people from the four corners to mourn our lost relatives.

As I work with my fellow grandmothers in the Was’agiya Najin and others to organize our anti-KXL ground strategy at Cheyenne River, I ask you to continue to stand in solidarity with all my sisters. Stay with us for more information about our crisis, and help spread the word about this incredible group of women and their transformative space by watching and sharing the video.

Wopila tanka — my deep gratitude for your care and attention,

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Tribal Liaison
The Lakota People’s Law Project

North Dakota Expansion Approved ~:(

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you with some unfortunate news: on Wednesday, the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) in a 3-0 vote. If the pipeline’s operators get the same approval in Iowa and Illinois, DAPL’s capacity will double to carry over a million barrels of oil per day.

Lakota Law
The North Dakota Public Service Commission has allowed an expansion doubling the oil flow through the Dakota Access pipeline. In our video from the original hearing, you can watch oil industry engineers dissembling about the impacts.

Once again, my people and homelands are intentionally ignored in the interest of increasing profits for the fossil fuel industry. As Standing Rock citizens, my relatives and I will be forced to bear the threat DAPL poses to our water and land. And every human being will now face the danger of increased oil production as our climate warms.

We were at the hearing on DAPL expansion in Linton, North Dakota last November. We helped the tribe muster opposition. And we watched as gas and oil employees and their attorneys lied about the risks. You can watch our video showing those lies here. We know the truth: more oil = more risk.

North Dakota’s PSC claimed in its announcement yesterday that expansion was in the best interest of the state’s citizens, but this of course ignores the valid concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe about the increased threat of surging. And when the Tribe requested more information from Dakota Access about the risks that doubling oil flow could hold for tribal water supplies, the PSC denied the request, citing bureaucratic procedure.

All pipelines leak. In the 15 years before DAPL began operations, 60 leaks spilled more than 42,000 barrels of toxic crude oil in North Dakota alone. This was the reason we stood in prayerful resistance to stop DAPL. It is why we faced rubber bullets, attack dogs, and water cannons. We are facing down a threat to our water, and now that threat is heightened.

We will, however, press on. With Keystone XL on the horizon, we’re readying for another battle for our water, and this time we intend to win. We’re also planning major initiatives on voting in Indian Country during this critical election cycle, and we’re breaking ground on a major festival and teach-in later this year at Standing Rock that will bring musicians, activists, and scientists together to confront the climate crisis.

We hope you stay with us in the fight against the madness of continued dependence on fossil fuels. Time is short. To protect all life on earth we need to act immediately.

Sincerely,

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

Thank the Women of Cheyenne River

Thank the Women of Cheyenne River for resisting KXL
Mon, Feb 17, 2020 11:30 am
Madonna Thunder Hawk, Lakota Law (info@lakotalaw.org)

As the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) invades our homelands at the Cheyenne River Reservation, we women are preparing for the struggle.

In December, my daughter, Marcy, helped to organize a talk about human trafficking and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children (MMIWC) happening on our reservation. At this important Women Gathering, community members and representatives of many concerned organizations initiated the Nazo Campaign — providing whistles to alert relatives to unfolding crime and violence on Cheyenne River — and a resolution asking our Tribal Council to declare a state of emergency. They then presented to the council, where our tribal nation made that declaration.

Lakota Law

Today I ask that you watch our video and send a note of thanks and solidarity to the women of Cheyenne River for standing up to protect the safety and security of our people.

Our matriarchy must and will lead this fight. We even have two generations of grandmothers working together here! The Was’agiya Najin — “Grandmothers Standing Strong” — includes both older grandmothers (OGs) like me and younger grandmothers (YGs) like Marcy.

In addition to Was’agiya Najin, our Women Gatherings also include representation from Warrior Women Project, Women of All Red Nations, Simply Smiles, Indigenous Environmental Network, the Lakota People’s Law Project, veterans, water protectors, and more. These are powerful, alliance-building meetups, and now the tribe has heeded our warning.

