Category: Native Americans
Sanders: Obama Should Order New Analysis on Dakota Access Pipeline Project

01:43 14.09.2016

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Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that President Barack Obama should call for a complete environmental and cultural impact study of the Dakota Access Pipeline before allowing the project to continue. Federal Judge Denies Dakota Access Pipeline Injunction

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — President Barack Obama should call for a complete environmental and cultural impact study of the Dakota Access Pipeline before allowing the project to continue, US Senator Bernie Sanders said at a rally near the White House. “I am calling on President Obama today to ensure that this pipeline gets a full environmental and cultural impact analysis,” Sanders told several hundred protestors on Tuesday afternoon. “In my view, when that analysis takes place, this pipeline will not continue.” The Dakota Access Pipeline Project aims to transport domestically-produced light crude oil from North Dakota through the states of South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. The pipeline is being built near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation next to Cannon Ball in the state of North Dakota. The tribe has claimed the pipeline infringes on their burial grounds and will affect their water sources. On Friday, the departments of Justice, Army and Interior said construction of the pipeline should stop until the environmental concerns are fully investigated. Also on Friday, a US judge denied a request from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to stop construction of the pipeline.

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Arrest warrant for Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman over North Dakota pipeline protest
worker | September 12, 2016 | 8:14 pm | Analysis, Native Americans, police terrorism, political struggle, Struggle for Native American equality | Comments closed

© Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! journalist and producer Amy Goodman has been issued an arrest warrant for covering the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s North Dakota pipeline protests.

While reporting from the site of the protests last week, Goodman captured private security contractors using dogs and pepper spray on the demonstrators in a broadcast that went viral.

On Sunday, Goodman announced that she had received an arrest warrant for alleged criminal trespass during the protest. The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days’ imprisonment.

“This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” Goodman said in a statement on Sunday. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”

Democracy Now! is an independent news channel that has covered the Native-American-led protests in depth, capturing the clashes between private security and protesters and showing a man with bite marks and a dog with a bloody mouth.

Goodman’s arrest warrant was reportedly discovered by attorneys looking into the arrest of Red Warrior Camp protest organizer Cody Charles Hall, who was arrested for criminal trespass on Friday.

Read more: Obama dodges Dakota pipeline question, fails to back Native American protesters

Thirty-eight people have been arrested at the protests, Native News Online reports.

Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein also received an arrest warrant, along with her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, for scrawling graffiti on equipment during the protests.

Read more: Jill Stein charged for spray-painting bulldozer in Dakota pipeline protest

Obama dodges Dakota pipeline question, fails to back Native American protesters
worker | September 8, 2016 | 8:33 pm | Analysis, class struggle, Native Americans, Struggle for Native American equality | Comments closed

US President Barack Obama at a university in Laos. © indianz
President Barack Obama failed to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access pipeline, claiming he wasn’t up to speed on the details when asked about the controversial project Wednesday.

While speaking at Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang, Laos, Obama was asked, “In your capacity, what can you do to ensure the protection of the ancestral land, the supply of clean water and also environmental justice is upheld?”

Obama described treatment of Native Americans as “tragic” and claimed to have started an “honest and generous and respectful” relationship with indigenous tribes, but then added that he would have to consult with his staff on this one.

“Now, some of these issues are caught up with laws and treaties, and so I can’t give you details on this particular case,” he said. “I’d have to to go back to my staff and find out how we are doing on this one.”

The question was put to Obama while protesters face violence from oil industry thugs.

Activists have been attacked with attack dogs and pepper sprayed while attempting to prevent the destruction of the ancient Native American burial site.

At least six people were bitten by the dogs.

Members of various tribes tied themselves to machinery in protest.

The Green Party’s Jill Stein is the only presidential candidate to have visited the site and offer support.

A warrant was issued for her arrest on Wednesday for spray painting equipment and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, also faces charges.

The $3.8 billion pipeline is proposed to stretch across four states, but Native Americans are concerned the 470,000 barrels of oil passing through it per day could poison their water supply through leaks and spills, particularly where it crosses under the Missouri River, the longest in North America.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), which is developing the project, claims that potential environmental destruction is worth the risk because of the jobs and profits the pipeline will create.

ETP is owned by Texas billionaire Kelcy Warren, who In These Times reports has a “history of profiting off disasters,” including the 2001 collapse of Enron and Hurricane Rita, when federal regulatory agencies accused his company of manipulating natural gas prices in Houston.

