Steve Sachs

Environmental Activities
(Note some developments not reported in developments are discussed under activities)

     The Western Environmental Law Center stated in a January 27, 2021 E-mail, "Today President Biden issued an expansive set of executive orders to address the climate crisis, safeguard 30% of our country’s lands and waters by 2030, restore the scientific integrity of federal decision-making, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and deliver justice to communities that have shouldered the brunt of public health and environmental harms.
      We applaud the Biden administration’s visionary and ambitious framework for climate action. These executive orders create a forward-looking framework to spark long-needed action at the confluence of the climate, pandemic, economic, and racial justice crises facing our country.
     The executive orders will have a positive impact in the Western U.S., heralding a new era of land and water conservation to safeguard the West’s natural heritage and communities, from the Pacific Northwest’s ancient forests and rivers to the Southwest’s sun-drenched mountains, deserts, and grasslands.
     At the same time, the executive orders will remove threats to these regions by pausing new federal public lands oil and gas leasing on Western U.S. public lands and undercutting the logic of harmful, ill-advised projects, such as the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline.
     Just as importantly, the executive orders will help prevent and remedy environmental injustices while creating new, stable, and good-paying job opportunities for hard-working families in the clean energy sector.
     The Western U.S. is getting hotter and drier. And people are suffering, right now, from increasingly severe wildfires, more intense droughts, extreme weather, and a lack of economic opportunities—especially those that strengthen, rather than compromise our beloved natural heritage. Our way of life hangs in the balance, and climate change amplifies each of these threats.
      Today’s bold, 'whole of government' approach not only tackles the climate crisis head on, but recognizes this challenge can be addressed by investing in the West’s greatest asset—its people. In so doing, today’s executive orders create tangible and actionable hope for present and future generations of Westerners.
     We look forward to working with the administration to implement this framework and, where necessary, holding them accountable to their commitments to the American people.
     For the West,
      Erik signature
     Erik Schlenker-Goodrich
     Executive Director"
      Jake Johnson, "430+ Groups From 6 Continents Demand Biden End All US Subsidies for Global Fossil Fuel Projects: 'We have to stop subsidizing fossil fuel companies at the expense of our climate,'" Common Dreams, March 18, 2021,, reported, " A coalition of more than 430 environmental organizations spanning 53 countries Thursday called on the Biden administration to quickly cut off all U.S. public financing for fossil fuel projects overseas and work with governments around the world to bring about an end to taxpayer subsidies for the dirty energy sources driving the global climate emergency."

      Kenny Stancil, "Ahead of Key Summit, 350+ Groups and 100+ Economists Tell G7 Nations to 'Stop Funding Fossil Fuels: 'We have had enough of world leaders sitting and talking whilst the world burns around them, with Covid-19 and climate impacts continuing to wreak havoc,' said one campaigner," Common Dreams,
June 9, 2021,, reported, " Ahead of this weekend's G7 summit, over 350 civil society organizations and more than 100 economists from around the globe on Wednesday signed letters urging the leaders of seven of the world's richest nations to stop financing fossil fuels. Instead, they argued, public funding should be used to usher in a green and equitable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis that catalyzes a just transition to a renewable energy-powered society."

     "Over 1000 People Have Gathering to Help #StopLine3: Let’s make sure everyone knows," Treaty People Gathering, via E-mail, June 6, 2021, stated, " Over 1000 people are here in Northern Minnesota to Stop Line 3 [June 7, 2021] and we want the whole world to know!
   Please help us tell the story of this amazing event.
   Use our hashtags, #TreatyPeopleGathering & #StopLine3
   You can find what you need here:
   Couldn't make it? We NEED you to share, retweet, and amplify content from the event! You can also click this link (use the password StopLine3!) to submit a testimonial video about why YOU want to #StopLine 3.
It’s also NOT TOO LATE to join the action. Meet us at Coffee Pot Landing at 10AM on Monday, June 6th for one of the largest mobilizations against this pipeline, ever:
     March and rally, Coffee Pot Landing, 10:00 am - June 7/
     Treaty People Gathering Social Media Team
The Treaty People Gathering is a coalition-led event in collaboration with water protectors everywhere and RISE Coalition | Giniw Collective | MN350 | Honor The Earth | Indigenous Environmental Network | NDN Collective | Oil Change International | Science for the People - Twin Cities | GreenFaith | The Climate Reality Project: Chicago Chapter | Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light-Rising Tide | North America-Divest Ed | 350 Seattle | 198 Methods | Indigenous Environmental Network | Climate Hawks Vote | Turtle Island Restoration Network- | 350Kishwaukee (Illinois) | Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc | Bold Franciscan Action Network | SoCal 350 | Climate Action | Progressive Democrats of America | Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard | Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area | Climate Change Network Nigeria(CCNNigeria) | Critica | Sunrise Twin Cities | Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) | Sunrise Carleton | 350Hawaii | Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition | 350 Vermont | 350 New Hampshire | Property Rights and Pipeline Center | Redtailed Hawk Collective | Twin Cities DSA | Springfield Massachusetts Climate Justice Coalition | Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights-Climate Finance Acton CODEPINK UMN Students for Climate Justice | Oil and Gas Action Network | Oil and Gas Action Network | Climate Disobedience Center | Beyond Extreme Energy Saint Cloud | Democratic Socialists of America-Citizen Climate Lobby | LA West Chapter-Climate Action Now Western Massachusetts | Springfield Climate Justice Coalition | 2degrees Northampton Massachusetts | 350 Central Mass Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) | Zero Hour SEE | LA (Social Eco Education-LA) | Fossil Free California | Northfield Against Line 3 | Brainerd Lakes Area DSA | 350 Butte County | Richmond, VA Interfaith Climate Justice | Rogue Climate | Idle No More SF Bay | Action Center on Race and the Economy | The Enviro Show | Youth Emergency Auxiliary Service Sierra Leone (YEAS-SL)- | Texas Campaign for the Environment | Climate Change Network Nigeria | Unitarian Universalist Service Committee | Food & Water Watch Nuclear Information and Resource Service ("for a nuclear-free, carbon-free world") | Bold Nebraska / Bold Alliance | Rising Tide Chicago Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Enivronments | Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation Inc USA | 350Juneau- | Climate Action for Alaska | Extinction Rebellion PDX- | 350 Eugene | RapidShift Network | CatholicNetwork | US Businesses for a Livable Climate | Colorado Small Business Coalition | Call to Action Colorado-Unite North Metro Denver | Wall of Women North Range Concerned Citizens | Spirit of the Sun Conejo Climate Coalition | The Earth Bill Network Climate Crisis Policy 350 Silicon Valley | Oceanic Preservation Society | 350 DC | Rights of Mississippi River | | 350NYC | Church Women United in New York State | Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) | Power Past Fracked Gas National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rightsa."
      The website on June 6 indicated that more than 2000 participants were expected.

     "Sign the petition: Liberty Mutual must stop insuring toxic tar sands and Arctic drilling projects," Action Network, March 29, 2021,, stated, " Insurance giant Liberty is a huge backer of tar sands and has not ruled out support for Arctic drilling, two sectors that spell disaster for Indigenous rights and the climate. As a top global oil and gas insurer and investor with billions invested in fossil fuels, Liberty is complicit in the destruction of waterways and sacred land.
      All oil and gas projects need one thing: insurance coverage. Without insurance, new tar sands pipelines, Arctic drilling rigs, and oil refineries cannot be built, and existing projects cannot continue to operate.
      Despite the massive risks of these projects, Liberty’s executives have refused to make space in their calendars to meet with Indigenous and frontline leaders, whose lands, livelihoods, and cultures Liberty is threatening with its business practices.
     At the end of 2020, Liberty announced that it was joining an international network on responsible investing because of its commitment to build “prosperous and inclusive societies for future generations.”      But we know that these words mean absolutely nothing if the insurance giant continues to insure and invest in fossil fuel expansion on Indigenous lands without consent.
      Tar sands oil is one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, and its extraction has already contaminated the drinking water and food of Indigenous communities in Canada and unleashed massive amounts of carbon pollution.
     Massive pipelines like Trans Mountain and Line 3 would transport crude tar sands oil from Alberta, unleashing a massive dirty carbon bomb on the planet, violating treaties with Indigenous communities, and polluting sacred lands and waterways. But they are facing powerful Indigenous and grassroots resistance right now.
     We must move in solidarity with Indigenous communities by holding the insurers of these destructive projects accountable. We must continue to pressure Liberty Mutual to listen to the demands made by Indigenous leaders and stop supporting rights-violating, dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure.
     It’s way past time for Liberty Mutual to put people over profit and take a stand for our collective futures. We demand Liberty Mutual stop fueling climate chaos and insuring human rights abuses.
      Sign the petition: Demand Liberty Mutual drop insurance coverage of tar sands pipelines, Arctic drilling, and all fossil fuel expansion."

     "Now is the time for Biden to shut down DAPL," Earth Justice, April 3, 2021,, stated,
     The fight to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline, now in its third presidential administration, is quickly approaching what could be a crucial turning point
. On April 9, the US Army Corps of Engineers will have a court hearing to explain what its plan is for DAPL. The hearing is forcing the Biden administration’s hand — it has to come up with a plan and let us know if DAPL will continue to operate. In the run-up to the hearing, we need your help reminding the Biden administration that we know the facts on DAPL — and they are damning. Not only is DAPL operating without a permit, a court told the Army Corps it didn’t adequately study the threat the pipeline poses to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe — so the Corps is only now working on a more robust Environmental Impact Statement."

     "The IITC and Treaty Nations Welcome President Biden’s Decision to Halt Keystone XL Pipeline," International Treaty Council, March 5, 2021,, stated, " The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and Indigenous Treaty Nations on both sides of the United States/Canadian border welcome the Executive Order signed by US President Joseph R. Biden on January 20th, 2021, the first day of his presidency, canceling the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The proposed pipeline was intended to carry up to 800,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the massive Tar Sands development in Northern Alberta Canada to refineries in Texas. Its 1200-mile route would have cut through the middle of the United States, crossing Oceti Sakowin Treaty Territory and the Oglala Aquifer which provides water for drinking and other purposes to Indigenous Nations, farmers and ranchers, wildlife, and millions of US residents.
     In 2015, the administration of President Barack Obama denied a permit for construction in the US to TransCanada, the Canadian corporation in charge of the pipeline’s construction. On January 24th, 2017 incoming President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum to revive the construction of the pipeline, and a new permit was issued in March 2017. Construction was pushing ahead despite Indigenous Nations’ and environmentalists’ strong opposition and numerous court challenges.
     The decision of the Biden Administration to cancel this permit is a demonstration of its commitment to transition away from fossil fuels in order to fight climate change. It was warmly welcomed by the Indigenous Nations whose Treaty Rights as well as water supplies were threatened. In a statement responding to the Executive Order, Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation stated, 'I would like to say thank you to the President of the United States for acknowledging the danger this project poses to our land'. He added, 'When decisions to keep such projects from damaging our environment today are made, we give our children a better opportunity tomorrow'.
     The tar sands (also referred to as 'oil sands') development in Northern Alberta Canada, the source of the crude oil the Keystone XL Pipeline was intended to carry, has also been strongly opposed by the impacted Treaty Nations. In February 2008, Treaty Chiefs representing Treaties 6, 7, and 8 of Alberta Canada unanimously passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new tar sands approvals, stating that 'Oil sands development has all but destroyed the traditional livelihood of First Nations in the Northern Athabasca watershed'.
     Likewise, the 'Mother Earth Accord' was drafted and signed in an emergency meeting of Tribal Nation Treaty leaders from both sides of the US/Canada border September 15-16, 2011, hosted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota along Keystone XL’s proposed route. Indigenous Nations, the IITC, and other Indigenous Peoples’ organizations around the world also signed on to the Accord which reiterated the call for a moratorium on tar sands development, urged the US and Canada to transition to sustainable energy sources and away from fossil fuels, and called on the Obama Administration to deny TransCanada’s permit for construction in the United States.
One of the Treaty Nation leaders from Canada who organized this unified initiative was Bill Erasmus who served as Chief of the Dene Nation in the Northwest Territories for over 30 years. The Dene Nation is downstream from the tar sands development and as Dene Nation Chief, Bill Erasmus consistently presented the devastating impacts of runoffs from the tar sands tailings ponds on water sources, fish, wildlife, and human health in many national and international gatherings. He welcomed the pending decision by the Biden Administration in a statement on January 19th, 2021 affirming that 'Our Peoples’ lands north of the tar sands are being contaminated. This goes through the water system all the way to the circumpolar Arctic'. Responding to the objections being raised by some businesses, local and provincial governments in Canada, also echoed by similar sectors in the US, stating that halting the Keystone XL pipeline construction would cost jobs he responded, 'I really think that short-term jobs are not worth polluting the Arctic and affecting our People in a negative way'.
     Phil Two Eagle, Executive Director of IITC affiliate Sicangu Treaty Council, Rosebud Nation, called this decision a victory for Mother Earth and for Treaty Rights. 'President Joe Biden took a step towards honoring the Treaties that were signed by the US Federal Government and our great grandfathers, the chiefs that signed the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868,” he said.
     Bill Means, co-founder and Board member of the International Indian Treaty Council and representative of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Council, Oglala Lakota Nation, confirmed that the right to consent is affirmed in the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty between the Oceti Sakowin (aka the 'Great Sioux Nation') and the US, and that the impacted Treaty Nations had never given their consent to this project. 'It is not a question of if, but when oil pipelines will leak. Promises of so-called economic development and a few jobs, which usually don’t even go to the Indians, are not worth sacrificing our sacred waters and the health of our future generations. We will continue to say no to the Keystone XL and other projects that threaten our lands, waters, and Nations and contribute to the climate crisis we are now facing. We appreciate the Biden administration’s decision and look forward to working with them so that our Treaty rights will continue to be upheld going forward."
     For more information contact R. Múkaro Borrero, IITC Communications Coordinator via email at"

