August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

OTTAWA Judge throws out case against tar sands protesters

Judge throws out case against tar sands protesters

Photo Ben Powless, Mohawk
Media Releases | | October 02, 2012
(Ottawa) – A judge today dismissed all charges against thirteen Canadians on trial for protesting the reckless climate change and energy policies of the Harper Government. The judge threw out the case after the Crown presented insufficient evidence that the peaceful demonstration constituted a crime.

The 13 defendants were arrested on 26 September, 2011, during a demonstration on Parliament Hill in which roughly 200 people risked arrest to protest the climate change and energy policies of the Harper government. They were charged with engaging in a prohibited activity contrary to the Trespass to Property Act and also issued a trespass notice that banned them from attending Parliament Hill for a period of one year.

“Throwing this case out of court puts the spotlight back on the real climate criminal: the Harper Government,” said Graham Saul, one of the thirteen who was arrested. “The Harper government’s reckless climate change and energy policy is dividing Canadians. None of us want to be arrested, handcuffed or detained, but I felt compelled to stand up against policies that are fueling, instead of fighting, climate change.”
The trial ends three weeks before thousands of people are scheduled to gather in an act of peaceful civil disobedience in Victoria, B.C. (see

Below are some initial reactions from some of the defendants:

“It’s appropriate that this case was thrown out of court on Gandhi’s birthday. It is a vindication of our right and our responsibility to nonviolently challenge the Harper government’s reckless and unethical climate change policies.”
- Liz Bernstein

"I do not regret participating in the pipeline protest last fall. It is our duty as citizens to fight against unjust government policy and stand up for our right to free expression - especially on Parliament Hill."
- Dan Snyder, 23, McGill law student

“I am more committed than ever to taken a stand against the Canadian government’s destructive environmental and energy policies; it is an international disgrace that our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has gotten into bed with the Big Oil companies. The Conservative government is serving the business interests of the oil companies, but the public interest (the health of our children, future generations, and the planet’s life support systems) is being ignored and damaged.”
- Trevor Hache

“I feel vindicated that trespassing charges resulting from our principled peaceful action against the Harper government tar sands and pipeline support were dismissed by the court.”
- Jo Wood

For more information, contact:
Defendant Graham Saul: or 613-710-2819
Or Defence Attorney Mark Ertel of the firm Bayne, Sellar, Boxall: 613-236-0535

Native leaders challenge presidential candidates on Keystone XL, environment and treaties

Oglala Vice President Tom Poor Bear, Debra White Plume and
 Tantoo Cardinal speaking out against the tarsands and Keystone
XL pipeline at the White House in November 2011
Indigenous Leaders Challenge Presidential Candidates on Keystone XL, Environmental Justice and Treaty Rights
Contact: Jennifer Baker
918-720-2925 (mobile)
Native leaders urge US presidents to honor Indigenous rights

WHO: Oglala Sioux Tribe Vice President Tom Poor Bear and
Other Native Speakers
WHAT: Native Voices Press Conference
WHEN: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 11:00am
WHERE: West steps of Colorado State Capitol Building (200 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO)
Voices of indigenous leaders from across Indian country will be heard in Denver the day prior to the first presidential debate to educate the public and challenge the candidates on issues affecting Native voters, including the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Oglala Sioux Tribe Vice President Tom Poor Bear is widely known as the first person to prompt President Obama to speak publicly about Keystone XL at an event in Denver a year ago this month.
Immediately following, Native leaders will join Renewable Rider Tom Weis in delivering, via“rocket trike,” an Open Letter to Denver Obama and Romney campaign offices calling on both candidates to withdraw their support for Keystone XL.

“Red State” Landowners, Tribal Leaders & Allies Call on Obama & Romney to Defend America Against Keystone XL
Economic, Public Health and National Security Threat

“Defend America, Stop Keystone Tour” Being Launched in Presidential Battleground State of Colorado