That’s critical, because Big Oil is building two KXL man camps — temporary housing for pipeline workers — on either side of Cheyenne River. These dens of machismo inevitably bring with them increases in sex and drug trafficking, worsening our MMIWC epidemic locally.

Here’s how bad it is: by 2014, our state’s federal courts had handed out more life sentences for commercial sex trafficking than all other states’ combined. Because 40 percent of South Dakota’s victims are Native women, we pay the highest price.

As a girl, I was shipped off to boarding school. I experienced what it is like to have my culture stripped from me, so as a young woman I became a leader in the American Indian Movement and created the “We Will Remember” Survival School. There, I taught Marcy and other children about treaty rights, to prioritize Native sovereignty, and to preserve our traditions.

Now, together, we are helping to pass on lessons of leadership and direct action to the next generations. That starts with making sure they don’t fall prey to man camps, and it means demanding action from our tribe. As Indigenous women, we have always been on the front lines, and we know how to stay ready. Will you stand with us?

Wopila tanka — my deepest gratitude for your solidarity,

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Tribal Liaison
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.

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Vote 2020

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/12-native-candidates-for-congress-if-elected-it-will-be-a-great-day-GovPIjk3rkmqOvGFI0s1tA?utm_source=maven-coalition&utm_medium=salish&utm_campaign=email&utm_term=notification&utm_content=featured

 

Vote 2020

Elisa Martinez, Navajo Nation, is a candidate for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. She is one of 12 Native candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate in 2020. She faces Gavin Clarkson, Choctaw, in the GOP primary. (Candidate photo via Twitter)

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There are 12 Native candidates running for United States Congress in the 2020 election cycle #NativeVote20 * This story has been updated

“If I get the opportunity to serve in Congress, it will be a great day,” Kaialiʻi “Kai” Kahele told Indian Country Today. “It won’t just be me standing up there. Behind me will be all of the people, ancestors and Native Hawaiians who came before me.”

Kahele is running to be the first. Since Hawaii became a state more than 60 years ago, there has never been a representative from the Big Island. Every national elected politician has come from Oahu.

That’s 15 in a row, if you are counting.

He also would be only the second Native Hawaiian to serve in office. Across the country a dozen Native candidates are running for the U.S. House and Senate. It’s already shaping up to be another record year, 2018 broke all sorts of barriers including the election of the first two Native women to ever serve in Congress. (With a possible third, Tricia Zunker, running in Wisconsin this week.)

(Previous story: History again? Voters could send another Native woman to Congress)

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History unfolds

A few tidbits: New Mexico is breaking all the rules. There is a Native candidate in every single district in the state. Both parties are represented. There’s even a primary where one Native candidate is running against another.

A comprehensive look at all of the #NativeVote20 candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

There are at least nine of the candidates running for House seats and three are in Senate campaigns. Eight of the candidates are women and five are men. Seven are democrats and six are republicans.

The list of Native candidates and their platforms are below:

Karen Bedonie-crop
Karen Bedonie(Photo by Karen Bedonie, campaign website)

Karen Bedonie
Navajo
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 3
Republican

Karen Bedonie, Navajo, is running for an open congressional seat in New Mexico’s 3rd district. Bedonie owns four small businesses. She is also a certified welder, framer, construction coordinator, construction manager, kitchen interior designer and a sous chef.

Bedonie, a republican candidate, cites her policy positions clearly on her campaign website. Bedonie is anti-abortion, supports the second amendment, aims to support small businesses and believes immigration should be conducted in a “legal organized manner.”

“I am a Conservative and those same values miraculously align with Navajo culture,” Bedonie’s campaign website states. “Therefore I stand as a Republican.”

Bedonie’s campaign has generated more than $15,000, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. Bedonie is currently running against five other candidates for the Republican party’s nomination. The primary election for this seat will happen on June 2, 2020.