      Jon Queally, 'Vraie Loi Climat!': Tens of Thousands March in France to Demand Much Stronger Climate Law: French President Emannuel Macron, said one demonstrator, 'is going backwards—he's performing a moonwalk, he's an artist who pretends to go forward but in fact he's only going backwards,'" Cpommon Dreams, March 29, 2021,, reported, " Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris and other cities on Sunday to demand the French government deliver much more far-reaching action on climate than exhibited in a new piece of legislation now under consideration in the nation's parliament.
According to Reuters, "French lawmakers are due to start examining a bill on climate change on Monday (March 29) but critics say the bill is not ambitious enough to limit the country's carbon emissions and reach a goal set at the Paris Agreement to limit the rise of global temperatures."
     While proponents of the draft bill in France—titled 'Climate and Resilience'—claim it's designed to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by end of this decade, critics of the legislation say the most far-reaching proposals were left out and that President Emmanuel Macron has betrayed his promise for action bold enough to address the planetary crisis. Those marching and supporters online used the phrase Vraie Loi Climat (or "True Climate Law") and the #VraeiLoiClimat hashtag to support the day's action."

     " Tell the World Bank: End all fossil fuel finance!" Oil Change International, March 30, 3021, , stated, "Since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the World Bank has financed at least $12 billion in fossil fuels. Additional fossil fuel finance will continue increase emissions and exacerbate the climate crisis, particularly amongst most vulnerable communities, and result in stranded assets.
     The Bank is preparing to release their Climate Change Action Plan for 2021 to 2025, and we have heard the Banks’ own Executive Directors are
split on whether to end their remaining fossil fuel finance. And they will meet on April 1st to decide.
     As well as financing fossil fuel projects directly, the bank also takes advantage of loopholes to continue to finance fossil fuels indirectly. We demand an end to the direct financing of fossil fuels and also for the closing of loopholes which support fossil fuel expansion through intermediaries, Development Policy Finance and technical assistance
     Over 150 organizations and academics have signed a letter to the World Bank calling for a ‘whole-of-institution’ end to all fossil fuel finance. This letter comes as the World Bank is due to release its new Climate Change Action Plan detailing its plans for work on climate change for the next five years — in response after nine of its own Executive Directors called for a fossil finance phase out.
     Add your voice to this call by sending a letter to the World Bank leaders today to end all fossil fuel finance." stated in an April 16, 2021 E-mail, "For decades, the federal government has allowed the fossil fuel industry to drill on public lands.
      Today, we can stop the expansion of fossil fuel drilling on public lands by passing the Keep It in the Ground Act of 2021 introduced by the U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressmember Jared Huffman. 1"
     " If made into law, this new bill will not only stop new leases for coal, oil, gas, oil shale, and tar sands drilling on federal lands, but, it will also make sure that over 90% of the potential carbon emissions from oil, gas, and coal on our federal lands and waters stay in the ground.
     Stephen, our public land is not a commodity. It’s a common good. We need to put an end to the fossil fuel industry profiting off of our communities and our land now.
     But we can't do it alone. It's going to take all of us:"
     "Now is the time to demand that fossil fuels stay in the ground.
     Now is the time for Congress to act and for our government to stop using our public lands to make the fossil fuel industry richer.
     Now is the time for our movement to stand up to the entire fossil fuel industry.
     Big oil and gas may have unlimited sums of money to lobby politicians, but we have something even more powerful. We have each other."
      "....write to your representatives today asking them to co-sponsor the Keep It in the Ground Act. Together, we can end the age of fossil fuels.
     In solidarity,
     Natalie Mebane, Associate Director of Policy,"
     1 - Senator Merkley Press Release
For details on's many ctions, go to:

      Jessica Corbett, "Lawmakers and Groups Demand 'Urgent Action' by Fed to Protect Economy From Climate Risks: 'The Federal Reserve must do its job, steering the economy away from disaster by ending fossil fuel finance,'" Common Dreams, April 1, 2021,, reported, " Dozens of green groups and 25 progressives in Congress sent a pair of letters Thursday to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell calling for much bolder efforts to protect U.S. financial institutions and the economy from risks posed by the climate crisis.
     The Fed recently joined the Network for Greening the Financial System, which has been called 'the climate change club for central banks.' However, as a new global scorecard from the group Positive Money reveals, the U.S. central bank has a long way to go. The Fed received a D-, ranking 11th overall and 13th among G20 countries."

      Kenny Stancil, "People Worldwide Said 'Build Back Better.' IEA Chief Says 'Just the Opposite' Is Happening: 'As long as countries do not put the right energy policies in place, the economic rebound will see emissions significantly increase in 2021. We will make the job of reaching net zero harder,'" Common Dreams, April 1, 2021,, reported, "For the past year, climate campaigners and experts have urged heads of state around the world to 'build back better' in the wake of the economic devastation wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
      But rather than pursuing a just and sustainable recovery , countries are perpetuating fossil fuel reliance and jeopardizing their chances of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the head of the International Energy Agency warned Wednesday.
      'We are not on track for a green recovery, just the opposite,' Fatih Bitrol, the executive director of the IEA, told The Guardian. 'We have seen global emissions higher in December 2020 than in December 2019. As long as countries do not put the right energy policies in place, the economic rebound will see emissions significantly increase in 2021. We will make the job of reaching net zero harder.'
     As The Guardian noted, "the IEA's latest figures show global coal use was about 4% higher in the last quarter of 2020 than in the same period in 2019, the clearest indication yet of a potentially disastrous rebound in the use of the dirtiest fossil fuels, following last year's lockdowns around the world when emissions plummeted."
     Last year, the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization warned that while the coronavirus-driven global economic slowdown led to a slight reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, the drop "had no measurable impact on" the ongoing buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere."

     "The IITC and Treaty Nations Welcome President Biden’s Decision to Halt Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline," The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), January 26, 2021,, stated, " The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and Indigenous Treaty Nations on both sides of the United States/Canadian border welcome the Executive Order signed by US President Joseph R. Biden on January 20th, 2021, the first day of his presidency, canceling the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The proposed pipeline was intended to carry up to 800,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the massive Tar Sands development in Northern Alberta Canada to refineries in Texas. Its 1200-mile route would have cut through the middle of the United States, crossing Oceti Sakowin Treaty Territory and the Oglala Aquifer which provides water for drinking and other purposes to Indigenous Nations, farmers and ranchers, wildlife, and millions of US residents.  
     In 2015, the administration of President Barack Obama denied a permit for construction in the US to TransCanada, the Canadian corporation in charge of the pipeline’s construction. On January 24th, 2017 incoming President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum to revive the construction of the pipeline, and a new permit was issued in March 2017. Construction was pushing ahead despite Indigenous Nations’ and environmentalists’ strong opposition and numerous court challenges.
     The decision of the Biden Administration to cancel this permit is a demonstration of its commitment to transition away from fossil fuels in order to fight climate change. It was warmly welcomed by the Indigenous Nations whose Treaty Rights as well as water supplies were threatened. In a statement responding to the Executive Order, Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation stated, 'I would like to say thank you to the President of the United States for acknowledging the danger this project poses to our land”. He added, “When decisions to keep such projects from damaging our environment today are made, we give our children a better opportunity tomorrow'.
     The tar sands (also referred to as “oil sands”) development in Northern Alberta Canada, the source of the crude oil the Keystone XL Pipeline was intended to carry, has also been strongly opposed by the impacted Treaty Nations. In February 2008, Treaty Chiefs representing Treaties 6, 7, and 8 of Alberta Canada unanimously passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new tar sands approvals, stating that “Oil sands development has all but destroyed the traditional livelihood of First Nations in the Northern Athabasca watershed”.
     Likewise, the 'Mother Earth Accord' was drafted and signed in an emergency meeting of Tribal Nation Treaty leaders from both sides of the US/Canada border September 15-16, 2011, hosted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota along Keystone XL’s proposed route. Indigenous Nations, the IITC, and other Indigenous Peoples’ organizations around the world also signed on to the Accord which reiterated the call for a moratorium on tar sands development, urged the US and Canada to transition to sustainable energy sources and away from fossil fuels, and called on the Obama Administration to deny TransCanada’s permit for construction in the United States.
     One of the Treaty Nation leaders from Canada who organized this unified initiative was Bill Erasmus who served as Chief of the Dene Nation in the Northwest Territories for over 30 years. The Dene Nation is downstream from the tar sands development and as Dene Nation Chief, Bill Erasmus consistently presented the devastating impacts of runoffs from the tar sands tailings ponds on water sources, fish, wildlife, and human health in many national and international gatherings. He welcomed the pending decision by the Biden Administration in a statement on January 19th, 2021 affirming that 'Our Peoples’ lands north of the tar sands are being contaminated. This goes through the water system all the way to the circumpolar Arctic'. Responding to the objections being raised by some businesses, local and provincial governments in Canada, also echoed by similar sectors in the US, stating that halting the Keystone XL pipeline construction would cost jobs he responded, 'I really think that short-term jobs are not worth polluting the Arctic and affecting our People in a negative way'.
     Phil Two Eagle, Executive Director of IITC affiliate Sicangu Treaty Council, Rosebud Nation, called this decision a victory for Mother Earth and for Treaty Rights. 'President Joe Biden took a step towards honoring the Treaties that were signed by the US Federal Government and our great grandfathers, the chiefs that signed the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868,' he said.
     Bill Means, co-founder and Board member of the International Indian Treaty Council and representative of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Council, Oglala Lakota Nation, confirmed that the right to consent is affirmed in the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty between the Oceti Sakowin (aka the 'Great Sioux Nation') and the US, and that the impacted Treaty Nations had never given their consent to this project. 'It is not a question of if, but when oil pipelines will leak. Promises of so-called economic development and a few jobs, which usually don’t even go to the Indians, are not worth sacrificing our sacred waters and the health of our future generations. We will continue to say no to the Keystone XL and other projects that threaten our lands, waters, and Nations and contribute to the climate crisis we are now facing. We appreciate the Biden administration’s decision and look forward to working with them so that our Treaty rights will continue to be upheld going forward'.
     For more information contact R. Múkaro Borrero, IITC Communications Coordinator via email at ."

      Tina Gerhardt, Indigenous Leaders and Environmental Activists Are Standing Firm on Their Demands of President Biden: Indigenous groups and environmental activists are also calling on President Biden to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and Enbridge Line 3," Common Dreams, January 29, 2021,, reported, "On his first day in office, President Joe Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline, which has been a pendulum swinging back and forth since Obama denied a key permit for the pipeline in 2015 and Trump reversed that decision in 2017. Now, Sioux tribes are calling on Biden to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and Anishinaabe tribes are calling on him to stop the Enbridge Line 3, thereby taking the next steps to ensure justice for future generations.
     Since it was proposed in 2008, Keystone XL has faced a decade of protest and legal action led by Indigenous communities and involving farmers and ranchers, environmental activists and groups.
     The $8 billion pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of the United States, running 1,700 miles and crossing rivers and aquifers, including the Ogallala Aquifer. Tar sands oil is acidic and corrosive, leading to a greater risk that the pipelines carrying it will leak and contaminate surrounding communities."

