seek justice for boarding school abuse. For decades, Native
Americans have felt the lasting trauma of Indian boarding schools
and fought to find healing. Efforts are underway to identify the
true scope of the abuse.
Native American tribal
elders who attended Indian boarding schools as children
shared their memories of physical and sexual abuse and
emotional suffering with federal officials on Saturday,
as the Biden administration confronts the U.S.
government's role in a painful chapter of U.S. history.
"I still feel that pain," 84-year-old Donald Neconie
said at the event, which took place at Riverside Indian
School in Anadarko, Oklahoma, according to the
Neconie said that Riverside, which opened in 1871, has
changed today but said, "I will never, ever forgive this
school for what they did to me."
More than 500 American Indian, Alaska Native and Native
Hawaiian children died over the course of 150 years in
Indigenous boarding schools run by the American
government and churches to force assimilation, according
to a report released in May by the U.S. Interior
Neconie, a former U.S. Marine and member of the Kiowa
Tribe, recalled being beaten if he cried or spoke his
native Kiowa language when he attended Riverside for
more than a decade starting in the late 1940s.
"Every time I tried to talk Kiowa, they put lye in my
mouth," he said, according to the AP. "It was 12 years
Brought Plenty, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux
tribe, said she was forced to cut her hair at a school
in South Dakota and was forced to whip other girls with
wet towels as punishment.
"What they did to us makes you feel so inferior," she
said at the event, according to the AP. "You never get
past this. You never forget it."... (click the headline
to read more and watch the video)
Winona LaDuke (Ojibwe),
left, Judith LeBlanc (Caddo Nation of Oklahoma), center, and Madonna
Thunder Hawk (Oohenumpa Band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe),
right, spoke on the topic of activism at the 2022 National Unity
The young Navajo woman broke down in tears as she
described how tribal members in the Southwest had
unsuccessfully battled the building of a border wall on
sacred ancestral sites.
"When you lose that fight, what do you do?" she asked,
standing in an audience before a panel of Indigenous
elders. "What do you do after all that?"
More than 1,600 people from across the country came to
the Minneapolis Convention Center in recent days for a
tribal youth conference, and they eagerly sought insight
from activists they'd heard so much about growing up.
The panel commiserated with their questioner....
(click the headline to read more)
For Hopi veteran
Clifford Balenquah, the issue comes down to a lack of communication
between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Native American
veterans it serves. (Photo by Madeline Ackley/Cronkite News)
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. — Vanissa Barnes-Saucedo was 21 when military
recruiters stopped her in a shopping mall, waving enlistment papers
in front of her. Although she says she wasn’t entirely sure what she
was getting herself into, she signed the papers anyway.
For the next six years, Barnes-Saucedo was stationed around the
world: Virginia, Colorado, South Korea, Kuwait and Iraq. However, by
the time she was honorably discharged in 2014, she suffered from
post traumatic stress disorder.
When she returned home to northeastern Arizona, Barnes-Saucedo had
difficulty navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs — the
government agency in charge of veterans’ health care. She’s Hopi,
born and raised on her tribe’s ancestral lands. The nearest
full-service VA center, in Flagstaff, is a two hour drive; the VA
campus in Phoenix is a four hour trip.
“It was very hard to get into,” Barnes-Saucedo said of the VA
system. “Since I was freshly out of the military, I still had a hard
time getting into a clinic down in the Phoenix VA.”....
CHACO, N.M. —Lawmakers from the country's largest American Indian
reservation may have thrown a wrinkle into efforts aimed at
establishing a permanent buffer around Chaco Culture National
Historical Park, as New Mexico's congressional delegation,
environmentalists and other tribes try to keep oil and gas
development from getting closer to the World Heritage site.
Navajo Nation delegates voted Jan. 23 to support a buffer only half
the size of the one outlined in federal legislation pending in
Congress. They cited concerns from Navajo landowners who fear their
mineral rights would be landlocked and the money they earn through
lease payments and royalties compromised if future development is
prohibited across a wider swath of land surrounding the national
(Susan Montoya Bryan
| AP file photo) This April, 2006, file photo shows the Four Corners
Power Plant in Waterflow, N.M., near the San Juan River in
northwestern New Mexico. The closure of the coal-fired power plant
on the Navajo Nation sooner than expected will be a major blow to a
region where coal has been a mainstay of the economy for decades.
Arizona Public Service Co. now plans to shutter the Four Corners
Power Plant in 2031 when its coal contract expires rather than wait
Flagstaff, Ariz. • As the coal industry nears its end on the Navajo
Nation, the tribe is looking to Arizona utilities that shared in the
power generated on the reservation to help make up for the financial
losses and environmental impacts.
Navajo leaders have requested nearly $62 million in an ongoing rate
case for Tucson Electric Power to establish a fund to support
renewable energy projects. The tribe also wants a commitment from
utilities to buy the power and support for water infrastructure....
Joye Braun talks about the riotboosting bills rewritten but still
unconstitutional according to Joye. She has seen the language in
these bills. It's not surprising seeing this come from Nome.
"Professional protestors" is defined as anyone who came from outside
of the state to stand in solidarity. It sounds like the same corrupt
rhetoric that comes from this current corrupt administration,
accusing others of actions you're guilty of. She's bringing back 189
and 190. Chase Bank the biggest funder of these tar sands, Balkan
pipelines Back to the legislature tomorrow. Please listen, and share....
Riotboosting in KXL -
by Waniya Locke, Facebook
- 28 JAN 2020
Waniya Locke talks about the riotboosting bills rewritten but still
unconstitutional according to Joye. She has seen the language in
these bills. It's not surprising seeing this come from Nome.
"Professional protestors" is defined as anyone who came from outside
of the state to stand in solidarity. It sounds like the same corrupt
rhetoric that comes from this current corrupt administration,
accusing others of actions you're guilty of. She's bringing back 189
and 190. Chase Bank is the biggest funder of these tar sands, Balkan
pipelines. Back to the legislature tomorrow. Please listen, and
displays a flier that features her son who she reported missing more
that two years ago. Bitsue has seen or heard from Brandon Sandoval,
the youngest of her four chilodren, in more than two years. "I spend
most of my days looking down the road expecting him to come up,"
Bitsue says. (Felicia Fonseca)
TUBA CITY — Margaret Bitsue's days are filled with prayer: that her
son has a clear mind and that he remembers home, a traditional
Navajo Hogan at the end of a dirt road where a faded yellow ribbon
hanging from the cedar trees points to her agony.
Bitsue hasn't seen or heard from Brandon Lee Sandoval, the youngest
of her four children, in more than two years. Wearing blue jeans, a
black shirt and work boots, he left the home in northeastern Arizona
before sunrise Sept. 3, 2017, saying he was going to see friends in
Phoenix and would be back.
“I spend most of my days looking down the road expecting him to come
up,” Bitsue says.
The woman's words are soft but capture a room at a government center
on the Navajo Nation where people are gathered to talk not about
women and girls who have gone missing or been killed, but men and
boys. It's part of a growing effort to expand a movement focused on
Native American women, who face some of the nation's highest rates
of homicide, sexual violence and domestic abuse....
As a Trump reelection looks
less certain, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is accelerating
work for oil and gas industries
by Wes Siler, Outside Online
- 28 JAN 2020
Last week, an analysis published by public lands advocacy group The
Center for Western Priorities, revealed 74 policy changes and 120
alterations to Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections that the
Department of the Interior intends to take before the November
elections. All of the actions benefit the oil, gas, or agriculture
industries. Some of the benefactors include former lobbying clients
of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
It can be hard to comprehend the ways in which the Trump
administration’s corruption impacts your daily life. If Jared
Kushner accepts tens of millions of dollars from secret foreign
investors while conducting foreign policy without Congressional
oversight, does it really trickle down to your bottom line? But
that’s different at the Department of the Interior. There, former
lobbyists for, and employees of the industries it regulates, are
actively trying to destroy the world we live in....
Plans for construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline inched
forward last week with several approvals at both the federal and
state levels, but opponents in South Dakota say they haven’t given
up on preventing, or at least slowing, the pipeline’s construction.
Plans for the $8 billion project have been over a decade in the
works. TC Energy, the Canadian company building the pipeline, plans
to begin construction in South Dakota in August, according to a
court filing in Montana that also spells out planned work in that
state and Nebraska. The company plans to move equipment to
construction sites starting in February and prep worker
accommodation sites in March.....
Indigenous peoples have been on the front lines of environmental
racism for decades' — This Indigenous rights lawyer and activist
explains why all Americans should care about environmental justice
and Indigenous issues
GREAT FALLS — For decades, members of the Little Shell Chippewa
Tribe called the day they would get federal recognition “the day
that never comes.”
“The day that never comes finally got here,” said Clancy Sivertsen,
vice chairman of the Little Shell Tribal Council. On Dec. 20, 2019,
the Little Shell gained federal recognition, with the promise of
land for a reservation and access to the same status and federal
benefits that the other 573 federally recognized American Indian
tribes enjoy. On Saturday, it was time to celebrate....
The bank claims to value
‘stakeholder engagement’ but dropped Arctic drilling without
by Harry Brower, Jr.' Wall Street
Journal - 24 JAN 2020
Utqiagvik, Alaska -- As the mayor of Alaska’s North Slope Borough, I
represent about 10,000 people in an area larger than most states.
Beneath our lands are some of the largest oil and gas reserves in
the world, including Prudhoe Bay and the coastal plain of the Alaska
National Wildlife Refuge.
Since the 19th century, when our Inupiat ancestors made initial
contact with the West, we have worked to maintain a balance between
the modern world and our rich cultural inheritance. Largely because
of the oil and gas under our lands, which are developed using the
highest environmental standards, we have come far. My biggest fear
is that we will be set back in our quest—this time by those who
claim to care about us but are using my lands and my people as
symbols for a larger political goal.
