In this post:
- Time to make amends: Improving the health of American Indian and Alaska Native mothers and infants
- U. of M, Tribal study to investigate farming’s impact on water and Treaty rights in Pineland Sands region
- Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe sues Seattle over its hydroelectric project on the Skagit River and its impact on treaty rights
- Great Lakes pollution threatens Ojibwe Treaty rights to fish
- U.S. to focus bison restoration on expanding Tribal herds
Time to make amends: Improving the health of American Indian and Alaska Native mothers and infants
Leaders in the Advisory Committee on Infant and Maternal Mortality (Advisory Committee) released new report: Making Amends: Recommended Strategies and Actions to Improve the Health and Safety of American Indian and Alaska Native Mothers and Infants. (Advisory Committee members also wrote a community voices piece for MinnPost.)
The two-year project culminated in the Advisory Committee meeting at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Minnesota in September 2022. The meeting “was unprecedented in that it was the first ACIMM meeting ever held outside of Rockville, MD and the first held, by invitation, on Tribal land.”
This also marked the first time that the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee “made safeguarding and promoting the health and well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women, infants, and families a priority.”
For two days, Indigenous women spoke of how the unacknowledged history of genocide, land theft, Native boarding schools, and cultural annihilation continues to play out. They described how devaluing AI/AN women leads to higher rates of abduction, violence, sexual exploitation, and incarceration. They grieved the lack of attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Formerly incarcerated women who gave birth while imprisoned, spoke of how Indigenous women are overrepresented in prisons and juvenile detention facilities, precipitated by criminalization of Indigenous women’s survival strategies.
The failure of the U.S. government to meet its legal obligation to provide health care through the Indian Health Service (IHS) was documented, including tolerance of a chronically underfunded, understaffed, and poorly managed IHS system. IHS spending per capita is 30% of Medicare, 38% of Veterans Health Administration, and less than 50% of what is spent for federal prisoners. IHS is the only federal healthcare system funded solely via an annual Congressional appropriation rather than mandatory continuous funding.
U. of M, Tribal study to investigate farming’s impact on water in Pineland Sands region of north central Minnesota
The University of Minnesota is partnering with the Anishinaabe Agricultural Institute and the White Earth Nation to study “how intensive farming and irrigation in the Pineland Sands region of north-central Minnesota is affecting natural resources in tribal treaty territories,” MPR reports.
The Pineland Sands region overlaps with 1855 treaty lands, where Anishinaabe bands retain Treaty-protected rights to hunt, fish and gather on lands they ceded to the United States.
Using irrigation in the region’s sandy soils causes water to drain quickly, raising concerns about overuse of the groundwater supply.
Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe sues Seattle over its hydroelectric project on the Skagit River and its impact on Treaty rights
“The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe … sued the City of Seattle over the City’s hydroelectric project on the Skagit River,” according to an opinion filed in the state of Washington’s Court of Appeals. “The Tribe claimed that the City’s promotional campaign alleging that the hydroelectric project produced ‘green’ power was deceptive and violated the Consumer Protection Act … The Tribe also claimed that the City’s actions created a private and public nuisance interfering with the Tribe’s use and enjoyment of its property right to fish on the Skagit River.”
The Tribe had lost in lower court and appealed.
The Appeals Court dismissed the Tribe’s Consumer Protection Act claim, but referred the case back to District Court to consider the Tribe’s fishing rights claim on the Skagit River.
Great Lakes pollution threatens Ojibwe Treaty rights to fish
Ojibwe, Ottawa and Potawatomi communities have fished the Great Lakes for centuries. “The bands retained hunting, gathering and fishing rights across what’s now called the Ceded Territory: portions of three Great Lakes and millions of acres stretching across northwestern Michigan and its Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota,” according to Wisconsin Watch.
Tribes have had to go to court to enforce those rights, which have been hard won.
Today, however, “many see toxic pollution in the Great Lakes as a continued encroachment on how Ojibwe communities exercise those rights,” the story said.
The latest concern is “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS,” also known as forever chemicals. They are linked to health problems, including cancer.
“The failure of state and federal governments to keep contaminants out of the environment, scholars and environmental advocates say, calls into question their commitment to fully protect Indigenous rights.”
U.S. to focus bison restoration on expanding tribal herds
“U.S. officials will work to restore more large bison herds to Native American lands under a Friday order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland that calls for the government to tap into Indigenous knowledge in its efforts to conserve the burly animals that are an icon of the American West,” the Star Tribune reported Friday.
One thought on “Native Nations’ ongoing efforts to enforce Treaty rights on health care, and to hunt, fish, and gather on ceded lands”
I live in western North Carolina, and thanks to neighbors who are activist Cherokee women, I’ve learned about Enbridge and the despicable actions of some in Minnesota government to violate Indigenous People’s human rights as well as treaty rights and civil rights. As you know, I could have written the same about many, many desecrations of Indigenous People’s rights and the Creation.
Since President Biden took office and when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and since Deb Haaland became Secretary of Interior Haaland, I have been nearly totally disillusioned about any elected leaders’ doing what is right and honorable.
What besides petitioning and giving money could make a difference?