September 27, 2012 (Boulder, CO) – Today, Tom Weis and allies released an “Open Letter” calling on President Obama and Governor Romney to withdraw their support for Keystone XL on economic, public health and national security grounds. Inaddition to affected ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders, signatories include Lester Brown, Daryl Hannah, James Hansen, Mariel Hemingway, Bill McKibben, Bonnie Raitt, Ed Begley, Jr. and race car driver Leilani Münter.
Tomorrow, Weis begins a 4-week “rocket trike” tour of the eastern plains and Front Range of Colorado, where he will hand-deliver copies of the letter to Romney and Obama campaign offices.
"The southern and northern webs of the Keystone XL pipeline represent the extraction and trafficking of dirty, toxic, carbon-intense synthetic crude oil that from cradle-to-grave is a weapon of mass destruction against Mother Earth,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. “President Obama and Governor Romney have an opportunity to show they are men of conscience by withdrawing their support for this project."
"Political leaders are pretending they do not understand the implication of science that has become crystal clear: burning unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands will hand a climate system to our children that is out of their control,” said Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s top climate scientists.
“Keystone XL is the exact wrong direction for our country,” said Lester Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute. “America’s economic path to prosperity lies in a wartime-like mobilization to ramp up our abundant domestic wind, solar and geothermal resources, not in facilitating dangerous tar sands exploitation.” He noted that Colorado is ranked 5th in the nation for solar resources and 12th for wind.
As a race car driver, my career is currently based around an internal combustion engine, and yet even I can see the importance of moving towards the use of clean, renewable energy from the sun, the wind, and the ocean,” said Leilani Münter. “Keystone XL is the wrong choice for America, instead let's be leaders and put our country to work building a new green energy economy.”
Citing public health threats posed by Keystone XL, lifelong conservationist Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of celebrated author Ernest Hemingway, called on both candidates to withdraw their support for the tar sands pipeline, saying, “Foreign corporate interests must not be permitted to violate our basic rights to clean air, food and water.”
Pointing out the threats to America’s heartland, where agriculture and tourism are major employers, actress/activist Daryl Hannah said, “It is time for all Americans to demand that our political leaders be brave, and be leaders, and do what is right for the people and the earth. Defending America against Keystone XL is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. It’s about doing what is right."
“Fairness is a bedrock American value,” said Tom Weis, President, Climate Crisis Solutions. “I believe when the American people hear how our fellow Americans are being abused in Texas, they will demand an end to this madness. We need Keystone stopped, not Keystone Cops.”
Last fall, Weis pedaled the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline route from Canada to Texas, meeting many of the landowners currently resisting TransCanada. The 2012 tour will begin at NCAR in Boulder and end at NREL in Golden. The “Open Letter”is available for anyone to sign.