Last month, Goldman Sachs announced it will no longer fund oil and
gas development in the Arctic region. The announcement came as a
shock to me and my constituents, particularly because the New
York-based investment bank claims “stakeholder engagement” and
“consultation” with indigenous peoples are core business principles.
No one will be more affected by Goldman Sachs’s decision than the
people of Alaska’s North Slope, yet we learned about it in the media....
In this video, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) tells Water
Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) co-Director Carl Williams that he
is banned from re-entering Unist’ot’en Camp, after he conducted
three legal observer trainings at the request of the camp. According
to police, any lawyers not barred in “British Columbia,” and anyone
who doesn’t have snow chains on their tires and two-way radios will
not be allowed to pass roadblocks. This is a clear effort to target,
harass, and intimidate international human rights and legal workers
and observers, and to strip Wet’suwet’en people of their rights to
human rights legal support in their effort to protect their land
from pipelines that could carry tar sands oil to the Pacific Coast.
Part of the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism, these efforts by
RCMP to police who can and cannot enter Wet’suwet’en land is a
flagrant violation of their sovereignty and their right to control
their own land. We ask you to support Unist’ot’en Camp efforts, in
particular, their legal support fundraising efforts.
#unistoten #wetsuwetenstrong #WPLC #humanrights
UPDATED: A Sami village has won a court battle with the Swedish
state over hunting and fishing rights on its territory – a
groundbreaking ruling for Sweden's indigenous people, which could
force the country to change its laws.
First things first, what's a Sami village?
It is not a village in the most common sense, but rather an
administrative community linked to a larger geographical area, in
which the Sami members have the right to herd reindeer – and in some
areas the right to hunt and fish – regulated by the Swedish Reindeer
Not all Samis are members of a village, but only Samis can become
members and own reindeer.
There are in total 51 Sami villages in Sweden and the Girjas area
stretches roughly from the area between Kiruna and Gällivare in the
far north and west to the Norwegian border, around 5,500 square
winning a historic battle over hunting and fishing rights in the
Swedish Supreme Court, members of Sweden's indigenous Sami community
have reported receiving several threats of violence both online and
Several police reports have so far been filed regarding threats and
hate towards members of the plaintiff in the landmark case, Girjas
Sami village, and members of a neighbouring village, Baste.
"There's a lot of hatred and an aggressive mood," the chief of the
police investigation, Emma Lindberg, told The Local.
"If you come here with your reindeers we will shoot them, I've
already shot seven. And if I come upon you alone in the forest I'll
shoot you too!" a man reportedly told Lars-Ola Jannok, the head of
Baste Sami village, while he was releasing his reindeers outside of
Gällivare municipality on Monday morning.
"I got very frightened, we're often alone in the forest," Jannok
told Swedish news agency TT.
The threats started coming in after Girjas Sami village won a
ten-year court battle that granted them the exclusive right to
determine who could hunt and fish in their area. This right had been
revoked by the Swedish state in 1993 in a contested land reform....
Youth Advisory Council would
expand to include tribal members
by Shannon Mullane, Pine River
Valley reporter, The Durango Herald - 12 JAN 2020
Native American youths might receive more representation in the
state government through legislation introduced Wednesday in the
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hugh McKean, a Republican, would give
Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute youths a voice in policymaking
through the Colorado Youth Advisory Council. The council membership
includes youths from around the state, but this bill would
specifically designate membership for Native American students....
“Somebody’s Daughter,” a documentary
on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic, premieres
Wednesday in Las Vegas at the Four Directions and Nevada Tribal
Nations Native American Presidential Forum.
The all-Indigenous production
presented by Alter-Native Media addresses racism, colonialism and
genocide, while focusing on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
(MMIW) victims from the Blackfeet Nation and Confederated Salish
Kootenai Tribes in Montana. "Somebody's Daughter" was directed by
RAIN, the team that created "Not in Our Name," a short film about
tribal opposition to hunting Yellowstone grizzly bears.
The film also explores MMIW-related
legislation, including Hanna’s Act and Savanna’s Act, features clips
of 2020 presidential candidates as well as members of the Montana
delegation, includes interviews with tribal chairs and council
members and exposes drug cartels and gangs for their possible roles
in human trafficking and MMIW cases....
Remembering the Marias Massacre For the Blackfeet, the importance of
observing the tragic slaughter of American Indians by U.S. troops
has not diminished with the passage of 150 years
byTristan Scott, Flathead Beacon
- 15 JAN 2020
For more than two decades, John Murray always knew where he’d be on
the morning of Jan. 23, pressing himself against a wind-swept
foothill or a snow-marbled bluff overlooking the Marias River,
contemplating a history he’d rather forget — or, at least, one he’d
rather not have to remember.
Some years he’d posthole alone through waist-deep snowdrifts to
visit the historic site; other years, Murray brought company,
retelling the story of the Marias Massacre as the day dawned blue
and bright over the river, which at sunrise on Jan. 23, 1870,
literally ran red with the blood of his ancestors....
This month, the Blackfeet will observe the 150th anniversary of the
Marias Massacre, alternately known as the Baker Massacre and the
Bear River Massacre, in which an estimated 200 Piegan (Blackfeet)
Indians were killed in what one company commander, Lt. Gus Doane,
described as “the greatest slaughter of Indians ever made by U.S.
More than 100 turned out Tuesday
to save the Shinnecock Nation's ancestral burial grounds from
desecration in the Hamptons.
by Lisa Finn, Patch Staff, Patch
- 14 JAN 2020
SOUTHAMPTON, NY — A crowd of more than 100 stood in solidarity
Tuesday with members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation engaged in an
ongoing rally to save their ancestral burial grounds from
development in the Hamptons.
According to Tela Troge, a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation,
about 100 supporters arrived on Tuesday from sister tribes and also
from various groups the Shinnecocks have been networking with; the
Mashantucket Peqouts sent a bus of their tribal members and tribal
leaders from Connecticut, she said....
Clinton Bird Hat
holds the eagle staff while leading the runners up the final hill to
the cemetery in Busby during the Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual
Run on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.
MIKE CLARK, Billings Gazette
For Paula Castro-Stops, this year’s Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual
Run was a way for her to heal.
Volunteering her time for the run allowed her to reflect on the
December 2018 disappearance and death of her 14-year-old daughter,
Henny ran in the event about three times before she disappeared.
“It’s helped with healing,” Castro-Stops said on Tuesday, the last
day of the run.
The spiritual run is a way for youth to remember the few Northern
Cheyenne who survived the Jan. 9, 1879, breakout from Fort Robinson,
Nebraska, by completing the journey their ancestors weren't able to.
It was the night when more than 130 starving members of Northern
Cheyenne chief Dull Knife’s band escaped confinement in a barrack at
More than 90 kids, ranging from elementary school-aged to high-schoolers,
participated in the 24th annual Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual Run
starting in Nebraska on Thursday and concluding in Busby on Tuesday....
An advocacy group is opposing an Ohio bill that would restrict
protests at sites that are considered "critical infrastructure
facilities,” including oil and gas pipelines.
Organize Ohio hosted a meeting in Cleveland on Monday to discuss
opposition to SB 33, which was passed by the Ohio Senate in May
The measure would criminalize protests occurring at places such as
pipelines or utility poles. Backers say they aim to protect the
facilities from serious harm.
But Jacie Jones of Organize Ohio believes the bill would have a
"chilling effect" on free speech. She says that’s happened in other
states where similar laws have passed, such as Louisiana and Texas....
For literally about the hundredth time, we’re suing the Trump
Administration over its attacks on the environment. This time
around, we’re defending California—which as a Californian I’m proud
to say is Trump’s least favorite state—against the Administration’s
plans to frack it....
center, and her sister Ella Hawley, right,
live in Kivalina, Alaska. An estimated one in three Native people
live in what the Census Bureau considers ‘hard-to-count’ areas.
Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The decennial count ‘impacts everything’ from federal funding to
political representation for the tribes
It was the largest rollback of federal lands protections in US
When President Donald Trump signed a 2017 executive order that
reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase–Escalante
national monuments by nearly 2m acres, he said the move was
supported in the state of Utah and by the local county where the
monuments were located.
On the ground, however, that opposition didn’t add up.
San Juan county, Utah, is majority Native American and includes
parts of the Navajo Nation’s and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s
reservations – both tribes officially support the protection of
Bears Ears. Through gerrymandering, the majority Native county
maintained a majority white county commission, where Native views
were outnumbered – until last year....
by Laura Kane, The Canadian Press,
Financial Post - 07 JAN 2020
VANCOUVER — A United Nations committee working to end racism is
urging Canada to immediately stop the construction of three major
resource projects until it obtains approval from affected First
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which
monitors a convention to end racial discrimination signed by
countries including Canada, is calling for a suspension of the Trans
Mountain pipeline expansion, Site C dam and Coastal GasLink
The committee, made up of 18 experts, says in a written directive
last month that it is concerned by the approval and construction of
the three projects without the free, prior and informed consent of
impacted Indigenous groups....
FILE PHOTO: A
general view of the damage done to the Flinders Chase National Park
after bushfires swept through on Kangaroo Island, southwest of
Adelaide, Australia, January 7, 2020. AAP Image/David Mariuz/via
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s government is sticking firmly to a
position that there is no direct link between climate change and the
country’s devastating bushfires, despite public anger, the anguish
of victims and warnings from scientists.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his emissions reduction minister,
Angus Taylor, say Australia does not need to cut carbon emissions
more aggressively to limit global warming, even after a three-year
drought and unprecedented bushfires.
Instead they say Australia, which contributes 1.3% of the world’s
carbon emissions but is the second-largest emitter per capita behind
the United States, should be rewarded for beating its emissions
reduction targets for 2020....
