Lawsuits Being Readied Against North Dakota Law Enforcement, and More Stories from Indian Country Today

I spun through Indian Country Today’s news page for the past few days — so many good stories. They include articles on:

  • Lawsuits that will be pressed against law enforcement for the excessive force used against the water protectors near Standing Rock.
  • How a Native American water protector got an electoral vote for U.S. President.
  • Canada’s efforts to take action on its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and
  • How stopping one oil pipeline is winning a battle, not the war.

Below is a quick summary of each article and links to the full text. (And consider bookmarking Indian Country Today on your browser.)

North Dakota Government and Law Enforcement to Face Liability Lawsuits

After having written a post Monday that water protectors facing trespass and other charges in court in North Dakota won’t have adequate legal defense, it was interesting to read Ray Cook’s piece discussing the flip side of the legal battle.

Cook is the Opinions Editor for Indian Country Today Media Network, and his piece was titled: NoDAPL Water Protectors Unleash Legal Attack Dogs. He wrote:

Criminal cases were due to begin today, Monday, December 19. Meanwhile, liability cases are being developed and will continue to accumulate: Expect up to 200 cases to be pressed against the State, the Governor, Morton County and the individual security and police personnel identified in alleged wrongful acts. …

These particular cases are different from the arrested defendants. These are the suits of peaceful protectors who carried no weapons, who were not arrested. The police and DAPL security hideously injured them.

For the full article, click here.

Water Protector Faith Spotted Eagle Gets Electoral Vote for President

With all the talk of electors committed to Donald Trump possibly switching their vote, it was Hillary Clinton who lost the most. Four presidential electors from Washington State who were supposed to vote for Clinton did not. Three voted for Collin Powell, and one — Robert Satiacum, — voted for Linda Spotted Eagle.

A Monday article in Indian Country Today provides the details, saying Satiacum couldn’t vote for Clinton because “he distrusts her regarding the environment.”

Satiacum met Spotted Eagle at Standing Rock during the stand against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Spotted Eagle, chairwoman of the Ihanktonwan Oyate Treaty Steering Committee, has long been a defender of Mother Earth. When she was in her own mother’s womb more than 68 years ago, she said, the place where her family lived along the Missouri River was flooded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [by the Garrison Dam project]. She was born fighting for the river and the land.

Click here for the full story.

Trudeau Follows Up on Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Canada went through a lengthy Truth and Reconciliation Commission process, and Indian Country Today is reporting on the next steps.

Headlined: Trudeau Reaches Out to Indigenous Peoples in Canada, it quotes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from a press conference following a meeting with First Nations:

“First, we will create permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the four Inuit Nunangat Regions, and the Métis National Council and its governing members,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa after the meeting. “Every year we will meet to develop policy on shared priorities, and monitor our progress going forward. Similar meetings with key cabinet ministers will take place at least twice each year.”

Trudeau’s remarks received praise from some Native leaders. However, he had his critics, too:

Amnesty International Canada is calling foul on Canada’s record to protect indigenous rights in a number of instances over the past year, including the approval of major industrial projects like the Site C dam in Northeastern British Columbia and the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project near Vancouver, which has drawn harsh criticism from indigenous leaders.

Click here for the full story.

Pipeline Whack a Mole: Stop One and Another Pops Up

And speaking of the Kinder Morgan pipeline … it just goes to show that stopping one pipeline is winning a battle, not the war.

Indian Country Today published Too Risky: Northwest Tribes, Environmental Advocates Oppose Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, providing some  background. The article points out two recent pipeline victories: the delay in the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Trudeau’s decision to reject Enbridge’s proposed oil sands pipeline from Alberta to a refinery in Kitimat, British Columbia.

However, Trudeau approved Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain Pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia, growth that would triple the company’s capacity of so-called tar sands oil …

In this case, the concern is not just about the potential for a pipeline leak, but the fact that the pipeline will increase the  number of supertanker visits to Vancouver, B.C. It means 400 tankers loaded with tar sands oil would pass through the Salish Sea annually (the area between Washington State, the Olympic Peninsula, Vancouver Island and British Columbia).

In the middle of the Salish Sea are the San Juan Islands, which were declared a national monument in 2013 and are overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The San Juans are the place of origin for several Coast Salish peoples. …

Bill Tsilixw James, a traditional chief of the Lummi Nation, said that although indigenous Peoples are at the forefront of the battle to protect the Salish Sea, environmental health is not just an indigenous issue.

“We always say that water is life,” James said. “It’s the lifeline of our people—and not just us. It’s everybody, every human being.”

Click here for the full story.

And, again, consider bookmarking Indian Country Today

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