This Day in History (Feb. 8, 1887): Dawes Act Forces Assimilation, Leads to Massive Indian Land Theft

On this day in history, Congress passed the Dawes Act which both forced indigenous peoples to assimilate into a system of private property ownership and effectively stole millions of acres of what should have been treaty-protected lands.

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This Day in History 1955: U.S. Supreme Court Uses Religious Justification to Deny Legitimate Indigenous Property Rights

On this day in history, Feb. 7, 1955, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling based on the Christian Doctrine of Discovery to deny the Tee-Hit-Ton Indians any compensation for the timber the U.S. government allowed to be sold off their lands.

In the ruling Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States, the Court used 15th Century reasoning to exert domination over “an ignorant and dependent race,” treating them not as land owners but as mere tenants. These tenants, the ruling said, are allowed to stay there only “as a matter of grace” by the United States.

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Line 3 Updates: Rep. Ilhan Omar Opposes Pipeline; Facebook Shuts Down Direct Action Group’s Page

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has taken a strong stand against the Enbridge Line 3 crude oi pipeline, writing Gov. Tim Walz a letter asking him to continue the Dayton Administration’s lawsuit to stop this dangerous and unnecessary project that violates treaty rights. In a second letter, Omar wrote the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing her opposition to the project. The Corps needs to grant water-related permits for Line 3 to move ahead.

In related news, the four people involved in a direct action against Enbridge Lines 3 and 4 earlier this week have been released from the Itasca County jail. They face both felony and misdemeanor charges. Facebook has shut down a Catholic Worker Facebook Page that included video of the action. Continue reading

Four Arrested in Northern MN for Pipeline Tampering and Other News and Events

In this blog:

  • Ecumenical “Gather at the River” event honoring water set for Tuesday, Feb. 12
  • Star Tribune: Four arrested in Itasca County for pipeline tampering
  • Netherlands-based Aegon, one of the top-10 largest insurance companies in the world, to stop investing in tar sands crude oil.

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Winyan Awanyankapi: Protecting the Lifegivers Conference Set for April 5-7

An indigenous designed and led conference titled: “Winyan Awanyankapi: Protecting the Lifegivers — Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Indigenous Peoples Sovereignty of Housing and Water “will be held April 5-7, Friday evening to Sunday noon. All are welcome. Registration is now open.

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Racist Editorial Cartoon Mocks Phillips, Native Americans: How Best to Respond?

Sometimes the best response to racism is to ignore it and walk away, declining to give oxygen to the fires of hate. Sometimes the best response is to try to calm the situation; that’s what Native American elder Nathan Phillips did when he tried to intervene in a racially charged situation between Black Hebrew Israelites and a group of Catholic high school teens near the Lincoln Memorial. (For background, see Indian Country Today’s news roundup).

And sometimes the best response is to speak difficult truths about what you see.

The question came to me recently in a group email where people where sharing their anger over an ugly political cartoon that mocked Phillips and Native Americans in general. Continue reading

Report: Indigenous Genocide Led to Climate Change

Columbus’ arrival started the genocide of indigenous peoples.

A new report says that the “Little Ice Age” that occurred in the 1600s resulted from the Native American genocide that followed Christopher Columbus and the arrival of European settlers, according a story published by CNN today.

European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate. The increase in trees and vegetation across an area the size of France resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to the study.

Carbon levels changed enough to cool the Earth by 1610, researchers found.

Click on the link for more details. Here’s another version from the BBC. Continue reading