The company settled out of court, with $10 million going to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and $30 million to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Sioux tribe wins partial halt to Dakota pipeline in federal court
worker | September 6, 2016 | 8:47 pm | Analysis, Native Americans, political struggle, Struggle for Native American equality | Comments closed

Protesters hold signs outside the U.S. District Court in Washington, where a hearing was being held to decide whether to halt construction of an oil pipeline in parts of North Dakota where a Native American tribe says it has ancient burial and prayer sites, September 6, 2016. © Kevin Lamarque
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s request for a temporary stop work order on the Dakota Access Pipeline has been granted by a federal judge. Sacred sites in North Dakota were bulldozed over the weekend, a day after the tribe identified them in court papers.

Energy Transfer Partners is trying to construct a 1,200-mile Dakota Access pipeline.

Work on the pipeline will cease for a limited time between State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, US District Judge James Boasberg ruled Tuesday in Washington DC. The project is allowed to continue west of the highway, because the judge viewed the US Army Corps of Engineers as lacking jurisdiction on private land.

The tribe, however, was not pleased, as they had sought a total shutdown of the project.

When the stoppage will be lifted remains to be seen.

The order came as a result of an emergency hearing called by Judge Boasberg after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed a temporary restraining order over the weekend. Dakota Access construction crews had just used bulldozers to remove topsoil across a 150-foot-wide, two-mile stretch of area near the confluence of the Cannonball River and the Missouri River.

The work destroyed stone features, including prayer rings and cairns used to mark burial grounds, according to the tribe.

“I surveyed this land and we confirmed multiple graves and specific prayers sites,” Tim Mentz, Sr., the tribe’s former longtime historic preservation officer said in a statement Saturday, according to “Portion and possibly complete sites, have been taken out entirely.”

The destruction led to a confrontation between #NoDAPL protesters and construction workers, where security guards used dogs and pepper spray against protesters.

Attorneys for Energy Transfer Partners filed court documents on Monday denying that workers destroyed any cultural sites but cited broken fences, incidents of trespass and “horrible threats of physical violence” against construction workers and other employees.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II complained: “They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites. The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction.”

The request is in addition to the tribe’s other challenge to the Army Corp of Engineers’ decision to fast-track grant permits to the operator of the four-state pipeline. Boasberg said he expected to issue a full opinion on that lawsuit on September 9.

Since April, citizens of Standing Rock Sioux have camped on the edge of the reservation to protect their grounds, water and sacred sites. The tribe claims the Army Corps of Engineers fast-tracked approval for the pipeline without properly consulting them.

“As the Chairman of my Tribe, I sent numerous letters to the Corps, requesting consultation and expressing out concerns that the proposed pipeline would threaten our lands and contaminate our water,” Archambault said. “Our concerns were ignored.”

Thousands of people from more than 200 native tribes have joined the Standing Rock Sioux’s effort to protect their lands, waters and sacred sites.

A new investigation by Little Sis, a research outlet, found a plethora of Wall Street banks are backing the Dakota Access Pipeline. It shows that the six top US banks have extended a $3.75 billion credit line to Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Dakota Access.

The author of the report, Hugh MacMillan, a senior researcher with Food & Water Watch, told RT it is important to shine a light on how this process is happening across the sector.

“This is just a small example (while it is a large project) of how this system is working, or failing us collectively. Just six banks alone – Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citibank – hold over $2 billion in oil and gas industry loans. What I’ve discovered in looking at the funding for the Energy Transfer family of companies, and specifically for the Dakota Access pipeline, is that many more banks are involved.”

MacMillan said Citibank is “running the books and beating the bushes” to get several hundred million from over 2,000 banks.

“I think it is important for the activists there, protecting their land at the confluence of Cannonball River and the Missouri River, to know the powers who they are speaking their truth to,” MacMillan said. “Otherwise they are behind the scenes and it seems like one company when it is not. This is a long list of banks all aiming to get paid back through widespread drilling and fracking for decades.”

Other banks include The Royal Bank of Scotland, Community Trust Bank, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.

On Tuesday morning, pipeline workers showing up at the construction site were met by protesters. As around 350 protesters gathered at the site, workers left without incident. Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party spray painted the blade of a bulldozer used by a construction crew. Two other pieces were also spray painted.

KXNET reported a woman from Pine Ridge had attached herself to a piece of equipment.

The 30-inch-diameter pipeline is expected to carry about 450,000 barrels per day, with a capacity of up to 570,000 barrels per day. The route will begin in the Bakken oil fields near Stanley, North Dakota and end at Patoka, Illinois, where the oil can be transported via another pipeline to the Gulf Coast or shipped to other markets.

The project also has faced protest and controversy in South Dakota. Some see the pipeline as Keystone XL 2.0, named after the Canada-to-Texas tar sands pipeline that was eventually blocked by the Obama administration.

