Petition to rename Sibley State Park, Cherokee Nation seeks promised Congressional seat, and more

In this post:

  • Naturalist starts petition to rename Sibley State Park
  • Cherokee Nation deserves Congressional seat U.S. promised in 1835
  • Bad River Band slams Enbridge in latest legal brief
  • MN350’s Mutual Aid winter appeal for front-line water protectors

Naturalist starts petition to rename Sibley State Park

Image from on-line petition

Kelsey Olson, a former naturalist at Sibley State Park, has started an online petition and held community meetings to urge renaming the park.

The park in west central Minnesota is named after Henry Hastings Sibley, who strong armed the 1851 Treaty with the Dakota. The Dakota ceded the vast majority of their traditional territory and got very little in return. Sibley, however, got paid for negotiating the treaty. The money he received helped him get out of debt and later became Minnesota’s first governor.

“Olson says Sibley also oversaw the forced removal of more than 1,600 Dakota people, including women and children, to Fort Snelling,” an MPR story reported.

Olson’s petition lists the following reasons to rename the park:

  1. His [Sibley’s] violent actions to ethnically cleanse the Dakota people from the state of Minnesota through the genocide of thousands of men, women, and children.
  2. Sibley would manipulate and coerce the Dakota into signing treaties using the trust he had established with them in negotiations. He would use this power to change agreements so he financially benefited- stealing money from the Dakota. 
  3. Sibley demonstrated his lack of integrity, morals, and values by breaking the trust of the Dakota People he had once lived with.

Cherokee Nation deserves Congressional seat U.S. promised in 1835

The 1835 Treaty of New Echota led to the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from their ancestral homelands, known as the Trail of Tears.

The treaty also included this language:

… with a view to illustrate the liberal and enlarged policy of the Government of the United States towards the Indians in their removal beyond the territorial limits of the States, it is stipulated that they shall be entitled to a delegate in the House of Representatives of the United States whenever Congress shall make provision for the same.

1835 Treaty of New Echota, Article 7
Tail of Tears map, 1836-1839. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Kimberly Teehee, a descendant of at least eight Cherokee ancestors who were forcibly removed, is door knocking Capitol Hill asking national leaders to live up to treaty terms and give the Cherokee Nation its promised Congressional seat, the Washington Post reports.

Chuck Hoskin Jr., the Cherokee Nation’s principal chief, chose Teehee to be the delegate because of her past Congressional and executive branch work, story said. She would be a non-voting member.

There are currently six non-voting members in the U.S. House of Representatives representing: Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and four U.S. Territories: American Samoa, Guam, the North Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Non-voting members have floor privileges, and the ability to vote in assigned committees, and introduce legislation, Wikipedia said.

To note the obvious, residents Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and the U.,S. Territories are disproportionately people of color and their representatives are denied full participation in Congress. That’s systemic racism.

Seating Teehee as a delegate would require ratification by the Cherokee Nation’s legislature and passage of a House Resolution.

The United States used illegitimate means to secure the 1835 treaty. It negotiated with a minority group of Cherokee. Neither the Cherokee National Council nor the Principal Chief signed the treaty, Wikipedia said.

The Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations also suffered the Trail of Tears. The Choctaw Nation also has a treaty provision providing for a Congressional delegate.

Bad River slams Enbridge for trying to exclude expert testimony in court

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa got a court win last month when a judge ruled that Enbridge Energy and its Line 5 pipeline had trespassed on Reservation lands and unjustly enriched itself since 2013.

While the judge ordered financial compensation, he stopped short of forcing Enbridge to stop pipeline operations, as the Band requested.

In the latest development, the Band has five expert witnesses who have testified that many feasible alternatives exist to replace Line 5’s capacity if the court ordered it shutdown.

Enbridge is trying to exclude the expert testimony from the record.

In its latest filing, Bad River calls Enbridge’s motion “belligerent overreach” and says it distorts the expert witnesses’ statements.

One of Enbridge’s arguments is that the testimony from the five experts is “duplicative.” The Band replied:

By Enbridge’s reasoning, it seems, the only non-duplicative expert testimony on the market’s ability to develop alternatives to Line 5 would need to come from a Soviet-style central planner who could testify about every step necessary to implement each possible alternative. The Band did not locate any such expert.

MN350’s Mutual Aid winter appeal for front-line water protectors

MN350’s Mutual Aid working group is making a winter appeal in its ongoing work to support front-line Indigenous Water Protectors, as pipeline resistance shifts from Enbridge Line 3 in Minnesota to Enbridge Line 5 in Wisconsin and Michigan.

With fall approaching, the group looking for firewood and warm clothing. Find request for clothing and gear in this document as well as requested food items. You can donate money through the group’s webpage.

The Mutual Aid Working Group, a volunteer effort, has been shopping, loading and driving food and gear North for about four years.

Interested in learning more or helping out? Contact:

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