The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Native American rights in a 5-4 decision in a case out of Wyoming. Justice Neil Gorsuch, the only Westerner on the court, provided the decisive vote in this case, showing himself again to be sensitive to Native American rights. The court held that hunting rights for the Crow tribe under a 19th-century treaty did not expire when Wyoming became a state. This case centered on a member of the tribe, Clayvin Herrera, who faced charges for off-season hunting in Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming. Read more here.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is asking a judge to throw out a federal permit for the Dakota Access oil pipeline, arguing that the government shut the tribe out of a court-ordered second environmental review and ignored its concerns. The challenge comes as Energy Transfer, the company behind the pipeline, is now seeking to double how much oil the pipeline can carry. The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) passes under the Missouri River, the tribe's water supply, just upstream from the Standing Rock Reservation. Read more here.
En Route to Standing Rock, Greta Thunberg Holds Up 'Struggles of All Indigenous Peoples in Protecting Their Land, Water, and Traditions'
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg expressed solidarity Monday with "the struggles of all Indigenous peoples in protecting their land, water, and traditions" as she continued her climate-focused trip to the Americas with stops in the Dakotas. Thunberg's tweet included images of an event she attended on Sunday, the Youth Climate Activism Panel at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The discussion—which also featured 16-year-old Dakota Access Pipeline opponent Tokata Iron Eyes—was hosted by the Lakota People's Law Project and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. "We are at the edge of a cliff in regards to our timeline to save this planet, and the Indigenous peoples will be the ones to lead the movement off of the edge," Iron Eyes said during the talk. Read more here.
Below is a request from Lummi Nation. As some of you may know, Lummi Nation is seeking the return of Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae/Lolita). For those of you who don’t know, Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae/Lolita) is the last remaining Orca that was brutally taken in the 1970s raids on the J, L, K pods from Penn Cove. Over 40 Orca youth were taken from our waters and dispersed to various aquarium around the world. Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae/Lolita) is growing older now and is near retirement from the aquarium. She has spent all but 4 years of her life (about 43 years) in a small concrete tank. She still remembers her pod’s songs. Lummi Nation has been trying to get Miami Seaquarium to release her and let her come home to spend her remaining years in the waters of her home and with her family (her mother is still alive). She will be kept in a special sanctuary and a detailed plan has been worked out to bring her home and secure her for the remainder of her life.
You can find more information here: https://sacredsea.org/skalichelhtenaut/. Take a few minutes to read and watch some of the videos, especially the link to the trailer for a documentary (https://vimeo.com/266726774).“We will be together in prayer for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut next Thursday, October 10, at 9:30am. We are asking you all to join us from wherever you are. Please say her name, please pray in your own way, please carry her in in your heart. We want Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut to feel our love, we want to send her hope and strength. Please pray for Miami Seaquarium to do the right thing and work in a good way with us to bring her home in 2020. Hy’shqe.”Statement from Raynell Squil-le-he-le Morris and Ellie Tah-Mahs Kinley, the two Lummi tribal women intending to sue Miami Seaquarium, Palace Entertainment, and EQT, for the return of Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut. (Tokitae/Lolita). Miami Seaquarium has until October 25, 2019 (90 days from the date of the letter of intent) to respond.
Across the United States, over 5,700 indigenous women were reported missing in 2016 alone, with only 116 of those cases logged into the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) missing persons database. This statistic is the tip of the iceberg of the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis. But while seven states have taken steps to pass legislation to improve reporting mechanisms and data collection, and increase inter-agency collaboration, any such MMIW legislation has not passed on a federal level. Read more here and sign the petition, please.
The B.C. Court of Appeal has instructed the province to reconsider its environmental assessment certificate and conditions issued for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. In their challenges, the Squamish Nation and the City of Vancouver argued the certificate should be quashed because it was based on a flawed report and approval from the National Energy Board that was later quashed by the Federal Court of Appeal. Read more here.
Crosscut by Manola Secaira / September 9, 2019 For centuries, settlers suppressed the Native burning and wildfires that enriched and protected Western ecosystems. Four experts explain why we need it back. Research from more recent decades has realized the merit in controlled burning. Some tribes in Northern California have recently partnered with the Forest Service to implement Native approaches to controlled burns. Others, like the Fort Apache in Arizona, were able to bring back the practice of controlled burns as a means of fuel reduction even earlier. Here in Washington, some tribes have continued their usage of indigenous land management practices by conducting controlled burns on a local scale. Read more here . . .
Earthjustice. The petrochemical refinery would be larger than any currently operating methanol facility in the world, and would use more natural gas each day than all of the power plants in Washington combined. It would manufacture methanol from natural gas and ship it to China to make plastics. The refinery would produce up to 3.6 million metric tons of methanol per year. Cowlitz County approves the shoreline permits. It's now up to the Dept of Ecology to approve or deny the project. Sign Columbia Riverkeeper's petition to the DOE or contact the DEO yourself asking them to reject this project!
Presented by Children of the Setting Sun Productions Sunday, October 13 at 2:45 A Pickdford Film Center offering Bellingham, WA a hosted presentation and discussion after the screening Children of the Setting Sun Productions returns after a full year of filming in and around the Salish Sea. Come see the vibrancy of local Native cultures in a series of short films, the latest honoring the Women of Canoe Journey in this year's Paddle to Lummi. Also showing is Salmon People, with new scenes illuminating the intricate relationship between salmon and the Coast Salish peoples.