The site of an
explosion of the Energy Transfer Partners Revolution Pipeline,
Center Township, Beaver County. Reid R. Frazier/StateImpact
STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – The Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection announced an agreement Friday that includes
a record fine against the company responsible for a 2018 natural gas
pipeline explosion in Beaver County.
The settlement also lifts a nearly year-long permit freeze on the
company’s other pipeline projects, including the cross-state Mariner
As part of the settlement, the DEP assessed a $30.6 million fine
against ETC Northeast Pipeline, a subsidiary of the pipeline company
Energy Transfer, the largest ever issued by the regulator. DEP
Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement the fine’s size was
in part due to the company’s failure to comply with an order the
agency issued one month after the blast.
“ETC’s lack of oversight during construction of the Revolution
Pipeline and their failure to comply with DEP’s October 2018
compliance order demanded serious accountability. Their inaction led
directly to this unprecedented civil penalty,” McDonnell said....
Selena Not Afraid –
Photo by: Big Horn County Sheriff
HARDIN, Mont. — The family of Selena Not Afraid, a 16-year-old teen
female and tribal citizen of the Crow Tribe of Indians, who went
missing on January 1, 2020 is seeking assistance from the public to
Law enforcement say Selena walked away from a broken down vehicle
from a rest area between Hardin and Billings, Montana.
According to local press reports, the family believes that Not
Afraid may have moved from the area and says the search also
includes South Dakota and Wyoming.
Authorities say Selena was last seen wearing a black coat, grey
sweater, blue jeans, and gray ankle boots. She is 5’9″, 133 pounds,
and has a scar near her mouth. She also has a tattoo of a cross on
her middle finger.
If you have any information on her whereabouts — please call the Big
Horn County Sheriff’s Office at 406-665-9780 or dial 9-1-1.....
The ruins of the
ancient city of Persepolis in southern Iran in 2014.Credit...Behrouz
Mehri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman,
New York Times - 06 JAN 2020
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sought to douse an
international outcry on Monday by ruling out military attacks on
cultural sites in Iran if the conflict with Tehran escalates
further, despite President Trump’s threat to destroy some of the
country’s treasured icons.
Mr. Esper acknowledged that striking cultural sites with no military
value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with the president,
who insisted such places would be legitimate targets. Mr. Trump’s
threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply
discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of
upholding the laws of war.
“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” Mr. Esper said at a
news briefing at the Pentagon when asked if cultural sites would be
targeted as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a
reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit
targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed. “That’s the laws of
We love a good animal escape story! In 2018, we shared the wonderful
update on Freddie the cow, who escaped a New York slaughterhouse in
January of 2016. He now lives at Skylands Animal Sanctuary in
Wantage, New Jersey, where he is showered with adoration. There was
also the amazing story of the six cows who escaped a slaughterhouse
in St. Louis and have since found a forever home at The Gentle Barn
Missouri. Point being, we are suckers for happy endings for animals!
That’s why when we came across the story of a cow in Poland who
escaped a farm, and the fate of a slaughterhouse, and has since been
spotted roaming with a herd of bison, we couldn’t help but cheer her
Rafal Kowalczyk, Director of the Mammal Research Institute at the
Polish Academy of Sciences, managed to get a photo of the cow with
her new tribe in the fields of the Bialowieza Forest in eastern
Lindsey Graham wants
to change Senate rules over impeachmentHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi
has yet to formally transmit the charges to Senate, a step that is
necessary before the upper chamber can commence with a trial.Jim
Watson/AFP via Getty Images
On his first morning back in Washington following a 16-day holiday
at his Florida resort, President Donald Trump called for a speedy
end to the impeachment saga in a series of tweets Monday morning.
“Get this done,” the president wrote on Twitter:
Donald J. Trump: "The Impeachment Hoax, just a continuation of the
Witch Hunt which started even before I won the Election, must end
quickly. Read the Transcripts, see the Ukranian President's strong
statement, NO PRESSURE - get this done. It is a con game by the Dems
to help with the Election!"
The House passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump
last month, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to formally
transmit the charges to Senate, a step that is necessary before the
upper chamber can commence with a trial. Pelosi has withheld the
articles as a bargaining chip to assist Democratic Leader Chuck
Schumer in negotiations over the rules of the pending trial Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell....
Past tweets about
Obama have proven to be prophetic of the very things that Trump
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), the oldest and largest progressive
bar association in the United States, strongly condemns recent
illegal U.S. actions in Iraq, including the killing of Iranian and
Iraqi nationals and threats of military attacks on Iran as clear
violations of both U.S. and international law. We call on our
members and all people of conscience to mobilize in opposition to
war with Iran, and we call on Congress to block access to funding
for any military action against Iran, to lift sanctions against
Iran, and to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. Legal Community Must Act to Defend Iranians and other
Middle Eastern Communities from Targeted Harassment and Repression
by the U.S.
The NLG is alarmed by the reports of the detention and questioning
of dozens of Iranian nationals and U.S. nationals of Iranian descent
at U.S. borders by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials.
Assisted by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), those
detained reported that their passports were confiscated and they
were questioned about their political views and allegiances....
intelligence and security commander was killed in a American drone
strike on the orders of President Trump, as tensions escalated
between the U.S and Iran and its proxy forces in the region.
President Donald Trump has upped the ante with his social media war
against Tehran by threatening Iran that the U.S. military will
“quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate
manner,” if the country attacks Americans.
Trump also noted his Sunday tweet served as a “notification” to
Congress and that “such legal notice is not required."
Trump’s assertion on Twitter Sunday that he can use social media to
inform Congress of future military actions against Iran is likely to
cause further tensions between lawmakers and the White House in
coming days, including potential legal actions.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee fired back a tweet telling Trump
to read the 1973 War Powers Act — which was intended to serve as a
check on the president’s power to commit forces to an armed
“This Media Post will serve as a reminder that war powers reside in
the Congress under the United States Constitution. And that you
should read the War Powers Act. And that you’re not a dictator," the
House Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted Sunday....
The House Foreign Affairs Committee slammed President Trump on
Sunday after Trump appeared to write that his tweets served as
sufficient notification to Congress in the event of a potential
military strike against Iran.
The Democratic-led panel, in a tweet mirroring the language Trump
himself used in his message, warned the president that he was not a
"dictator" and that Congress has the power to authorize acts of war.
"This Media Post will serve as a reminder that war powers reside in
the Congress under the United States Constitution. And that you
should read the War Powers Act. And that you’re not a dictator," the
Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives for her weekly news conference at the
U.S. Capitol December 19, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Pelosi has not
set the number of managers she will assign to President Donald
Trump's impeachment trial and has not said when she will send the
articles over to the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Images) Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty
The House of Representatives will vote on a War Powers resolution
"to limit the President's military actions regarding Iran," Speaker
Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.
The move to curtail President Donald Trump's ability to act
unliterally is designed to force Republicans in the Senate to
address the heightened tension with the Middle Eastern nation.
"Last week, the Trump Administration conducted a provocative and
disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian
military officials," Pelosi wrote in a letter announcing the
legislation to her colleagues Sunday night. "This action endangered
our service members, diplomats and others by risking a serious
escalation of tensions with Iran... we are concerned that the
Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress
and without respect for Congress's war powers granted to it by the
Rep. Deb Haaland
(Laguna Pueblo and Rep. Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk)
WASHINGTON — In a history making moment, two American Indian women
were sworn-in today, January 3, 2019, as members of Congress. Deb
Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), from the 1st Congressional District in New
Mexico and Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk), from the 3rd Congressional
District in Kansas, became the first two American Indian women ever
to become members of Congress....
A Border Patrol
officer sits inside his car as he guards the U.S.-Mexico border
fence, in Nogales, Arizona, on February 9, 2019. Experts fear the
construction of the barrier will wipe out endangered and protected
species in Arizona. Ariana Drehsler/AFP via Getty Images
Eight endangered or threatened species could be wiped out in Arizona
due to the massive amounts of groundwater being extracted to
construct President Donald Trump's border wall, a report has
The desert springs and streams around the San Bernardino national
wildlife refuge in south-eastern Arizona provide the only habitat in
the U.S. for the endangered Río Yaqui fish, according to The
Drought and record high temperatures have already depleted water
reserves in the area and experts fear the building of the 30 foot
high border wall has done further damage....
TUES JAN 7, 2020 (anniversary of
RCMP-CGL raid) until SUN JAN 12, 2020
We call for solidarity actions from Indigenous and non-Indigenous
communities who uphold Indigenous sovereignty and recognize the
urgency of stopping resource extraction projects that threaten the
lives of future generations....
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement
after the Trump Administration conducted a deadly airstrike
targeting Iranians and Iraqis at the Baghdad International Airport:
“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and
interests. But we cannot put the lives of American servicemembers,
diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and
disproportionate actions. Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking
further dangerous escalation of violence. America – and the world –
cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.
“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq
targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian
Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for
Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. Further, this action was
taken without the consultation of the Congress.
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious
situation and on the next steps under consideration by the
Administration, including the significant escalation of the
deployment of additional troops to the region.”....
Daughter" – MMIW documentary supported by Congressman John Lewis
WASHINGTON — “When you see something that is not right, not fair,
not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say
something. Dr. King inspired us to do just that,” says Congressman
John Lewis (D-GA), known as “the conscience of the US Congress.”
Before his recent stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Congressman
Lewis applied that moral code to the Murdered and Missing Indigenous
Women (MMIW) crisis.
In late November, Congressman Lewis committed to introducing what
has been described as “meaningful and comprehensive legislation” to
address the MMIW tragedy based upon the recommendations of the
Global Indigenous Council (GIC), Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders
Council (RMTLC) and the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA)....