     Lakota People's Law Project wrote in an April 9, 2021 E-mail, "Breaking news: This morning , in a federal district court proceeding in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers balked at stopping the oil flow through the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). The Corps officially refrained from taking a position by saying they need more time, which will allow the pipeline to continue operating illegally, without a valid permit.
     For the past two months, we’ve been working overtime — with you and many allied organizations, in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe — to pressure President Biden to use his executive authority and shut down the flow of oil through DAPL. Though he failed to take his first opportunity to do so, we must keep the pressure on him as the legal battle continues.
     Today’s decision temporarily kicks the decision back to Judge James Boasberg, who says he intends to make a ruling by April 19 on the matter. We now have at least another 10 days to let the White House know we don’t accept DAPL’s continued operation. So please don’t slow down. Please continue sharing our call to action. Tell Biden: #NODAPL.
     Whether Judge Boasberg will pass an injunction against the pipeline is anyone’s guess. There is reason to be at least moderately hopeful: he has already ruled in Standing Rock’s favor once. Last year, after vitiating DAPL’s permit because many of the tribe’s legitimate concerns were never met by the Army Corps or the pipeline’s operators, Boasberg ordered it emptied within 30 days. But he was temporarily overruled by a higher court, which asked him to consider a more stringent test.
     Now, we expect Boasberg will make his final decision on April 19 — unless Biden decides to act first. We can’t take anything for granted with the courts, so let’s keep pushing hard for the political solution. Know that your support is critical to aiding us as we remain vigilant here in Lakota Country. Please continue to spread our petition to President Biden far and wide. It’s now or never!
Wopila tanka — thank you for fighting to end DAPL’s threat to our sacred lands and water!
Chase Iron Eyes
Co-Director & Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project"

     "Stop The Byhalia Pipeline!
     Tell the Biden Administration: Don’t turn Memphis into Flint 2.0!" Action Network and Climate Hawks, April 29, 2021,, stated, "
      Access to safe water is a human right. But that right is threatened by our fossil fuel addiction.
     Right now, Valero Energy Corp. and Plains All American Pipeline are working to build the Byhalia Connection Pipeline which will cut directly through the predominantly Black South Memphis and threaten the Memphis Sand Aquifer, which provides clean and safe drinking water to residents around Memphis,
     The pipeline’s proposed route runs through several African American communities in Southwest Memphis, including one known as Boxtown, a historic community already burdened by dozens of industrial facilities.
A pipeline through Black Memphis is an assault not just on the environment, but on Black communities everywhere.
     The Biden-Harris Administration has the power to revoke the permit that the Byhalia Pipeline is being constructed under—but we need to make our voices heard!
     Sign now to call on the Biden-Harris administration to revoke the permit for the Byhalia Connection Pipeline and reevaluate permitting for new oil and gas pipelines across the country."

     In March 2021, Indigenous and environmental activists caused the proposed Annova LNG Terminal for fracked natural gas in Brownsville, TX to be cancelled. The construction would have put Esto'k Gna sacred sites and lands at risk ("U.S. Indigenous Mobilization Halts Fracking Project," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2021).

     The Washington Environmental Council, stated April 30, 2021,, "This week, Washington Environmental Council, four environmental partner organizations, and the Puyallup Tribe wrapped up our arguments in our challenge against Puget Sound Energy’s Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility on the Tacoma Tideflats. The Puyallup Tribe has steadfastly opposed this massive new fracked gas facility on their ancestral territory, and WEC and our partners in the Power Past Fracked Gas coalition are proud to fight with them to stop this dangerous project. We are continuing to use every tool to keep this facility from ever turning on while we await a decision this summer."
      Kenny Stancil and Jessica Corbett, "California's New Fossil Fuel Pledge 'Significant' But Still a 'Half-Measure,' Say Climate Advocates: .The challenge now is to speed up the timeline so that it meets the urgency that science and justice demand,'" Common Dreams, April 23, 2021,, reported, " Climate campaigners on Friday cautiously applauded California Gov. Gavin Newsom's moves to cut off new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024 and evaluate phasing out oil production by 2045, while also stressing that the timeline still needs to be accelerated.
     The embattled Democratic governor of the world's fifth-largest economy directed the state Department of Conservation's Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division to initiate regulatory action to stop new fracking permits and requested that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) analyze how to stop extracting oil statewide.
     'It's historic and globally significant that Gov. Newsom has committed California to phase out fossil fuel production and ban fracking, but we don't have time for studies and delays,' said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement.
     'Californians living next to these dirty and dangerous drilling operations need protection from oil industry pollution today," she added. "Every fracking and drilling permit issued does more damage to our health and climate.'
     Food & Water Watch California director Alexandra Nagy agreed that the governor's steps were significant and shared Siegel's frustrations with Newsom's refusal to immediately ban fracking by executive action.
     'This announcement is a half-measure as it allows continued drilling and fracking for the next two-and-a-half years,' Nagy said. 'Directing his regulatory agencies to do the work over two-and-a-half years that the governor can do today is more of the dodging we've seen from Newsom during his entire tenure.'
     Since taking office in January 2019, he has approved 8,610 oil and gas well permits, according to Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker's 'Newsom Well Watch' website."

     Environment America Research and Policy Center stated in an April 6, 2021 E-mail, " Renewable energy is on the rise across the country, but most of us still live and work in buildings that are powered by fossil fuels. 1 To fully harness the energy of the sun, the wind and the earth, we'll have to transition all of our buildings to run entirely on clean electricity.
     But what does building electrification look like? According to our new report, Electric Buildings, it means taking advantage of efficient, electric technologies like heat pumps to warm the air and induction stoves to cook our food.
      Sign our petition to support the movement to electrify our buildings (
      Today, electric heat pumps can heat and cool homes more efficiently and cheaply than gas or oil furnaces. Induction cook stoves heat food more efficiently, more safely and cause less indoor air-pollution than stoves that burn methane gas. And installing fully electric systems in homes and commercial buildings now makes financial sense for owners in almost all new construction. 2
     The tide is beginning to turn towards all-electric buildings, which is the next step in reducing carbon emissions for a healthier planet. Using today's technology, we can meet all of our energy needs with renewable energy -- and the sooner we repower our lives with clean, efficient electricity, the better it will be for us and future generations.
      Raise your voice in favor of building electrification for the health of our planet and our families.
     The team at Environment America Research & Policy Center
1. Emma Searson and Tony Dutzik, ' Renewables on the Rise,' Environment America, October 21, 2020.
2. Bryn Huxley-Reicher, Brynn Furey and Johanna Neumann, ' Electric Buildings,' Environment America and U.S. Public Interest Research Group, April 6, 2021."

     Ciel stated, April 16, 2021,, " The start of spring in the northern hemisphere has seen growing momentum behind movements demanding a healthier, more sustainable, and more just world. In the past few weeks, we’ve joined our partners and fellow activists, in the streets and online, in sounding the alarm on environmental justice issues from destructive energy infrastructure (pipelines and transmission lines) to toxic risks to human health. Together, we’re sowing the seeds of transformation, and we’re glimpsing sprouts of progress.
     Read on for a snapshot of what your support and engagement is powering, and to learn more about how you can bolster these efforts.

      Amplifying Indigenous Youth Demands to Stop Pipelines
     On April 1st, we joined Indigenous youth from across the US in the streets of Washington, DC, and activists in solidarity all around the world, to call on the Biden administration to Build Back Fossil Free and put an end to oil pipelines. Among the Indigenous activists was Annalee Yellow Hammer, a seventeen-year-old who traveled across the country with a message for the Biden administration: #ShutDownDAPL and #StopLine3. True climate leadership means putting an end to destructive and unnecessary pipelines that are tearing through Indigenous lands, violating human rights, and exacerbating the climate crisis. You can help amplify the demands of Indigenous youth now by sharing their video and asking the Biden administration to stop these projects.

      Centering Human Rights in Funding Global Climate Action
     As the climate crisis intensifies, so, too, do its impacts on human rights. Addressing these impacts requires urgent, ambitious action and significant funding to support dramatic emissions reductions, adaptation to a rapidly changing world, and reparations for loss and damage due to climate change. This funding is colloquially known as climate finance. Our latest report, Funding Our Future, explores how climate finance can advance climate action and the Paris Agreement and protect human rights: It must be ambitious, equitable, fair, effective, and rights-based. If funding decisions are made according to these pillars, climate finance has the potential to transform global climate action and ensure communities around the world can enjoy the right to a safe climate.

Toxic Masks Banned in Canada
     Masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) — a critical line of defense against COVID-19 — are meant to protect the people wearing them. But last month, after reports of breathing difficulties, the Canadian health authorities urgently warned that masks with an antibacterial coating made of nanoparticles of graphene may cause lung toxicity. Health Canada has now removed the masks containing nanographene from the market, and they have urged consumers to not use them. However, research shows that the same masks are for sale in the European Union. Together with international NGOs, we called upon European officials to remove the masks from the market and ban the sale of personal protective equipment that contains any chemicals of potential concern. These masks are also largely available in the US, and we are coordinating with partner organizations to raise this concern with US authorities. As we continue to follow this issue, stay tuned to learn more about how you can contribute to the effort to ensure we have safe masks.

      Solidarity With Environmental Defenders
     Last month, CIEL supported our partner Feliciano Santos, an Indigenous Ngäbe leader from Panama, to address the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of the Movement for the Defense of Territories and Ecosystems of Bocas del Toro and CIEL about the need for Panama to scale up efforts to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Representing Indigenous Ngäbe and Buglé communities, he expressed concern about plans to construct the country’s Fourth Electrical Transmission Line through Indigenous territories, warning that this could result in Indigenous communities being dispossessed of their ancestral lands and severed from the natural environment that sustains their traditional ways of life. Watch his full statement in Spanish here, with English subtitles.

      Meet the People Who Power CIEL
     This month, we’re celebrating and saying goodbye to our former Legal Fellow, Nathaniel Eisen, who has spent the last year and a half supporting CIEL’s Climate & Energy and Environmental Health programs. During his time with us, Nathaniel focused on everything from financing chemicals management in developing countries, to analyzing the problems of abandoned oil and gas wells. Read the full interview to learn about the inspiring work that he’s done, his favorite memories of CIEL, his secret superpower, and more.

      CIEL in the News
     In recent months, CIEL staff have featured in and responded to a number of important news stories as we work to defend human rights and the environment.
Increased fracking in the US has created a surplus of ethane — a key ingredient for making plastic. More ethane is being produced than can be used in the US, so companies are shipping it to Europe, where it could undermine the EU’s plans to reduce plastic waste and lower carbon emissions. CIEL Senior Attorney, Steven Feit, breaks down the looming crisis in National Geographic.
A coalition of academics, lawyers, and activists have come together, hoping to end the expansion of fossil fuels and wind down existing stockpiles through a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty. In China Dialogue, CIEL President, Carroll Muffett, explains how a treaty of this kind sends a powerful signal to actors that this is where the world is going.
     On January 1st, new laws regulating international trade of plastic waste went into effect, but research shows that the US continues to send its waste overseas at an alarming rate. CIEL Environmental Health Director, David Azoulay, shares how global awareness may help solve the problem in The New York Times.
Colombia’s government is looking to reinstate a program that would aerially spray herbicides, despite numerous studies documenting the harmful effects. In response, CIEL is among 25 US and Colombian organizations who sent a letter to US President Biden urging him to avoid supporting this renewed “fumigation” program. Read more about this ongoing campaign in RCN radio (in Spanish)."

     The center for Environmental Law (CIEL), stated in an April 22, Earth Day, E-mail, "Today and tomorrow, 40 world leaders are gathering virtually for US President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate. It might seem like a momentous occasion — and there is certainly plenty of pomp and circumstance. But unless leaders take bold action to phase out fossil fuels, the Summit will be for show. Help us speak out, Stephen.
     Summits can be a lot of theater. In this case, the starring acts include nations revealing their latest plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address runaway climate change. Real climate leadership would deliver commitments as ambitious as the challenge before us. But so far, Summit announcements are showing that many leaders aren’t taking the challenge seriously enough. The United States, the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has announced a plan that pledges only a 50-52% reduction below 2005 emission levels by 2030. This commitment falls far short of the US’s fair share of global climate action, which would require the equivalent of a 195% reduction through cuts to domestic emissions and international support to developing countries.
      A climate summit is only as useful as the action it spurs. We don’t have time for summit theater, with global leaders virtue-signaling and hiding behind “net-zero” emissions commitments.
      Because net-zero is not zero . To avoid dangerous climate change, we need to get fossil fuel emissions down to real zero, not make them disappear through accounting tricks. Climate leadership requires phasing out all oil, gas, and coal production and use, and transitioning away from a fossil fuel economy to a clean, safe, and sustainable future.
     And we must make that transition in a way that defends the rights of Black, Brown, Indigenous, front- and fenceline communities; considers all the drivers of climate change, including plastic and petrochemicals; and rejects false solutions that keep us dependent on fossil fuels, like carbon capture technology and carbon 'offsets.'
      Climate leadership requires ambitious action that protects people and the planet. Join us by calling on world leaders to do more and do better.
     Spread the word on social media now using these graphics:
      Tell our leaders what real climate leadership looks like: committing to phasing out oil and gas, ending subsidies for fossil fuels, investing in job creation, promoting clean energy alternatives, and delivering funding to those communities hardest hit by the climate crisis.
     Thank you for being part of the movement for a fossil-free future,
     Nikki Reisch
     Climate & Energy Director
     Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)"

     Friends of the Earth stated in an April 8, 2021 E-mail, " Your tax dollars have been used to fund dirty oil and gas projects across the globe. Take action now (
     The U.S. Government -- through the Export-Import bank, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, and other federal agencies -- has funneled billions of dollars to projects from Mozambique to Singrauli, India. It’s putting Indigenous communities, ecosystems, and wildlife at risk.
     Stephen, we need 297 more signatures to meet our goal. Can we count on you to help stop the U.S. from continuing to finance these polluting projects?"
     "Last year, an ash pond burst at the Sasan coal plant and mine in India. The accident caused a flood of toxic coal ash. Six people died. The Export-Import bank had provided $917 million in financing to operate the plant.
     Ex-Im and DFC gave over $500 million for oil and gas projects in the Vaca Muerta region in Argentina, violating Indigenous rights and exploiting local communities.
     The U.S. gave a $6.2 billion in support for a gas project in Mozambique that will emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. The project will displace many Mozambicans living off the
Sadly, funding for these types of destructive projects has been going on for decades. But President Biden set out to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad -- providing hope for a new direction. We need your help to push for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.
     Take action: Stop taxpayer dollars from funding coal, oil, and gas projects across the globe."

