Tag Archives: indigenous rights

Native American children’s protection against adoption by non-Indian families is before the Supreme Court

Tehassi Hill, tribal chairman of the Oneida Nation, stands outside a U.S. appeals court in 2019 after arguments in case that has made its way to the Supreme Court.
AP Photo/Kevin McGill

 

Kirsten Matoy Carlson, Wayne State University

The Supreme Court is about to hear arguments about the constitutionality of a 1978 law enacted to protect Native American children in the U.S. and strengthen their families.

That law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, was originally passed by Congress in response to requests from tribal leaders and other advocates for Native Americans to stop states from removing Indian children from their families. Continue reading

Share Button

‘A Brazil of Hope’ as Leftist Lula Defeats Far-Right Bolsonaro in Presidential Runoff

The Workers’ Party candidate, who completed a remarkable political comeback less than three years removed from a prison cell, tweeted one word following his win: “Democracy.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photo: Daya Laxmi Shrestha/Twitter

“A huge blow against fascistic politics and a huge victory for decency and sanity.”

That’s how RootsAction director Norman Solomon described Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Sunday presidential runoff victory against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the culmination of a most remarkable political comeback for a man who was languishing behind bars just three years ago.

With 99% of votes counted via an electronic system that tallies final results in a matter of hours—and which was repeatedly aspersed by Bolsonaro in an effort to cast doubt on the election’s veracity—da Silva led the incumbent by more than two million ballots, or nearly two percentage points. Continue reading

Share Button

‘David Beat Goliath’ as Line 3 Water Defenders Win Protective Ruling

“Today’s ruling shows that Hubbard County cannot repress Native people for the benefit of Enbridge by circumventing the law,” said Indigenous water protector Winona LaDuke.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Police in Hubbard County, Minnesota blockade a driveway to an Indigenous camp of water protectors protesting the Line 3 pipeline. (Photo: Giniw Collective)

Indigenous water defenders and their allies on Tuesday celebrated a Minnesota court ruling protecting a Line 3 protest camp from illegal government repression.

Hubbard County District Judge Jana Austad issued a ruling shielding the Indigenous-led Giniw Collective’s Camp Namewag—where opponents organize resistance to Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline—from local law enforcement’s unlawful blockades and harassment. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Big Win’ for Public Lands and Climate as US Judge Reinstates Coal Lease Ban

“It’s past time that this misguided action by the Trump administration is overturned,” said one environmental campaigner.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Surface coal mine in Gillette, Wyoming. Photo: Greg Goebel/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Climate and Indigenous activists on Friday applauded the reinstatement of an Obama-era moratorium prohibiting new coal leases on all public lands until after the completion of a thorough environmental review.

Brian Morris, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Montana, issued an order reinstating the 2016 moratorium, which Ryan Zinke, former President Donald Trump’s disgraced interior secretary, reversed the following year. Continue reading

Share Button

Indigenous-Led Blockade Demands Biden Declare Climate Emergency, End Oil Leasing

“Native land back in native hands, we are not your sacrifice zones!”

By Jake Johnson   Published 8-1-2022 by Common Dreams

A demonstrator is suspended from a tripod structure in front of the Interior Department in Washington, D.C. on August 1, 2022. (Photo: About Face: Veterans Against the War/Twitter)

An Indigenous-led blockade outside the U.S. Department of Interior early Monday morning called on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and halt all new fossil fuel projects, a demand that came as the White House and Senate Democrats are pushing legislation that could unleash a flurry of drilling activity on public lands and waters.

“Native land back in native hands, we are not your sacrifice zones!” declared the Ikiya Collective, which helped organize the direct action. Continue reading

Share Button

‘An Act of Conquest’: Native Americans Condemn SCOTUS Tribal Sovereignty Ruling

“Every few paragraphs of the majority opinion has another line that dismissively and casually cuts apart tribal independence that Native ancestors gave their lives for,” observed one Indigenous law professor.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-29-2022 by Common Dreams

The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. ruled on June 29, 2022 that authorities in Oklahoma and other states can prosecute certain crimes on sovereign tribal land. Photo: Beatrice Murch/flickr/CC

Indigenous leaders on Wednesday condemned a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows authorities in Oklahoma and other states to prosecute certain crimes on sovereign tribal land, a narrowing of a landmark 2020 decision affirming Native treaty rights.

Writing for the majority in the 5-4 Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta decision—in which Neil Gorsuch joined the three liberal justices in dissent—Justice Brett Kavanaugh asserted that “the federal government and the state have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian Country.” Continue reading

Share Button

‘Poverty Is Violence!’ Thousands of Demonstrators in DC Demand Economic Justice

“We are the 140 million poor and low-wealth people, standing together to declare we won’t be silent anymore,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Demonstrators gathered in the U.S. capital for the Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 18, 2022. (Photo: Bishop William Barber/Twitter)

Led by the Poor People’s Campaign, advocacy groups and low-income individuals gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to demand that policymakers “fight poverty, not the poor.”