- ### -

Dear President Obama and Governor Romney,
As candidates for president, you both support construction of the southern (OK-TX) leg of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would transport tar sands through the Great Plains from Montana to refineries in Texas.
We call on you to withdraw your support for this project in light of the overwhelming evidence, available to both of you, that Keystone XL threatens America’s economy, public health, and national security.
You both know about the poor safety record of Canadian pipeline companies and the economic danger Keystone XL poses to our nation’s food and water supplies. TransCanada’s Keystone I tar sands pipeline, built two years ago, leaked corrosive tar sands slurry 12 times in its first 12 months. In 2010, a similar pipeline run by another Canadian company spilled more than 1 million gallons of toxic tar sands into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, sickening hundreds of people, displacing homeowners, wrecking businesses, and destroying jobs. Keystone XL – which would pump tar sands at extreme pressure and temperature across nearly 2,000 U.S. waterways – promises more of the same by allowing for leaks of up to 1.7 million gallons daily without triggering a real-time leak detection system. It is not a matter of if, but when, TransCanada’s 1,700-mile tar sands pipeline will compromise America’s breadbasket by contaminating our Great Plains rivers and aquifers.
You have been informed by twenty prominent scientists – including one of the nation’s top climate experts, Dr. James Hansen – that Keystone XL “would practically guarantee extensive exploitation” of Canada’s tar sands, which “on top of conventional fossil fuels will leave our children and grandchildren a climate system with consequences that are out of their control.” You have also been warned by Dr. Hansen – who along with other scientists links deadly heat waves to climate change – that such exploitation would mean ”game over for the climate.” As far back as 2007, an elite Military Advisory Board of 11 retired three- and four-star generals and admirals from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps concluded that “climate change is and must be recognized as a threat to our national security.” Echoing this sentiment, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.), president of the bipartisan American Security Project, testified in 2009 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that taking this national security threat “head on is about preserving our way of life.
Rural families living in the path of the proposed pipeline are sounding the alarm of impending disaster. Please listen. You need to both stop hiding behind the few thousand temporary construction jobs this project would create and level with the American people. The facts show that Keystone XL:
Keystone XL violates so many core American values, it can only be described as un-American. It is time to stop playing politics with American lives and treasure and stand up to energy giant TransCanada. Failure to confront this foreign corporation seeking to enrich itself at our expense is a failure to defend America.
Believe in America! Forward! America’s path to prosperity lies in the rapid transition to abundant homegrown renewable energy and appropriate biofuel resources to power our homes, businesses, and vehicles – not in facilitating pipelines transporting the most destructive oil on earth. Keystone XL represents a retreat from the green economy, which already employs 2.7 million workers (more than the fossil fuel industry). Embrace instead a U.S.-led green industrial revolution that will move our economy forward, create millions of new jobs, and help ensure a livable planet for future generations.
In solidarity with families in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana dedicated to nonviolently resisting TransCanada’s toxic pipeline, we are urging everyone we know to challenge you on the campaign trail – between now and Election Day – until you commit to defending America against this imminent threat to our economy, public health, and national security. We expect you to protect our basic rights to clean air, food, and water, and to put the health, safety, and economic well-being of the American people before foreign corporate interests.
Show us, in the tradition of great Americans who came before you, that you are leaders worthy of the American presidency by courageously standing firm in defense of the land, and planet, we love. Inspire us by sharing a bold vision for the future that is befitting the American people – one marked by innovation, ingenuity, and hope. Seize this historic moment to leave a legacy that will be honored by our children and generations to come.
David E. Alessi (Longmont, CO)
Paul Alexander (Altamont, NY)
Harvard Ayers, Chairman, Arctic Voices (Boone, NC)
Vicki Baggett, Nacogdoches County S.T.O.P. (Nacogdoches, TX)
Lois Barber, Executive Director, EarthAction (Amherst, MA)
Paul Bassis, Strategist (Boulder, CO)
Jonny BearCub, Enrolled Member, Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Nation (Wolf Point, MT)
Ed Begley, Jr., Actor/Activist (Studio City, CA)
Robert & Kristine Bernt, Affected Landowners/Owners, Clear Creek Organic Farms (Spalding, NE)
Michael & Kathi Bishop, Affected Landowners (Douglass, TX)
Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus, Friends of the Earth* (Washington, DC)
David Blittersdorf, CEO, AllEarth Renewables, Inc. (Williston, VT)
Catherine Bock (Palo Alto, CA)
Rodney M. Bordeaux, President, Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Rosebud, SD)
Rene Braud (Houston, TX)
Lester Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute (Washington, DC)