     "Tell your senators: Don't make banks fund dirty, destructive drilling," Environmental Action, June 9, 2021,, stated, " In 2020, every major American bank publicly committed to not fund drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
     That wasn't a coincidence: Thousands of Americans who care about our wild places spoke up and convinced them that the refuge's wildlife and splendor aren't worth a few more drops of oil.
      Now, fossil fuel allies in Congress are trying to make it illegal for banks to do the right thing, by passing legislation that would force them to fund dirty, dangerous drilling.
Tell your senators to oppose this bill

     Freya Abbas, “Anishinaabe Communities Fight Against the Line 3 Pipeline” Cultural Survival, March 20, 2020,, reported, “On November 30, 2020, Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota gave the greenlight to Enbridge , a Canadian energy company, to begin work on the Line 3 Replacement Pipeline which endangers Minnesota’s wetlands and waterways. Walz’s decision was heavily criticized as Enbridge was responsible for the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history in 2010, known as the Kalamazoo River diluted bitumen spill, which contaminated the lands of the Nottawaseppi peopleand has not been cleaned up to this day even after $1 billion was spent on the effort.
   The Line 3 replacement pipeline was proposed by Enbridge in 2014 and is one of the largest projects of its kind in North America and the largest in the company’s history, with a $C5.3 billion component in Canada and $US2.9 billion American component. It is expected to carry more than 750,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. This is a distance covering over 1000 miles that will run through wetlands with wild rice beds that Anishinaabe people depend on for food. The pipeline has faced legal opposition from three Anishinaabe communities including the Red Lake Nation, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. These communities along with environmental organizations have launched direct action against the Walz administration. Activists have chained themselves to heavy equipment, locked themselves inside a section of a pipe, blockaded roads and sat in trees to prevent them from being cut down. A sit-in protest  was organized in the path of the construction in December 2020.
      In addition to harming wild rice beds, the Line 3 Replacement Pipeline will threaten 800 wetlands and 200 waterways , increase the spread of COVID-19 by bringing in thousands of out-of-state workers, and violate U.S. treaties signed from 1854-67. The pipeline continues to be challenged both in court and on the frontlines, even with subzero temperatures in Minnesota. Financial campaigns such as Stop the Money Pipeline are also encouraging banks to divest from the pipeline.
     Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) is an attorney who has been fighting against Line 3 for seven years and has raised awareness about the environmental impact of the pipeline as well as the potential threat to her culture. She saysIf built, Line 3, a massive toxic tar sands pipeline, would destroy the sacred wild rice beds my people depend on for food, our culture and our way of life.’ The pipeline would also contribute as much as 50 new coal-fired power plants to the ongoing global climate disaster. Since this plan is for a replacement pipeline, the old pipeline will be abandoned as-is . This means that Minnesota farms, homes, churches, and wild rice beds may be contaminated with oil, rust and chemicals from the old pipeline.
       Enbridge is currently lobbying government agencies to allow them to avoid the responsibility of cleaning up the old pipe . The total CO2 emissions from the pipeline in one year will be equivalent to the emissions of 16-18 million cars and has an estimated cost to society of $287 billion in climate change related damage. Landowners and the general public in Minnesota are fighting against Line 3, but the most effective forms of lobbying against the pipeline so far have been from Anishinaabe communities.
The harsh weather conditions have not deterred Anishinaabe Water Protectors in northern Minnesota from taking direct action against the pipeline. In December 2020, two Water Protectors chained themselves to a truck carrying supplies to the Willow River crossing of the Line 3 pipeline. In January 2021, two protectors were arrested for obstructing construction after locking themselves inside a section of the pipe, facing charges of trespassing. The entrances to construction sites were blockaded. Activists have occupied trees, living in them while heavy machinery operated below. Twenty-two people were arrested in total near Palisade, Minnesota at a Line 3 construction site. Dawn Goodwin, a member of Indigenous Environmental Network, explains why so many are determined to stop Line 3, saying, ‘We are left with no choice but to put our bodies on the line to stop Line 3 and protect the water for our future generations.’ She also points out that the pipeline violates several treaties with Anishinaabe people, saying “Treaties are the supreme law of the land!’
Goodwin called attention to the treaty violations posed by the Line 3 replacement project as not many are aware of them. In Canada, Line 3 crosses territory of Treaty 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 as well as the territories of many Nations who did not sign treaties. Over 90% of the project is being built on private land . Treaties protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to hunt, fish, gather, travel and hold ceremony on their land . In the U.S, the government has a responsibility to honor these treaties, especially by protecting areas of wild rice as outlined in the 1855 treaty .
There is also a growing concern that the pipeline will increase the spread of COVID-19 as thousands of out-of-state workers will be brought in to construction sites
, and Indigenous Peoples are already vulnerable to the virus because of lack of access to healthcare resources. Enbridge says it is testing its workers every two weeks and is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19, but people in rural Manitoba are still concerned about the potential for spread if workers interact with anyone in surrounding communities.
    Direct action is not the only way that Indigenous Peoples and environmental activists are fighting against Line 3. Divestment campaigns like Stop the Money pipeline are encouraging banks to avoid renewing their support of Enbridge. On March 31st, five banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, TD (Canada), and Union Bank/MUFG (US/Japan) will have to make the decision of whether or not to withdraw their support from Enbridge. Stop the Money Pipeline encourages people to call, email, leave negative reviews on bank sites or send calendar invites to bank CEOs to alert them of the consequences of their decision. Their goal is to get one bank to walk away, which would force Enbridge to look for someone else to sponsor them. The divestment campaign was inspired by a Norwegian pension fund which withdrew from the Dakota Access Pipeline, thanks to pressure from Saami activists.
     The environmental risks of the Line 3 replacement project as well as the threat to Indigenous cultures is setting the state of Minnesota back when it comes to its promises and commitments towards Indigenous peoples. Earlier in the year, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan attended a memorial for the Dakota 38 execution, during which they took the time to acknowledge how the state must respect Indigenous peoples and form a better relationship in the future. Flanagan said ‘While we can’t undo over 150 years of trauma inflicted on Native people at the hands of the state government, we can work to do everything possible to ensure that Native people are seen, heard and valued today.’ Many Anishinaabe communities are struggling to have their concerns seen and heard by the state. Some have challenged Enbridge in court, through direct action, and through divestment campaigns as the pipeline violates several treaties and threatens wild rice beds.
  Anishinaabe water protectors are fighting for the continuation of their culture, for future generations, as well as for the environment. They have also prepared many resources, such as a petition site to email bank CEOs and a fact sheet providing information on the pipeline designed to be shared widely, making it easy for anyone to get involved in the fight against Line 3. The movement started by Anishinaabe land defenders is relying on social media to gain public support, and the need for donations and spreading of awareness is urgent.”

     "Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling on Carbon Pricing Legislation," Assembly of First Nations [Canada]. March 26, 2021,, stated. " Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomes yesterday’s Supreme Court of Canada decision on the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act , urging all levels of government to respect First Nations rights, title, and jurisdiction and responsibilities to traditional territories in its implementation.
      'Environmentalists and economists agree that putting a price on pollution is the most effective way to address climate change, and I welcome this decision as a way to help curb the impacts of climate change in our territories and across the country,' said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. 'The recognition by the Supreme Court’s in its decision that climate change causes significant harm in the Canadian Arctic, on coastal communities and on Indigenous peoples is important. First Nations are often the first to feel the harmful effects of climate change. I reiterate the need for provincial and territorial governments to work together with First Nations as leaders in climate action to identify meaningful and effective solutions to address the impacts of climate change on our communities, infrastructure, ways of life and well-being.'
      The Supreme Court of Canada ruled March 25 that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA) is constitutional. The decision comes after Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta challenged the GGPPA legislation since it was first implemented in 2019 (ON and SK) and 2020 (AB). The provinces argued that the Act’s two-tiered carbon pricing was unconstitutional and undermined provincial authority over natural resources.
     The AFN, based on direction from the Chiefs-in-Assembly, intervened in this case, as well as court cases in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta, arguing the Government of Canada has a direct legal obligation to recognize Aboriginal and Treaty rights in any legislative efforts to address climate change.
     'The impact of Climate Change is felt everywhere, especially in the north,' said AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, Chair of the AFN Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment. 'First Nations require immediate actions and rights based approaches. While we embrace these efforts to mitigate the damage of greenhouse gas emissions, we stand firm that First Nations rights, title, and jurisdiction over their traditional territories is paramount when considering carbon pricing, and by extension climate solutions. First Nations have been leaders in proposing transformative strategies for environmental protection. We must ensure that following this Supreme Court ruling, implementation and enforcement of the GGPPA will respect First Nations jurisdiction, title and rights as stewards of the land.'
     AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly, through Resolution 103/2017: Carbon Pricing Regimes mandates AFN to develop innovative solutions to the unique circumstances of First Nations, including the possibility of revenue recycling mechanisms that minimize the disproportionate effects of carbon pricing on First Nations. In Resolution 09/2018: Develop First Nations-Specific Solutions for the Green House Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Chiefs – in – Assembly reaffirmed these calls, in addition to the need for financial support for First Nations to explore the implications and opportunities of carbon pricing on their territories, including their participation in the clean energy economy.
     The AFN is the national organization representing First Nation peoples in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
905-717-0062 (cell)"

     “Building Energy Sovereignty Through Solar Power in Mexico: Makxtum Kgalhaw Chuchutsipi,” Cultural Survival, January 28, 2021,, reported, “ Makxtum Kgalhaw Chuchutsipi is a Tutunakú organization made up of ten communities who live along the Ajajalpan River in the North of the state of Puebla, Mexico. Makxtum was created in 2013 when Grupo Mexico -- a Mexican conglomerate, leading mining operator in Mexico, and the third largest copper producer in the world -- tried to claim lands in several local Indigenous communities. The local environment is threatened by large-scale development, including a hydroelectric dam project by Comexhidro, which will supply energy to Walmart.
       A Keepers of the Earth Fund grant was awarded to Makxtum in 2019 to strengthen the voices and leadership of Tutunakú youth to defend their lands and water resources from unwanted mega-development projects. Tutunakú youth understand that energy is important for the communities, and that it can be possible alternatively. Recognizing the youth’s interest in renewable energy, Makxtum trained the youth in alternative energy production, including solar panels as part of their strategy to achieve energy sovereignty. Their work also includes several activities, such as creating videos about Tutunakú spirituality and their Peoples’ relationship with water.
     Development companies and extractive industries see youth as a strategic group to engage as many of these companies are targeting them to convince them to approve development projects in their communities, often by offering job opportunities. Makxtum carried out this project because they believe ‘It is necessary to work more with young people so that they learn how energy can be generated without harming Mother Earth and so, that they learn the negative impacts generated by megaprojects.’
       Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario (IMDEC) and Onergia are two organizations supporting the youth in this project. Twenty-seven youth participated in the trainings, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic they have needed to pause activities several times. The youth learning process included visits to other projects to learn about their experiences first-hand. Almost half of the participants are women as Makxtum had the firm intention to promote Indigenous women’s leadership in their trainings, and made adaptations to make the workshops more accessible to them.
‘I was always interested in knowing how the energy worked and how it reached our homes. This course helped me a lot because I learned things that I did not know and saw how important energy is to our life. Renewable energy generated by solar panels helps protect Mother Earth from further damage. We still have more to learn. I am grateful for having this opportunity to participate,’ said youth participant Griselda Luna from the Alticato community.
The idea is to continue learning and to be able to advance the training with other young people in other towns, so that the learning does not remain only in us. We need to show others that we can generate energy without drying up rivers, without the painful need to pipe water and kill aquatic animals,’ José Galindo from San Felipe Tepatlán, shared about his experience. “

