Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline

Chief Grier also demanded a halt in the federal move to delist bears until meaningful government consultation with Tribes occurs. Such a moratorium would be consistent with the recent federal decision to halt construction of the DAPL until the government could assess impacts and more meaningfully consult with the Standing Rock and other Tribes.

The Dakota Access pipeline, called by Tribes “the black snake”, would degrade lands regarded as sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux. The federal government stopped construction in response to a tense standoff in North Dakota that has drawn support from over a hundred Tribes from across the country.

The latest Piikani declaration follows a similar one submitted to Jewell by the Navajo Tribe in August (link). During the last three years, 50 plus Tribes, from the Blackfeet Confederacy in the north to the Hopi in the south, have submitted letters, declarations and resolutions to the Department of Interior and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) opposing delisting and trophy hunting of grizzly bears (link). This includes the Standing Rock Sioux, led by their Chairman, David Archambault II, who was one of the first tribal leaders to engage with the grizzly bear issue.

Yet, so far, the FWS has failed to initiate formal consultation with these Tribes, and has even misrepresented tribal opposition to delisting in the press, in stark contrast to the federal government’s response to Tribal demands for government-to-government consultation in the case of the Dakota Access pipeline. In a joint statement on DAPL, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Justice and Interior departments called for an initiation of formal consultation with Tribes to “better ensure meaningful tribal input” into the decision and “protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights.” (link)

...About 100 tribes from across the United States are standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in an unprecedented show of unity. Similarly, the alliance of 50 plus tribes that comprise the GOAL (Guardians of our Ancestors Legacy) Coalition has been campaigning to protect the sacred grizzly bear and its habitat. Not since the Indian campaigns waged by Tecumseh roughly 200-years ago have so many tribes united around common causes...

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