“Four Directions, along with Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Blackfeet
Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Global
Indigenous Council to Present World Premiere of Somebody’s Daughter
at the Four Directions and Nevada Tribal Nations Native American
Presidential Forum 2020.”
The world premiere of Somebody’s Daughter will be at the 2020 Native
American Presidential Forum at the UNLV, Las Vegas, Nevada on
January 15. A documentary about the Murdered and Missing Indigenous
Women (MMIW) tragedy, Somebody’s Daughter has been endorsed by civil
rights icon, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA). On 12/29, Congressman
Lewis announced that he is fighting stage IV pancreatic cancer. In
late November, Congressman Lewis committed to advancing legislation
to address the MMIW crisis and offered his full support to the
documentary and ongoing efforts by the Global Indigenous Council,
Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council and Great Plains Tribal
Chairman’s Association to raise national awareness and impact the
“A very powerful and important film for the world to see – equal
parts beauty and tragedy, it reveals the horrific truths that are
sure to ignite change,” is how award-winning indigenous actress and
director Georgina Lightning describes Somebody’s Daughter.
Lightning’s comment not only honors the intent of Congressman Lewis,
to “ignite change,” but reflects pre-release industry reaction to
the documentary. Georgina Lightning was the first woman to receive
the White House Project - Emerging Artist Award, and with Older Than
America she became the first North American Indigenous Woman to
direct a major feature film that, to date, has garnered 23 awards....
Times photo – Althea
Lynda Lovejoy, left, and Vice President Ben Shelly shake hands on
primary night as they think ahead to the Nov. 2, 2010, general
election at the Window Rock Sports Center on Aug. 3, 2010.
Colo. -- The teen years are noted for being stormy, and the 2010s on
the Navajo Nation were no exception.
The top stories between 2010 and 2019 alternated between politics
and the environment, with major developments on both fronts.
As 2010 entered with America’s first Black president in office, the
Navajo Nation seemed poised to get its first female president in the
person of New Mexico State Sen. Lynda Lovejoy.
Lovejoy did not prevail over former vice president Ben Shelly, but
she became the first woman to survive the primary election, and by
last year’s tribal presidential election, several women felt
empowered enough to throw their hats in the ring, including one
While several medicine people had gone on record opposing Lovejoy’s
candidacy because of traditional prophesy, most of those voices were
silent in 2018, possibly because none of the women made it past the
Montana Gov. Steve
Bullock, third from left, speaks at an event marking the federal
government's formal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of
Chippewa Indians on 20 December at the state capitol in Helena.
Congress passed a measure recognizing the tribe after a decades-long
struggle by its leaders. MONTANA GOVERNOR'S OFFICE VIA AP
HELENA, Mont. (AP) – An American Indian tribe whose citizens were
scattered after being denied a homeland more than a century ago has
been formally recognized by the U.S. government.
Recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians was
included in a defense spending bill signed into law on Dec. 20 by
President Donald Trump. That ends a campaign for recognition as a
sovereign nation that tribal leaders trace back to the 1860s. That’s
when Chief Little Shell and his band in North Dakota refused to sign
what they considered an unfair treaty. They ended up landless, and
most eventually settled in Montana, often living on other tribes’
reservations or in poor areas of the state’s urban centers.
Members of Montana’s congressional delegation had sought the
provision that was inserted into the defense bill. The Department of
Interior had repeatedly delayed or denied the tribe’s petitions for
recognition over the course of decades, putting a spotlight on what
many lawmakers and tribal officials said were flaws in the
My longtime teacher,
Dennis Jones, knocking wild rice in a canoe [Photo courtesy of Tara
Only when indigenous people are
heard by those financing climate disaster can we stop the
by Tara Houska, Aljazeera -
01 JAN 2020
"This way of life is not primitive, it is not uncivilised," I
gestured to the image on the screen just above my head. It showed my
longtime teacher, Dennis Jones, knocking manoomin (wild rice), the
grain sacred to Anishinaabe people, into a canoe.
I snapped that photo of us harvesting wild rice years back, before a
new pipeline called Line 3 threatened to carry a million barrels of
tar sands per day from Alberta through some of the richest wild rice
beds in the world, in Anishinaabe territory.
"It is life in balance, life that doesn't depend on the unspoken,
unseen suffering of others for profit," I said.
A few of the corporate bankers sitting across the table from me
shifted in their seats, one raised an eyebrow.
These were the representatives of financiers deeply invested in the
expansion and continuing entrenchment of the fossil fuel industry.....
Generating Station shut down in November 2019. It will take three to
five years to clean up the site.
The Salt River Project announced it would close the Navajo
Generating Station two years ago. That started a domino effect on
the Navajo Nation. In November, the Kayenta Mine and the coal fired
power plant closed, and hundreds of jobs were lost. Now new sources
of energy are beginning to sprout in Kayenta.
Louise Hudgins lives past where the power lines end
“Look at this paradise all the way down there,” Hudgins said.
“Nobody lives in here.”
Hudgins lugs her axe out to the woodpile behind her home.
Hudgins is so far off the grid, surrounded by towering red rock
walls, that she doesn’t have running water. But she does have access
to something that many Navajo Nation residents are still waiting for
Fraser worked to raise awareness about Native residential schools
and gained acclaim for her Inuit language cover of Rihanna’s song
Kelly Fraser collaborated with her friend Martha Kyak in 2013 to
translate Rihannas Diamond into their Inuit language Inuktitut. The
song went viral posting hundreds of thousands of views.
Six years later, and while she had been working on her third musical
album, Kelly Fraser has died at the age of 26. ...
Editor's Note: This is just one tragic and sad example of the damage
that racism can do. A young life full of promise and potential ended
tragically at her own hands because the pressure and ridicule became
too great for her to bear. Our hearts and condolences go out to her
family and friends. -- Al Swilling, SENAA International...
Jane Fonda 'Fire
Drill Friday' for climate change
Actress and activist Jane Fonda addressed a crowd of supporters on
the lawn of the U.S. Capitol about the importance of climate change,
part of her "Fire Drill Friday" initiative. (Nov. 29) AP
by Jane Fonda, Opinion
Contributor, USA Today - 31 DEC 2019
I’ve been in Washington, D.C., for the last three months doing
weekly actions called Fire Drill Fridays — because what 97% of
active climate scientists are saying scares me, and I feel the need
to do more.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change’s report issued in October 2018, if we don’t make great
strides toward lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10
years, the magnitude of the changes we’re already seeing will
accelerate and may become irreversible.
We have the technology to transition away from fossil fuels, and
this can’t happen soon enough. At the same time, we need to take
proactive measures to reduce the concentration of carbon emissions
already in the atmosphere....
Wildfires racing towards an Australian seaside town caused the skies
to turn red and left thousands of residents and tourists trapped on
the town's boat ramp, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
reports. The danger started on Sunday, when a fire near the Wingan
River spread quickly towards the seaside town of Mallacoota. The
fire ended up on Mallacoota's west and northwest, which reportedly
caused skies to turn pitch black, then red. “It's starting to get
embers coming out of the sky, the wind is coming directly at us from
the west," resident Mark Tregellas told ABC. According to
The New Zealand Herald, Victoria's Emergency Management
Commissioner Andrew Crisp said there was no evacuation order in
place for Mallacoota, leaving about 4,000 people trapped near the
water. Crisp said the fire's location made it unsafe for people to
leave. This comes as 16 fires are reportedly burning at an emergency
level across Australia. According to The Guardian, the entire
East Gippsland region is under an emergency alert....
The Nova Scotia
Community College has established smudging rooms in each of its 13
campuses across the province. [DARTMOUTH NS, DECEMBER 2019] (Nic
Nova Scotia Community College has opened smudging rooms at each of
the college's 13 campuses across the province.
Jude Gerrard, Mi'kmaq and Indigenous advisor at Nova Scotia
Community College and a member of Millbrook First Nation, N.S.,
helped facilitate the opening.
Previously, smudging was only done outdoors at campuses, and
required 24 hours notice.
"The question I always ask is, when you're celebrating birthdays,
are you blowing candles out? Because you're producing just as much
smoke from the cake that you are from a smudge bowl," said Gerrard.
Watch the Video....
Littlefeather, second from right in the front row, listens to
ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Native American
occupation of Alcatraz Island Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in San
Francisco. About 150 people gathered at Alcatraz to mark the 50th
anniversary of a takeover of the island by Native American
activists. Original occupiers, friends, family and others assembled
Wednesday morning for a program that included prayer, songs and
speakers. They then headed to the dock to begin restoring messages
painted by occupiers on a former barracks building. In 1973
Littlefeather represented Marlon Brando at the Oscars to decline his
Best Actor award. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sunday marked the 129th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre
during which U.S. Army soldiers killed hundreds of Lakotas, almost
half of whom were women and children.
It was an episode beyond shame piled upon a history of racism,
genocide, imposed misery, and unchecked greed.
The ugly and inhuman attitudes were on open display everywhere. Even
L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz book series, regularly
spewed venom and argued for the "total annihilation" of all Native
peoples. "Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order
to protect our civilization, follow it up with by one more wrong and
wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the
Such sentiments haven't been seen in a daily newspaper for a long
time (although with the current atmosphere in the country, you might
wonder). Congress officially apologized for the killings in the
1980s and there's been a recent push by some in Congress to rescind
20 Medals of Honor [https://www.opb.org/news/article/wounded-knee-massacre-medals-of-honor-revocation-ron-wyden-remove-the-stain-bill/]
awarded to soldiers involved in the massacre.
All that, though, is more like a temporary aberration. As a society,
we've more frequently buried the whole question of Native Americans.