(Related story: ‘It’s time to put a Navajo in Congress’)

Dineh Benally_Navajo
Dineh Benally(Photo courtesy Dineh Benally, via Facebook)

Dineh Benally
Navajo
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 3
Democrat

Dineh Benally, Navajo, is running as a Democrat for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district (note: this is the same seat Bedonie is running for). Benally has previous campaign experience running for Navajo Nation president, vice president, and New Mexico state senate. He did not win any of these previous elections.

Benally is the current president of the Navajo Nation San Juan River Farm Board, an organization that focuses on water rights and bettering local economies.

The list of issues on Benally’s agenda are improving healthcare, increased access to medical and industrial agriculture, boosting home ownership and increased funding for education.

Benally told Indian Country Today that his end goal is to collaborate with various policymakers to improve the “livelihood of Navajo people, Native Americans, and the general public at large.”

“I will also continue to work towards becoming the next President of the Navajo Nation in 2022,” says Benally’s website.

There is no current data on Benally’s campaign earnings listed on the Federal Election Commission’s website. The primary election for this congressional seat will happen on June 2, 2020.

Pictured: Former Trump administration Indian Affairs official Dr. Gavin Clarkson.
(Photo courtesy Gavin Clarkson, Campaign website)(Photo: gavinclarkson.com)

Gavin Clarkson
Choctaw Nation
U.S. Senate, New Mexico
Republican

Gavin Clarkson, Choctaw, is running for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. Clarkson recently served in the Department of the Interior under the Trump Administration where he managed the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and the Office of Self-Governance.

“My story is quite different from most people who spend their lives climbing the political stepladder aspiring to be another career politician,” Clarkson said in a press release announcing his campaign in August.

“I’m a tribal member whose orphaned father went from living out of trash cans to being the first Native American to fly a jet. I have a law degree, an MBA, and a Doctorate in Business Administration,” he said. “I’ve taught for two decades as a conservative in higher education and been illegally fired for it, and I’ve served as an economic development official in the Trump administration in the heart of the swamp.”

Clarkson has been named an expert in tribal finance by The Financial Times and has taught federal Indian law since 2003 at a variety of law schools across the country. In his free time, Clarkson says he enjoys country western dancing. He won a national championship hosted by the American Country Dance Association in 2012.

Clarkson has raised more than $583,000 so far in his Senate campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee. The primary election for his party’s nomination will happen on June 2, 2020. To win the Republican nomination, Clarkson will need to receive more votes than the five other Republican candidates running for the open seat.

(Related: North Carolina’s ninth congressional district tribal vote could be blueprint)

Congressman Tom Cole
Rep. Tom Cole (Photo by U.S. House Office of Photography)

Tom Cole
Chickasaw Nation
U.S. House of Representatives, Oklahoma, District 4
Republican

Tom Cole, Chickasaw, will run for reelection to continue representing Oklahoma’s fourth district. His office told Indian Country Today that every indication is that Rep. Cole will seek  reelection and an official announcement will be made before the filing deadline in April.

Cole has served in the U.S. House for the last 17 years and has held numerous leadership positions with the Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee.

Cole co-chairs the Congressional Native American Caucus with Rep. Deb Haaland. Together they called for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to include provisions for Native people that were altered in the Senate version. He and 77 lawmakers upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District is reconsidering. Additionally, he helped introduce a bill to improve housing conditions in Indian Country and co-sponsored a bill to revitalize Native American languages.

Oklahoma’s primary election takes place on June 30.

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Rep. Sharice Davids(Photo by U.S. House Office of Photography)

Sharice Davids Ho-Chunk Nation
U.S. House of Representatives, Kansas, District 3
Democrat

Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, is running for reelection as the congressional member for Kansas’s 3rd district. When she was first elected in 2018, she joined Rep. Haaland as the first two Native women to serve in U.S. Congress. She also became the first LGBTQ Native person to be elected into the U.S. Congress.

