August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Lock Down Wisconsin

Photo by Rob Wilson

Photo by Rob Wilson

Photo by Rob Wilson
Makwa Initiative - Line 3 Frontline Resistance
Today, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017

Water Protectors Lock Together Inside Pipeline, Shut Down Last Stretch of Wisconsin Line 3 Construction

Early this morning, a group of water protectors from the Makwa Initiative halted the last piece of construction for the Wisconsin section of Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 replacement project.
Two water protectors locked together inside a segment of steel pipe in defense of Mother Earth. Sleeping pads and blankets protected their skin from exposure in the below freezing temperatures.
Upon arrival, police officers tackled a young female water protector without providing notice or reason for arrest. A male police officer physically searched the woman while a female police officer looked on, ignoring her cries for a female patdown.
The water protector was later released when police dropped all charges. After several hours, the two locked water protectors left the pipe and also stopped active construction further into the worksite and are still being detained.
The project is estimated to carry almost one million barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin; Enbridge has received approval in Wisconsin, but has not received approval in Minnesota, which would be the largest segment of the proposed project.
The non-violent direct action came after a week of evidentiary hearings in Minnesota, where Enbridge revealed that it had already paid for 100% of the pipe for the project, and has built several pipe storage yards across the state.
A water protector stated, “We have attended public hearings, marches, and rallies. At this point we feel like the only way we can make are voices heard is by locking our bodies to the equipment.
The state has recorded our comments, catalogued them, and say they factor them into their decision on whether or not to permit the project. We want them to stop expanding tar sands infrastructure. We need to be thinking about our children’s futures.”
Photos by Rob Wilson Photography

'Join O'odham, Oppose Spy Towers on O'odham Land' by Ophelia Rivas

Israel's Elbit Systems Integrated Fixed Towers was granted the U.S. border contract

Contact Ophelia Rivas

Flagstaff City Council Passes Resolution Opposing Uranium Mining and Transport

Photo by Rick Johnson, Haul No!

City of Flagstaff Passes Resolution Opposing Uranium Mining and Transport Commits to State, Federal, and Municipal Legislative Action

Article by Klee Benally
Photos by Caleb Eckert
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
FLAGSTAFF, Arizona — The Flagstaff City Council has passed a resolution opposing uranium mining and transport from the Canyon Mine, located just six miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
The vote was 6 in favor and one, councilmember Scott Overton, opposed.

Leilani Clark, a volunteer with Haul No! stated to the council, “Pass the resolution, pass an ordinance, do everything you can, because we the people, by any means necessary, will do whatever it takes to prevent trucks carrying poison to pass through our communities.”
After the vote, Clark stated, “Tonight’s action by Flagstaff City Council is one of many steps to address the historical trauma and suffering Indigenous Peoples have faced at the hands of the nuclear industry. We will do everything we can to ensure that our communities, sacred places, precious water, and the Grand Canyon are safe from toxic uranium mining.”

More than 100 people packed the council chambers with overwhelming support for action to go beyond a symbolic resolution. Those in attendance expressed concerns with the possibility of up to 12 trucks a day carrying 30 tons each of high grade radioactive uranium ore from the Canyon Mine. The uranium ore would be hauled a total of 300 miles, through Flagstaff and reservation communities, to EFI’s controversial “White Mesa Mill” near Blanding, Utah, which is located on ancestral Ute Mountain Ute lands.

Regional Indigenous community members, including six representatives of the Havasupai Tribal Council along with representation from the Diné (Navajo), Hopi, Apache and Pueblo nations, were present to witness the passing of this historic resolution. State-wide solidarity was felt throughout the evening as Arizona residents from as far away as Phoenix and Tucson came to show their support for the Council to pass the resolution, and to push for a future ordinance.      

Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, Havasupai Tribal council member spoke on behalf of the entire Tribal council in support of the resolution and an ordinance, “For longer than 40 years the Havasupai Tribe has consistently used whatever means we have to oppose uranium mining on the Colorado Plateau. We see the mining of uranium and heavy metal in our areas as a threat to our water, our land, our sacred sites, and our very survival as a people.”
Watahomigie-Corliss stated that she was aware of concerns from the Flagstaff council regarding possible conflicts with Federal jurisdiction if an ordinance was passed, “there is also power in trying to create precedence for the people for positive movement that will last lifetimes after your term.” Watahomigie-Corliss also address concerns with the Trump administration's recent announcement that they are considering lifting a 2012 moratorium on new uranium mines around the Grand Canyon. “This makes our cooperation all the more urgent. We all call this land home and need to join together in the effort to protect our citizens and environment from the adverse affects of mining uranium.”