There's a lot of needed discussion about long-term oppression and
ongoing prejudice and mistreatment of many other groups. But I've
found that when talking about income inequality, police shootings,
and other topics, many people tend to ignore the peoples who were
Earthshot Prize to tackle the climate crisis was hailed the ‘most
prestigious environment prize in history’ by David Attenborough.
Prince William has announced what was described as “the most
prestigious environment prize in history” to encourage new solutions
to tackling the climate crisis.
The “Earthshot prize” will be awarded to five people every year over
the next decade, the Prince said on Tuesday, and aims to provide at
least 50 answers to some of the greatest problems facing the planet
They include promoting new ways of addressing issues such as energy,
nature and biodiversity, the oceans, air pollution and fresh water.
The prize, inspired by US president John F Kennedy’s ambitious
“Moonshot” lunar programme and backed by Sir David Attenborough,
promises “a significant financial award”, a statement said.
The Duke of Cambridge, a grandson of the Queen and second in line to
the throne, said the Earth was “at a tipping point” and faced a
trying to wake up her sister Dani in the motel room where their
family is living in Gallup, N.M. Dani had previously been missing
for two years, one of many Native American women to disappear in
what activists call a long-ignored crisis.
The federal government is trying to catch up with a
crisis of missing Native American women. But no one is addressing
the problems that arise when they’re found.
by Jack Healy, Photographs
by Adriana Zehbrauskas, New York Times - 25 DEC
GALLUP, N.M. — Prudence Jones had spent two years handing out
“Missing” fliers and searching homeless camps and underpasses for
her 28-year-old daughter when she got the call she had been praying
for: Dani had been found. She was in a New Mexico jail, but she was
It seemed like a happy ending to the story of one of thousands of
Native American women and girls who are reported missing every year
in what Indigenous activists call a long-ignored crisis. Strangers
following Dani’s case on social media cheered the news this past
July: “Wonderful!” “Thank you God!” “Finally, some good news.”
But as Ms. Jones visited Dani in jail, saw the fresh scars on her
body and tried to comprehend the physical and spiritual toll of two
years on the streets, her family, which is Navajo, started to
grapple with a painful and lonely epilogue to its missing-persons
“There’s nothing for what comes after,” said Ms. Jones, 48, who has
five daughters. “How do you heal? How do you put your family back
together? The one thing I’ve found is there’s no support.”
Indigenous activists say that generations of killings and
disappearances have been disregarded by law enforcement and lost in
bureaucratic gaps concerning which local or federal agencies should
KLAMATH, Calif. — The Yurok Tribe and Six Rivers National Forest
announced the development of a historic partnership Monday,
according to a press release from the Yurok Tribe.
The Tribe's Watershed Restoration Department removed three downed
old growth redwood logs last month from the Redwood Experimental
Forest in Klamath.
The project was possible due to the combined efforts of the Yurok
Tribe and Six Rivers National Forest so the logs could be used for
The three logs removed will be carved by the Tribe into ten
traditional dugout canoes to be used in the Redwood Yurok Canoe
Tours, a Yurok Country attraction that will open spring of 2020....
President Jonathan Nez, First Lady Phefelia Nez, Vice President
Myron Lizer, Second Lady Dottie Lizer, Council Delegate Herman
Daniels, Council Delegate Wilson Stewart, Jr., and others during the
signing of CD-53-19 at the Office of the President and Vice
President in Window Rock, Ariz. on Dec. 28, 2019.
WINDOW ROCK — On Saturday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and
Vice President Myron Lizer were joined by Council Delegates Herman
Daniels, Jr. and Wilson Stewart, Jr., both members of the Resources
and Development Committee, at the Office of the President and Vice
President in Window Rock, Ariz. as they approved $1.9 million to
secure the rights to 500 megawatts along the Navajo Generating
Station transmission lines that will allow the Nation to earn
revenue from the use or marketing of transmission of electrical
The rights to the transmission lines were part of the extension
lease negotiated between the Navajo Nation and the owners of the
Navajo Generating Station in 2017, which also included the terms of
decommissioning and remediation of the power plant.
President Nez said the acquisition of the 500 megawatts places the
Navajo Nation in the driver seat to determine its own energy future
in accordance with the Nez-Lizer Administration’s Háyoołkááł
Proclamation, which was issued in April and states that the Nation
will pursue and prioritize renewable energy development for the
long-term benefit of the Navajo people....
Ella Fernandes, Fern
Renville, Roger Fernandes and Barbara Lawrence
Photo Credit: KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris
Cultural and familial traditions are as numerous as they are
diverse. Sometimes, the longer the practice of a tradition,
questions about its relevance begin to emerge.
In an age of technology and speedy progress, traditions can even be
seen as a roadblock towards change and societal growth.
But according to the speakers of this talk, traditional storytelling
is a key asset to forward, progressive thinking.
In this episode, Native artists from around the Pacific Northwest
not only share tales of folklore, but their thoughts on how
storytelling is another "information tool" for the modern world.
They also inform a Seattle audience on how traditional stories are
truly relevant when promoting practical wisdom, community building
tactics and future progress....
Across the country, new gas pipelines have met political opposition,
protests and lawsuits. In Pennsylvania, one major project has also
sparked criminal investigations, including by the FBI. Susan
Phillips of member station WHYY has more.
SUSAN PHILLIPS: From the
get-go, opponents cried foul over three parallel pipelines,
collectively called Mariner East. They alleged politics played a
hand in rushing through permits on a project they predicted would
cause environmental damage. And soon after construction began in
early 2017, accidents piled up - damaged streams and wetlands,
polluted drinking water wells and then large sinkholes in suburban
Philadelphia, including in T.J. Allen's backyard.
TJ ALLEN: But look at that. Do you think that's safe?
PHILLIPS: The construction of one line exposed another pipeline full
of highly flammable natural gas liquids.
ALLEN: I could've been blown up. I mean, it's crazy, man.
PHILLIPS: Opposition grew. Safety became a rallying cry. The
pipelines run close to schools, hospitals and neighborhoods. A year
ago, a local district attorney and the state's attorney general took
the unusual step of launching a criminal investigation into the
pipelines' builder, Energy Transfer. That's the same company that
built the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Chester County DA Tom Hogan says he was frustrated that state
regulatory oversight wasn't forcing Energy Transfer to clean up its
TOM HOGAN: Ten, 12 million dollars in fines are pocket change, as
far as they're concerned. It's not going to do anything to stop them
because this is a process that is going to net them billions of
PHILLIPS: Hogan says one potential criminal charge is risking a
catastrophe. A spokeswoman for Energy Transfer says the company did
not break any laws. But in February, CEO Kelcy Warren admitted on an
earnings call with investors that the company had made mistakes.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)....
National and local
organizations, including the Phoenix Indian Center, are working to
ensure a more accurate count for Native Americans in the 2020
census. (Photo by Deagan Urbatsch/Cronkite News)
PHOENIX – Time, distance and technology limitations are among the
reasons Native Americans may be the most difficult demographic to
count in the 2020 census, the Census Bureau says.
But lack of trust is the biggest reason, said Patty Hibbeler, chief
executive of the Phoenix Indian Center, which provides workforce and
youth development, drug and alcohol prevention and language and
“It comes from a very long and very negative history with the
federal government,” she said.
In the 2010 census, 4.9% of American Indians living on reservations
and Alaska Natives went uncounted – the highest of any group,
according to an official Census Bureau audit. One in 7 Natives was
left out of the equation the federal government uses to distribute
more than $600 billion based on census data.
Native Americans, along with Latinos and African Americans, have
been undercounted since the first census in 1790.
To halt this historical financial, political and societal disparity,
an Arizona census outreach organization and leaders of local and
national Native groups are mobilizing.
Hibbeler wants to avoid a potential undercount in the 2020 census,
which officially launches in January, so more federal funds will go
to schools, roads, hospitals and other needs of Native Americans in
Arizona. The census, which is required by the Constitution every 10
years, also determines which states gain or lose seats in Congress....
The public execution
of 38 Dakota Indians by federal authorities in Mankato, Minn., on
Dec. 26, 1862. Approximately 4,000 people came to witness the event.
Copied from a sketch by W.H. Childs in Frank Leslie's Illustrated
Newspaper, January 24, 1863, page 285.
Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society
It's a troubling piece of Minnesota's past: Thirty-eight Dakota men
hanged from a Mankato gallows in December 1862. Their deaths scarred
generations of native people and cemented Minnesota as home to the
largest mass execution in U.S. history.
Despite that infamy, if you're a Minnesotan in your 30s or older,
it's likely you were never taught about the hangings — or the
prairie war between the United States and the Dakota that led to
them. Minnesota didn't require students to study that tragic chapter
in the state's history.
That past, and how it's taught, surfaced again recently with
installation of "Scaffold," a Walker Art Center sculpture built in
the shape of a gallows with a reference to the Mankato hangings. It
led to an outcry from Dakota community members. While "Scaffold" has
been torn down, the controversy has called into question how much
Minnesotans know about what happened at Mankato.
"I think it's getting better than it used to be, but there's a long
way to go," said Kate Beane, outreach and program manager for the
Minnesota Historical Society.
Beane also teaches about Dakota culture and history at Minneapolis
Community and Technical College. She said every year she asks her
students if they know about the U.S.-Dakota War.
"Seven years ago when I started teaching that class maybe one or two
hands would be raised. Now I'm seeing more hands being raised,"
by Cherise Seucharan,
Star Vancouver - 26 DEC 2019
VANCOUVER—Mike Ridsdale’s voice shook as he spoke about ancient
artifacts that could be destroyed as construction of the Coastal
GasLink natural gas pipeline continues, through the traditional
lands of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
“Where our ancestors used to be laying, (they’ll be) shoved to the
side and made into a pile of dirt,” Ridsdale said.
