August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Liquefied Natural Gas export terminal endangers Columbia River

Liquefied natural gas export terminal endangers Columbia River

Commentary by Karen Doris Wright
Censored News

Liquefied natural gas pipeline near Warrenton, Ore.
Who is Oregon LNG? Its backers are a New York-based investment group called Leucadia Corp, operating locally as Oregon LNG and planning to use the Skipanon Peninsula site as an export terminal, in the City of Skipanon, at the Youngs Bay River, essentially at or near the mouth of the Columbia River.

I think stopping Oregon LNG would be a goal of tribes in both Oregon and Washington both near and not so close to the Columbia: Chinook Indian Nation, Oregon Coastal: Clatsup and Nehalem Confederated Tribes, further inland Celilio-Wyam Indian Community, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation: Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Confederated tribes of Siletz Indians. This export LNG plant could negatively impact fishing. Due to security requirements, it could ban fishing and other boats on the Columbia for specified times and distances from the LNG tankers and more.

Also any such LNG export terminal, would be exporting 1/7th of the daily amount used across the US in each shipment from the US, with hundreds of shipments planned each year. Also the proposed LNG Terminal, I believe is being built on land that was, for the most part, filled in. I base this on looking at old maps which did not have a peninsula at the current location or a much much smaller one, so one wonders how stable it would be.

This terminal roughly a mile from the center of what is the City of Warrenton and the Skipanon runs through the Center of the City of Warrenton. Our home on the Skipanon River has otter, eagles, dear, heron, raccoons and many other animals and is only about one mile from the proposed LNG plant. Our home is at a bend in the river and we have had excellent views of hunting pairs of eagles on a regular basis along the river. Our home is also only about two blocks from the Warrenton City Hall and its one street downtown area. A number of years ago, I attended a Warrenton City Council meeting where the City Council accepted a statement from the initial LNG folks wanting to build an Inport LNG terminal that off loading LNG was no different than offloading boxes, ignorant to the dangers it presents to residents. I was shocked and dismayed then as I recall that at that time the Warrenton City Council voted to allow such a terminal and/or change the zoning to allow such a terminal on that flimsy basis, that the off loading of LNG was no different than off loading boxes.

It is my understanding that those large LNG tanker ships will also be off loading water ballast from their LNG ships into our water, at what point I do not know which seems dangerous for our aquatic life. Also the LNG Terminal at the mouth of the Skipanon River in Warrenton, Oregon plans to send hot water under the Skipanon Creek which I believe would heart up the waters of the Skipanon, a tidal river that rises and falls roughly 8 or more feet. That heated pipeline feeds to a City sewer plant that will process and send that water into the Youngs Bay at the mouth of our Skipanon River and at a point where the Youngs Bay waters feed into the Columbia near its mouth. Also since it would be sent through the City Sewer who knows what may be sent through those pipes into the waters, besides water itself as what they send off would be mixed with all Warrenton Sewer so may not be identifiable to that LNG Terminal.

Why is a U.S. company sending US and Canadian LNG overseas? Because overseas interests will pay way more than U.S citizens pay for LNG at this time and those companies want to profit with no concern for the destruction to our air, water, land, health, aquatic/fish, etc. If this export terminal is allowed to be built and export our natural resources, not only would there be risks to lives, aquatic, fish, spawning and limit on use of the Columbia, but there would be a new terrorist target. Also, it will raise costs of goods and services and cost of LNG to a nation already suffering from unemployment.

FERC’s deadline for public comments is extended to Dec. 24. Comments should be filed electronically through the website or mailed to FERC at 888 First St N.E., Room 1a, Washington, D.C., 20426.

Navajos still dying and fighting new uranium mining

By Don Yellowman, President of Forgotten People
Censored News
Forgotten People gather in a house at Black Falls, Ariz.,
near the uranium-contaminated Box Spring well.
Photo by Rachel Wise.
French translation
Thank you Christine Prat

Yah ah teh All:

My name is Don Yellowman, President of the Forgotten People, I am Dine, with Inalienable Rights to Clean Air, Clean Water and entitled to live and thrive on our Mother Lands.

I am here today before you to share the Forgotten People Resolution regarding the Dine Be Keh Yah Uranium Contamination Problem.

I stand before you under this Window Rock, which is a symbol of our unified strength as Dine. I believe that we are Holy People endowed by our Creator to be Stewards of our homelands and protectors of our traditional way of life.

We are facing many issues on the Navajo Nation, the people are fighting for their water rights, and against Non-Navajo interests to our natural resources and sacred sites.