Washington Environmental Council. Despite opposition from the Puyallup Tribe, over 80 community organizations, and Governor Inslee, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is still working to complete their fracked gas project in Tacoma. This project is an affront to our climate, health, and safety. Send in your comment to urge the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) to reject the permit for the Tacoma LNG project! More here.
Many of the protesters were Puyallup Tribe members. The facility is being built on historically Puyallup tribal land, and opposition groups like Frack No 253 argue that nearby residents within a certain distance from the facility could be killed in the case of an LNG-related explosion. The city of Tacoma denies this on its website, stating that such worries “are based on worst-case scenarios involving a terrorist attack on an LNG cargo ship resulting in an uncontrolled spill of LNG over water.” One family of Puyallup Tribe members at the rally held an umbrella with the words “We Live In The Blast Zone” lettered in yellow duct tape on its top.
“We live right off the street that’s closest to the tideflats,” said one young member of the family, Amenda (last name withheld), while marching with others toward the site of the public hearing. Her family has lived in the area all her life, she added, so the possibility of harm hits “very close to home.”
(August 23, 2019) Lincoln, NE - Early Friday morning, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued a decision denying the landowners’ appeal and upholding the Nebraska Public Service Commissions decision on the in-state route of Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska. The appeal was struck down after a year of work by grassroots advocates to highlight the many ways in which the pipeline would damage their communities and resources. Read more here.
Get your ticket today to an incredible evening - Backbone Awards presented to US Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for their courageous leadership, as well as awards to 3 relentless activists fighting for the orca, the immigrant children, and for a just future. The evening will feature a plant-based meal crafted by Tom Douglas's chefs, incredible music and entertainment, a silent auction, beautiful props, and inspiration! Only 100 total tickets are available, and they are going fast. Purchase yours today - a table of 8 for $600, a half table for $300, or individual tickets for $75/person. (Ticket includes all food, drink, entertainment.) It all happens at the Palace Ballroom in Belltown, Seattle. To Co-Sponsor the event or to donate a Silent Auction Item, contact Amy.
Thu, November 14, 2019 • 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM PST Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham, WA 98229 In 2018, Washington State passed the Strengthening Oil Spill Transportation Act (E2SSB 6269) requiring the Department of Ecology (Ecology) Spills Program to take a variety of new steps to promote the safety of marine transportation and protect the greater Puget Sound from oil spills. One of the Act’s requirements is for Ecology to coordinate with British Columbia and Canada to establish the Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum. The purpose of the Forum is to exchange information to enhance oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response measures to minimize the risk and impacts of spills in the Salish Sea. The Forum will serve as a platform for open dialogue for all levels of government from both sides of the border, including Transport Canada, the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, Tribes and First Nations, environmental groups, and industry. It will address issues such as navigational safety, data sharing, and the impacts of spills on the environment, Tribal and First Nation resources, the economy, and public health. This Forum will provide a platform to discuss and share ideas on these and other issues related to vessel traffic. The goal is to advance our collective knowledge about current policies and practices, and potential safeguards to protect our shared waters and resources. The Forum will be a non-voting and non-decision-making entity. The Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, of which Washington and British Columbia are founding members, will work with Ecology and the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to establish and hold the Forum. This event will be free and open to the public. Please visit the Task Force website for additional information. www.oilspilltaskforce.org Agenda here. Register here
Sorry folks, I missed this, but there is still time! Check more info on the Susquamish Tribe's page.
“I know that gutting the Endangered Species Act sounds like plan from a cartoon villain, not the work of the president of the United States,” Healey said during a call with reporters. “But unfortunately that’s what we’re dealing with today.” The goal of the overhaul is clear: to “undercut the science” and reduce the number of listed species, according to David Hayes, the executive director of New York University’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center and former deputy secretary at the Interior Department under President Barack Obama. The only reason to consider economic impacts when making ESA decisions is to “poison the well and obtain a sort of public reaction to the listing,” he said. Read more here.
Please take a few minutes of your time and write letters to the editor of the Seattle Times and your community newspapers. Let them know that you are a UU standing up for the 7th Principle and the qwe lhol mechen and behind the Tribes and Nations of the Salish Sea! August 7, 2019, By Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times Three more southern resident orcas are reported missing and presumed dead, according to the Center for Whale Research. Ken Balcomb, founding director of the center, said the missing whales are J17, K25 and L84. In his annual population survey, Balcomb reported the population of endangered southern residents is now 73.
Due to the scarcity of suitable chinook-salmon prey, the southern residents also rarely visit the core waters of their designated critical habitat: Puget Sound, Georgia Strait and the inland reach of the Strait of Juan de Fuca,It has been more than a month since the whales have been seen in their summer waters, and L pod has not been in the inland waters of the Salish Sea this summer.
J17 is a 42-year-old J pod matriarch and mother of Tahlequah (J35), who carried her dead calf for an unprecedented 17 days last year. She was reportedly not in good body condition last winter, perhaps from stress. She is survived by two daughters, J35 and J53, and son J44.
Her death puts her family at risk because older female whales help feed their families. Sons in particular, at any age, are eight times more likely to die within a year if they lose their mothers.
Also missing is 28-year-old K25, an adult male who was not in good body condition last winter. He is survived by two sisters, K20 and K27, and a brother, K34.
A 29-year-old male, L84, has been missing all summer. L pod has not come into the Salish Sea yet this summer. L84 was the last surviving member of a matriline of 11 whales.The population of southern residents is now the lowest it has been since the live-capture era ended in the 1970s. The whales are declining because of lack of adequate food, particularly chinook salmon; disturbance and noise by boats; and toxins in their environment. Additional information here.