Burt Lake Burnout: A Story of Land Theft and Indigenous Perseverance

In the grand scheme of land thefts from indigenous peoples, what happened to the Cheboiganing Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians in Michigan more than a century ago is small.

But it’s a powerful story for what is says about indigenous perseverance and resilience.

The land theft was egregious, a litany of broken promises and failed efforts to make things right. The Cheboiganing Band descendants still fight for justice today. When settlers stole their land, they lost their federal recognition as a Native nation. They want it back. Continue reading

Events: Indigenous-Themed Documentaries, a Play, and More

Upcoming events:

  • New Native Theater: Wounspe Wanktya — a College Education, March 6-24
  • Ski the Line to Protect Our Water, March 17
  • Mni Ki Wakan, World Water Day, March 22
  • Documentary: The Indian System, March 28
  • Documentary: Awake: A Dream of Standing Rock, March 29
  • Documentary: DAWNLAND, cultural survival and stolen children, April 8 and 13

Details follow.

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In Approving Major Crude Oil Pipelines, Consulting with Native Nations is Not Enough; the Goal is Consent

When it comes to crude oil pipeline projects, Indigenous concerns and opposition all too often get marginalized by decision makers.

Such conduct violates the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a commitment both the United States and Canada support. The Declaration says that governments should get Indigenous nation’s free, prior and informed consent before “adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.”

What happens in practice is that the powers-that-be have a “conversation” with Native nations, check the “consultation” box, and think they’re done. That’s not good enough.

The latest example comes from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota. It has found government documents that show how little Indigenous concerns mattered when it came to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Continue reading

This Day in History: Congress Exiles Dakota from Minnesota (1863); “Civilization Fund” Act Passes (1819); and More

On this day in history, March 3, 1863, Congress passed a law exiling the Dakota people from Minnesota, a law still in effect today.

Officially, it was called: “An Act for the Removal of the Sisseton, Wahpaton, Medawakanton and Wahpakoota Bands of Sioux or Dakota Indians, and for the disposition of their Lands in Minnesota and Dakotas.”

The law was passed at the urging of Minnesota’s Congress members in the wake of the Dakota-U.S. War; it grew from a mix of fear and greed. It resulted in the exile of the Dakota people from their homeland. Their lands had been diminished to a section of land along the Minnesota River, and with this act the U.S. government allowed for it to be sold to white settlers. The government moved the Dakota to barren land in the Dakota Territory known as Crow Creek.

For more, click here.

There are several other significant historical events that occurred on March 3. Continue reading

Construction of Enbridge Line 3 Delayed At Least One Year

Despite the odds, pipeline resistance is succeeding!

CBC is reporting that Enbridge is delaying construction of its Line 3 crude oil pipeline for a year, pending approval of state and federal permits. According to the story:

The project, which was initially expected to be in service before the end of 2019, now won’t be ready until the second half of 2020.

Coverage in Bloomberg calls it, “a major blow to the Canadian oil industry.” It continues:

The delay is a crushing setback for Canadian oil producers, who have suffered from a lack of pipeline space that has made it difficult to ship their crude to refineries, hammering prices. Enbridge’s Line 3 is particularly important because the government of the oil-rich province of Alberta was counting on its startup this year to let it end mandated production cuts that were implemented to cope with a glut of crude.

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Please Attend, Support Winyan Awanyankapi: Protecting the Lifegivers Conference 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.

All are welcome. Here is the Facebook Event Page. Registration is open, but more than half the spots are filled. Now is a good time to register.

Attendance is free for indigenous people. If you can’t attend but would like to support this important work, please consider donating to our fundraising page. This will support the conference and provide scholarships for young people who cannot afford to attend.

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Kindred Spirits: How the Choctaw Responded to the Irish Potato Famine

In the early 1830s, the United States forcibly removed nearly 15,000 people of the Choctaw Nation from their homeland in the deep South to what was called “Indian Territory” (now Oklahoma). Along their Trail of Tears, 2,500 died, Wikipedia said.

About 15 years later, the Choctaw people learned about the Irish suffering from the Great Potato Famine and scraped together $170 to send to alleviate their suffering, a gift memorialized in 2015 in Ireland with a beautiful sculpture. Continue reading