The Navajo Nation will continue to stand alongside other Native American tribes who face environmental injustice and threats of encroachment on sacred lands

 On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Navajo Nation filed an amicus brief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia with 34 Federally Recognized Indian Tribes against the Lake Oahe Easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The federal government must be held accountable for its treaty obligation and in good faith must upholds nation-to-nation relationship with all tribes, including the Navajo Nation,” commented Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “We expect nothing less.”

In granting of the Lake Oahe Easement, the U.S. Army Corps violated fundamental trust duties.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline was a flashpoint for Indian Country in 2016, uniting tribes and other segments of the American population to stand in opposition to big business interests. Preservation of water sources for native and American populations outweighs the need to transport oil,” said Vice President Jonathan Nez.

The Navajo Nation will continue to stand alongside other Native American tribes who face environmental injustice and threats of encroachment on sacred lands, he said.

If an oil spill would occur in Lake Oahe it will negatively impact the treaty rights in fishing, hunting and water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The Amicus Brief cited, there will remain no other contiguous land to which the Tribe can resort, the ability to survive as a sovereign community within a defined territory will be placed in serious jeopardy, should the natural resources be negatively impacted.

“Due diligence for the environmental impact study is a must for high risk projects that could have a major impact on both the natural resources and sacred sites on tribal lands,” said President Begaye.

Ensuring pipeline safety protects against oil spills that could tribal natural resources. This amicus brief provided technical and scientific information on the many occurrences of oil spills as well as disruptions to the environment, local residents and economies.

Because the federal government has acted here in derogation of its solemn trust duties, the motion of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for partial summary judgment should be granted.

The Nation is all too familiar with these tragedies as it has experienced the devastation by the Gold King Mine spill, where over 3 million gallons of toxic waste washed downstream into the San Juan River. The Nation is currently in litigation with the U.S. EPA for it’s role in the Gold King Mine spill.

The Nation has a strong interest in preventing future similar incidents through enforcement of robust trust responsibilities for federal agencies.

Steve Bonspiel, Mohawk, reflects on why many First Nation people won't celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial birthday

 We stand here, in Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Akwesasne, Wahta, Six Nations and Tyendinaga, in a country called Canada where promises continue to be broken, in spite of the fact we were instrumental in repelling American attacks during numerous wars, and in helping to make Canada what it is today.

We are rarely recognized for our important tactical military role. We were never given what was promised and we were never, after all of the turmoil and upheaval, after the wars were done and the European powers that be were friends again, left alone.

We do not have power over our own land and we cannot exercise true sovereignty on our own territory. We do not officially own the land. Title still rests, even if you pay a large sum of money for it and build your own home on it, with the Crown.

When the British North America Act was passed on July 1, 1867 (celebrated now as Canada Day), this country still fell heavily under Britain's thumb. It gave title to a state, not a country, and as long as that settler state holds all of the cards — especially one called the Indian Act — we will never attain true sovereignty.

We want access to our traditional pursuits of hunting and fishing, control over our vast natural resources, and title to our own land.

We want a place we can grow, expand, and live like we used to; free of the colonial chains of oppression and control.

It's a mechanism that benefits them primarily — the "just us" system — and there have been many opportunities to set the record straight and give land back to our communities and the people, but we have been let down time and again.

So, no, many Mohawks will not be celebrating 150 or 375, even if some of our people take back a little bit of money from the celebrations of a country that tried to destroy us. That's like inviting people into your house to blow out the birthday candles after they've kidnapped your child.

We may still be gathering strength as sovereign Onkwehón:we Nations and working our way back to our former glory, but many of us refuse to be complicit in our own demise.
Written By Steve Bonspiel Source


That race between the tortoise and the hare? A real-life Arizona fable looks like it may end in friendship - and cuteness:

There once was an African tortoise named Wamba who lived peacefully in a comfortable enclosure outside the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain north of Tucson. On cold nights she would totter into her small, heated enclosure and wait for the next day's warming sun.