     Michael Asher, "BIODIVERSITY BLUNDER: The next Big Green Lie: 30-30 plan displaces to conserve. The UN plans to turn 30 per cent of the earth into protected areas by 2030, but what about the people who live there?" The Star, May 10, 2021,, stated,
     " In Summary
     • UN plan would displace hundreds of millions of people allegedly to save biodiversity
     • Dr Mordecai Ogada says this would worsen land-grabbing, profit-driven conservation
     At its next summit in Kunming, China, later this month, the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity is set to agree on a plan to turn 30 per cent of the earth into protected areas by 2030. A letter to the Convention’s secretariat, signed by 128 human rights NGOs including 11 based in Kenya, has warned that this drive is likely to lead to severe human rights violations and cause irreversible social harm to the remaining sustainable cultures in the world. Stephen Corry of Survival International has called the move ‘a colossal land-grab as big as Europe’s colonial era, [which] will bring as much suffering and death’
     Among signatories of the letter are the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and the NGO Conservation Solutions Afrika, whose director, Dr Mordecai Ogada, has long been an outspoken opponent of the ‘fortress conservation’ concept that the signatories have roundly condemned. Ogada, a Kenyan carnivore conservationist, correctly traces the 30-30 Plan back to Harvard sociobiologist Edward O Wilson, whose idea that ‘half the earth should be protected in its primordial state to save biodiversity’ he considers not only ‘ludicrous’ but also ‘racism clothed in academic mumbo jumbo because it is obvious to any observer that the target of this ‘protection’ is the tropics, which are home to black and brown people. There won’t be any biodiversity gains by turning London, New York (or Boston) into … protected area[s].’ "

     "Survival International launches campaign to stop '30x30' – 'the biggest land grab in history,'" Survival International, April 22, 2021,, stated, " Survival International today (Earth Day) launched a major new campaign to stop the plan to turn 30% of Earth into Protected Areas by 2030.
      The plan by world leaders and conservation organizations is expected to be discussed at President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate (April 22-23), and to be agreed at the COP15 summit in China in October.
     But Survival International has warned that it would constitute
' Three hundred million people stand to lose their land and livelihood, many of them tribal and indigenous peoples.
     The organization has labelled the plan the #BigGreenLie
     Fiore Longo, head of Survival’s conservation campaign, said today: 'The plan to carve out 30% of the earth as ‘protected areas’ is a #BigGreenLie. It is a plan without scientific basis, that will do nothing to combat climate change or the loss of biodiversity, but will increase human suffering and the destruction of nature. It is a deadly distraction from what is urgently needed to secure human diversity and all biodiversity: the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to their land.”
     The campaign is being launched with a new video (, narrated by Nigerian poet and activist Nnimmo Bassey, that exposes the #BigGreenLie.
      More than 230 organizations and experts have signed a letter expressing concerns over the 30% target.
      Among Survival’s key objections to the plan are:
     - Land-grabbing: if the plan goes ahead, 300 million people stand to lose their lands, which will be turned into Protected Areas. The creation of almost every Protected Area in Africa and Asia has involved the theft of people’s land without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Dozens more stand to be created if 30×30 goes ahead.
     - Abuses: Tribal and indigenous peoples whose lands have already been turned into Protected Areas have been the subject of appalling abuses going back decades, including rape, torture and murder. Most of these abuses have been committed by rangers backed and funded by big conservation organizations including WWF and WCS.
     - A false 'wilderness' solution: The 30×30 plan is just the latest plan produced by Western conservationists that erroneously sees tribal peoples’ lands as 'wilderness' to be preserved for the common good, rather than as land they have managed and protected over time. Tribal peoples stand to be evicted and dispossessed to provide the comforting – but false – illusion of a solution to a problem they didn’t create.
     Survival’s Fiore Longo said today: 'This is a critical moment. If world leaders will meet on 22 April and discuss business as usual, the outcome will be more false, unscientific, racist and colonial proposals, such as the 30% project and nature-based solutions.
     'But outside the corridors of power, criticism is building. More and more people see clearly that this will be a catastrophe from a human rights perspective: indigenous and other local people in the Global South will pay the price for environmental destruction they didn’t cause. And from an environmental perspective, it simply won’t work: kicking indigenous people off their land to create Protected Areas won’t help the climate. On the contrary, indigenous peoples are the best guardians of the natural world and an essential part of human diversity that is a key to protecting biodiversity. Their land rights must be recognized.'
     Update May 2021: The original version of this news piece stated that 'Three hundred million people stand to lose their land and livelihood, most of them tribal and indigenous peoples.' The sentence should have read 'Three hundred million people stand to lose their land and livelihood, many of them tribal and indigenous peoples.' This has now been corrected, and we apologize for the error.
- The video is narrated by a variety of actors, musicians and activists in different languages:
      English: Poet and activist Nnimmo Bassey
      French: Actress and author Audrey Vernon
      German: Actor and singer Maya Alban-Zapata
      Italian: BAUTISTA (Giorgio Spedicato aka Machweo and Gustavo Aaron Saavedra aka 999asura)
      Spanish: Zapoteca musician Mare Advertencia Lirika"

     "AFN National Climate Strategy & Survey: AFN National Climate Gathering and Strategy," Assembly of First Nations, April 22, 2021,, stated, " For decades, First Nations Elders and Knowledge Keepers have been telling us that Mother Earth is in a crisis. First Nations are often the first to see the impacts of climate change on the lands, waters and animals. Our deep connection and reciprocal relationship with the land has allowed us to take an important leadership role to address the climate crisis. Mandated by Chiefs-in-Assembly, the AFN is developing a First Nations-led climate strategy. The AFN National Climate Strategy will be informed by First Nations leaders, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, women, youth, and experts in all areas of climate action.
     At the AFN Annual General Assembly in July 2019, Chiefs-in-Assembly declared a First Nations Climate Emergency, recognizing that 'climate change constitutes a state of emergency for our lands, waters, animals, and peoples' and passed AFN resolution 05/2019 Declaration of a First Nations Climate Emergency.       The resolution directs the AFN to work in coordination with First Nations, AFN regions and the Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment (ACE) to plan a national gathering and develop a strategy.
      Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, AFN hosted its first ever National Climate Gathering. On March 3 and 4, 2020, more than 400 First Nations from across Canada gathered on the traditional territory of the Ta’an Kwächän and the Kwanlin Dün to discuss the urgency of the climate crisis, and explore First Nations-perspectives on climate impacts, risks, and opportunities at a local, regional, national, and international level.
To learn more about findings from the first ever AFN National Climate Gathering please visit the AFN web site for report and videos from the event.
      AFN National Climate Change Strategy Survey
     In honour of Mother Earth Day on April 22, 2021, AFN launched the AFN National Climate Strategy Survey which aims to gather knowledge and best practices from First Nations that will inform the development of an AFN National Climate Strategy. Information collected from this survey will help identify key themes of action, priorities and expectations required for policymaking. This work at the national level will complement multiple regional efforts, that are taking place in British Columbia, Yukon Region, and the Atlantic Region, and offer a unique national perspective.
     AFN recognizes the highest standards of research practice and will ensure the principles of OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession) will be respected. Responses will remain confidential, and we do not collect identifying information such as name, email address or IP address.
     For more information and to participate in the AFN National Climate Survey please visit:
For more information, please contact Graeme Reed Senior Advisor, Environment, Lands and Water Branch at"

Cesar Gomez, “Ch'orti' Community Members Threatened by Mining Company and Municipal Corporation in Guatemala,” Cultural Survival, January 28, 2021,, reported, “ Indigenous leaders and authorities from the community of Lelá Obraje and Lelá Chaco, Chiquimula, Guatemala, recently denounced threats by the mining company Cantera el Porvenir and the Municipal Corporation of Camotán Chiquimula, headed by Noé Guerra, for resisting the installation of a new mining project.
The megaprojects do not leave us anything good, what they leave us is more poverty. We are defending our rights to water, forests, and life,’ said an anonymous member of the community, a human rights and land defender.
The Cantera el Porvenir mining project was installed without the consultation and consent of the communities, as required by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The project has destroyed a large part of the Zompopero ancestral forest, which for generations has been protected.
Two sources of water have already dried up, as a result of the logging that project requires,’ commented Jeremías Hernández from the Asociación Campesina Indígena Maya Ch'orti' Nuevo Día, an Indigenous organization in Jocotan, Chiquimula, Guatemala, ‘ affecting the residents of Lelá Obraje and the communities of Jocotán, who no longer can access the vital water of these springs.’
Now that we are defending the watersheds that give strength to our neighbors in our community, we are receiving threats. People who work at the megaproject, people close to the municipal mayor and his council were saying at the last end of the year 2020 festivities that we had to be buried,’ one of the community members shared.
   Hernández conveyed that on January 5, 2021, a member of Los Consejos Comunitarios de Desarrollo Urbano y Rural (Cocode), an agency of community councils for urban and rural development, recognized by the Indigenous assembly, was threatened when two people intercepted him at the bus stop and told him to ‘Stop getting into bullshit! Don’t get together with the resistance leaders because we're going to kill them and you too are going to die." The community leader replied, "I'm just defending my rights.‘ One of the men then approached him with a pistol, saying, ‘Here the only valid right is this," showing him the firearm.
These threats have already been denounced at the Municipal Prosecutor's Office of the Public Ministry (MP), of Jocotán, Chiquimula, which they plan to transfer soon to the Public Prosecutor's Office for Human Rights Defenders of the Public Ministry (Police). ‘We have also informed our family, friends, and the international community. You don't know if today if you go out, you will not return home tomorrow,’ community members pointed out.
Hernández adds, ‘ Eight days ago we filed the complaint and the Public Ministry has not reacted, possibly authorities are acting under the orders of the companies and the mayors. We ask that international community to put pressure on the authorities of our country so that we are protected. We are not fighting with anyone, we are defending rights in the Guatemalan Constitution, which guarantees the protection of life, as well as the Municipal Code Decree 12-2002, which establishes that consultation with Indigenous communities or municipality authorities is observed."
According to the license found on this website, in 2008, the Ministry of Energy and Mines authorized the El Porvenir to extract graphite and iron oxide. Hernández recalls that at the beginning, he consulted with the institutions of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Mines and the Municipality about the mining license, they denied knowing about the project, however, in a second request for information he made through Deputy Aldo Dávila, a deputy in the Guatemalan Congress, the documents showing licenses granted began to appear.
   ‘There are two mining companies that are already extracting minerals with impunity, El Porvenir and El Pato, however, we are aware that there are between 17 and 20 pending requests at the Department, in the municipalities of San Jacinto Esquipulas, Olopa, Chiquimula, San José la Arada Concepción las Minas. This means that they are going to sink Chiquimula though mines,’ stated Hernández.
Nuevo Día is fighting together with the communities, so that the State recognizes the rights of the Maya Ch'orti' people to manage their natural resources. In Guatemala the lands belong to the Indigenous Peoples, but there have been moments in history where their lands have been taken from them and then returned to them. There have been times where they have recovered them and again, taken from them by the State or by State institutions such as the municipality. With all this considered, the community has been managing and defending their lands from extraction, exploitation and theft for the past 100 years, including protecting the largest forest in the region. Now, the mining company is destroying it, violating their rights, including their rights to life, consultation, and consent.”

