Mark Charles Announces Presidential Run; Pope Backs Indigenous Land Rights, and More

In this blog:

  • HMS friend Mark Charles (Dutch/Navajo) announces presidential run.
  • Pope Sides with Indigenous Rights
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe to hold Keystone XL hearings
  • School changes dress code, allowing Native student to wear eagle feathers at graduation

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Red Lake Nation Votes to Evict Enbridge Pipelines; Native Youth to Visit Pope, Ask Him to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery

The Red Lake Tribal Council voted last week to evict Enbridge crude oil pipelines from sovereign tribal lands. Enbridge, a major Canadian crude oil pipeline company, has four lines that cross 8 acres of Red Lake land; they were built decades ago, apparently without proper land title search.

According to the March 16 story:

The land in question was originally ceded by the Red Lake band to the federal government in 1889. But it was never sold, so in 1945, the U.S. Department of the Interior restored the land to the tribe.

In the 1980s, the BIA discovered that Enbridge’s pipelines appeared to be in trespass on Red Lake land.

The federal government never resolved the problem. Red Lake started pushing the issue back in 2007. Red Lake and Enbridge had negotiated a land swap and $18.5 million cash deal, but Red Lake pulled out of that deal earlier this year and now is taking the next step to tell Enbridge to remove its pipelines.

Pipeline opposition is sweeping through Indian Country. Red Lake and other Native nations opposed construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Standing Rock in 2016. Red Lake strongly opposes the construction of a new Enbridge Line 3 across northern Minnesota.

Rerouting the four existing pipelines off of Red Lake land would cost Enbridge $10 million, the story said. (That’s less than the $18.5 million Enbridge had on the table, but that amount included back pay for the decades of trespass on Red Lake lands. That issue remains unresolved.)

Red Lake member Marty Cobenais pushed for the measure to force Enbridge to remove all of its existing pipelines from Red Lake lands. Continue reading

DAPL Rorschach Test: Pope Appears to Back Standing Rock While Pipeline Exec Sees Terrorists

Pope Francis appeared to back the Standing Rock Nation’s efforts to block the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), “saying indigenous cultures have a right to defend ‘their ancestral relationship to the earth,'” according to a story published Wednesday in Reuters.

While [the Pope] did not name the pipeline, he used strong and clear language applicable to the conflict, saying development had to be reconciled with “the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories”.  …

Speaking in Spanish, Francis said the need to protect native territories was “especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth”.

Some comments on a listserve of Native American scholars and allies took the Pope to task for being a late comer, noting that the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) passed in 2007. (In fairness to Francis, he did not become Pope until 2013.)

Pope Francis’ statement stands in stark contrast to an oil company executive who is comparing the DAPL protestors to terrorists, according to a Wednesday story in Minnesota Public Radio. Joey Mahmoud, executive vice president of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, made his comments at a hearing before a U.S. House energy subcommittee, it said. Continue reading

Sisters of St. Joseph of Corondelet Stand with Standing Rock; #DivestFromDAPL Targets City of Minneapolis; and More

carondelet-logoThe Sisters of St. Joseph of Corondelet have issued a powerful Statement of Solidarity with the Native Peoples of Standing Rock.

The Order includes 1,102 vowed sisters worldwide. The statement expresses their commitment “to stand in solidarity with our Native American sisters and brothers, especially of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.” Issued Nov. 30, it continues: “We stand with the community of Standing Rock … in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline and their peaceful efforts to protect their water and sovereignty.”

A number of Protestant denominations have issued such statements. (They are archived on our page on the Dakota Access Pipeline.) This is the first statement we have seen from a Catholic order.

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St. Paul’s Indigenous Day Parade; The Pope on Climate Change; Horse Ride to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline; and More

On Monday, October 10, St. Paul Public Schools is hosting an inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day Parade. In 2015, the City of Saint Paul declared Oct 10th, formerly recognized as Columbus Day, as Indigenous People’s Day. Parade organizers say this is the first year they had enough planning time to coordinate a public celebration.

The Parade will start at 11 a.m. at the American Indian Magnet School, 1075 East 3rd Street, St. Paul. It will end at Indian Mounds Park. In addition to the parade, there will be food, speakers and demonstrations. This year’s theme is “Water is Life.” Here is a link to the saint-paul-indigenous-peoples-day-parade-flyer.

For more information on the event, contact: Contact Danielle DeLong, danielle.delong@spps.org, 651-744-4018, http://www.spps.org/indianeducation.

The Minnesota History Center also is hosting an Indigenous Peoples Day event, 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 10, with precolonial foods prepared by the Sioux Chef. Speakers include State Representative Peggy Flanagan and Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano. (There is a $25 admission fee.)

For more on climate change and efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, keep reading.

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Lutheran Church (ELCA) Moves Towards Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery; Native Leaders Meet Pope

ELCAThe Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and has asked the national ELCA church body to do the same.

The Minneapolis Synod Assembly met May 6-7. By a show of cards (green for yes and red for no), one observer said there were only a handful or red cards out of more than 500 total votes on the Doctrine of Discovery memorial. It reads in part:

Resolved, that the 2016 Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly explicitly and clearly repudiates the European Christian-derived “doctrine of discovery” and its continuing impact upon tribal governments and individual tribal members to this day, acknowledges the unearned benefits this church has received from the evils of colonialism in the Americas, [and] repents of this church’s complicity in this doctrine …

The memorial continues, asking the church’s national body — called the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly — to join with the other major denominations that already have repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, The Episcopal Church, The United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church and The Moravian Church.

Here is the full text of the ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod Memorial.

Bob Hulteen, director of communications and stewardship for the Minneapolis Area Synod, said the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly would meet in New Orleans Aug. 8-13. He was confident a resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery would be on the agenda. The proposal was started by the Bishop in Southern California, and five or six of the ELCA’s 65 Synods had already passed similar memorials, he said. Continue reading

‘The Dakota Experience’ Event in Apple Valley; Pope’s Speech to Congress

You are invited to an informal and informative gathering to experience the Dakota people’s food, culture, and spirituality. The event is: Saturday, October 17, 4-8 p.m. on the grounds of Grace Lutheran Church of Apple Valley, 7800 West Country Road 42 (just west of Cedar Avenue). It is free and open to the public.

The Dakota people were the original occupants of this land, but their stories are little known. This event is an opportunity to experience some of their history and rich traditions. It will include: Native American storytelling, a traditional drum group, a teepee and campfire, horses (and lessons about Dakota horse traditions), the Tatanka Food Truck selling pre-colonial foods, an eagle from the Raptor Center with discussion of the significance of eagles in Native American spirituality, a display exploring Native American myths and stereotypes in public art, a screening of the film Dakota 38, and more. This event is co-sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN)/Healing Minnesota Stories and World Without Genocide.

Click here for The Dakota Experience flyer.

Pope’s Speech to Congress Links Current Immigration Issues With Arrival of European Settlers

The Washington Post ran a transcript of the Pope’s speech to Congress on Thursday. Here is one excerpt pertaining to the European settlement of America and the injustices done to Native Americans:

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.