Canyon Mine is located near Red Butte, a sacred mountain and Traditional Cultural Property for the Havasupai Nation. The Havasupai Nation has legally challenged the US Forest Service due to failure of completing meaningful consultation regarding Canyon Mine in their 1986 Environmental Impact Statement. A decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could come any day.

Milton Tso, President of Cameron Chapter on the Diné Nation brought the threat of uranium mining into perspective as his community has more than 100 abandoned uranium mines. While he spoke before the Flagstaff council, his son held photos of signs warning of the dangers of radioactive exposure, “This is our reality in Cameron. These signs exist near homes, next to kids. If this goes through Flagstaff, it will go through my town. We are not just against uranium mining, but any type of mining that destroys our water and for many, we take uranium personally. I have a grandfather who is dying slowly, he was a mine worker and they were not educated on the dangers of uranium. So this personally affects me, as well as my little sister here who’s going to have a baby. They live right below this sign. The danger is not the question of if an accident is going to happen, but when. In my town we are ill prepared for something like that. We’re not trained to clean up big spills. We’re still dealing with open pits around my town. I’ve lost a lot of relatives to cancer, a lot of my people around Cameron have got cancer from the mines. It’s there and we’re being ignored. Please take a stand and fight that.” stated Tso.

Wenona Benally, a member of Arizona House of Representatives, Dist. 7, attended the meeting and committed to support the Flagstaff Council's push to address uranium mining and transport on the state and federal level.
Benally, stated, “Tonight, State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, State Representative Eric Descheenie and I issued a written statement to the Flagstaff City Council, supporting the adoption of Resolution No. 2017-38, opposing the transportation of uranium ore through the City of Flagstaff and Indigenous lands. Our district is notoriously known for its toxic legacy of uranium mining. We thank the City of Flagstaff for adopting this resolution and agreeing to join us in the fight to stop the cycle of poisoning that has taken the lives of our people and destroyed our communities.”

Right before the resolution went to vote, Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans shared, “I want to talk about the constitutionality and legality part of it. In his ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail,’ Dr. King writes about something he calls just and unjust laws. I would say that in this country, historically we have seen several laws over the course of time be changed or overturned because we, the people, have determined that they were unjust.”
Mayor Evans challenged all council members to pass the resolution with a 7-0 vote.
“The legacy of uranium mining in Northern Arizona is unjust. I believe that it has been clearly shown through the routes that this ore takes... [and] clearly shown through the level of cancer and cancer related death experienced by the Indigenous People in our region.
We have Indigenous neighbors that have been fighting and asking for relief on this issue for decades, for generations. And they are asking us, as the largest city in Northern Arizona, to help them.”

Councilmember Celia Barotz motioned to vote and was seconded by Councilmember Eva Putzova.
Barotz stated, “Before we vote on the resolution I just want to remind everyone that this is just the beginning and that were going to need all of you to help us through the various processes at the state and federal level if we're going to make meaningful changes over the next several years. The city council certainly cannot do it alone so I just invite all of you to stay engaged, this is the beginning.”

Putzova issued a statement after the vote saying, "With this resolution, the Council is rallying behind the Native American communities in their fight for social and environmental justice. I'm looking forward to working with our congressional representative and state representatives on legislation that bans uranium mining and the transport of uranium ore for good."

After the vote in favor of the resolution the crowd erupted in cheers.

Haul No! has been successful in gaining resolutions opposing ore transport from Diné communities such as Cameron, Coal Mine, Oljaito, Monument Valley, Kayenta, Western Navajo Agency, and from the Hualapai and Havasupai Tribes.

Flagstaff is the first off-reservation community to pass a resolution and could be the first community to pass an ordinance challenging Federal authority regarding transport of uranium from Canyon Mine.

More information and action:

Shoshone Defenders of Yucca Mountain Appointed to Nuclear Regulatory Advisory Panel

Western Shoshone Ian Zabarte (front) and
Timbisha Shoshone Joe Kennedy appointed, defenders of Yucca Mountain.

