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Old 12-13-2016, 07:26 PM   #17
AmigoKumeyaay
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INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE CENTRAL TO THESE BATTLES
No group seems more galvanized now than North America's indigenous communities.

"I think what we're seeing is a shift in the face of what has been called 'environmentalism' to a different thing that is led by indigenous people and grounded in some fundamental notions about justice," says Jan Hasselman, the Earthjustice attorney who represented the Standing Rock Sioux. "From where I sit, it's very much about oil spills and who bears the risk."

At the center of much of this is Brian Cladoosby, leader of Washington State's Swinomish Tribe and president of the National Congress of American Indians. He helped the Lummi fight the proposed coal export terminal in Puget Sound. He encouraged other tribes to come to Standing Rock.

Whether the Army Corps’s decision on the Dakota Access pipeline will stand under the Trump Administration is unclear. In declining to grant an easement for the pipeline to cross the Missouri a half mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, the Corps decided that a complete Environmental Impact Statement should be done, including a “robust consideration of reasonable alternatives.”

The main alternative considered previously was a crossing 10 miles north of Bismarck, North Dakota. Concern about threats to the city’s water supply was one reason that route was rejected, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

That decision and the lack of a thorough review angers and amazes Cladoosby. It fits the historical pattern, he says.

"For the last 100 years, we've been living under a pollution-based economy," Cladoosby says. “We've seen our water degraded, our soil degraded, and our air degraded. Much of this has happened in Indian country, or on former Indian lands or on stolen Indian lands. Many tribes have had infrastructure projects happen on, in, or near their homelands without them even having a say. Pipelines were constructed, refineries were built, easements were given away without the tribes even being consulted.

"Basically, now, we've said enough is enough."
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