News and Events: Biden to nix Keystone XL, remembering the 1898 overthrow of Wilmington, N.C. by white supremacists, and more

In this blog:

  • President-elect Biden to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit his first day in office, news reports say
  • Tribes slam Minnesota U.S. Representative for trying to derail confirmation of first Native American to lead the U.S. Dept. of the Interior
  • Remembering the 1898 white supremacist overthrow of Wilmington, N.C. city government
  • Free online screening of Dawnland, a film on Maine’s truth and reconciliation effort with Native peoples, Jan. 28
  • Direct action against Line 3 in Fond du Lac on MLK Day

President-elect Biden to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit his first day in office

The CBC, the BBC, the Washington Post, and other news outlets are reporting that on his first day in office, President-elect Biden will use an executive order to rescind a key permit for the Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline. It’s one of several actions Biden is expected to take to protect the environment, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accord.

Map of Keystone XL Pipeline. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to the Washington Post:

Signaling his commitment to quickly confront climate change, President-elect Joe Biden is planning to move within days to quash the controversial multibillion-dollar Keystone XL pipeline, according to two individuals familiar with the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it had not been announced yet.

The politically symbolic pipeline, promoted by the oil and gas industry since it was first proposed about 15 years ago, has drawn opposition because it would carry tar sands, or heavy bitumen, from the boreal forests of northern Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The energy used in extracting these molasses-like petroleum supplies would contribute heavily to climate change.

No word yet on whether Biden will intervene on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, which also would carry high-polluting tar sands.

MN tribes slam U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber for trying to derail confirmation of first Native American to lead the U.S. Dept. of the Interior

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Peter Stauber, R-Duluth, is trying to derail the confirmation of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior. Minnesota tribes in Stauber’s district are pushing back.

If confirmed, Rep. Haaland, D-N.M., would be the first Native American to lead the Department. Among other things, the department oversees the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management as well as the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of Special Trustee for Native Americans.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico. Photo: U.S. House of Representatives

According to NBC, all five tribes in Stauber’s district wrote him and criticized him for opposing Haaland’s nomination, what they saw as an effort to curry favor with big business. Stauber sits on the House subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples.

“This historic nomination is more important to us and all of Indian country than any other Cabinet nomination in recent history,” leaders of the five tribes wrote in a letter dated Jan. 14 and reviewed by NBC News. “Your opposition to the first and only American Indian ever nominated to a Cabinet position is likely to reverberate across Indian country.”

Lessons from the 1898 white supremacist overthrow of Wilmington, N.C. government

With new tragedies such as the Jan. 6 attack against the U.S. Capitol comes an echo of history most of us don’t remember or never learned in school.

Such is the case of the 1898 violent overthrow of the city of Wilmington, N.C. , as recounted by the BBC.

Following state elections in 1898, white supremacists moved into the US port of Wilmington, North Carolina, then the largest city in the state. They destroyed black-owned businesses, murdered black residents, and forced the elected local government — a coalition of white and black politicians – to resign en masse.

Historians have described it as the only coup in US history. Its ringleaders took power the same day as the insurrection and swiftly brought in laws to strip voting and civil rights from the state’s black population. They faced no consequences.

Click on the link above for more details.

Free screening of Dawnland, a film on Maine’s truth and reconciliation effort with Native peoples

The producers of Dawnland, along with the National Native American Boarding School Coalition, are offering a free online screening of the film Dawnland on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. Details and registration here.

For decades, child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their homes to save them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins a historic investigation. National News & Documentary Emmy® award winning film DAWNLAND goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

Join the CEO for the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition Christine Diindiisi McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), TRC commissioner gkisedtanamoogk (Mashpee Wampanoag), filmmaker and Upstander Project director Adam Mazo , Upstander Project learning director Mishy Lesser, and other special guests for a live Q&A after the film. The conversation will center on the burgeoning conversations and moves to create truth and healing commissions in the land now known as the United States. Panelists will explore lessons learned from the Maine-Wabanaki experience and ask: who truth commissions serve, what are their goals, who should lead these efforts, and what role documentation might play in how a truth commission’s work could impact public understanding?

One arrested in direct action against Line 3 in Fond du Lac on MLK Day

A direct action in Fond du Lac delayed Enbridge Line 3 construction for four hours today, as a water protector Nia Zekan stayed in a trench until extracted by Carlton County sheriff’s deputies and Fond du Lac police, according to posts on Camp Miigizi’s Facebook Page.

Nia Zekan’s arrest was hidden from view by a blue tarp held by Enbridge workers. (Screen grab from Camp Miigizi video.)

The action slowed “the spread of Tim Waltz Pandemic Pipeline,” the post said. “… we have no other choice but to place our bodies on the line.”

Some water protectors stood on the road and temporarily blocked the arrival of a fire truck that was brought in to help extract Zekan. Enbridge workers held up a blue tarp to block of the view of Zekan’s arrest from the road. Water protectors watched, chanting: “We want to see our friend. We want to keep her safe!”

After initially opposing the pipeline, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reached a deal with Enbridge to allow the line to pass through its reservation.

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