      Julia Conley, "50+ Groups Across US Northwest Unveil Green New Deal Vision for Region's Vital Forests: 'The forests of the Pacific Northwest are a world-class natural climate solution. It is time that we started treating them as such," Common Dreams, June 9, 2021,, reported, " More than 50 conservation and climate justice organizations across Northern California, Oregon, and Washington on Wednesday called on policymakers to preserve the region's tens of millions of acres of forest land by adopting a Green New Deal for Pacific Northwest Forests —a plan comprised of six pillars aimed at safeguarding against destructive wildfires while also mitigating the climate emergency.
     'The forests of the Pacific Northwest have the potential to take up and store as much if not more carbon per acre than any other forest in the world—including the Amazon rainforest,' said (pdf) the organizations, calling for a transformation of industrial forestry in line with the demands of the Green New Deal legislation originally introduced in 2019 by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
     Greenpeace USA, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and several local chapters of the Sunrise Movement are among the groups calling for a just transition away from the logging industry—the number one source of carbon emissions in the state of Oregon, a direct cause of worsening wildfires impacts, and an industry that's left less than 20% of the region's forests unlogged.
      'Forestlands in the Pacific Northwest can become central in drawing carbon out of the atmosphere and defending against the worst impacts of climate change, all the while supporting the local economies and rural communities that rely on forestlands,' the groups said.
     'The forests of the Pacific Northwest are a world-class natural climate solution,' said grassroots conservation group Cascadia Wildlands. 'It is time that we started treating them as such.'
Countering claims by Green New Deal opponents, the groups' plan emphasized that a shift away from industrial logging is far from being a job-killer.
      While corporate timber companies have maximized their profits and reduced their operating costs at the expense of workers and the rural communities in which they operate, the groups noted, a Green New Deal for northwestern forests would guarantee union jobs in numerous areas including outdoor education, road and infrastructure repair, and ecological fire management.
     'Hundreds of climate scientists and ecologists are telling policymakers that logging is a major source of carbon emissions, and we must do more to protect our forests so they can draw down atmospheric carbon," said Dr. Chad Hanson, director and principal ecologist of the John Muir Project of the Earth Island Institute. "This goes hand in hand with a just transition, because we know that real prosperity in rural communities is tied mainly to forest protection, not degradation and exploitation.'
      The proposal demonstrates that 'there is no reason why rural communities should have to choose between prioritizing forest ecosystems or having a robust economy—we can have both,' said the organizations.
      The six pillars of the Green New Deal for Pacific Northwest Forests are:
     1. Use the potential of the Pacific Northwest's forests as a climate solution by transitioning to practices that sequester and store carbon, including 'implementing new directives and incentives for landowners to practice pro-forestation... [and conserving] older and unlogged forests for climate mitigation';
     2. Transform industrial forestry practices on private land by ending subsidies and tax breaks for private landowners and timber corporations, investing instead in rural education, infrastructure, and other non-logging jobs;
     3. Empower frontline and marginalized communities by ensuring 'Tribes, migrants, and rural communities have stronger legal protections, economic opportunities, safe working conditions, and community services independent of logging activity or revenue," and that "Indigenous sacred and cultural sites on federal public lands are fully protected and accessible to Indigenous people for cultural practices';
     4. Raise the standard of living for forest-dependent communities through a federal jobs guarantee;
     5. Invest in communities by redirecting logging subsidies into protecting ecosystems and remediating past harms by the industry and pouring funds into rural infrastructure including broadband and transportation; and
6. Act on the best available science by explicitly rejecting "the false solutions peddled by extractive industry," including unchecked logging.
     'If done right, a Green New Deal will simultaneously mitigate the climate crisis, transform our national (and global) economy, address issues of social, racial, economic and environmental injustice, protect natural ecosystems, and create millions of good paying union jobs,' the plan states. 'To do this, we must demand a bold vision from leaders at both a community and national level; a willingness to truly reimagine all aspects of our economy to create a society based on principles of solidarity and ecology instead of competition and extraction.'
      In addition to supporting communities' economies, the Green New Deal for Pacific Northwest Forests would protect millions of people in rural communities by reducing the risk and severity of wildfires, which burned through an unprecedented 10.3 million acres in 2020.
     'The climate crisis, which is being driven in part by industrial logging, increases risk and severity of wildfire," said the organizations. "Industrial logging also directly increases wildfire impacts due to the resulting monoculture tree plantations, which allow fire to burn more severely and spread more quickly. On the other hand, forests with a greater degree of protection have lower wildfire risk.'
     Michael Beasely, a fire behavior analyst and retired fire chief in California's Inyo National Forest, said the plan would allow 'disadvantaged workers to be true heroes in the eyes of rural communities as they conduct fuel reduction close to homes and infrastructure where it matters most, in the home ignition zone.'
     'In turn forests can be allowed to fulfill the full range of ecosystem services, sequestration of carbon and clean water most importantly, all the while allowing for rewilding of the most remote areas, complete with intact ecosystem processes like naturally-occurring fires,' said Beasely.
      Adopting a Green New Deal for Pacific Northwest Forests would allow the region to meet the bold emissions reduction targets necessary to mitigate the climate emergency while centering a just transition for workers and communities, the organizations said, emphasizing that 'we do not have to wait for any new technological advances or large scale investments in facilities to do this.'
      'The means by which to draw down significant amounts of carbon already exist in our nation’s forested lands,' the plan reads. 'Through reimagining our relationship with forests across the Pacific Northwest, we can not only mitigate the climate crisis but also build a future for our region based on economic, racial, and environmental justice.'
     Our work is licensed under Creative Commons."

     "Stop Bolsonaro destroying the Amazon rainforest!" SomeOfUs, March 24, 2021,, stated, " Bolsonaro says it’s his ‘dream’ to open up the Amazon rainforest for mining, but for the Indigenous People who call it their home, it’s a nightmare.
      Ripping up the land to mine for gold and diamonds will devastate the precious ecosystems and the Indigenous communities who have protected these sacred lands for years.
      Bolsonaro wants to rush his plan through Congress in the next few weeks, so we have to act fast.
     If we can show Brazil’s politicians that the whole world is watching as they’re deciding the Amazon’s fate, we can stop this senseless destruction.
     Add your name and show them that there is massive public opposition to this plan.
     Join the call: Stop Bolsonaro’s Amazon nightmare!
     Thirty years ago Brazil’s constitution put these Indigenous lands out of bounds.
     But ever since Bolsonaro came to power, mining giants and small-time prospectors have been clamoring to get their hands on the Amazon’s treasures. Unless we stand-up and stop Bolsonaro’s plan, this could be their golden ticket.
     This attack on these Indigenous Peoples’ lands is an attack on all of us. Our survival depends on the Amazon rainforest, and the Indigenous People that nurture it.
     Now those fighting on the frontlines, like our allies at the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil and the Pariri Indigenous Association need our help. Let’s stand with them in their hour of need.
     Add your name: Stand with the Indigenous People of the Amazon!"

     Kevin Koenig, "Indigenous Peoples Fight for Justice a Year After Devastating Oil Spill," Amazon Watch April 8, 2021,, reported, " Hundreds of Ecuadorian Indigenous people took to the streets of the Amazonian town of Coca yesterday to demand justice for the ongoing impacts of the country’s largest oil spill in recent history. A full year after 672,000 gallons of crude oil and fuel spilled from the country’s two major pipelines into the Coca and Napo rivers, there is still no comprehensive remediation nor redress for the 27,000 Kichwa Indigenous peoples affected. Amazon Watch’s team in Ecuador, alongside coalition partners, has been leading advocacy campaigns and maintaining pressure on the government and big banks financing the trade of this toxic commodity. The team is also supporting the communities seeking justice through technical assistance and legal strategy for the lawsuit, providing media support, and direct funding to affected communities.
     Marching through the streets of Coca, the crowd of over 700 was also joined by Indigenous leaders from across Ecuador. They stopped in front of the courthouse to denounce a recent decision from the appellate court in March that rejected a legal action brought by the communities seeking emergency relief and remedy for the violations of their right to health, a clean environment, and the rights of nature. The action also called for pipeline operators to be held accountable for gross negligence in failing to prevent the spill. OCP and Petroecuador ignored repeated warnings and geological data that showed that the regressive erosion from a nearby dam had made the riverbanks unstable and compromised the pipeline infrastructure. Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment and Water is supposed to oversee that the operators’ clean up their toxic mess, yet they are still protecting the polluters and have failed to act.
     Adding insult to injury, the lower court judge Jaime Oña who presided over the case recently filed criminal charges against members of the legal team and President of the Kichwa organization Carlos Jipa for “defamation” related to social media posts during the trial that exposed irregularities in the trial and the judge’s long, unreasonable delay for an action seeking emergency injunctive relief that raised suspicion of collusion between the court and the companies
. Curiously, both Jipa and members of the legal team were ordered to the District Attorney’s office to be deposed yesterday, the day of the march, marking one year since the spill. But Prosecutor Oscar Franco Chasiguasig was a no show.
      'After contaminating our rivers and our territories, there has been complete impunity for the companies and government agencies responsible,' said Jipa. 'And when we exercise our constitutionally guaranteed rights we are persecuted. This is a clear attempt to silence us. But we won’t be silenced. If the government does not guarantee our rights and the judiciary favors those who violate them, there is no other way than resistance! They treat us like we’re invisible. But today we are invisible no more. And we won’t stop until justice is served, and our communities can drink, fish, and swim in our rivers once again.'
      The spill polluted the source of water and food of 105 communities. They still lack clean drinking water and are facing health impacts due to exposure to oil contamination. This water crisis increased their vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues unabated.
     The pipeline operators, the privately run OCP Consortium and state-run Petroecuador, claim the spill has been sufficiently cleaned up. But oil is still visible along the riverbanks, stream sediment, and soil. Independent testing has shown high levels of presence of hydrocarbons, compounds that make up crude oil, and heavy metals like nickel and lead.
     Over the course of the trial, the Ecuadorian government and oil companies presented absurd and misleading claims. Perhaps in light of their poor or non-existent remediation and spill contingency plan, they argued in court that 'nature replenishes itself,' downplaying the long-term toxicity and harm that pollution poses for aquatic life and the food chain for local communities. The companies touted the 'relief' they provided communities, but the food and three liters of water were not enough. And, according to the communities, the companies pressured people who accepted emergency food and water handouts to waive their right to take legal action.
      The ongoing oil spills and rights violations by the industry and lack of accountability from government agencies or its judiciary is having bigger implications for the country. In August, Amazon Watch and produced a groundbreaking report exposing the role of six major European banks in the financing of trade in Amazon crude, violating their climate pledges and environmental and social safeguard policies. By January, all six banks stopped financing the trade of Ecuadorian crude over environmental and social issues. Collectively, the banks controlled 85% of the finance trade of oil from Ecuador, representing $10 billion over the last decade.
     'Enough is enough,” said Marlon Vargas, President of CONFENIAE, Ecuador’s Confederation of Amazon Indigenous Nationalities. “Oil extraction has only brought us misery. We need to put an end to this destruction and start protecting our rights, territories, and cultures. That is the only way forward. At a moment when the Amazon is at a tipping point, it is the last place in the world there should be oil drilling. We are calling for an end to new extraction, a moratorium on current production until our rights can be guaranteed, and justice for all of our communities who continued to be poisoned by contamination.”
      Yesterday’s march for justice in Coca is a new beginning for an area ravaged by oil extraction. There has never been greater unity among Indigenous peoples across the Ecuadorian Amazon in demanding justice for spills and rights violations, and in rejecting any new plans for expanded resource extraction. And this new power was on display in the country’s recent elections. The Indigenous political party won a record 26 Congressional seats, the second largest block. As well, an anti-mining referendum in the country’s southern province of Azuay backed by the Indigenous movement won in a landslide. The power and voice of Ecuador’s Indigenous peoples are only growing. It’s time to stand with them!"