Under provincial heritage rules, companies can apply for permits
that allow them to develop land, but that could also destroy
And as the CGL pipeline moves forward — tracking a 670 km path from
Dawson Creek to Kitimat — Ridsdale says his nation feels powerless
to protect these historic items.
“We need legislative tools for First Nations to have a better say in
what is happening on the ground,” said Ridsdale, environmental
assessment co-ordinator at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en Nation
near Smithers, B.C. “If not, then we are going to lose our
In Canada, indigenous communities are condemning the Canadian
government after it was revealed that the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police prepared for the potential use of lethal force against
indigenous land defenders resisting the construction of a natural
gas pipeline on the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s ancestral land in British
Columbia. The Guardian first revealed the documents in which
commanders of Canada’s national police force argued “lethal
overwatch is required” — a term for deploying snipers. The
preparations came ahead of a police raid last January against a
protest encampment where indigenous groups have been fighting the
Coastal GasLink pipeline. In response to the revelations, the grand
chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in Canada said, “This form
of state violence is happening to indigenous peoples around the
world. It is disheartening to know that, even in Canada, this same
type of planned violence is still being considered against First
How would you feel if the government confiscated your land, sold it
to someone else, and tried to force you to change your way of life,
all the while telling you it’s for your own good? That’s what
Congress did to Indian tribes 125 years ago today, with devastating
results, when it passed the Dawes Act.
During the 1800s, white settlers moved west by the tens of
thousands, and the US cavalry went with them, battling Indian tribes
along the way. One by one, tribes were forced to relinquish their
homelands (on which they had lived for centuries) and relocate to
reservations, often hundreds of miles away. By the late 1800s, some
three hundred reservations had been created.
The purpose of the reservation system was, for the most part, to
remove land from the Indians and to separate the Indians from the
settlers. Reservations were usually created on lands not (yet)
coveted by non-Indians. By the late 1800s, however, settlers were
nearly everywhere, and Congress needed to develop a new strategy to
prevent further bloodshed.
The government decided that instead of separating Indians from white
society, Indians should be assimilated into white society.
Assimilation of the Indians and the destruction of their
reservations became the new federal goal.....
of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Ryan Flynn addresses
attendees at a luncheon, Dec. 12, 2019 in Carlsbad. Adrian Hedden \
Tribal and environmentalist groups in New Mexico protested the
Bureau of Land Management’s upcoming auction of public land leases
slated for February 2020, calling it the latest in a string of sales
to the oil and gas industry that failed to account for the impact on
the environment and sacred lands.
The groups, led by the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians, claimed
to represent more than 5 million members in their opposition to the
sale and called on the federal government to cancel plans to lease
about 15,000 acres of tribal and federal public lands in New Mexico
before a full analysis of potential public health and cultural harm.
Opposition also pointed to a June lease sale that offered almost
40,000 acres for oil and gas development after receiving “thousands”
of protests from Native American tribes and other advocates.....
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been fighting the Dakota Access
Pipeline (DAPL) since the historic protests that happened during its
construction in 2016. Though President Obama halted construction in
late 2016, President Trump lifted the hold as soon as he took
office. The pipeline has now been operating for nearly 3 years,
despite violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
through its environmental assessment and the National Historic
Preservation Act (NHPA) through the destruction of cultural
resources during its construction.
As those violations continue to be investigated, the North Dakota
Public Service Commission (NDPSC) is now considering—and set to
approve—a massive expansion in the volume of Bakken crude oil
carried through the pipeline, despite opposition—both legal and
scientific—from the Tribe. Serious safety concerns previously
documented by the Tribe were based on the pipeline transporting
approximately 500 thousand barrels per day of Bakken crude. Now, an
expansion is proposed that would double that volume, to 1.1 million
barrels per day (over 46 million gallons/day) moving at increased
pressure and higher speed (about 15 feet per second), making an oil
spill more likely, and a timely and effective response
another Keystone XL protest.
President Donald Trump is determined on ensuring the Keystone XL
Pipeline becomes a reality, including trying to squash lawsuits
against him and the project. A court ruled Friday, however, against
his motion to dismiss an ongoing lawsuit that could stop the
1,184-mile-long crude oil pipeline.
And that’s pretty amazing.
The gigantic pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil a
day between Alberta, Canada, and the Gulf Coast. Any spill may pose
to water and land, and all the oil it could transport will worsen
climate change. Former President Barack Obama rejected it in 2015
after protests grew heated. Environmentalists and landowners whose
backyard this monstrosity would run through were pumped.
Unfortunately, the current president decided to revive Keystone XL
within his first month in the White House through executive order.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris—the same one ruling
here—reversed that in November 2018, but that didn’t stop Donald
Trump who issued a new presidential permit in April.
Environmental groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network,
sued the administration arguing the new permit was illegal, but the
president’s people filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit altogether.
The courts denied that Friday, adding the whirlwind that’s
surrounded the pipeline for a decade.
“[T]his is a complete win for the tribes on the motions to dismiss,”
Native American Rights Fund attorney Natalie Landreth said in a
statement. “We look forward to holding the Trump Administration and
TransCanada accountable to the Tribes and the applicable laws that
must be followed.”....
President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at
the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety
and Moms Demand Action at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines,
Iowa. August 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)
Former Vice President Joe Biden is not going to make many
environmentalists and progressive Democrats happy when they learn
who is on his staff.
Biden, 77, has a multitude of people tied to the oil and gas
industry on his campaign staff, according to a new report by Real
Heather Zichal, the climate advisor for the Biden campaign, used to
be a board member at Cheniere Energy, a natural gas company. Andrew
Goldman, a former adviser to Biden and a current fundraiser, is the
co-founder of natural gas company Western LNG. And Unite the County,
the SuperPac that is supporting him, has a former gas lobbyist on
its board, Sludge said.
But the most dangerous connection to the gas and oil industry is
Biden’s campaign co-chairman Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric
Richmond. Richmond has been a steady vote in favor of the expansion
of the production and exporting of natural gas and oil.
He voted in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline and “voted in favor of
a bill from Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) that would undermine the
environmental review process for natural gas pipelines by stating
that all pipelines that transport 0.14 billion cubic feet per day or
less should be immediately approved,” Sludge reported...
An editor at The Christian Post has abruptly quit the publication
after it aligned itself with Donald Trump as part of a spiraling
evangelical Christian civil war. Another evangelical newspaper,
Christianity Today, slammed the president as “immoral” and called
for his removal from office last weekend, prompting a backlash and
recriminations within the evangelical community....
The decision by Christianity Today to publish an editorial
describing President Trump as “immoral” and calling for his removal
drew immediate rebuke from the president himself, who called the
outlet “a far left magazine.” The piece drew nearly 3 million unique
visitors to the magazine’s website and became the talk of TV news
shows over the weekend.
At the same time, the longtime centrist-right evangelical magazine
saw a rush of canceled subscriptions — and an even greater wave of
new subscribers, magazine President Timothy Dalrymple said. Both he
and the author of the editorial, retiring editor in chief Mark Galli,
could also face personal and professional consequences, according to
interviews with several other conservative Christian leaders and
writers who in the past have spoken out critically about Trump.
They described losing book sales, conference attendees, donors,
church members and relationships.
Journalist Napp Nazworth, who has worked for the Christian Post
website since 2011, said he quit his job Monday because the website
was planning to publish a pro-Trump editorial that would slam
Christianity Today. Nazworth, who sits on the editorial board as
politics editor, said the website has sought to represent both sides
and published both pro- and anti-Trump stories....
Amy Lummer, left,
and Jordyn Barry present a book about latkes to children at a Barnes
& Noble in Tysons on Sunday during an event meant to share Hannukah
traditions. (Julie Zauzmer/The Washington Post)
“People keep coming into my office asking to talk about it,” Jewish
educator Jordyn Barry said as she stood in a Barnes & Noble at
Tysons Corner Center wearing a menorah on her sweater and a light-up
They want to discuss a question that’s both new and as old as
Abraham: What is Judaism anyway?
It’s a religion, yes — but then again, many who identify as Jews
aren’t religious. It’s passed down from parents to children and
bears recognizable genetic characteristics — but then again, Jews
come in all colors and racial backgrounds.
Ethnicity? Nationality? Faith? Culture? Heritage? Even Jews don’t
agree on just what Judaism is. And President Trump has thrown that
eternal question into sharp relief by signing an executive order
meant to strengthen protections against anti-Semitism on college
campuses, where the debate over Israel and Palestinian rights has
grown increasingly toxic in recent years.
Trump’s order, which he signed at a White House Hanukkah party last
week, says anti-Semitism is punishable under Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act — a clause that deals only with race, ethnicity and
nationality, not discrimination on the basis of religion. The order
says Jews can be considered to have been targeted on the basis of
their nationality or race as Jews.
Jewish Americans, who are presumably the beneficiaries, are deeply
torn about what it all means....
When hate crimes are on the rise, dark corners of the Internet are
flooded with vitriol about Jews and both the president and members
of Congress have been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes,
the Trump administration’s attempt at protection is viewed with both
suspicion and, in some corners, relief....
Steven Anderson, the
firebrand pastor of a Baptist church in Arizona, has preached online
that “the Jews believe that it’s okay for them to steal from
Gentiles.” (AFP/Getty Images) (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
While Trump calls most Jews
disloyal, some American Christians are following pastors who blame
Jews for a long list of the nation’s ills
by Julie Zauzmer, The
Washington Post - 22AUG 2019
BENSALEM, Pa. — As she cleans up the counter where the teenagers at
her church’s Vacation Bible School ate their cookies and yogurt,
Luba Yanko complains about the state of the country. President Trump
is trying to act on Christian values, she believes. But from what
she reads online, it seems that a certain group keeps getting in the
Trump, she says, “is surrounded by a Zionist environment with
completely different values from Christians. It’s kabbalist. It’s
Talmudic values. Not the word of God.”