In her first term, Davids’ introduced the Women’s Business Center Improvement Act to increase access and resources to women entrepreneurs in Kansas. She urged the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to include tribal communities when it develops its legislative plan. And she advocated for tribal sovereignty, in support of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act and co-sponsored Savanna’s Act, which aims to help law enforcement address missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Kansas’ primary election will take place on August 4.

Deb Haaland
Laguna Pueblo
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 1
Democrat

Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, is running for reelection as the representative for New Mexico’s 1st district. Haaland was first elected to this position in 2018 when she and Rep. Davids became the first two Native women to serve in Congress.

Haaland told Indian Country Today that despite being an incumbent in this election cycle, her “enthusiasm and focus will be the same.”

In her first term Haaland introduced legislation to restore buffalo populations on tribal lands and she made history by inviting Isleta Pueblo Chief Judge Verna Teller to deliver the first opening prayer on the House floor by a Native person. Other highlights of her term include collaborating with other New Mexico congress members to introduce legislation on Native voting rights. She has also been vocal about missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Haaland has also used her time to travel to Indigenous communities outside of her home district in New Mexico. Earlier this month, Haaland visited the Meskwaki Indian Settlement on the night of the Iowa caucus to campaign for Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“I may not be the congresswoman for Iowa but I am the congresswoman for Indian Country,” Haaland said at the event. “My door is open for all of you.”

Haaland has raised more than $830,000 so far in her reelection campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee. The primary election in New Mexico will happen on June 2, 2020. Haaland is currently facing one democrat opponent for the nomination.

Herrell-Mountain-Range-portrait (1) (1)_
Yvette Herrell (Campaign photo)

Yvette Herrell
Cherokee Nation
U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico, District 2
Republican

Yvette Herrell, Cherokee, is running to represent the second district of New Mexico in the U.S. Congress. Previously Herrell served four terms in the New Mexico House of Representatives. She is also a former small business owner and entrepreneur.

“Born and raised in New Mexico, I understand firsthand what our families are going through,” Herrell said on her campaign website. “I will fight for our hardworking middle class, job creators, and traditions that make New Mexico great.”

Herrell also states her views on various policies. She says she wants to complete construction of the border wall, protect the second amendment, support President Trump, defeat the Green New Deal and expand New Mexico’s role in national security projects.

Herrell has received a number of endorsements from policymakers including Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-AZ and Governor Mike Huckabee. She also received endorsements from Cowboys for Trump, Citizens United and Gun Owners of America.

In 2018, Herrell ran for this congressional seat and lost in a close race. She lost in the general election by just 3,700 votes. This time around, Herrell is running against two other republicans for her party’s nomination. The primary election is held in New Mexico on June 2, 2020.

Herrell has raised more than $650,000 for her campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee.

Paulette Jordan, Coeur d'Alene, announced her run for U.S. Senate in Idaho on February 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Palette for Senate)
Paulette JordanPaulette Jordan, Coeur d’Alene, announced her run for U.S. Senate in Idaho on February 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Palette for Senate)

Paulette Jordan
Coeur d’Alene
U.S. Senate, Idaho
Democrat

Paulette Jordan, Coeur d’Alene, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Idaho. She previously held office for two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives. In 2018, she unsuccessfully ran for governor of Idaho.

“I’m excited to announce my candidacy to represent Idaho in the U.S. Senate. Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to thousands of Idahoans throughout this great state,” Jordan said on her campaign website announcing her campaign in early February. “Above all, I’ve learned that our state needs new leadership. We need leaders who value people over politics.”

Her stance on issues range from improving healthcare and education for Idahoans, addressing cyber security, social security, LGBTQ rights and legalizing marijuana. Jordan founded two nonprofit organizations, Idaho Voice and Save the American Salmon.

Jordan was the youngest member on her tribal council and has worked in the energy sector as a business development strategist. She also served as the finance chair and secretary of the executive board for the National Indian Gaming Association.