Sanders campaigns on Pine Ridge reservation, but Clinton to skip it for Texas fundraisers
worker | May 13, 2016 | 8:23 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, class struggle, Hillary Clinton, Native Americans, political struggle | Comments closed

Sanders faces an uphill battle to beat Clinton for the nomination. @jocy_bird
Bernie Sanders said the US owes a “debt of gratitude that can never be repaid” to Native Americans during a rally on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota Thursday.

The Democratic presidential candidate, who’s made the war on poverty a centerpiece of his campaign, met with tribal and community members from three of the poorest counties in the country.

“Poverty is much too high. There are not enough decent jobs in the area. The health care system is inadequate. We need to fundamentally change the relationship between the US government and the Native American community,” Sanders told the crowd in an area where 49 percent live below the poverty line.

More than 28 percent of Native Americans nationwide are considered poor, well above the national average of 15 percent, according to the US census.

“There is a lot of pain in the community,” Sanders said to potential voters. “In America today, we have a massive level of income and wealth inequality. We are living in a country where some people have unbelievable wealth but a lot of other people are living in dire poverty.”

Health care and education are also major concerns among the community, where the infant mortality rate is five times higher than the national average and 70 percent of students drop out of high-school.

The single-payer health care system pledged by Sanders will no doubt appeal to the area, along with his plans for tuition-free public colleges and universities.

Pine Ridge was the site of a number of tragedies caused by European-Americans.

More than 150 men, women, and children were killed by members of the US Seventh Cavalry Regiment during the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. In 1973, American Indian Movement and tribal members held a 71-day standoff with the FBI, as featured in this Rage Against The Machine song.

Famed political prisoner Leonard Peltier was arrested for the 1975 “Incident at Oglala” on the reservation when two FBI agents were killed – and remains locked up four decades later because Bill Clinton refused to pardon him when leaving the White House in 2001.

READ MORE: American Indian activist Leonard Peltier marks 40 years in prison

The former president will visit South Dakota next week to campaign instead of his wife Hillary Clinton, who will be raising money with rich donors in Dallas and Austin, Texas.

The former Secretary of State beat Barack Obama in the state’s primary in 2008 by 55 to 45 percent.

This year’s vote will take place on June 7, the same day as the all-important California primary.

John Yellow Bird Steele, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, told Native News that “Bernie lives up to his word. Indian Country would be better off if he lives up to his words.”

After visiting Pine Ridge, Sanders made stops in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, where he was met by thousands of voters who still believe he has a chance to beat Clinton for the Democratic party nomination

Native-American Tribe Left Without Emergency Room Sue Federal Government
worker | April 29, 2016 | 8:16 pm | class struggle, Native Americans, political struggle, Struggle for Native American equality | Comments closed

Native-American Tribe Left Without Emergency Room Sue Federal Government

03:14 30.04.2016Get short URL

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the federal government to force it to re-open an emergency room on a reservation in South Dakota.

It was the only emergency room at the hospital administered by the Indian Health Service (IHS) and it has been closed for five months after an unannounced visit by federal inspectors revealed serious deficiencies threatening patient lives.

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The report stated that in some cases infection-control measures had been neglected and that the treatment wasn’t always provided in due time because of staffing shortages and outdated equipment.

The tribal members accuse the IHS (an arm of the US Department of Health and Human Services) of breaking the law by failing to submit an evaluation of the impact of the closure to Congress at least a year before the shutdown, as required by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

The government is required to take into consideration certain factors, such as the quality of healthcare that would remain, and how far reservation residents would have to travel to get care.

Since the ER closure in December 2015, five people have reportedly died and two babies have been born in ambulances on the way to hospitals located some 50 miles away in Valentine, Nebraska, and Winner, South Dakota.

The lawsuit, obtained by The Associated Press, states that the IHS decision resulted in “the Tribe and its members’ immediate and irreparable injury.”

The Department of Health and Human Services — one of the listed defendants — refused to comment on pending litigation.

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The IHS, known to be underfunded and understaffed, provides free health care to enrolled tribal members, which is guaranteed by treaties that tribes signed with the United States.

The IHS aims to privatize the closed ER, along with another two in the Nebraska and South Dakota reservations.

Lawyers argue that there is no basis for the federal government to provide “inadequate health care to members of the Tribe” and are asking the US District Court in Rapid City to require the IHS to “take sufficient measures” to ensure that proper health services are provided.
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President Obama: Remember Leonard Peltier
worker | April 8, 2016 | 8:54 pm | Analysis, Native Americans, police terrorism, political struggle | Comments closed

By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada on March 30, 2016

 “For those of us who are jailed here nothing is more important than to be remembered”
Leonard Peltier, Leavenworth Prison, 9/1998

While Barack Obama proudly and  without blushing expounds on the virtues of North American “democracy”  and sermonizes on human rights, an innocent man languishes in his cell, totally isolated, awaiting only death or for something only the President of the United States can do, but Obama has not done.