Our Navajo Nation supports dirty energy production, which pollutes our air, water and homelands; and ironically we who live in Western Navajo, have been denied electricity and access to potable water because of those outside interests and policies that impede our right to prosper, like the Bennett Freeze (and the list goes on).

Today, many of our elected leaders are open and said to support Uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.

To our Leaders: Let us not put profit over people, or be blinded by ignorance or greed; let us not forget the largest Nuclear accident in the United States occurred on the Navajo Nation when a radioactive toxic waste dam broke and released its runoff into the Rio Puerco River.

History is doomed to repeat itself if ignored, on July 16, 1979, at 5 a.m. on the Navajo Nation, less than 12 hours after President Carter had proposed plans to use more nuclear power and fossil fuels. On that morning, more than 1,100 tons of uranium mining wastes -- tailings -- gushed through a packed-mud dam near Church Rock, N.M. With the tailings, 100 million gallons of radioactive water gushed through the dam before the crack was repaired.

Barely a word of this disaster ever found its way to the national media, even today if any, few Navajos and Americans even know about this unspeakable disaster.

It is my honor, as President of the Forgotten People to introduce the People’s Resolution calling for the Navajo Nation and United States Government to Fund the Remediation of Uranium Contamination; to honor the spirit of Uranium Mining Moratorium; and support the implementation of a Radiation Sensor Monitoring System across the Navajo Nation.

Forgotten People call upon Navajo Nation and United States Governments, and demand that it be resolved that our people, as all people, have the inalienable right to clean air, clean water, and the preservation of their sacred lands.

For the past seventy years, even before the nuclear disaster on our lands of 1979, in fact since the days our people first worked in the uranium mines of our nation to build the atomic weapons that were used to end the Second World War, the people of the Navajo Nation have been misled, deceived, and ignored by Government about the dangers they had been exposed to and the coming devastation that would be brought upon our children, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the lands we’ve labored and cherished over many generations.

Nearly 30,000 of our people have made claims to the US Government under the law, demanding compensation and care for their cancers and suffering and the suffering of our children, and our unborn from the poisoned wind, water and homelands.

Even though the mining has stopped, the toxic radioactive debris from the mines has been picked up by the winds to fall wherever the winds carry it. These places include our homes, our streams, our aquifers, our lungs, and the bodies of our children. The toxins will remain lethal for the next 4.5 billion years and the plague will not go away until we as people commit to ending it.

This nuclear plague upon our nation is America’s Chernobyl and we will not be ignored or marginalized. For the Navajo People, the fight against the scourge is not a matter of ideology it is a matter of life and death and it is a fight we will not lose.

Here again, our homelands are for sale for shale oil and shale gas. Enormous riches to non-natives, eager investors and corporations are poised to exploit. In this process, again, our Mother Lands that support Life are subjugated.

Radioactive, deadly Radon gas will be emitted as it was from the uranium mining from past decades. Our water will be threatened again, even as we have yet to clean up the last nuclear mining.

This time, the threat will come from the radioactive tracers that are used in hydraulic fracking, so that investors can forecast where the shale oil and shale gas will flow, as they inject high-pressure toxic fluids beneath our sacred lands.

If we do not act now, before the agreements are signed behind closed doors where the grassroots are excluded from discussion, a new plague of death and suffering will be inflicted upon us, just as it was 70 years ago, when government, didn’t think we had the right to know.

We the Forgotten People today and forever, demand an end to the needless suffering of our people. The deception of our governments can no longer be allowed. We suffer as a result of policies and business practices approved and enacted upon by Navajo Nation, State of Arizona and Federal Government elected officials.

We call upon Navajo Nation and United States Elected officials to halt any and all political and business practices that affect us, without first consulting with the people in an inclusive and transparent way.

Today, “Forgotten People” have put our governments on notice; that we the people know there is a better way and are determined as Dine to build a sustainable future that supports social, economic and environmental justice.

The Dine People have inalienable rights under our Treaties, Human Rights, Civil Rights and Rights as Indigenous People to not only exist, but to also thrive and prosper.

There can be Prosperity. There can be a better tomorrow for all. But that day will not come, if we repeat the mistakes of yesterday and if we allow the exploitation our homelands again without first cleaning-up our polluted air, water and Mother lands.

We as a nation and as a world know it is possible and necessary to protect ourselves from radioactive winds. We deserve to be informed and aware of the poison winds that may surround us.