There is currently no data on Jordan’s campaign donations, according to the Federal Election Committee. Currently Jordan faces three opponents for the democratic party’s nomination. The primary election will choose their party’s candidate on May 19, 2020.

(Related: Nap time? Paulette Jordan says ‘no’ and she’s running for US Senate)

Kai Kahele
Native Hawaiian
U.S. House of Representatives, Hawaii, District 2
Democrat

Kaialiʻi “Kai” Kahele is running for an open congressional seat in Hawaii’s second district. Kahele has been a Hawaii state senator for four years and is a trained pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He has flown in the Air Force for more than 18 years.

Kahele lists 18 different policy platforms on his campaign website. They include protecting the environment, creating opportunities for indigenous voices, and combating issues such as homelessness, substance abuse and food insecurity.

On the topic of Native Hawaiian and Indigenous rights, Kahele says he will “champion” the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and would support the Self Determination Act to fund the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. He also supports the U.S. ratification of the United Nations Declaration of Rights on Indigenous Peoples.

(Related: The First Native Hawaiian To Serve, Former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka dies)

Most recently Kahele has been endorsed by former Governors of Hawaii John David Waiheʻe, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie. He has also been endorsed by Rep. Seth Moulton, D-MA, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA, and former Hawaii state representative Kaniela Ing.

Kahele has raised more than $719,000 for his congressional campaign, according to the Federal Elections Committee. Currently, Kahele faces one opponent in the primary election. Voters will head to the polls for Hawaii’s primary election on August 8, 2020.

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Elisa Martinez(Photo from Elisa Martinez campaign via Twitter)

Elisa Martinez
Navajo
U.S. Senate, New Mexico
Republican

Elisa Martinez, Navajo, is running for U.S. Senate in New Mexico in the the same race as Gavin Clarkson.

She is the founder of the New Mexico Alliance for Life and worked with the Congressional Select Panel on Infant Lives.

“Let’s take back New Mexico’s future,” Martinez writes on her campaign website. “Together we’ll make history electing New Mexico’s first female Senator and the first Native American woman in the U.S. Senate.”

Martinez says she is concerned about border security, the second amendment, non-universal healthcare, veterans’ rights and reducing the federal government’s role in education.

She wrote an op-ed for Fox News, calling out Elizabeth Warren’s heritage as a Native woman contradictory to the Native American policies she advocates for, and Martinez’s personal experience with the government’s relationship with the reservation.

Martinez has raised more than $154,000 for her campaign, data from the Federal Elections Committee shows. She is running against five other candidates for the republican nomination. The primary election will be held on June 2, 2020 in New Mexico.

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Rep. Markwayne Mullin(Photo from U.S. House of Photography)

Markwayne Mullin
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
U.S. House of Representatives, Oklahoma, District, 2
Republican

Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, is running for reelection as the congressman for Oklahoma’s second district. He was first elected in 2012 and served for three years on the Energy and Commerce Committee since 2015. He also owns Mullin Plumbing, a business owned previously by his father.

Mullin’s time in Congress has included introducing landmark legislation. He helped introduce a bill for missing and murdered Indigenous women, and joined lawmakers to reauthorize and increase funding for special diabetes programs. And he advocated to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to consider the Pay for Our Doctor’s Act., a bill he introduced, to fund Indian Health Services until the end of the 2019 fiscal year before the federal government shutdown.

Mullin has raised more than $766,000 for his reelection campaign since January 2019, data from the Federal Elections Committee shows. Oklahoma’s primary election will happen on June 30, 2020.

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Rudy Soto (Photo courtesy of Rudy Soto)

Rudy Soto
Shoshone-Bannock
U.S. House of Representatives, Idaho, District 1
Democrat

Rudy Soto, Shoshone-Bannock, is running to represent Idaho’s first congressional district. Previously Soto was the legislative director of the National Indian Gaming Association. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard.

“I’m really passionate about growing Native American representation on all levels of government,” Soto told Indian Country Today. “If I’m elected, I will always strive to represent my family, community, tribe, state and Indian Country in a good way.”

