In this blog:
- New online resource “U.S. Treaty Signers Project” pushes back on the American myth
- Documentary “Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code” now available through online streaming
- Enbridge files shallow “Environmental Justice” update
- U.N. raises human rights concerns over last summer’s arrest at anti-Trump rally at Mt. Rushmore
Getting caught up sharing a few items that languished in the Inbox.
New online resource: “U.S. Treaty Signers Project”
Key insights from the 2018 book: The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became US Property, is now available online, through a collaboration between author Martin Case and the Indian Land Tenure Foundation.
The U.S. Treaty Signers Project “documents how narrow business interests and social connections heavily influenced the treaty making process and were largely responsible for the loss of so much Indian land,” the Foundation’s website says. It continues:
The “American Myth” presents “pioneers” as the driving force of America’s past. By contrast, the Treaty Signers Project presents the economic engines that actually drove U.S. expansion – interests that saw both Indian land and pioneers as sources of personal profit. The 2,300 men who represented the US in treaty negotiations secured hundreds of millions of acres of land for themselves, their families and their business partners – land that was sold to pioneers at a profit and includes the original sites for hundreds of cities and towns. They secured the titles to mines and timberland, and used positions in the Bureau of Indian Affairs to enrich themselves and their associates.
The project’s goal is “to foster real discussion about accurate history, not the idealized legends of westward expansion that America so often celebrates today.”
“Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code” now available for online streaming
In 2014, Sheldon Wolfchild (Dakota) released a documentary on the Doctrine of Discovery, a term used to describe 15th century Papal edicts that provided the legal and religious justification for European monarchs to seize and colonize foreign lands.
Until recently, the documentary was only available to purchase of a DVD. It’s now available for rent on-line, $4.99 for a three-day period.
Wolfchild produced the documentary in collaboration with scholar Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape), author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery.
The documentary’s on-line blurb reads: “Vatican documents issued by various popes during the fifteenth century created global patterns of domination, leading ultimately to the current ecological crisis. The wisdom teachings of original nations and peoples provide a way forward for the well-being of the planet and our future generations.”
Form over substance: Enbridge files first ‘Environmental Justice Community Mitigation Report’ update
On Dec. 23, Enbridge filed it’s first Environmental Justice Community Mitigation Report update as required by state regulators. The report is symbolic of what’s wrong with the Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s (PUC’s) Line 3 approval. It makes state oversight look much more substantial than it actually is.
Much of the report is Enbridge simply restating what it promised to do rather than actually providing an update.
One example. The PUC required Enbridge to have a Tribal Economic Opportunity and Labor Education Plan. Here’s the entire “update.”
Enbridge sponsored a Fond du Lac Business Development Meeting in January 2019 to identify and recruit tribal members who are interested in starting a business that works on the Project. Enbridge hosted job fairs on the Red Lake Nation and Fond du Lac Reservations in April 2019. Enbridge also participated in the Great Lakes TERO meetings in February, May and July 2019. Enbridge will report results of the Tribal Economic Opportunity plan in a separate filing. Additionally, Enbridge has sponsored 5-week Empowerment Training classes for tribal members and there were approximately 100 graduates. These classes started in August and November 2019
Enbridge talks about all the stuff it did … in 2019. There’s no comment on what Enbridge did in 2020. Not much of an update.
U.N. raises human rights concerns over last summer’s response to anti-Trump protest at Mount Rushmore
President Trump went to Mount Rushmore to give a July 4th speech last year and not surprisingly was met with protests.
Tilsen was charged with four felonies and three misdemeanours after he and others blocked a road leading to a fireworks celebration event. (If convicted, he could face more than 16 years in prison, according to the High Country News.)
“Obviously we cannot pre-judge the outcome of the case against Nicholas Tilsen, but we are seriously concerned about his arrest and the charges brought against him in connection with the exercise of his rights as an indigenous person, particularly the right to assembly”, the five UN Special Rapporteurs said.
The Special Rapporteurs also voiced alarm over “allegations of excessive use of force by law enforcement agents against indigenous defenders, and recent reports of surveillance and intimidation by local police officers following the arrests.”
The Black Hills are central to the Lakota people’s origin story and spirituality. Many Lakota people, like Tilsen, view Mount Rushmore “as a desecration of a spiritual landscape,” High Country News reported. “‘What South Dakota and the National Park Service call ‘a shrine to democracy’ is actually an international symbol of white supremacy,’” Tilsen said.