Leonard Peltier, Sioux-Chippewa-Anishinabe-Lakota, a leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM), writer and poet, recently completed forty years in prison.  On the whole planet, he is one of the political prisoners who has been imprisoned the longest. When he was jailed, in February 1976, he was a young man struggling for the rights of the original peoples of the continent. He had already known repression and jail from a very early age. Now, almost blind and very ill, he endures cruel and totally unjustified captivity.

Condemned without proof in a process characterized by manipulation and illegalities, he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, (SIC), that he has been serving in maximum security prisons, subjected to particularly harsh conditions, defined by an inhumanity that considers neither his fragile health nor his advanced age.

In the decade of the nineteen-sixties, the repressive and racist North American regime unleashed its violence against those who opposed the Viet Nam War; and also against the Blacks, the Puerto Ricans and the Native Nations, that had been robbed of their lands and corralled into the so-called “reservations”. In 1973 the Wounded Knee massacre occurred, in the same place, truthfully, where in 1890 the biggest confrontation between the Native Nations and the White invaders took place. In both events, large numbers of “indians” were killed, including children, women and the elderly, and no one was brought to justice for those crimes.

The atrocity of Wounded Knee II and the growing presence of FBI agents and paramilitary groups created an environment of terror in an area where recent discoveries of uranium deposits and other minerals attracted Anglo-Saxon greed.

Solidarity spread to other sectors. Marlon Brando, a1973 Oscar winner for his memorable performance in The Godfather, turned the ceremony into a unique denunciation: instead of attending himself, he invited an Apache actress, Sacheen Littlefeather, and protested the treatment of the Native Peoples and the Wounded Knee massacre. “It seemed to me absurd to attend the Oscars ceremony.  It seemed grotesque to celebrate an industry that had systematically slandered and misrepresented the Native Peoples of these lands for six long decades,”  Brando proclaimed afterword.

Besieged in Ogalala, in the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota, the Elders asked AIM for protection. AIM sent several activists, Peltier among them. In June, 1975, a strange incident happened there, in which two FBI agents, and a number of unarmed civilians, Natives whose number and names remain unknown, lost their lives.

In any case, several facts were evident. The Native people were besieged, in their refuge, from which no one emerged to attack anyone. Those who entered, before the incident, were scores of FBI agents, very well armed, as were the paramilitaries at their service.  If one Native had fired a shot, something that has not been proven, it was probably a desperate act of self-defense.

The authorities charged only Natives. Peltier sought refuge in Canada, where he was captured on February 6, 1976. Meanwhile, his comrades were set free for lack of evidence.

From the beginning, the charge against Peltier was fabricated by the FBI. Revelations, after the trial, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, following long struggles by his defenders, proved the fraudulent character of the whole process: false testimonies obtained through bribery and threats, the offering as “proof” of a weapon that was neither at the scene of the crime nor was ever used by Peltier; a weapon that had absolutely no relation to the incident. In a hearing at the Court of Appeals, in 1978, one of the prosecutors against Peltier had to admit: “We do not really know who fired the shot against the FBI agents.”  The Court, however, upheld the conviction, and the sentence.

The trial against Peltier was a farce of monumental proportions. That fact was convincingly shown by another great North American actor, Robert Redford, in his documentary “Incident at Ogalala: the Leonard Peltier Story”, produced in 1992, but subjected to such severe censorship that it was reduced to something that few have been able to see. The reasons are obvious. According to the Washington Post, May 22, 1992: “It is very difficult to see ‹‹Incident at Oglala›› without concluding that Leonard Peltier is innocent…his trial was nothing but a farce concocted by the United States government. This direct and illuminating documentary shows how far reaching was the lack of scruples of the prosecutors and the FBI in order to convict this man”.

Among those asking for his liberation have been Nelson Mandela, the European Parliament and numerous world personalities. This demand has lasted more than four decades, so far, with no a solution. Some time ago, Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States warned: “Until this happens, each new day is a new crime, each sunrise is a new crime, each sunset is a new crime against the dignity of the Native people and against the honor of the United States of North America. Because as long as Leonard Peltier is in prison, we are all also in prison”.

When Leonard Peltier was arbitrarily jailed, Barak Obama was a teenager and was not responsible for that injustice.  But now, for eight years he has been responsible because as President of the United States, he has done nothing to free Peltier.  Obama knows that “Sí se puede”, but he prefers to be an accomplice to the crime.

Translated by Arysteides Turpana

Source: Cubadebate