“We are the 140 million poor and low-wealth people, standing together to declare we won’t be silent anymore,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the campaign. “Poverty is a policy choice and we will hold our leaders accountable.” Continue reading

Share Button

Green Groups Blame Bolsonaro Policies as Amazon Deforestation Sets New Monthly Record

“The Bolsonaro administration is abetting deforestation and environmental crime,” said one campaigner, “and what we harvest are these terrible, scary, revolting numbers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Amazon Watch/Twitter

Brazil’s space research agency revealed Friday that deforestation in the country’s Amazon rainforest last month shattered the previous record for April, a development one conservation campaigner called “very scary” and an indication of the criminal level of environmental destruction occurring under the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

The National Institute for Space Research said nearly 400 square miles of the world’s largest rainforest was destroyed in Brazil last month, an area the size of 1,400 soccer fields and by far the biggest loss for April since record-keeping began in 2015, Agence France-Presse reports. Continue reading

Share Button

Arizona Slammed for Permitting Uranium Mine That Imperils Grand Canyon Tribe’s Water

“Uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Havasupai activists protest against uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. (Photo: Jake Hoyungawa/Grand Canyon Trust)

Indigenous and environmental activists on Friday condemned an Arizona agency’s approval of a key permit for a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon that opponents say threatens the land, water, wildlife—and Native Americans’ ancestral obligation to safeguard a place they’ve called home for centuries.

The Arizona Republic reports the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday issued an aquifer protection plan permit for Canada-based Energy Fuels Resources’ Pinyon Plain Mine, located about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Kaibab National Forest.

Conservationists and tribes have long opposed the mine, which has been in various stages of planning and preparation since 1984 but from which no uranium has yet been extracted. The Havasupai people, some of whom live in a nearby canyon, say the project imperils their sole source of drinking water.

“Mining uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed threatens the enduring legacy of this landscape and jeopardizes the entire water supply of the Havasupai people,” Michè Lozano, Arizona program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), said in a statement, warning of the “incredible threats that uranium mining poses to the limited underground sources that feed the canyon’s creeks and waterways.”

According to NPCA:

The mine… has a history of flooding as it depletes shallow groundwater aquifers that express at South Rim springs. It also threatens to permanently contaminate deep aquifers that feed Havasu Creek and other springs. The approval comes despite calls by the Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups to close the Pinyon Plain Mine given its risks to water and tribal cultural resources…

In late 2016 mineshaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the mine to spike from 151,000 gallons in 2015 to 1.4 million gallons in 2016. In the years since then, inflow has ranged from 8.8 million gallons in 2017 to 10.76 million gallons in 2019; most recently, the mine took on 8,261,406 gallons of groundwater in 2021.

Since 2016, dissolved uranium in that water has consistently exceeded federal toxicity limits by more than 300% and arsenic levels by more than 2,800%.

“Neither regulators nor the uranium industry can ensure that mining won’t permanently damage the Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This permit strenuously ignores science showing the potential for deep aquifer pollution, and in a region still plagued by seven decades of uranium industry pollution, risking more, as this permit does, is dangerous.”

Asserting that “uranium mines do not belong among the complex groundwater systems that surround the Grand Canyon,” Amber Reimondo, energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, said that “uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

Havasupai tribal leaders have long argued against uranium mining on lands from which their ancestors were ethnically cleansed to make way for white tourists before being pressed into dehumanizing railroad labor.

One of the staunchest Havasupai mining opponents, the late Tribal Chairman Rex Tilousi, believed that his people “were given a responsibility to protect and preserve this land and water for those yet to come.”

“The ancient rock writing in our canyon tells us to protect this place,” Tilousi said at a 2018 prayer gathering. “The canyon doesn’t belong to us. We belong to the canyon, to the Earth, to the water. It created us and gave us life. We are fighting for our lives and for those who are yet to come.”

Carletta Tilousi, Rex’s niece and a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spoke against uranium mining at an Earth Day rally in Phoenix last week.

“Native Americans, we have struggled so far and so long, and we don’t need it anymore,” she said. “We want to make sure our future generations have clean air, clean water, and a happy life. That’s all we ask for.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Share Button

‘Major Step Forward’: AIG to Stop Insuring Coal, Tar Sands, and Arctic Drilling

“Organizing works,” said one advocacy group. “Now, all insurers must stop supporting fossil fuel expansion.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 3-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Insure Our Future Coalition at AIG’s NYC Headquarters on 12/7/2021. Photo: Insure Our Future, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons

Climate justice advocates celebrated Tuesday in response to insurance giant AIG’s announcement that it will no longer invest in or provide insurance coverage for any new Arctic drilling activities nor will it finance or underwrite the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, or tar sands projects, effective immediately.

AIG also said that it will immediately stop investing in or underwriting “new operation insurance risks” of coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, or tar sands projects owned by corporations that derive 30% or more of their revenue from those industries or generate over 30% of their energy production from coal. Continue reading

Share Button