Lynda Buoy, President, Sand Hills Region, Nebraska Farmers Union* (Bassett, NE)
Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network (Washington, DC)
Lt. Dan Choi, Iraq Combat Veteran (New York, NY)
Karl Connell, Affected Landowner/Rancher (Newport, NE)
Kevin Connell, Affected Landowner/Rancher (Newport, NE)
Gabriel Cordova, Affected Landowner (Winnsboro, TX)
Julia Trigg Crawford, Affected Landowner/Farmer (Direct, TX)
David Daniel, Affected Landowner/President, Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines (Winnsboro, TX)
Ari Daniels, CMT/Member, Tar Sands 1253 (Charlottesville, VA)
Steven & Kathy DaSilva, Nacogdoches County S.T.O.P. (Nacogdoches, TX)
Mary Decker, Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines (Jacksonville, TX)
Edgar DeMeo, President, Renewable Energy Consulting Services, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA)
Christin Engelhardt (Washington, DC)
Brock Evans, President, Endangered Species Coalition* (Washington, DC)
Eleanor Fairchild, Affected Landowner (Winnsboro, TX)
Ernie Fellows, Affected Landowner/Rancher (Mills, NE)
Paul Ferguson, Former Chairman, Arlington County Board* (Arlington, VA)
Terry Frisch, Affected Rancher (Atkinson, NE)
Bruce Gagnon (Bath, ME)
Robert Gern, DrPH (Alpharetta, GA)
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network (Bemidji, MN)
Benjamin Gotschall, Energy Director, BOLD Nebraska (Hastings, NE)
Tom Gray, Executive Director (81-89), American Wind Energy Association* (Norwich, VT)
Natalie & Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand (Pine Ridge, SD)
Daryl Hannah, Actress/Activist (USA)
James Hansen, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Earth Institute (New York, NY)
John Harter, Affected Landowner/Rancher (Winner, SD)
Ken Haukaas, Economic Development Advisor, Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Rosebud, SD)
Paul Hawken, Author (Sausalito, CA)
Randy Hayes, Executive Director, Foundation Earth (Washington, DC)
Mariel Hemingway, Oscar Nominated Actress/Author/Conservationist/Mother (Malibu, CA)
Harlan Hentges, Executive Director, Center for Energy Matters (Edmond, OK)
Joe Hickey, Founding Board Member, Tierra Madre, LLC* (Lexington, KY)
Julia Butterfly Hill, Co-Founder, What’s Your Tree* (Albany, CA)
Reah Janise & Hadan Kauffman (Washington, DC)
Sheryl Kampf (Cincinnati, OH)
Jane Kleeb, Founder, BOLD Nebraska (Hastings, NE)
Jim Knopik, Organic Farmer/Nance County Supervisor* (Fullerton, NE)
Julie M. Kramer (Boulder, CO)
Sheryl Lee, Actress/Species Protection Activist (Los Angeles, CA)
Gussie Lehman (Hyattsville, MD)
Alec Loorz, Founder, Kids vs. Global Warming (Ventura, CA)
Victoria Loorz, Executive Director, Kids vs. Global Warming (Ventura, CA)
Susan Luebbe, Affected Landowner/Rancher (Stuart, NE)
Marti Matsch, Communications Director, Eco-Cycle* (Boulder, CO)
Becky Mayo, Nacogdoches County S.T.O.P. (Nacogdoches, TX)
John Mayo, Landowner Rights Alliance (Nacogdoches, TX)
Holly McClelland, Owner, Clementine Studios, Inc. (Boulder, CO)
Becky & Sam McCoy, Affected Landowners (Winnsboro, TX)
Bill McKibben, Founder, (Ripton, VT)
Peggy Miller, Owner, Highland Winds (Missoula, MT)
Kayla Mohnsen, President, Students for Environmental Action, KSU (Manhattan, KS)
Brenda Morgan, Nacogdoches County S.T.O.P. (Nacogdoches, TX)
Suzanne Morris, Nacogdoches County S.T.O.P. (Rusk, TX)
Leilani Münter, Carbon Free Girl, Race Car Driver/Environmental Activist (Charlotte, NC)
Cindy Myers, RN (Stuart, NE)
Daniel K. Peddie (Boulder, CO)
Lori Peddie (Holland, MI)
Mike Petersen, Executive Director, The Lands Council* (Spokane, WA)
Tom Poor Bear, Vice President, Oglala Lakota Nation (Wanblee, SD)
Caleb Post, Affected Landowner (Winnsboro, TX)
Edward C. Radillo, USAF (Ret), DOD (Ret), Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines (Yantis, TX)
Bonnie Raitt, Musician/Activist (Los Angeles, CA)
Mark Reynolds, Executive Director, Citizens Climate Lobby (Coronado, CA)
Eric W. Ringsby (Aspen, CO)
Betty & Joe Scott, Affected Landowners (Winnsboro, TX)
Paul Seamans, Affected Landowner/Rancher (Draper, SD)
Ron Seifert, Spokesperson, Tar Sands Blockade (Missoula, MT)
Casey Sheahan, CEO, Patagonia (Carbondale, CO)
Tara Sheahan, CEO, Conscious Global Leadership (Carbondale, CO)
Tom “Smitty” Smith, Texas Director, Public Citizen (Austin, TX)
Stefanie Penn Spear, Executive Director, EcoWatch/President, Expedite Renewable Energy (Cleveland, OH)
Byron Steskal, Affected Landowner/Farmer (Stuart, NE)
Kieran Suckling, Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity (Tuscon, AZ)
Andrea & Steve Taber (San Anselmo, CA)
Rebecca Tarbotton, Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network (San Francisco, CA)
Dennis & Teri Taylor, Affected Ranchers/Owners, D&T Cattle Company (Newport, NE)
Brad Thacker, Board Member, Be The Change U.S.A. (Lakewood, CO)
Cleve Trimble, MD (Valentine, NE)
Adrian F. Van Dellen, DVM & CEO, The Neches River Watershed Sentinels (Woodville, TX)
Rev. Roger W. Verley, H.R., National Capital Presbytery (Annandale, VA)
James A. Walker, Former President, American Wind Energy Association* (Henderson, NV)
Harvey Wasserman, Editor,, SOLARTOPIA! (Bexley, OH)
Dan Weis, Realtor (Mason, OH)
Gerald R. Weis, DC (Naples, FL)
Tom Weis, President, Climate Crisis Solutions (Boulder, CO)
Leslie Weise, Principal, Cleantech Business Solutions (Monument, CO)
Alex & Debra White Plume, Oglala Lakota (Pine Ridge, SD)
Robert Paul Williams, Hollywood Stuntman/Olympic Athlete/Extreme Outdoor Adventurist (Malibu, CA)
Chris Wynnyk Wilson, Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines (Austin, TX)
Diane Wilson, President, Calhoun County Resource Watch (Seadrift, TX)
Suzan Yoshida (Boulder, CO)
Daniel Ziskin, President, Jews of the Earth (Boulder, CO)
*affiliation listed for identification purposes only