     David O'Beirne, “#IndigiWalk Aims to Stop Fracking in the Okavango Delta,” Cultural Survival,” March 24, 2021,, reported, “My alarm went off on a rainy morning in Knysna, South Africa. It was the first of February 2021, the date myself and eight others had been eagerly awaiting for months prior. The nerves we had been feeling the night before had settled, we were feeling focused and eager to start walking . As a group of six San leaders and supporters we would begin a journey on foot from Knysna to Cape Town, South Africa. The #IndigiWalk, the Walk to Save the Okavango Delta , was in the footsteps of Indigenous ancestors who once followed a great cycle of life through the seasons around the coastline of southern Africa. As walkers, we would pass through and connect with San and Khoe communities who are now settled along this ancient route to gather their support in defense of their spiritual motherland in the Kavango which is threatened by oil and gas exploration. We would be passing through George, Albertinia, Riversdale, Swellendam, Bredesdorp, Gansbaai, Grabow, and on to Cape Town collecting support and signatures for an objection to the extractive activities, which will be delivered to the governments of Botswana and Namibia, and other international institutions.
Indigenous activist Vernon De Koker (Khoisan), Craig Beckett, a San healer and medicine man, and I had spent the previous two nights with Brother Mau at his beautiful house in Judah Square, a Rastafarian community in Khayalethu, South Township. We had been shown the most unbelievable hospitality. Brother Judah, a Rasta elder, had said that we needed to have our engines fine tuned for the journey. Mau, who is a leader and activist from the Rastafarian community, cooked the most amazing food from the Judah square vegetable garden. Our energies were through the roof, our engines were ready to go, nine of us were about to walk 500 kilometers.
      The #IndigiWalk, the Walk to Save the Okavango Delta, was in protest of a Canadian company, Reconnaissance Africa, which had begun test drilling in northern Namibia. If these tests are successful, they hold license to develop an area roughly the size of Belgium into an oil field. The area they are drilling in and want to develop is in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation area (KAZA), the largest terrestrial inter-country conservancy in the world. Recon Africa claims that their drilling will comply with environmental regulations. The company also technically has ‘no plans to drill in any nature reserve,’ as the KAZA is sadly not classified as a reserve. The impact of oil drilling has severe environmental and cultural impacts as seen in the Niger Delta, an absolute horror story for the surrounding environment. The Khoe and San people in the region have had culturally significant relationships with the water in the area for eons. The water snake for instance is a legend that is repeated in South Africa, that features prominently in the rites of passage for young Khoe and San girls.
     This extraction was done with conventional oil drilling techniques. The prospect of fracking has been dismissed by Recon Africa, who have stated that it is not on the cards. They have, however said that, ‘conventional and non-conventional drilling methods’ will be employed. One can’t help but wonder what unconventional methods, aside from fracking, could be used.
     I studied wetland dynamics at university and the Okavango Delta is truly one of the most incredible phenomena on earth. Despite occurring in a semi-arid region, the 6000 km2 delta is flooded annually by approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water nearly doubling its size to 15 000 km2. The region is flooded in winter despite receiving a summer rainfall. This is because the majority of the flood water falls over 250 km away in the Angolan Highlands. It takes four months to travel through groundwater systems and the Quito and Cubango into the Kavango River which flows into the Okavango Delta. There are hardly any dissolved sediments in the water as it flows through Kalahari sediments which are chemically very simple, primarily quartz, meaning the water is crystal clear. Despite so much water flowing into the Delta, very little water leaves the system and most water leaves through transpiration. The remaining small amount flows out in the Boteti River and if there are any pollutants, these would end up in the delta. In a world that has been so polluted, it is incredible that we can still see this natural phenomena. This is because this region hasn't experienced the development that is seen elsewhere. It is testament to the sustainability of the Indigenous communities that live in the KAZA that these pristine waterways have been so well maintained. Because of this, the Delta has become a refuge in Southern Africa for a number of critically endangered animals and the largest herds of migrating elephants remaining in the world. Recon Africa now threatens one of the last truly wild places left on the planet. With stakes this high we began our journey.
     The rain had stopped and the cloud cover gave us nice shade as we started walking. Along the way we got a number of hoots in support, we didn’t realize that many people knew about what we were doing. It was sad to leave behind these beautiful people in Judah Square but we had to make it to Pacaltsdorp, 72 kilometers away, where we were told we would be met by horseback riders who would escort us into town. We were told they would meet us at a bridge outside of the town. We got to the bridge and saw two men riding two horses. They lead us to the rest of the Rasta armada; at least 30 strong. They were joined by a group of Pacaltsdorp residents including Chief Blanch, a Khoe head lady who leads the tourism sector of Pacaltsdorp, Chief Mervyn who is of Nama decent, and Khoeses Trudy from the Khoisan board of Pacaltsdorp, who greeted us by dancing, clapping, and burning mpephoe (herbs). The energy that night and the following day was electric. There was so much excitement for the future, we were standing up to the oil companies but we were also standing up for the Indigenous Peoples of Southern Africa. In Pacaltsdrop, we were joined by another five walkers making the group nine strong. Indigenous Peoples in Southern Africa are amongst the most marginalized in the world, they have endured two genocides and during Apartheid they were labelled as “Coloured” and forced out of their homelands and into coloured communities. Sadly this term has persisted into democratic South Africa and South Africans are very quick to forget who the first peoples of Southern Africa are. The impact of colonialism and then Apartheid has resulted in Indigenous people being severely marginalized. Drilling in the Kavango threatens Indigenous communities in Namibia. Namibia is home to the Nama and Herero people, who were famously part of the first colonial (German) concentration camps, pre World War I. The !Xun and Khwe are located in Chetto Village and Omega1 in the Zambezi. Other Khoe and San Peoples like the Juǀʼhoansi, Khomani, Hai||om,Tshua, ||Gana, !Xoon, who have proven to be resilient, will now face new threats in both Botswana and Namibia.
      The drilling and the infrastructure required to support extraction, threatens a host of Indigenous communities, particularly the San Peoples. The San once enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle, moving around Southern African in search of food and medicinal plants, an existence that was entirely sustainable. That lifestyle has long been prohibited by the modern world. A world that today is so deeply disconnected from nature. This disconnect was felt by many during the COVID-19 lockdown. We do not know how to grow, hunt or gather our own food; our society has forgotten how to heal itself using the plants growing all around us. Indigenous people and Indigenous knowledge is essential in creating a sustainable future. We all are needed to stand up to large corporations to protect these Indigenous Peoples, not only for their sake, but for all humanity. If we do not restore this connection to nature, we will die physically but also spiritually. Western medicine is making us sick, western GMO foods are making us sick, the pollution in the air we breathe is making us sick. Indigenous leadership and knowledge carries the answers to many of today’s ills.
      The #IndigiWalk was a way to publicize the drilling and to utilize a method of peaceful protest. San people have walked this route since before any buildings or development pockmarked the land. The walk is deeply symbolic of a return to a more natural way of life. Even with this in mind it was not possible to walk the whole way due to financial stress and not to mention the physical and emotional strain it played on all of us. With the help of friends of the cause, a few hitchhikes, and a whole lot of love; we made it to Cape Town. We handed over a petition to the Namibian embassy signed by Indigenous leaders and concerned citizens. The petition calls for the Namibian government to ensure that the Indigenous Peoples in the Okavango Delta were consulted and their Free, Prior and Informed Consent to the proposed developments in their ancestral land was obtained. The petition was supported by 94 organizations, and an estimated 3,200 online supporters. It is hard to know if this walk will have any effect against this development which is calling the “oil play of the decade” in a society that values profit way above people and the environment. However, we hope that it will raise awareness and give people hope. The world today can make one feel powerless, but we are here to remind people that they can stand up to big corporations. We often feel so powerless to the environmental and social wrongs that go on all around us, this has a deeply disenfranchising effect on our psyches. This walk was a way for us to channel this energy into something positive. It’s time to stand up as the world is at a serious tipping point and if we do not put our differences aside and unite against the system it will destroy us.
      The next leg of the #Indigiwalk is scheduled to take place in Namibia in April 2021. The team will walk for 240km from Rundu to Grootfontein, then another 460km from Grootfontein to Windhoek to gain support from organizations and the Indigenous Peoples of Namibia.
       Cultural Survival supported First Peoples Southern Africa’s #Indigiwalk to Save the Okavango Delta through a grant from the Keepers of the Earth Fund .“
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), activities since end of January 2021 include:
     " Scientists & Experts Want Climate Action
     An Open Letter to the White House
     President Biden promised to act on climate change. Scientists and experts are suggesting a path forward.
In this open letter, we highlight five important steps the administration can take to steer us on course to meet our climate targets. We delivered the letter to the White House on April 14, 2021, ahead of the Earth Day Summit on      Thursday, April 22.
     An Open Letter to President Biden
     To: President Joe Biden
      As scientists, engineers, and public health experts, we welcome the important early steps you have taken to lay the groundwork for science-based policymaking, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and halting or reversing harmful regulatory rollbacks. Devastating climate impacts are already unfolding across the country and around the world. The science shows we must take bold actions now to sharply reduce heat-trapping emissions, limit climate change, and protect public health. As we endeavor to build a safer, more resilient world, centering the voices and needs of communities disproportionately impacted by environmental and climate injustices is essential.
     The global effort to limit warming to well below 2° Celsius, as called for in the Paris Agreement, has reached a critical point. Worldwide heat-trapping emissions are still far above where they need to be to stave off the worst climate harms. The United States, as one of the world's biggest contributors to global heat-trapping emissions, must take responsibility and commit to cutting its emissions by at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and transitioning to a net-zero emissions economy no later than 2050. This goal is both technically feasible and necessary—now we need action.
     We now call on your administration, working with Congress, to take strong, concrete measures across the economy to ensure the United States will meet this robust target
. Emission reductions from the transportation and power sectors—the two leading sources of US heat-trapping emissions—must be prioritized, along with investments and policies that create good-paying jobs and further climate resilience, environmental justice, and racial equity.
      To deliver on these emission-reduction goals, we strongly urge you to take the following near-term tangible actions:
     Aim for a transition to a 100 percent carbon-free power sector by 2035, through supportive policies and increased investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, a modernized electricity system, transmission, energy storage, and clean energy research and development.
     Set strong long-term standards that reduce carbon pollution from passenger cars and trucks by at least 60 percent and ensure at least 50 percent of new vehicles sales are electric by 2030. Also increase investment in sustainable, equitable transportation infrastructure.
     Enact strong pollution standards that put us on track to have all new trucks and buses be zero-emission by 2040, which will also reduce dangerous air pollution.
     Sharply limit methane emissions from oil and gas production, processing and distribution.
     Enable farmers and eaters to be part of the solution by investing in equitable research and assistance programs that advance sustainable farming systems, build soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce food and farm emissions.
     Frontline communities—the neighborhoods at the greatest risk from climate change—are disproportionately low-income communities and communities of color. As we transition to a low-carbon economy and help the nation prepare for worsening climate impacts, we need to ensure that policies are created in partnership with these frontline communities, and that they receive sufficient investments quickly. Keeping communities safe in the decades ahead will require a national resilience and adaptation strategy, community access to legal means for holding fossil fuel polluters accountable, and the enhancement and enforcement of existing public health safeguards, including the clean-up of toxic pollution.
     Additionally, in places where the local economy has been historically dependent on coal or other fossil fuels, the administration should establish a comprehensive and well-funded long-term transition package for workers and communities. Investments in frontline communities need to go beyond preventing future harm by also removing existing barriers to physical and economic mobility and ensuring people can thrive in their neighborhoods.
     We need to act now to protect our air, water, and land; improve public health; and limit the worst impacts of climate change for future generations. We can do this while creating millions of good-paying jobs and a strong, resilient economy. We thank you for your leadership on climate action and urge you to use these science-based recommendations to guide your administration's priorities.
     Institutional affiliations are listed as provided by signers for identification purposes only, and do not imply endorsement of the letter by those institutions.
Brenda Ekwurzel, PhD
Senior Climate Scientist, Director of Climate Science
Union of Concerned Scientists
Co-Author, Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II; AAAS Fellow
Michael E. Mann, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Atmosphere Science
Pennsylvania State University
Lead Author, IPCC Third Assessment Report; AAAS Fellow; NAS Member
Joel Clement, MSc
Senior Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School
Senior Fellow, Union of Concerned Scientists
Benjamin D. Santer, PhD
Climatologist and Atmospheric Scientist
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship; Member, US National Academy of Sciences; Recipient of the Procter Prize; Convening Lead Author, Chapter 8, IPCC Second Assessment Report
Lauren Edwards, MSc
Executive Director, 500 Women Scientists
Director, Fellowship for the Future
T. Jane Zelikova, PhD
Research Scientist, University of Wyoming
Co-founder, 500 Women Scientists
AAAS Fellow
Peter Frumhoff, PhD
Director of Science and Policy, Chief Climate Scientist
Union of Concerned Scientists
Lead Author, IPCC Fourth Assessment Report;
Anne R. Kapuscinski, PhD
Director, Coastal Science and Policy Program
Professor of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz
Chair, Board of Directors, Union of Concerned Scientists; Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation; Winner, Ocean Awards 2019: Innovation
Paul R. Ehrlich, PhD
President, Center for Conservation Biology
Bing Professor Emeritus of Population Studies
Stanford University
Cafoord Laureate; NAS Member; Royal Society Fellow
Thomas Kailath, PhD
Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, Emeritus
Stanford University
National Medal of Science Recipient; IEEE Medal of Honor Recipient; Member, National Academy of Sciences; Member, National Academy of Engineering
David H. Michaels, PhD, MPH
Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemology
George Washington University School of Public Health
Former Assistant Secretary of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Recipient, AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award; Recipient, APHA David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health
Tom Lubensky, PhD
Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Physics
University of Pennsylvania
Member, National Academy of Sciences; Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Recipient, Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society
      View a complete list of all signers here:"
     For more information visit:"