One Presidents Day weekend night, Wamba felt something nestle beside her. She had no idea what this creature could be, only that it was soft and warm and furry. Wamba remained still, something tortoises do very well, and waited for the next day's warming sun.

When it was bright again, Wamba's roof was lifted to reveal her caretaker, Ranger Ron Brink, who tended to all the desert animals living at the Ritz-Carlton.

Each day Brink and his crew cleaned the shelter and made sure there was plenty of food and water. The rangers were as surprised as Wamba to find the soft and warm and furry trespasser.

It was a bunny, no more than two weeks old. When Brink saw a ring of grass and leaves was wrapped tightly around the tiny animal's neck, he knew he had to help.

Wamba grunted, as tortoises do when possibly upset, when Brink and a helper went about removing the many layers of plant matter tangled around the soft and warm and furry visitor.

As days passed, Wamba saw the tiny creature a few more times, having no idea how well it was being nurtured by Brink. Nor did the tortoise know the rabbit would soon be joining a collection of desert animals who were not so soft and warm and furry.

But thanks to Brink, Wamba the tortoise will continue to spend time with the hare as days pass, taking their relationship the only way tortoises know how.

Slow and steady.

Solar power is revolutionizing people’s lives all over the world, especially in remote areas. In some parts of the world, it is the only possible source of power.

In Mongolia, about 800,000 of the country’s 2.8 million inhabitants still live the traditional nomadic lifestyle … without the most basic of modern conveniences such as electricity and running water.

Mongolia’s government is exploring its vast potential for solar energy. “The National 100,000 Solar Ger Electrification Program”, a government sponsored initiative, equips nomads’ traditional homes called Gers (tents made of felt and yak’s wool) with portable solar home systems. These portable solar home systems (SHS) are easy to set up and can easily be dismantled when residents relocate.

With new solar home systems, nomads are finally seeing the light. Their life is totally revolutionized now:

With solar-generated electricity they can refrigerate their food.

They can get the weather forecast from the television, which is vital in the life of a shepherd.

With their self-harvested solar energy, they can charge their phones and keep in touch with one another and their children as most of the nomads’ children stay in dorms for education.

Now they can call for help for health and safety reasons.

Not only are they environmentally friendly, the portable solar panel allows farmers to carry it with them all the time. Families can now purchase electric lights that are recharged by solar energy. These panels also help to keep food through solar refrigeration.

“As indigenous people we've contributed so many things to the world, and our kids don't even know about it,” " We need to educate our kids through our art.”

"When I was done I felt so relieved. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders," acknowledged Henriquez, who teamed up with Gregg Deal, a painter, street artist and performance artist who belongs to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, for the project.

Then, just as he was about to leave the site, a woman approached Henriquez. "[She said,] 'We need this. This is going to empower our community,'" he recalled. "Then I understood the reason we did that mural and sacrificed so much. It wasn't until you had to go through it that you really understood the bigger picture."

The realization came as a revelation for the Venice native, who has Mayan and Nahua roots.

“At first I was just a tagger” incorporating indigenous patterns into his graffiti, said Henriquez, but teachers convinced him he could make a living from his art. After a brief stint in art college — “They didn't really understand what I was trying to do, and I didn't understand it myself,” the artist explained — he moved into graphic design, exploring themes inspired by his indigenous identity and the Mexican Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos.

Now Henriquez mixes politically minded murals and street art with apparel and more. His company NSRGNTS, conceived in 1999 and launched in 2000, promotes “the transmission of indigenous thought and philosophy” through everything.

Photos Source

Henriquez was in his early 20s when he attended his first pow wow. “I saw so many people who looked like my relatives,” he recalled, Native Americans who were truly “in tune with their heritage and their family history.”

He longed to connect with them and tap into a shared ancestral history. “We can learn from other ancestors — how to deal with reality, with life, with diversity,” Henriquez said. “All of us need to know that as indigenous people. There are lessons to be learned.”