Athabasca Chipewyan files court challenge to Shell's tarsands expansion

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation files constitutional challenge to Shell Oil Canada’s Tar Sands expansion application
By Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Censored News

Fort McMurray, AB October 1, 2012 – Today the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation filed a constitutional challenge in the Joint Review process against Shell Oil Canada’s application for the expansion of their Jackpine Mine tar sands project. ACFN’s challenge outlines the government’s failure to uphold Treaty 8, and to force better protection of the resources needed to sustain rights protected under Treaty 8. A constitutional challenge based on Treaty 8 rights has never been fully argued in front of an Alberta Joint Review panel and the first nation hopes to set new precedents that may mean changes to the regulatory process.
“We have repeatedly tried to engage with both the government and Shell to find better way to address our rights,” stated Chief Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “However, the government has not listened to us or made meaningful attempts to accommodate the ACFN in relation to the impacts of this and other tar sands projects. They have failed to accurately inform themselves of what our people truly require in order to protect our lands and rights.”
The Jackpine Mine expansion application is scheduled to appear before the Joint Review Panel starting Oct. 29 in Fort McMurray, Alberta. However, the Panel is required to hear constitutional challenges on October 23rd before the full public hearings. The proposed application would require the disturbance of 12,719 ha of land and destroy 21 kilometres of the Muskeg River, a culturally significant river. Greenhouse gas emissions from the Jackpine expansion will total 2.36 Mt CO2e/year, representing an increase of 5.2% in oil sands emissions (based on 2009) or approximately 281,000 cars on the road.
The ACFN is hoping this constitutional challenge will clearly demonstrate the severe adverse impacts on their Treaty 8 rights due to tar sands development in northern Alberta. The ACFN asserts that government action is leading to the removal of ACFN’s ability to meaningfully exercise their Treaty 8 rights within their traditional territory.
“Our community and our leadership at ACFN are taking the steps to slow down development in Northern Alberta in order to ensure our rights and lands are protected now and into the future,” stated Eriel Deranger communications coordinator for the ACFN. “As Denesuline people, it is our responsibility to protect our lands, our rights and all that mother earth provides for our people. We hope people will support us as we put forward ground breaking challenges in Alberta.”

For More Information:
Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 780-713-1220
Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator ACFN 780-903-6598

Bodaway Gap: Navajos protest Confluence Project Oct 3, 2012

URGENT PROTEST: Bodaway/Ga​p Special Meeting Oct. 3, 2012 12:00 Re: CONFLUENCE PROJECT
By Don Yellowman
Posted at Censored News
Yah ah teh Everyone,
I pray that all are doing well. Some of you may not know, but I am a voting member of the Bodaway Gap Chapter and former Grazing Officer and Farm Board member of the area. Therefore, my family and I are stakeholders and have an interest in the effort being pushed upon the people to buy-in to the Escalade Project.
As mentioned below, there are many unethical and illegal practices and processes being employed including making false statements (lies) to coerce and deceive the people in order to obtain their buy-in.
I attended the CLUP meeting on Sunday and observed the people asking critical questions about the Conflict of Interest issue regarding our elected and appointed officials who are advocating for the development. As a result, we motioned that all decisions and votes be tabled until a legal opinion could be rendered by an outside lawyer/law firm. It was voted and approved.
I also asked Billy Arizona about the process for setting up another Special Meeting and he did not mention that that was their intention.
So, please know that they have scheduled another Special meeting in the middle of the week tomorrow to again force their resolution to rescind the first resolution which opposed the Escalade project.
Now we're being told that their will be a police force from Window Rock there to enforce peace, or enforce their will on the people as I see it to intimidate the people like they tried to do for the Water Forums.
I am on my way to R & D Meeting to speak to these issues and concerns, and to seek their support to have a mediator facilitate the meeting between the people and the partners.
We are an impacted region from the Bennett Freeze, and now it makes sense as to why the Freeze was lifted. They want the land no matter what the cost!!!! AGAIN IT'S PROFIT OVER PEOPLE.
FYI...I will also be at the Water Task Force meeting supporting our grassroots brothers and sisters. The fight is not over...we need to protect our sovereignty from outside interests.
Please pass along this message to everyone you know. Please help us defeat tyranny.

Ake he,

Don Yellowman, President
Forgotten People Corporation
P O Box 3179
Tuba City, AZ 86045