In other words: It’s the Jews’ fault.
“Why do we have pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQ values, and we do not have
more freedom to protect our faith? We are persecuted now,” Yanko
says about evangelical Christians like herself. “[Jews] say, ‘We’ve
got America. We control America.’ That’s what I know.”
It’s an anti-Semitic viewpoint shared by a number of evangelical
Christians across the country. The relationship between Christians
and Jews has been fraught for almost 2,000 years since the death of
Jesus. Today, with a president who levels accusations about Jews and
who encourages his fans to mistrust the mainstream media, a growing
number of evangelicals are turning to the Internet for information
and finding anti-Jewish beliefs there....
appears before a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at
the White House on Tuesday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
President Trump went on Twitter on Wednesday to quote a conservative
radio host and known conspiracy theorist who praised him as “the
greatest President for Jews” and claimed that Israelis “love him
like he is the second coming of God.”
In his tweets, Trump thanked Wayne Allyn Root for “the very nice
Root has promoted numerous conspiracy theories, including that
former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States,
that Democratic National Committee staff member Seth Rich was killed
by any one of a number of prominent Democrats, that a mass shooting
in Las Vegas was coordinated by Muslims and that the person
responsible for the death of Heather Heyer at a white nationalist
rally in Charlottesville was paid by a wealthy Democrat.
Root has also been leading an effort to persuade Jews to leave the
Democratic Party and support Trump, whom he has previously called
the first Jewish president in the same sense the Bill Clinton was
sometimes called the first black president.
In his Wednesday morning tweets, Trump quoted Root saying,
“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel
in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best
President for Israel in the history of the world . . . and the
Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel.”
“They love him like he is the second coming of God,” Trump quoted
Root as saying.
Jews do not believe in a second coming....
Rep. Liz Cheney with
House Republican leaders, Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Steve
RIVERTON, Wyo. — On a momentous day for Tribal Nations,
Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), the House Republican Conference
Chairwoman, stated that the successful litigation by tribes and
environmentalists to return the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone
to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “was not based on science or
facts” but motivated by plaintiffs “intent on destroying our Western
way of life.”
One of the largest tribal-plaintiff alliances in recent memory
prevailed in the landmark case, Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke last
September, when US District Judge Dana Christensen ruled in favor of
the tribes and environmental groups after finding that the Trump
Administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had failed to
abide by the ESA and exceeded its authority in attempting to remove
federal protections from the grizzly. Tuesday, USFWS officially
returned federal protections to the grizzly....
The fact that Donald Trump has now been impeached (despite what the
loons on Fox News say), hasn’t slowed the discovery of new evidence
of his guilt. This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to
ensure a comprehensive consideration of the Articles of Impeachment
when they get transmitted to the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
knows this, and so do the vast majority of Americans who favor a
full and fair hearing, including witnesses and document production....
Nikki Cooley - From
her home base in Flagstaff, the Diné educator and former river guide
is inspiring the community to protect the landscapes she cherishes
Close your eyes and picture the state of Arizona. You’re likely
envisioning the Grand Canyon, maybe some saguaro cacti, or a
sun-drenched desertscape with craggy buttes. While none of that is
wrong, it’s not the full picture, either. In addition to being home
to incredible canyons and desert playgrounds, the northern part of
Arizona boasts real-deal mountain towns and huge swaths of
high-elevation ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and spruce forest.
Flagstaff, a hip high-desert outpost with tons of restaurants and
microbreweries, is exactly that kind of place. The former cattle and
lumber town sits at 7,000 feet and is surrounded by foothills,
shaded by 12,000-foot peaks, and laced with hiking and mountain
biking trails. There’s even a ski area, the Snowbowl, just above
town. “This area is so unique,” says Nikki Cooley, a Diné educator,
Flagstaff resident, and Arizona native. “There’s something for every
physical ability to do,” says Cooley. “People are outside all the
time, there’s incredible access to the mountains and trails.”....
Dena Waloki hugs
Brad Upton (R), descendant of the commander of the Wounded Knee
massacre, on the Cheyenne River reservation in Bridger, South
Dakota, 04 November 2019.
EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. (Reuters) - For the last 50 years, Bradley Upton
has prayed for forgiveness as he has carried the burden of one of
the most horrific events in U.S. history against Native Americans,
one that was perpetrated by James Forsyth, his
Forsyth commanded the 7th Cavalry during the Wounded Knee Massacre
on Dec. 29, 1890, when U.S. troops killed more than 250 unarmed
Oglala Lakota men, women and children, a piece of family history
that has haunted the Colorado man since he was a teenager.
This week Upton, 67, finally got an opportunity to express his
contrition and formally apologize for the atrocities carried out by
Forsyth to the direct descendants of the victims at their home on
the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.....
BOUDLER, Colo. — The Native American Relief Fund announced on
Friday, December 20, 2019, the organization and their clients, the
Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Fort Belknap Indian Community (the
Tribes) received some great news from a Montana court. The federal
court denied the United States federal government’s and the
TransCanada’s (TC Energy) efforts to dismiss the Tribes’ case
against the KXL Pipeline.
NARF Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth praised the decision, “The
court’s decision means that ALL of the tribes’ claims on the current
permits will proceed. The only claims dismissed are the ones that
the Tribes conceded should be dismissed because they were based on
an old permit. So this is a complete win for the tribes on the
motions to dismiss. We look forward to holding the Trump
Administration and TransCanada accountable to the Tribes and the
applicable laws that must be followed.”
NARF Staff Attorney Matthew Campbell also reacted to the news, “Of
course, the treaties were agreed to by the president of the United
States and ratified by the Senate, so the treaties clearly apply.
The court rightly found that today.”...
Members of Tuk TV
pose at the COP25 conference in Madrid, Spain. The group screened
their documentary, Happening to Us, which shows the impacts climate
change is having in their home community.
(Submitted by Tuk TV)
It was only a few months ago that a group of teens from Tuktoyaktuk,
N.W.T., formed a collective — Tuk TV — and began filming a
documentary: Happening to Us.
But what a few months it has been.
The teens recently returned from Cop25 — a United Nations climate
change conference held in Madrid — having screened their documentary
to attendees from around the world.
The film shows the impact climate change is having on the teens'
hometown, where issues like coastal erosion are so dramatic the
hamlet is preparing for relocation.
"They really showed concern," said Tuk TV's Carmen Kuptana. "Their
eyes opened up when they saw what was happening to our land, and how
young kids were really concerned about what was happening."
Four teen filmmakers from Tuktoyaktuk attended the conference. Next
to 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, they
were the youngest delegates in attendance — something Kuptana
thought was "really cool."
Kuptana said she really liked showing their culture, and what is at
stake for them with climate change....
If the Keystone XL pipeline is constructed, workers will stay in 10
camps as they move through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
Pipeline opponents have shared concerns about the potential for
workers to commit crimes, especially against women.
At a South Dakota Water Management Board hearing on Thursday, Dec.
19, a project supervisor explained how TC Energy contractors keep
control over their employees.
The truth is, neither TC Energy contractors nor any other
contractors keep control over their employees. There is an epidemic
of rapes of women and young, underage girls in the communities
surrounding the man camps. It is a known consequence of man camps
when pipeline and refinery construction is underway. It is a
legitimate cause for concern...
On April 19, 2016, thousands of eligible Brooklyn voters dutifully
showed up to cast their ballots in the presidential primary, only to
find their names missing from the voter lists. An investigation by
the New York state attorney general found that New York City’s Board
of Elections had improperly deleted more than 200,000 names from the
In June 2016, the Arkansas secretary of state provided a list to the
state’s 75 county clerks suggesting that more than 7,700 names be
removed from the rolls because of supposed felony convictions. That
roster was highly inaccurate; it included people who had never been
convicted of a felony, as well as persons with past convictions
whose voting rights had been restored.
And in Virginia in 2013, nearly 39,000 voters were removed from the
rolls when the state relied on a faulty database to delete voters
who allegedly had moved out of the commonwealth. Error rates in some
counties ran as high as 17 percent.
These voters were victims of purges — the sometimes-flawed process
by which election officials attempt to remove ineligible names from
voter registration lists. When done correctly, purges ensure the
voter rolls are accurate and up-to-date. When done incorrectly,
purges disenfranchise legitimate voters (often when it is too close
to an election to rectify the mistake), causing confusion and delay
at the polls.
Ahead of upcoming midterm elections, a new Brennan Center
investigation has examined data for more than 6,600 jurisdictions
that report purge rates to the Election Assistance Commission and
calculated purge rates for 49 states.
We found that between 2014 and 2016, states removed almost 16
million voters from the rolls, and every state in the country can
and should do more to protect voters from improper purges....
President Trump has
kept Republicans members of Congress in line throughout the
impeachment process. Credit...Pete Marovich for The New York Times
The president demands complete fealty, and as the impeachment
hearings showed, he has largely attained it. To cross him is to risk
a future in G.O.P. politics.
Just under four years after he began his takeover of a party to
which he had little connection, Mr. Trump enters 2020 burdened with
the ignominy of being the first sitting president to seek
re-election after being impeached.
But he does so wearing a political coat of armor built on total
loyalty from G.O.P. activists and their representatives in Congress.
If he does not enjoy the broad admiration Republicans afforded
Ronald Reagan, he is more feared by his party’s lawmakers than any
occupant of the Oval Office since at least Lyndon Johnson....
FILE - In this Jan.
