Category Archives: Indigenous Peoples

Standing our sacred ground: First Nations, Tribal leaders, and land owners send message to Canada, stop tar sands at the source

April 24, 2014. Source: Idle No More

Photo: CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES

Washington DC – Northern Plains Tribal leaders and land owners representing the Cowboy and Indian Alliance joined in cross-border solidarity yesterday with their First Nations counterparts on the steps of the Canadian embassy. Their aim was to send a clear message to the Canadian and US governments to Honor the Treaties. Representatives of the Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Ponca, Ojibway, and Cree Nations stood alongside ranchers and farmers to hold up huge letters spelling out “Honor The Treaties” and blown-up images of Treaty 8, Treaty 6, and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which cover Indigenous people’s lands affected by the controversial Canadian tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline.

It’s time for our people to start developing our own policies and enforcing our inherent Treaty rights. It is time for us to start defining what that relationship looks like for our visitors and remind our visitors that they came here and we are the ones, as Indigenous people, that gave them the permission to settle here on Turtle Island,” said Crystal Lameman, member of Beaver Lake Cree Nation.

The Beaver Lake Cree Nation is currently engaged in a landmark constitutional Treaty rights challenge in the Supreme Court of Canada that has named tens of thousands of Treaty rights violations of Treaty 6 by the provincial government of Alberta, the federal government of Canada, and dozens of oil companies operating in the controversial Canadian tar sands. The Beaver Lake Cree Nation case represents a growing understanding that through Aboriginal Title and Inherent and Treaty Rights, the Native rights-based strategic framework is the strongest legally binding strategy to stop the expansion of the tar sands at the source, including all of the associated pipeline infrastructure coming out of Alberta to bring this land-locked resource to international markets. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands

Horses, teepees arrive on Mall for KXL protest

By Darren Goode, April 22, 2014. Source: Politico

Horses, Daryl Hannah, sacred fires and Neil Young — these are some of the things you’re likely to see on the National Mall starting Tuesday as part of the latest protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Keystone Pipeline Protest

Things kick off Tuesday morning with a short 24-horse ride from the Capitol. Photo: AP Photo

The “Reject and Protect” protest is a weeklong event hosted by the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, a group of ranchers, farmers and leaders of seven Native American tribes. Protesters said activists also plan to project anti-pipeline messages onto the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday night, hold an interfaith ceremony outside the Georgetown home of Secretary of State John Kerry and stage an unspecified “bold and creative” bit of civil disobedience.

They’re estimating that as many as 5,000 activists will take part in a march past the Capitol on Saturday. The rest of the week is expected to be more intimate.

Things kick off Tuesday morning with a short 24-horse ride from the Capitol to a reserved area near the Reflecting Pool. The Indigo Girls will perform two songs as a ceremonial teepee is erected “that will have a clear message to the president on it,” promised Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, the state’s leading anti-pipeline group.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Tar Sands

Klamath tribal members protest “celebratory” signing of agreement

April 21, 2014. Source: Warrior Publications

klamath-protest-1U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, State of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, State of California Governor Jerry Brown, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Klamath Tribes elected officials and Klamath Basin irrigators held a “celebratory” signing of the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement last Friday at Collier Park, 4 miles north of Chiloquin.  With strong support from Senator Wyden, he stated “I am going to introduce in the first few days of May, legislation in partnership with Senator Merkley to make this agreement law.”


But the “celebration” was not held without opposition.  Members and descendants of the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin tribes came together to object to the UKBCA stating that tribal membership had less than a month to review the 93 page document. Tribal Council only allowed 19 days from the mailing of the ballots by the election company to the deadline for return.

Although their addresses are current and updated, a large portion of membership either did not receive a ballot or did not did receive a ballot in time to cast a vote before the deadline. Therefore, membership feels proper voting procedure was not implemented and they did not have adequate time to make an informed decision in the referendum vote, which had a deadline of April 9th 2014 postmarked by 9 am.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Water

Drunken trees: Dramatic signs of climate change

By Brian Clark Howard, April 17, 2014. Source: National Geographic 

According to scientists, melting ground is to blame for tilting spruce trees. Photo: Galen Rowell, Corbis

According to scientists, melting ground is to blame for tilting spruce trees.
Photo: Galen Rowell, Corbis

Sarah James, an Alaska Native elder, says global warming is radically changing her homeland. Even the forests no longer grow straight. Melting ground has caused trees to tilt or fall.

“Because permafrost melts, it causes a lot of erosion,” says James, who lives in Arctic Village, a small Native American village in northeastern Alaska. “A lot of trees can’t stand up straight. If the erosion gets worse, everything goes with it.”

Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. But climate change has caused much of that ground to melt at an unprecedented rate. The ground buckles and sinks, causing trees to list at extreme angles.

Sometimes the trees survive the stress and continue growing, uprighting themselves to vertical. Other times they collapse or drown from rising water tables as subterranean ice melts. Because such trees seem to stagger across the landscape, people often call them “drunken trees.”

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Filed under Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples

Gunmen in Brazil caught on video shooting at Indigenous Guarani

By Rick Kearns, April 18, 2014. Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Photo: Aty Guasu/Survival International

Photo: Aty Guasu/Survival International

Hired gunmen firing at Guarani in Brazil were filmed recently by the indigenous people who are continuing their struggle to regain stolen territory.

According to Survival International (SI), which posted the video on their website, gunmen have been terrorizing the Guarani of Pyelito Kue since they returned to their ancestral land last month, years after the government had officially recognized their right to move back, forcing the rancher on that land to move out.

