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.

 

 

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 Pipeline Leaks

My home, the Ft. Berthold Reservation, is a web of oil and gas pipelines. Here’s why I oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline.

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/opinion/my-home-the-ft-berthold-reservation-is-a-web-of-oil-and-gas-pipelines-here-s-why-i-oppose-the-keystone-xl-pipeline-UpMu1yg8WEy7b1mJpOWv-g/

 

lisa-deville-headshot

 

“At least 18 pipelines cross under Lake Sakakawea. I strongly oppose Keystone XL pipeline because I have seen up close and personal what pipelines can do when they malfunction.”

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

Autumn Peltier

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-indigenous-teen-autumn-peltier-urges-un-to-respect-clean-water/Indigenous Voices

Indigenous water activist Autumn Peltier addressed hundreds of international guests at UN headquarters in Manhattan Saturday.

The 15-year-old activist from Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario urged the global community to respect the sacredness and importance of clean water.

“I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, we can’t eat money, or drink oil.”

‘This is our future’: Coast to coast portraits of students at the climate strike

Peltier spoke at the Global Landscapes Forum, a platform on sustainable land use founded by UN Environment and the World Bank that’s dedicated to achieving development and climate goals.

She used the speech to draw attention to the lack of clean water in numerous Indigenous communities, which she says sparked her activism.

“All across these lands, we know somewhere were someone can’t drink the water. Why so many, and why have they gone without for so long?”

She said she’s been taught traditional knowledge from an early age about the sacredness of water, and that more should learn these lessons.

“Maybe we need to have more elders and youth together sitting at the decision table when people make decisions about our lands and waters.”

Peltier called for an end to plastic use as one step in restoring a more sustainable world.

Her speech comes a day after huge crowds took to the streets in Canada as part of a global climate strike.

The speech was her second at the UN headquarters, having urged the General Assembly to “warrior up” and take a stand for our planet last year.

Peltier, who is nominated for the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize by the David Suzuki Foundation, has spread her message at hundreds of events around the world.

In 2015, Peltier attended the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden, and a year later, confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his “broken promises” at a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

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.

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion faces new setback as Indigenous opponents score ‘huge win’ in court

“VANCOUVER—In the latest setback for the Trans Mountain expansion, the Federal Court of Appeal has approved six new Indigenous legal challenges to the project, once again raising questions about the fate of the pipeline.

The Crown corporation that now owns Trans Mountain said planning and construction will move forward in the meantime, but lawyer and resource development strategist Bill Gallagher said he wouldn’t expect to see “any shovels in the ground any time soon.”

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/09/04/federal-court-to-rule-on-letting-trans-mountain-pipeline-challenges-proceed.html

 

 

AFN National Chief urges Canada to press Brazil over violence against Indigenous people

Former justice minister Jody Wilson Raybould says it’s important for countries and leaders to speak out

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde is calling on Canada to press Brazil over its treatment of Indigenous Peoples. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Canada needs to pressure Brazil to end violations of Indigenous rights, says the head of Canada’s largest Indigenous organization in a letter sent to Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and obtained by CBC News.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde sent the letter dated Aug. 24 to Freeland urging Canada pressure Brazil to “end its violence” against Indigenous Peoples.

Bellegarde said he was writing the letter to voice his “sadness and grave concerns” over land invasions and attacks by gold miners, ranchers and loggers on Indigenous territories in the northern Amazon region of Brazil that resulted in assaults on Waiapi women and the killing of Waiapi Chief Emyra Waiapi.

“Canada must act now to express its commitment to the enjoyment of human rights by Indigenous Peoples everywhere by urging the government of Brazil to protect Indigenous Peoples,” said Bellegarde in the letter.

“I urge you to do what you can to communicate the need for the government of Brazil to end this violence and to stand up for the human rights of Indigenous people of the Amazonia.”

Bellegarde said in the letter that the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon were in need of international support and he would be willing to “assist in communicating the joint concern of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations about this grave human rights situation.”

The AFN represents 634 First Nations across the country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke with AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde over the contents of his letter this week. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Freeland’s office said in a statement that the minister spoke with Bellegarde earlier this week and discussed the contents of the letter.

“Canada is extremely concerned by the fires in the Amazon rainforest and their impact on Indigenous people who have lived there for generations,” said the statement.

The statement said Freeland had also recently spoken with the foreign ministers in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru on the wildfire situation in the Amazon.

Brazilian president openly critical of Indigenous territories

The Brazilian government of Jair Bolsonaro’s aggressive posture toward the country’s Indigenous territories was put under the international spotlight again as wildfires raged in the Amazon at an unprecedented rate.

Bolsonaro has been openly critical of territories set aside for Indigenous Peoples that were enshrined in that country’s 1988 Constitution.

In an Associated Press report Friday, Bolsonaro told reporters that past allocations of land to Indigenous people, many of whom live in the Amazon rainforest, had been excessive. About 14 per cent of Brazil is Indigenous territory, a huge area for a relatively small population, Bolsonaro said.

A fire burns a tract of Amazon jungle as it is cleared by loggers and farmers near Porto Velho, Brazil. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Without offering evidence, Bolsonaro initially suggested that non-governmental organizations started the fires to try to damage the credibility of his government, which has called for looser environmental regulations in the world’s largest rainforest to spur development.

On Thursday, Brazil banned most legal fires for land-clearing for 60 days in an attempt to stop the burning. Many fires were set in already deforested areas to open land for farming and pasture.

‘We need to support Indigenous people throughout the world’

Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister who will run as an Independent candidate in Vancouver in the coming federal election, said the survival of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil’s Amazon is at risk.

“They are a vanguard, they are on the bleeding edge of the reality of development, of recognizing Indigenous rights, recognizing the importance of the survival of communities and what Indigenous communities have to offer in terms of stewardship and Indigenous knowledge,” Wilson-Raybould told CBC News.

Wilison-Raybould, who is a former AFN regional chief, said countries such as Canada need to speak out when Indigenous rights are threatened elsewhere.

Jody Wilson-Raybould says Indigenous Peoples in Brazil’s Amazon are at risk. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“As an Indigenous person in this country whose rights have been denied for so long, and the reality of the colonial legacy that exists in this country, it’s debilitating, and we need to support Indigenous people throughout the world that are facing similar, awful situations,” said Wilson-Raybould.

“We can’t continue to stand by and this is where it’s incredibly important for leaders, countries and Indigenous Peoples to speak out when they see this happening.”

About the Author

Jorge Barrera

Reporter

Jorge Barrera is a Caracas-born, award-winning journalist who has worked across the country and internationally. He works for CBC’s Indigenous unit based out of Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter @JorgeBarrera or email him jorge.barrera@cbc.ca.

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.