11, 2013, file photo, the Social Security Administration's main
campus is seen in Woodlawn, Md. More than 60 million retirees,
disabled workers, spouses and children rely on monthly Social
Security benefits. That’s nearly one in five Americans. The trustees
who oversee Social Security say the program has enough money to pay
full benefits until 2034. But at that point, Social Security will
collect only enough taxes to pay 79 percent of benefits. Unless
Congress acts, millions of people on fixed incomes would get an
automatic 21 percent cut in benefits. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky,
An attack on any part of Social Security is an attack on the entire
system and all current and future beneficiaries
American workers contribute to Social Security with every paycheck.
When they do, they are earning comprehensive insurance protections.
Social Security insures against the loss of wages due to old age,
disability, or (for the surviving family of a worker) death. While
Social Security is best known as a retirement program, disability
and survivor’s benefits are equally essential.
An attack on any part of Social Security is an attack on the entire
system and all current and future beneficiaries. The latest proposal
from Donald Trump’s administration, which is designed to rip
benefits away from hundreds of thousands of Americans with
disabilities, amounts to a declaration of war on Social Security....
President Trump told a former senior White House official that he
knew Ukraine was to blame for the 2016 U.S. election meddling
because Russian President Vladimir Putin told him so, The Washington
Post reports. The president reportedly embraced theories about
Ukrainian interference early in his presidency, but he became more
insistent after he met privately with Putin at the July 2017 G-20
summit. After meeting with Putin in Hamburg, Trump repeatedly said
he believed that Putin didn’t interfere in the 2016 election—despite
the conclusions of U.S. intelligence—and that Ukraine had sought to
have Hillary Clinton in office. “Putin told me,” he reportedly told
one official. Another former official said there was a “strong
belief in the White House was that Putin told him” the information....
Trump advisor Justin
Clark, pictured here in September, told an audience of influential
Republicans in swing state Wisconsin that the GOP will go on offense
in 2020 to monitor polls. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
"It's clear there's no
law Donald Trump and his right-wing machine won't bend, break, or
ignore to try to win the presidency."
by Eoin Higgins, staff
writer; Common Dreams - 21 DEC 2019
Reporting on Friday shows a top advisor for President Donald Trump's
re-election campaign caught on tape in November bragging of the
Republican Party's history of voter suppression—and promising to go
on the offensive in 2020.
The revelation came from the Associated Press in a report Friday on
comments by Trump re-election advisor Justin Clark at an event in
"Traditionally it's always been Republicans suppressing votes in
places," said Clark. "Let's start protecting our voters. We know
where they are... Let's start playing offense a little bit. That's
what you’re going to see in 2020."....
Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2020 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Dec. 20, 2019.Andrew Harnik/AP
The U.S. Space Force has become the nation's newest branch of the
military as President Donald Trump signed the National Defense
Authorization Act, which authorized the creation of the new military
service. Space Force went into operation almost immediately after
the legislation was signed into law, but many questions still need
to be decided as to how the new military service will function and
who will serve in its ranks.
"For the first time since President Harry Truman created the Air
Force over 70 years ago, we will create a brand new American
military service," Trump said as he signed the defense budget at an
event at Joint Base Andrews.
"With my signature today, you will witness the birth of the Space
Force, and that will be now officially the sixth branch of the U.S.
Armed Forces," Trump said. "The Space Force will help us deter
aggression and control the ultimate high ground."....
This story was originally published by High Country News, and is
reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Uranium, it’s now part of Navajo DNA. With over 500 abandoned
uranium mines on the Navajo Nation, people living near these mines
are exposed daily to radiation exposure at a rate several times
higher than normal background radiation. Last week, President Donald
Trump announced he was summarily reducing the Bears Ears National
Monument by 85 percent, thereby opening archaeologically rich sites
to uranium mining.
Over the past two months, at administrative chapter houses adjacent
to Bears Ears, 98 percent of Navajos voted in support of the
national monument designation. These voters are likely voting for
more than the protection of sacred sites. Many are likely also there
for a say in the future of the uranium mining that has plagued
Navajo communities since World War II, when the development of the
atom bomb created a demand for yellowcake.
From the 1940s to the 1980s, 30 million tons of uranium were
extracted from mines on the Navajo Nation. Today, more than 500
abandoned uranium mines remain on the reservation, which stretches
27,000 square miles from the south rim of the Grand Canyon past
Gallup, New Mexico, and north to the San Juan River in Utah,
poisoning the water and carrying in the dust. Only one mine has been
cleaned up. It is estimated that total cleanup will cost between $4
billion to $6 billion and could take a century to complete. A recent
study by researchers from the University of New Mexico found 85
percent of Navajo homes had uranium contamination, and Navajos
living near these mines have higher levels of uranium in their bones
than 95 percent of the American population. Even infants have been
found to have uranium in their urine.
In a penetrating series of articles on uranium mining’s legacy in
the Navajo Nation, published by the Arizona Republic in 2014, Lillie
Lane, the Navajo Nation’s Environmental Protection Agency outreach
coordinator, told the newspaper the radiation has tainted their
chromosomes. “I think we are still in the infant stages of seeing
what the impacts are in the gene pool of the Navajo people,” she
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Trump have tried not to
portray the shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante as
energy issues. In his announcement at the Utah Capitol steps in Salt
Lake City, Trump did not mention “energy dominance,” a favorite
phrase. Zinke told reporters prior to the announcement his review
was “not about energy.”
Maybe that’s true. In fact, a gaffe the previous week, in which
Trump used a ceremony honoring the Navajo Code Talkers for their
service as a chance to take a political swipe at Sen. Elizabeth
Warren, D-Mass., by again calling her “Pocahontas,” reminded Indian
Country that this wasn’t all about energy.
Hiding behind the fig leaf of “local” concerns, Trump expressed
outrage at how the monument is allegedly preventing rural families
in San Juan County “from enjoying their outdoor activities.”
This turn of phrase inevitably brings to mind Ryan Bundy, son of the
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who led an armed standoff against the
Bureau of Land Management, for which he and several of his sons are
presently being tried on federal charges in Nevada. Ryan and his
brother Ammon famously led a second armed takeover in 2016 of the
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and have also been active
in Utah. Ryan led armed ATV riders in 2014 over ancient Puebloan
villages in San Juan County during a protest organized by County
Commissioner Phil Lyman in protest of the closure of an illegally
created road through the ruins. In April, Zinke announced the
opening of some of these sites (although not the trail Bundy
protested) to motorized traffic, citing the right of people with
disabilities to have access to them.
Lyman (who was convicted of a misdemeanor for his role in the ATV
ride) was on stage with Trump last week for the announcement. Trump
flattered Utah Republican leaders who flanked him onstage, including
Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop. All have
been staunch opponents of Bears Ears, a groundbreaking monument
proposed by five Indigenous nations: Navajo Nation, Hopi, Zuni, Ute
Mountain Ute and Uintah and Ouray Ute.
So in that way, the monument isn’t about energy. But in another way
it is, especially when it comes to uranium. During Zinke’s review of
27 national monuments, the Utah legislature submitted a 49-page
comment claiming Bears Ears National Monument would destroy the
state’s uranium industry.
On Friday, the Washington Post broke the story that Energy Fuels
Resources, owners of the Daneros Uranium Mine and the White Mesa
Uranium Mill, had lobbied the Interior Department to reduce the
monument because it impeded their business interests in the area,
effectively refuting Zinke and Trump’s claims energy interests did
not play a role. In a May 2017 letter to the Interior, the company’s
chief operating officer, Mark Chalmers, urged the monument be
reduced because there are “many known uranium and vanadium deposits
located within the newly created (Bears Ears National Monument) that
could provide valuable energy and mineral resources in the future.”
The monument has many inactive uranium mines and unused mining
leases that are not being used due to a poor market for uranium. But
one mill, the White Mesa Uranium Mill, is still of concern....
Ariel Begay disappeared in 2017. Her case highlights the many
hurdles families of missing indigenous
he first day that Jacqueline Whitman’s daughter didn’t come home,
she wasn’t that worried. It was last summer, the Fourth of July.
Twenty-six-year-old Ariel had headed out the day before with her
boyfriend, who had picked her up at the three-bedroom house she
shared with her mother, her grandfather, and five of her six
siblings at the eastern edge of the Navajo reservation in Arizona.
She called the next afternoon, telling Jacqueline she’d try to make
it home for dinner. She didn’t, but she’d texted the family. (“You
jerks,” it said. It was what she always affectionately called them.)
The second day that Ariel didn’t come home, she called her cousins,
telling them she was in a town just off the reservation with some
friends. But she didn’t call her sister Valya’s three-year-old son,
which she usually did every day. On the third and fourth days that
Ariel didn’t come home, she didn’t call anyone. And she wasn’t
active on Facebook, which was highly unusual. She was always on
Facebook. She didn’t respond to texts, and calls to her phone went
straight to voicemail.
By the fifth day, Jacqueline was starting to panic. If Ariel didn’t
come home that night, she decided, she was going to call the police.
Valya made some posters with Ariel’s picture on them, but she didn’t
put them up at first; she felt a little ridiculous. “She’s going to
come home,” Valya kept thinking. “When Ariel comes home, she’s going
to say, ‘Why did you do this? You’re silly.’”
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) and the Fort Belknap
Indian Community (Assiniboine (Nakoda) and Gros Ventre (Aaniiih)
Tribes) in coordination with their counsel, the Native American
Rights Fund, on September 10, 2018, sued the Trump Administration in
the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Great Falls
Division, for numerous violations of the law in the Keystone XL
pipeline permitting process. The Tribes are asking the court to
declare the review process in violation of the Administrative
Procedure Act (APA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),
and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and to rescind the
illegal issuance of the Keystone XL pipeline presidential permit.
On March 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of State granted
TransCanada’s permit application and issued it a presidential permit
to construct and operate the Keystone XL Pipeline. This decision
reversed two previous administrative decisions and was done without
any public comment or environmental analysis....