The Navajo Nation and United States Governments can and must begin installing a People’s Radioactivity Detection network, much like the one that the people demanded in Japan just a year ago following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Thirty days later their pleads were answered. They did not have to wait seventy years to be empowered with the life-saving information.
We the Navajo people today and in the spirit of our elders and for future generations who depend on those of us living today, will not wait another moment.

The Navajo People are not strangers to battle. Our people have a long proud tradition of serving on the Front Line for the US armed forces and our Code Talkers are solely responsible for outcome of World War II. Also, let us not forget, our miners helped build the nuclear arsenal that protected America from attack during the Cold War.

We must mobilize to these challenges as warriors to battle. If need be, we will ride our horses on Washington DC. It is imperative to our survival that we the Dine people once again become the masters of our destiny and force our rights to decide the destiny of our children.

There must be a People’s Radioactivity Detection System on Navajo Nation and we will not wait for it to be installed. We have already begun raising the funds needed to start it ourselves.
ALL the downwind victims of the uranium contamination must be made eligible for compensation under the US Radiation Exposure and Compensation Act of 1990 and as amended.
The US EPA clean up program stared under the Bush administration must continue until the job is completed not when the appropriations expire.
The moratorium on new mining must be kept in place until the cleanup has been completed.
The People must be empowered to set the rules and standards for any new mining on our lands.
Let it be resolved that as Dine people, we have been endowed not by government but by our Creator to the inalienable right to clean air, clean water, and the preservation of Sacred Lands.

Let all who would seek our consent to gain access to these our precious resources and our Mother, come first to we the Dine People so that we may seek the People’s blessings.

In closing, I would like to dedicate this action to Florabell Paddock who recently passed away. In her lifetime, she suffered and died as direct result from radioactive contamination near her home in Black Falls.

Ake he,

Don Yellowman, President of Forgotten People

Video Billy Frank Jr. "The Inupiat, Hanging On at the Top of the World"

Published on Sep 26, 2012 by BabyWildFIlms

Renowned Indian activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Billy Frank Jr. travels to the Native Village of Barrow, Alaska, the "front line" of the climate crisis. This extraordinary special looks at the impacts of the crisis from the perspective of the Inupiat, and how these dramatic changes are threatening a whaling culture thousands of years old. Produced, written and edited by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Harris, with photography from veteran photojournalist Kevin Ely and original music from Tim Truman.

Ecotrust 2012 Indigenous Leadership Awards

Brian Cladoosby, Chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
Photo by Benjamin Drummond

Ecotrust announces winners of 2012 Indigenous Leadership Awards

Today Nov. 13, 2012, at the Portland Art Museum

Gwich'in Steering Committee said past winners Sarah James and Clarence Alexander will be in attendance
Censored News

PORTLAND, Oregon -- Ecotrust announced today the winners of the 11th annual Indigenous Leadership Award, an honor bestowed on exceptional Native leaders who are working throughout the region to improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions of their homelands and people.
Ecotrust will present four honorees with $5,000 and the 2012 Indigenous Leadership Awardee, Brian Cladoosby, with $25,000 to continue their work within their communities at a celebration and dinner on November 13th at the Portland Art Museum.

Ecotrust founder and president Spencer B. Beebe commented, “This year’s awardees demonstrate the broader impact of our region’s indigenous leaders — these are national and international leaders working to benefit people, economies and the environment far beyond the boundaries of their homelands.”
The 2012 Indigenous Leadership Award honorees are:

Brian Cladoosby. As chairman of the Swinomish Tribe in northwestern coastal Washington, Cladoosby has shown exceptional skill in strengthening economic and environmental conditions among Coast Salish tribal communities. He has cultured a unified voice for members of 66 Coast Salish Tribes and Nations, allowing them to protect indigenous human rights and to restore the region from ecological degradation. Through his expansion efforts, Swinomish Fish Company now sources salmon from 22 tribes at one of two remaining canneries in western Washington. And Cladoosby has led regional and national efforts to form new ties between Salish people, scientists and the Obama administration.

Gail Small. A lawyer and tribal leader with the Northern Cheyenne for nearly 30 years, Small’s work has changed the landscape of Indian law and environmental policy in the Northwest and nationwide. Her efforts have resulted in the establishment of the first bank, the first public high school and the first Chamber of Commerce on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. She has successfully drafted tribal laws for a number of Indian tribes, and contributed to the intertribal Traditional Tribal Burial Law, Tribal Environmental Policy Act, and the Tribal Administrative Policy Act. She also facilitated the assertion of tribal authority over air and water quality standards on her reservation. A winner of numerous honors and awards over the years, Small’s work on environmental justice was the subject of an award-winning 2005 documentary, “Homeland.”

