News and events: Updates on DAPL, Keystone XL, winter gear drive for Fond du Lac children and more

In this blog:

  • Standing Rock, other Native nations, try again to shut down DAPL
  • Judge denies Native nation’s bid to halt Keystone oil pipeline work
  • Tanka Fund raising money to return buffalo to Native lands
  • Winter gear drive for Fond du Lac children
  • Students at the U. of M. Forest Resources Dept. sign-on letter to address systemic racism 
  • A look back at Native vote suppression

Standing Rock, other Native nations, try again to shut down DAPL

“Native American tribes opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline once again have asked a federal judge to stop the flow of oil while the legal battle over the line’s future plays out,” the AP reports.

“The Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes succeeded on their first attempt, only to have an appeals court overturn U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s shutdown order earlier this year. Now, they’re asking the judge to clarify his earlier ruling to satisfy the appellate judges and then to again order the line to cease operations, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Judge denies Native nation’s bid to halt Keystone oil pipeline work

“A federal judge has denied a request by Native American tribes to halt construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada over worries about potential spills and damage to cultural sites,” the AP reports. “Work started this spring on the long-stalled pipeline that would carry oil sands crude from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.”

“The Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana and Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota have challenged President Donald Trump’s 2019 permit for the project.”

The tribes say the project violates treaty rights. The judge hasn’t made a final decision and requested further arguments.

Tanka Fund raising money to return buffalo to Native lands

The Pine Ridge-reservation based Tanka Fund is trying to raise $500,000 to help return buffalo to Native lands. According to its website, the money would provide grants to increase access to capital for Native buffalo caretaker and support the Tanka Resilient Agriculture Cooperative, a model for Native ranchers to build economic power and learn regenerative agriculture practices.

Winter gear drive for Fond du Lac children

Students at the U. of M. Forest Resources Dept. sign-on letter to address systemic racism

The U. of M.’s Forest Resources Department educates students in environmental conservation and restoration, but, according to some students, it’s done little to bring in students of color or combat racism.

Students have drafted a sign-on letter to push for action. It opens acknowledging that the U. of M. Twin Cities campus is on acknowledge that the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of the Dakota Oyate (Dakota people), Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation). It continues:

It is time for our department to step back and see the forest for the trees. To see the student outrage over the near-silence from the Department of Forest Resources following the murder of George Floyd in our own neighborhood and the countless unfilmed lives lost to anti-Black racism. To see the systems of white supremacy and violence that have been upheld across the 110-year history of forestry at the University of Minnesota. To see that our department is predominantly white. … To see that the department has never had a Black faculty member in all of its history. To see that in 1910 the forestry department was founded on stolen Dakota land and that a colonial culture and structure continues to persist over a century later through the department’s silence and inaction.

Check out the link above for the list of student demands.

A look back at Native vote suppression

William Faulkner said: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

That quote came to mind reading the blog: Voter Suppression in Bingham Township, 1866: A story for our times. It transcribes an 1866 letter that spells out voter intimidation and suppression of members of the Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians in Michigan (GTB).

Band members had voted in previous elections, but the 1866 election was particularly important. They were upset with their land assessments and wanted to vote out Supervisor Robert Lee.

Forty to fifty GTB members showed up at the town of Bingham to vote, but town leaders had learned of their intention and stopped them from voting.

According to the letter:

They [civic leaders] went on to say that if the Indians were permitted to vote they would lose their Annunities. The Indians replied “ we will run the risk – we have voted ten years, receiving our annuities in the meantime as usual and we are confident we shall not forfeit by exercising our rights as citizens by voting.”

The Board then said “they could not receive their votes as they were not citizens. They were receiving pay from the government and were consequently minors, besides they were not subject to the draft.”

Click on the link above for the full story.

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