On Monday, April 7 they filmed two armed men shooting at them “in broad daylight.”


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Corporate sponsorship of Indigenous groups: A necessity, or selling out?

By Martha Troian, April 15, 2014. Source: VICE

A drum session at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Victoria. Photo via Facebook.

A drum session at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Victoria. Photo via Facebook.

As the Canadian government slashes the budgets of Indigenous organizations across the nation, many are struggling to stay afloat. Increasingly, Indigenous organizations are accepting lifelines from a controversial source—namely oil & gas or resource extraction companies—sparking a debate over whether taking the badly needed money is ‘building relationships’ or ‘selling out.’

“We’re trying to rebuild our credibility,” says Hayden King, Director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance (CIG) at Ryerson University, an organization dedicated to advancing issues of Indigenous governance. The Centre launched in 2010, with financial help from Hydro One, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and Vale Inco, a mining company. “The Indigenous community at Ryerson didn’t know this money had been accepted to launch the Centre,” says King.

Although it was the university who accepted these funds, the Indigenous community withdrew their support, effectively shuttering the Centre for about a year in 2011. King came on board after the Centre reopened, but he’s still dealing with the backlash today.”We’re trying to atone for that but maybe there’s no atoning for it,” he says.

Another group under scrutiny is Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation), a national charity that’s helped tens of thousands of Indigenous people attain higher education. Indspire also produces an awards show that honours the achievements of Indigenous peoples. Much of the money has come from Big Oil. Continue reading

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SWN returning to New Brunswick as Mi’kmaq plan renewed resistance

By Jorge Barrera, April 15, 2014. Source: APTN News

People round dance around burning tires on the highway during demonstration last fall against SWN Resources Canada’s shale gas exploration work.  Photo: APTN/File

People round dance around burning tires on the highway during demonstration last fall against SWN Resources Canada’s shale gas exploration work. Photo: APTN/File

Another round of battles loom between the Mi’kmaq in New Brunswick and a Houston-headquartered energy firm exploring for shale gas deposits in the province.

SWN Resources Canada has submitted two proposals under the province’s environmental impact assessment process to drill exploratory wells in separate parts of New Brunswick. The projects were registered with the provincial environment department on Monday, according to an official.

The company plans to drill one well in Chipman, which is in central New Brunswick, and a second well near Richibucto, which is in an area that saw intense demonstrations against shale gas exploration last autumn.

The Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog is only about 17 kilometres west of Richibucto and its War Chief John Levi said SWN should again expect resistance.

“We are just getting ready to go back out there and stop them. It’s going to be rough,” said Levi. “It ain’t no game. This is our livelihood that is at stake. We are not going to allow it. It’s like they are trying to kill us slowly.” Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Fracking, Indigenous Peoples, Water

Take action to stop the Energy East pipeline!

April 15, 2014. Source: Idle No More

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling (2nd L) announces the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 1, 2013. (TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling (2nd L) announces the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 1, 2013.
(TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

Last year, TransCanada announced their intention to build a 4,500 km pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta, already devastating many Indigenous communities, to New Brunswick, where communities like Elsipogtog had to fight to stop dangerous fracking last year.

A group of concerned Indigenous activists recently met in Winnipeg to discuss how Indigenous Peoples across Canada could work together to stop this pipeline (watch them on APTN here).

This pipeline passes through major cities including Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Montreal, but also through the territory of over 150 Indigenous communities.Mi’qmaq women took action against the #EnergyEast pipeline proposal and shut down the Maritime Energy Association meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 31, with the support of hundreds of young peoples who were converging for the  PowerShift Atlantic conference. Check out the photos here and read their press release here. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands

BC preparing injunction against Unist’ot’en pipeline resistance camp

By John Ahni Schertow, April 14, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Leaders of the Unist’ot’en resistance camp held a press conference in Vancouver on April 7, 2014 in response to leaked information that the Provincial government is preparing an injunction against the camp. The camp is in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern BC on the route of the Pacific Trail fracked gas pipeline.

Premier Christie Clark has staked her political future on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, more accurately called liquefied fracked gas or LFG. But pipelines from the fracking fields in the province’s north-east must pass through unceded Indigenous territory on the way to the coast. They therefore require the free, prior and informed consent of the people of those lands; consent they do not have and will not receive from the Unist’ot’en and the other Wet’suwet’en hereditary clans.

“While the elected leadership of some Indian bands have signed agreements regarding the Pacific Trail Pipeline, Wet’suwet’en hereditary clans have jurisdiction over their territories” says Freda Huson “The Unist’ot’en are standing up for our territory, and protecting Mother Earth on a global scale by keeping fracked gas in the ground.” Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Fracking, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Ethiopian military opens fire on resettled communities

April 4, 2014. Source: Ethiopian Satellite Television

A squad of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) that has travelled to the Southern Omo region of Ethiopia to quell the month long fights between the Bodi and Konso communities has on April 2, 2014 fired heavy weapons on the Bodi people wounding many. Among the wounded, at least 17 elderly women, children and youth are attending medical treatment in Hana Health Centre in Jinka, Southern Ethiopia, the Omo Peoples Democratic Unity (OPDU) office told ESAT.

The Administrator and the Deputy Administrator of Selamago Woreda are in a row with the Head of the Security Head of the area following the actions taken by the ENDF.

According to OPDU, the Konso elders have complained to the officials “When you resettled us here, you told us that you have talked with the people and that everything was alright. However, after we have come here we faced several clashes. Despite our progresses in resolving our conflicts via peaceful and traditional methods, you have taken such a reckless measure which could dim our hope of living together after now. ”

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