Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 6, 2022

'U.S. Supreme Court ignores that our world is on fire' by Lisa DeVille

By Lisa DeVille
Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara
July 1, 2022
Letter to the Editor

On June 30, 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down their decision in West Virginia, at al. v EPA ruling to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses and other harmful pollutants.  The Court should never have taken this case as it was challenging a clean air regulation that was not being used and so there was no need for enforcement…or a SCOTUS ruling!  A majority of global citizens recognize what this SCOTUS does not seem to: climate change is real and we need fewer barriers to government actions that would curtail emissions directly contributing to man-made climate change.

As a citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, and founding member of Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights, we have been fighting for stronger regulations that protect our land, air, and water for more than a decade.  Like every impacted community member, I’ve seen the environmental disaster and harm that’s done due failure of regulatory oversight.  The SCOTUS decided in favor of money and big business and against people – not only this generation but the generations to follow.  Our world is on fire with climate change and this decision ignores that fact.  We are forced to carry the burden of externalized production when companies force us to breathe, eat, and drink their pollution.  Once again, Indigenous communities like mine are treated as a commodity to be extracted rather than treated as human beings in a natural world that both deserve to be protected.

I am not against oil and gas or fossil fuel development.  I am against development without any concern for our environment and our health.  There are ways to develop that are respectful to Mother Earth and all life.  This decision is a disaster for my community, all who live near coal plants (like I and so many North Dakotans do,) and all who are and will suffer from the effects of climate change. In other words, this decision will hurt every one of us.  When will big business and the politicians in their pockets learn that, to paraphrase a Cree prophecy, “…you can’t eat money.”  

Lisa DeVille

Mandaree, ND

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