Shoshone appointed to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensing Support Network Advisory Review Panel

By Native Community Action Council
P.O. Box 46301
Las Vegas, NV 89114

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

As a tribal community stakeholder group, the Native Community Action Council (NCAC) continues to advocate on behalf of the land the people of the Great Basin. Today, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission appointed two Shoshone to the Yucca Mountain Licensing Support Network Advisory
Review Panel.
NCAC board member, Joe Kennedy Shoshone from Timbisha in Death Valley commented: “The Department of Energy has failed to protect Native Americans leaving us unprotected, if not for the Native Community Action Council intervening in 2008, and now, against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect the land and people of the Great Basin.”
Last year the NRC admitted that radiation will be discharge into the groundwater from the proposed Yucca Mountain high level nuclear waste repository currently undergoing licensing. The NRC Staff were
directed to consider disproportionate impact to low income and minority populations such as the Shoshone at Poohabah in Tecopa and Death Valley Shoshone Indian Village at Furnace Creek. Without adequate investigation the NRC found that impacts to Native Americans will be minimal.
The Shoshone experience is as down-winders, victims of testing of WMD’s, and as stakeholders in the siting of the proposed Yucca Mountain high level nuclear waste repository. The DOE cannot meet the requirement of ownership, a “significant legal encumbrances,” disqualifying the site under the NRC regulation, 10 CFR 63 Land Ownership. Yucca Mountain is Indian country defined by the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley and the US cannot prove ownership.
“The proposed repository is Indian country and we believe that the pattern and practice of the US in the siting of Yucca Mountain to be legislative malpractice and institutional racism,” said Ian Zabarte, Secretary of the NCAC.
The NCAC is the only non-federally funded party to the Yucca Mountain proceedings asserting ownership under aboriginal occupancy. Since selection of Yucca Mountain in 1987 by Congress, the DOE has not considered any argument made by the Shoshone that does not support licensing by the NRC.


Mohawk Nation News ' Shacks, Shovels and Slop Pails'

Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara want voice in pipeline code, by Lisa DeVille

Lisa DeVille
Letter the Editor

Censored News

By:  Lisa DeVille, President Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights

Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Tribal Business Council also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes is currently taking public comments on the proposed pipeline code that would create a pipeline authority on Fort Berthold.

The code will give the MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority the authority to issue a permit authorizing construction and installation of pipelines within Fort Berthold boundaries; issue power and authority to regulate abandoned pipelines, spills, leaks, bursts, contamination, and promulgate rules and policies regarding requirements for produced saltwater pipelines.

In whose best interest is it to rush out a pipeline code that does not have policies or rules written? Not the people of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara.

The Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Oil & Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling Program is in its 10th year on Fort Berthold and we have witnessed a high frequency of undetected oil industry pipeline leaks which turn into spills contaminating soils and waters within the West Segment and other segments on Fort Berthold where hydraulic fracking is occurring. The Crestwood Arrow pipeline committed at least five oil pipeline spills which these pipelines were less than five years old. The July 2014 Crestwood Arrow pipeline spilled frack fluid waste for days into an area upstream from the Mandaree community drinking water intake valve. The MHA Nation tribal government relied on the oil industry's estimate of at least 1 million gallons of the fracking waste fluids that pooled and spilled into the Bear Den Bay and into the Missouri River. Three years have passed and this site at Bear Den Bay has never been reclaimed.  Studies have shown that the radiation from the toxic water is concentrating in the soil.  Everything that toxic salt water touches dies.

I encourage the MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority to consider setting up a public meeting to present the code to the public and conduct a public hearing on the proposed draft code in order for MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority to receive questions on this proposed language, provide more information to tribal members, and for MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority to receive and record recommendations from the tribal citizen public for consideration into the formation of the MHA/TAT Pipeline Code processs."

We need strong regulations that are meant to protect our people, land, air, and water; we will be here after the oil is gone but these companies won’t be, but their contamination will be.

Please take the time to review the pipeline safety code, public comments are being taken until November 17, 2017 by 4:30.  Send your comments via mail to MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority Director, Travis Hallam Email:

Read more by Lisa DeVille: Methane Waste Disposal Rule Targeted

Video song by Hopi Ed Kabotie 'You can't be brown in this town' Flagstaff, Arizona

Listen below to the video, great lyrics about 'being brown' in Flagstaff, Arizona

Recorded live by Christine Prat at Flagstaff, Arizona 2017

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