Some of Soto’s priorities include creating affordable housing, providing universal health care, supporting Idaho’s Native communities, and reforming immigration and education.

Previously, Soto was also the legislative assistant for Congresswoman Norma Torres of California, and a legislative fellow for Congressman Kurt Schrader of Oregon.

Soto has raised more than $18,000 for his congressional campaign, data from the Federal Election Commissions show. Idaho will have its primary election on May 19, 2020.

Indian Country Today - small phone logo

Indian Country Today is maintaining databases of Native candidates for offices across the country. If you know of any Native candidates running for U.S. Congress that are not included here, please contact Aliyah Chavez.

Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today’s Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

Kalle Benallie contributed to this report

 

Canadian Pipline Protests

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-where-are-the-solidarity-protests-for-the-first-nations-that-support/

Where are the solidarity protests for the First Nations that support Coastal GasLink?

The demonstrations you’re thinking of – such as this one seen on Feb. 8, 2020 – were in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oppose the $6-billion, 670-kilometre pipeline across northern B.C. It’s

Dirk Meissner/The Canadian Press

There have been no major demonstrations this week in solidarity with the First Nations people along the Coastal GasLink route who are waiting for change to come to their communities.

There have been no blockades disrupting VIA Rail trains; nothing in midtown Toronto; no one outside the B.C. Legislature; no disruptions on the Reconciliation Bridge in Calgary; no stopping of traffic in downtown Ottawa; and no protests along busy Vancouver intersections.

The demonstrations you’re thinking of were in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oppose the $6-billion, 670-kilometre pipeline across northern B.C. It’s their slogans that have been broadly adopted, their opinions that are being mirrored in protest and their case that has been taken up so fervently by supporters all across Canada.

Wet’suwet’en chiefs vs. Coastal GasLink: A guide to the dispute over a B.C. pipeline

Opinion: What is happening on Wet’suwet’en territory shows us that reconciliation is dead

The voices of band members from 20 First Nations along the Coastal GasLink project route who want it to continue – those who have indicated, through elections or other means, that they want construction on the natural gas pipeline to move ahead – have been eclipsed by the views of a small group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who hold jurisdiction over just a portion of the land the pipeline will cover.

 

The inconvenient truth for pipeline supporters: root causes of this revolution will not be televised

https://www.straight.com/news/1360051/inconvenient-truth-pipeline-supporters

That’s to say nothing of the importance of the Unist’ot’en Healing Center in decolonizing Wet’suwet’en people by reconnecting them to the land.

Here’s another inconvenient truth: there’s probably never been a pipeline project in Canada that the vast majority of Postmedia columnists haven’t adored.

In 1970, musician Gil Scott-Heron recorded “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”—and the slogan’s origins date back to the Black Power movement of the 1960s.

In a similar manner, those rebelling against the fossil-fuel industry shouldn’t expect to see sympathetic treatment from media outlets in these rebellious times.

That’s because the root causes of this climate and Indigenous revolution will not be televised. To borrow a phrase from Scott-Heron, this revolution will be live

 

Action Needed in Canada!

 

All eyes on Wet’suwet’en
Mon, Feb 10, 2020 12:01 pm
Cherri Foytlin (leauestlaviecamp@gmail.com)To:you Details
Greetings Water Protector Family,

We are writing to pass along some urgent updates from our Wet’suwet’en relatives whose unceded territories are currently being invaded by Canada’s national police, known as the RCMP. Over the past four days the RCMP has been laying siege upon indigenous land defenders and acting as a military escort for TC Energy (which is TransCanada’s new name) as they attempt to build their Coastal Gas Link pipeline. The information below comes directly from the front lines and we strongly encourage everyone to take action and stand in solidarity with the land defenders of the Unist’ot’en camp. Please follow the links below.