Jonathan Andrew Waterhouse. Waterhouse has tirelessly worked to restore the Yukon River Watershed. Among his many roles, he serves as Executive Director for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC), a grassroots organization that brings together 70 sovereign indigenous governments with a simple goal — “to be able to drink directly from the Yukon River.” Waterhouse has been able to translate the group’s leadership vision into meaningful and significant implementation. And his work and that of the Watershed Council serve as a model for other indigenous peoples around the world, as they attempt to restore, protect and preserve their watersheds and to exercise their traditional knowledge as a foundation for achieving their goals.

Micah McCarty. As chairman of the Makah Tribal Council on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, McCarty has garnered important successes for the Makah Nation by serving as a liaison between indigenous communities and the broader state and federal political systems. His work in Neah Bay, Washington has led to significant headway in strengthening the response to oil spills in coastal waters, has helped protect tribal traditional whaling rights, and has fostered stronger connections between tribal nations and the U.S. government. And his leadership on the Puget Sound Partnership brings deep traditional knowledge to a 21st-century effort to clean up that waterway.

Patience Andersen Faulkner. Faulkner, a community organizer and traditional crafts teacher, is honored for her constant fostering of native culture and community health in her hometown of Cordova, Alaska. She’s also carried her experience and wisdom to native communities and local organizers across the country. Her work centers on the idea that strong, revitalized native communities steeped in indigenous culture are the cornerstones for resilience in an ever-changing world. When the inevitable forces of change do bear down on Cordova and other similar communities around the country — as they have in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the recent Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico — Faulkner has been able to demonstrate that strong local ties and knowledge form a crucial safety net.
Christine Gregoire, the Governor of Washington, said of 2012 awardee Brian Cladoosby, “After knowing Chairman Cladoosby for many years, it is an honor to call him a friend and true partner. I have had the pleasure to work alongside him to restore our oceans and rivers, and to honor native heritage. It’s not easy to work on issues of great controversy. Chairman Cladoosby takes these issues on one after another, and his perseverance has helped make Washington and our nation a better place for people and for salmon.”
U.S. Senator Patty Murray added, “Chairman Cladoosby is a great leader not only for the Swinomish Tribe and Indian Country, but for Washington state and the nation. I congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell said: “I congratulate Chairman Brian Cladoosby on this well-deserved honor. Chairman Cladoosby has dedicated the last quarter-century of his life to improving the economy and environment for tribal communities in Washington and the entire Northwest. I also congratulate all the finalists for their tireless efforts on behalf of Indian Country, including Chairman Micah McCarty of the Makah Tribal Council.”
The Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards, the 11th annual convening of this prestigious and inspirational cultural event, includes a traditional feast of wild and tribal caught local salmon, an award and honoring ceremony, and music in the company of honorees. For information about tickets and pricing, please visit All are welcome to attend. Seating is limited.

Carolyn Holland
Director of Communications, Ecotrust
503.467.0754 (desk)
503.313.0915 (mobile)
Rick George
Vice President of Indigineous Affairs, Ecotrust
503.467.0773 (desk)
503.969.9220 (mobile)
About Ecotrust
Ecotrust’s mission is to foster a natural model of development that creates more resilient communities, economies and ecosystems here and around the world. Over more than 20 years, Ecotrust has converted $80 million in grants into more than $500 million in capital for local people, businesses, and organizations from Alaska to California. Ecotrust’s many innovations include co-founding the world’s first environmental bank, starting the world’s first ecosystem investment fund, creating a range of programs in fisheries, forestry, food, farms and indigenous affairs, and developing new scientific and information tools to improve social, economic and environmental decision making. Ecotrust works locally in ways that promise hope abroad, and it takes inspiration from the wisdom of Native and First Nation leadership. Learn more at and join us on Twitter and Facebook.
About Ecotrust’s Indigenous Leadership Award
Since 2001, Ecotrust’s Indigenous Leadership Award has recognized over 50 of the world’s top Native leaders for their dedication to their culture and their work to improve the economic and environmental conditions of their homelands and people. At an annual ceremony celebrating these leaders, Ecotrust presents $25,000 to one awardee and $5,000 each to four other honorees, to further their mission in strengthening their communities. Ecotrust recognizes and supports tribal, First Nation and Alaska Native sovereignty and inherent rights and believes that Native leadership and the collective wisdom informed by traditional cultural knowledge is an important part of the development of more resilient communities. Learn more at