EXCERPT FROM UNIST’OT’EN PRESS RELEASE
Unist’ot’en demands the RCMP will not evict the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre. The RCMP has no jurisdiction to enter the Healing Centre without our Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Even under colonial law, the RCMP cannot enter or search our Healing Centre without a warrant.

International public support is called for to ensure the safety of the Healing Centre. People living and receiving treatment there are not in violation of CGL’s injunction, nor is the Healing Centre itself in violation of the injunction. The Healing Centre exists to support the self-determination and healing of our people and is unrelated to CGL’s work and the injunction.

Unist’ot’en is outraged over the use of excessive force by the RCMP, including the unnecessary use of heavily armed tactical teams deployed by helicopters to surround Gidimt’en camp at 44 km, use of snipers, and deployment of K9 units. We know that in January 2019, RCMP were authorized to use genocidal lethal force, arrest children and grandparents, and apprehend Wet’suwet’en children in response to our peaceful presence on our lands.

Throughout the enforcement of CGL’s injunction, media and legal observers were illegally corralled and threatened with detention and arrest for doing their jobs. Freedom of the press is protected under Canadian law but journalists were prevented from documenting the RCMP militarized raids on Gidimt’en territories. The RCMP attempted to evict residents from Chief Woos’s cabin. The RCMP and Coastal GasLink also partially dismantled Gidimt’en camp infrastructure and property. This property belongs to the Gidimt’en Clan and the RCMP has no legal authority to destroy it.

On February 8, the exclusion zone was illegally expanded from the 27 KM to the 4 KM mark, and now encompasses the majority of Gidimt’en territory. As a result, eleven people including legal observers were illegally arrested from the 27 km cabin. The exclusion zone has been created by the RCMP to force Wet’suwet’en land defenders off ourland. It is a colonial and criminalizing tool to illegally and arbitrarily extend RCMP authority onto our lands. The massive exclusion zone, completely under RCMP authoritarian discretion, falls outside the injunction area. Chiefs and Wet’suwet’en people are illegally being denied access to their own territories.

We urge Canada to adhere to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) directives and to halt the Coastal Gaslink project, seek Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, withdraw RCMP from our territories and ensure that no lethal weapons or force be used to forcibly evict Wet’suwet’en people from our lands.

TODAYS UPDATES FROM THE FRONT LINES:8:40 am – RCMP on megaphone at #Unistoten bridge: “This is the RCMP. This airspace is now restricted. Do not operate any drone in this area. This restriction is approved by transport Canada.” Freda Huson: “This is not Canada! You are invaders! LEAVE!”

8:39 am – RCMP officers climbing snowbank

8:35 am – RCMP approaching bridge at 66km. 3 SUVs, one large van, line of trucks behind. Matriarchs are drumming and singing on the bridge, walking through the red dresses of their stolen sisters.

8:22 am – Unist’ot’en matriarchs drumming on bridge, as RCMP convoy advances.

8:16 am – RCMP and CGL convoy is now passing the 44 km mark on the way to Unist’ot’en (66km)

7:21 am – RCMP convoy is rolling up towards 66km now from 4km mark.

7:01 am – Convoy of 16 RCMP vehicles, mostly tactical stopped at 3km. 4 snowmobiles. Headed to Unist’ot’en.

6:50 am – Convoy of RCMP tactical vehicles just left the community hall in town and are headed down Hwy 16.

________________

Even if FB and Twitter feeds go down, this page on the website will still be updated: http://unistoten.camp/feb10

#WetsuwetenStrong #ReconciliationIsDead #alleyesonWetsuweten #waterislife #shutdowncanada #unistoten #gidimten #landback #thetimeisnow
Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit: http://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit2020

Unist’ot’en Legal Fund: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/unistoten2020legalfund

Call out for Solidarity Actions:
http://unistoten.camp/alleyesonwetsuweten/

Thank you for your support of indigenous resistance. Please continue to follow live updates as they come and please do what you can to organize an action in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en camp.

Hope to see you on the front lines,
Cherri Foytlin

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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.