     Jess Cherofsky, “The Privatization of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a Violation of Gwich'in Rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent,” Cultural Survival, January 21, 2021,, reported, “’We are caribou people. Caribou are not just what we eat; they are who we are. They are in our stories and songs and the whole way we see the world. Caribou are our life. Without caribou we wouldn’t exist.’ - Sarah James, Gwich’in Elder
     On January 6, 2021 , the Trump administration held a lease sale to sell off and privatize lands within approximately 1.6 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas development. This violent land-grab has been in the making for decades as oil and gas companies have pushed for drilling rights , despite constant resistance by Gwich’in Peoples , Indigenous to this land, along with other Indigenous rights and environmental advocates. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority placed the highest bid , acquiring nine of the eleven tracts that were leased. Not only does the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge provide essential habitat to porcupine caribou as well as gray wolves, polar bears, musk oxen, and migratory birds from six continents, it is also sacred to the Indigenous Gwich’in people whose homelands this land comprises. The Gwich’in refer to this land base as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins,” and it is ‘ critical to the survival of the Gwich’in people, who depend on the Porcupine caribou herd that calves their young there for their food security and way of life.’ Polar bears, who are a threatened species, have lost much habitat as sea ice melts, and an estimated one-third of the polar bears’ maternal dens reside within the area up for sale. This sale comes in the wake of US Geological Survey Director James Reilly delaying the release of results of his own study on the impact of gas and oil drilling on polar bears’ survival. Trustees for Alaska Senior Staff Attorney Brook Brisson says, ‘It’s a spider web of industrialization that will destroy land, water, and wildlife habitat that has sustained animals and people for millennia, and that will push carbon pollution into a region suffering the worst impacts from industry-caused climate change.’
     Some environmental groups and others are calling the sale a ‘ failure’ in the context of former President Trump’s and private companies’ sales goals. Only 11 of 22 tracts for sale were actually sold, none of them to major oil companies, and the $14 million raised is a mere fraction of the projected $1.8 billion, which was budgeted to offset the Trump administration’s tax cuts. The funds would also have been considered by many to be a boon to Alaska’s state economy . Factors contributing to the limited sales included declines in oil and gas prices and the refusal to invest in the land purchases by some of the world’s major banks , including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Chase, and Wells Fargo. This trend of divestment is an important one, signaling the growing success of a movement to defend the Arctic and Indigenous Peoples’ stewardship and reciprocal relationship with their lands, territories and natural resources. A spring 2020 Pew Research survey of US adults found that a majority of respondents support renewable energy sources as opposed to oil and gas development. The Gwich'in Steering Committee and coalition of advocates highlight these data as another indicator that Arctic Refuge drilling is unpopular and makes neither environmental nor business sense.
      Yet despite its failure to deliver what the Trump administration promised and its poor outlook for job creation and economic benefits in Alaska, this sale has catastrophic ramifications. The Washington Post calls it ‘one of the most significant environmental rollbacks the president has accomplished in his term.’ In November 2020, the United Nations sent a letter to the United States as a follow-up to a 2019 report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), enumerating some of the key threats this development poses and announcing its investigation of the process. The letter states that information received by the committee alleges that ‘ permitting to lease the area for oil and gas development will cause irreparable harm to the environment and the Gwich’in, in particular their right to health, adequate food, education, freedom of religion, and that it will increase the risk of violence against Indigenous women. It is further alleged that the domestic legal framework does not provide an adequate forum to address the negative impact of these measures on the human rights of the Gwich’in People, and that the United States has continually failed to consult with the Gwich’in or to seek their Free, Prior and Informed Consent .’ Cultural Survival was part of the coalition of organizations, along with First Peoples Worldwide, Land is Life, and the University of Colorado’s American Indian Law Clinic, that partnered with the Gwich’in Steering Committee to request the CERD take action in 2019and provided updates to the CERD on these recent developments.
      The Gwich’in Steering Committee and 13 coalition partners filed a lawsuit in August 2020 claiming that the United States’ Bureau of Land Management ‘violat[ed] the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Endangered Species Act. ‘[The Bureau of Land Management] rushed its analysis, curtailed public participation, shortchanged Indigenous input and concerns, and omitted science and facts,’ said Trustees for Alaska Senior Staff Attorney Brisson.
     Furthermore, the Gwich’in Steering Committee’s Executive Director, Bernadette Demientieff, shared, ‘The Gwich’in people have defended our sacred lands for thousands of years, and we will not stop now. In their push to sell off our lands to the fossil fuel industry, the Trump administration has engaged in a corrupt process and disrespected and dismissed the Indigenous people. We will continue to fight this illegal sale in court, and we call on President-elect Biden to act immediately to protect our lands from destructive drilling once and for all. This process was done in a sloppy and very embarrassing way. Especially to the indigenous people of Alaska and Canada. Listening to corporations and ignoring the tribes shows that they put profit before people. No amount of money is worth losing our identity and way of life. This fight is far from over.’
      Kaila Druck, Gwich’in Youth Council Fort Yukon/Chalkytsik Alaska, said, ‘Our elders directed us to protect the Porcupine Caribou Herd calving grounds and to never trample the sacred lands where they give birth. Those who push for drilling on this place disrespect our knowledge, our way of life, our elders and our future. We will forever protect this place.’
     Moreover, the Gwich’in Steering Committee submitted a follow-up letter to the CERD on January 11, 2021, following the lease sale, pointing out that ‘[w]hen the U.S. government finalizes these lease sales, it will be nearly impossible for the Gwich’in to invalidate the lease sale and to prevent permanent destruction to the area.’ President Joe Biden’s transition website announced that in the initial days of his administration he would direct the Interior Department to place a ‘temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.’ He signed an executive order to achieve this on his first day in office.
Cultural Survival joins the Gwich’in Nation in thanking the Biden-Harris administration for this step. We also call on Biden to honor his campaign promise by taking steps to permanently protect the refuge and to ensure compliance with a robust process requiring Free, Prior and Informed Consent from the Gwich’in People and with all Indigenous Peoples prior to implementation of all development projects on their lands.”

      Andrea Germanos, "Tribes, Conservationists Urge Haaland to Restore 'Sacred' National Monuments During Utah Visit: Campaigners tell Biden's new Interior Secretary to undo the attack on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante," Common Dreams, April 8, 2021,, reported, " Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is visiting Utah this week as the Biden administration weighs restoring the boundaries of two national monuments in the state that were dramatically shrunk by former President Donald Trump.
     At issue are Bears Ears,
established as a monument by former President Barack Obama, and Grand Staircase-Escalante, established by the Clinton White House. In the face of overwhelming public opposition, Trump in 2017 slashed Bears Ears by roughly 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by about half, leaving unprotected areas open to extractive and polluting industries.
      President Joe Biden announced on his first day in office that the Interior Department would review Trump's order to reduce the size of both monuments.
began a two-day visit to Utah on Thursday and has met with tribal leaders , the Utah congressional delegation, and Republican Gov. Spencer Cox . She's also set to meet with other stakeholders on Thursday.
     As the Associated Press reported Thursday:
      'Environmental, tribal, paleontological, and outdoor recreation organizations are suing to restore the monuments' original boundaries, arguing presidents don't have legal authority to change monuments their predecessors created. On the flip side, Republicans have argued Democratic presidents misused the Antiquities Act signed by President Theodore Roosevelt to designate monuments beyond what's necessary to protect archaeological and cultural resources.
     Haaland will be a key player in deciding what comes next
     She has said she will follow Biden's agenda, not her own, on oil and gas drilling, and told reporters at a briefing last week that her report to the president will reflect conversations with people who know and understand the area.'
     That's giving conservation and Indigenous advocates reason for hope."

     "Act now to ensure a living Rio Grande for generations to come: Disappearing western rivers need your voice," Wile Earth Guardians, June 9, 2021, via E-mail,, stated, "As we start to see the first pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel and pandemic restrictions are lifted, many of us are starting to plan summer outdoor adventures. We hope to rekindle connections with family and friends and rivers so often play a big role in those connections. However, western rivers are in peril this summer as the climate crisis reduces supply and exposes a century of unsustainable use and mismanagement. Your voice is vital to protect living rivers and community connections .
      Climate change is here and is targeting rivers throughout the West from the Colorado River to the Rio Grande. These iconic rivers are disappearing and without them, important human and ecological connections will be lost.
     Over the next few months, the Rio Grande and its communities may be the first casualty as the climate, water, and biodiversity crises collide across the West. This summer, the river may completely dry through one of its most populous cities—Albuquerque, New Mexico—leaving farmers, tribes, communities, and the environment with little or no water for the first time in nearly half a century. Imperiled species of fish only found in this one reach of river may be lost in the wild. It’s past time to rethink how we manage and value rivers, so use your voice to speak up for a Living Rio .
     Unfortunately, what is happening this summer in central New Mexico has been the reality in southern New Mexico and west Texas. A dry river is all too familiar to these communities, as the Rio Grande only flows a couple of months a year when water is released from Elephant Butte Reservoir and delivered to downstream farmers each summer. Current water policy and management perpetuate these historical inequities to people and the environment and need to be revisited.
     If changes are not made soon, what is happening to people and ecosystems on the Rio Grande, will be common throughout the West. We can chart a new course for western rivers, but the Rio Grande needs your help today
. Your voice is vital to help heal these historic injustices to the river and its communities. Tell your senators and representative to take action to protect and restore the Rio Grande and other western rivers for the benefit of all life.
     For the Rio, Jen Pelz, Wild Rivers Program Director and Rio Grande Waterkeeper."

     "No new water permit for Nestlé!" Courage California, June 9, 2021, via E-mail,, " We just had a huge development in our fight to stop Nestlé from stealing California’s water.
      Staff of the state’s water resources board said the company's spin-off that now bottles Arrowhead brand, BlueTriton Brands, must stop siphoning millions of gallons from the San Bernardino National Forest -- especially given that the entire state is now suffering from a drought.(1,2)
     That's a big win, and now we have an opportunity to take it one step further -- to stop the stealing of water, permanently. Nestlé sold their North American bottled water brands to two private equity firms operating as BlueTriton Brands in February, and now BlueTriton has to get a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to continue taking water from the San Bernardino National Forest.(3,4)
      Sign our petition calling on the U.S. Forest Service to deny BlueTriton Brands a water permit!
      From 2018-2020 alone, Nestlé stole 173 million more gallons than it was permitted to do. Even as average Californians face restrictions amid the state’s second dry year in a row, BlueTriton is drawing upwards of 25 times as much water as is legal. The permit costs a pittance and allows the company to resell the public’s water under its Arrowhead brand for a huge profit.
     This cease-and-desist order from the water board staff is just the latest twist in our years-long campaign to protect California’s water. From 2015-2018, we sued. We organized. We worked with partners like the Story of Stuff and others to show how the company had been swindling Californians based on water rights dating back to 1865.
      BlueTriton is already fighting back, challenging the order and tying it up in a process that could take weeks, months, or years. That's why we're partnering again with Story of Stuff to put a stop to this once and for all, by going straight to the top and asking the U.S. Forest Service to deny BlueTriton a new permit.
     This is a huge opportunity, and it’s all thanks to the work Courage members and Story of Stuff did to get us here. We aren't going to stop fighting until Nestlé and BlueTriton Brands stops stealing California’s water for good. And it shouldn't take an extreme drought to get public officials to do the right thing.
     We need to stop the Forest Service from reissuing a water permit to BlueTriton for billions more gallons of water, and to get Nestlé to dismantle the pipeline for good.
      Tell the the U.S. Forest Service to deny BlueTriton Brands a new water permit and make Nestlé clean up its mess! Help Courage and Story of Stuff reach our goal of getting 100,000 petition signatures by June 1.
     Yours in the fight for our environment,
     Irene, along with Angela, Annie, Caitlin, Deepthi, Jay, Lindsay, LisaMarie, Molly, Raquel, and Scottie (the Courage team)

     "Saving 31 Species the Trump Administration Left Behind," Center for Biological Diversity, E-mail, April 8, 2021, stated, "This month the Center for Biological Diversity's lawyers are working hard to rescue 31 rare species the Trump administration neglected to protect — or outright denied safeguards.
     First we sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for indefinitely delaying protections for 10 species in dire need, including northern spotted owls and monarch butterflies. Trump's Service claimed that although all 10 needed help to avoid extinction, the administration had more important things to spend its money on.
     Then, this Wednesday, we filed a notice of intent to sue the Service for completely denying protection to 21 other species under Trump. From the MacGillivray's seaside sparrow on the Atlantic Coast to the Kirtland's snake in the Midwest, these species face serious threats from habitat destruction, climate change, invasive species and pollution.
     The Trump regime's nihilistic approach to nature and wildlife left it with the worst conservation record since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973: In four years it protected only 25 species."

     "Ask Congress to fund the Legacy Roads and Trails Program," Wild Earth Guardians, April 8, 2021,, stated, " National forests and grasslands spread across ten percent of the U.S. Also reaching across those public lands are over 370,000 miles of roads, built mainly for the industrial logging boom of the past, but not adapted to the climate crisis of today.
     With enough road miles to circle the earth 15 times, the cost to fix them all runs in the tens of billions. We can be strategic on how we address this problem. By focusing repairs on the roads where the 149 million forest visitors go, we can focus road removal along streams that supply 69 million Americans with drinking water and where wildlife are most vulnerable. We simply must eliminate what we don’t need and fix what we do need for a resilient future.
      Email your members of Congress today and ask them to reinstate and fund the Forest Service’s Legacy Roads and Trails Program. It’s a proven solution to an outsized problem."

     Environment America wrote in an April 11, 2021 E-mail, " From breaching whales to napping sea otters, from clever octopuses to wizened sea turtles, our seas are full of amazing life. That's why the sight of plastic floating in the waves or sticking out of the sand is so distressing. Every minute, the equivalent of almost two garbage truck loads of plastic enters the ocean every minute, where it can harm and kill marine life. 1
     Thankfully, hope is on the horizon.
      Across the country, our elected leaders are working to address the problem. From banning unnecessary single-use plastic products, like foam cups and plastic bags, to holding producers responsible for the waste they create, we have the opportunity to pass bills that will put wildlife over waste.
     Want to know how you can help support this movement?
      Join us on Friday, April 16 at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT for "The United States Against Plastic" Rally to find out.
      Register today to attend our " The United States Against Plastic" Rally:"

     "Italy Becomes the First G20 Country to Propose a Wildlife Trade Ban," World Animal Protection, via an April 26, 2021 E-mail stated, "Last week, the Italian parliament sent an urgent signal to other G20 countries, by proposing to ban the trade of wild and exotic animals. This encouraging move comes in advance of the Global Health Summit in Rome on May 21, where we are pushing for a declaration of international cooperation to prevent global health crises that includes a focus on pandemic prevention and limits to wildlife trade.
      The wildlife trade chain causes immense suffering to animals at every stage and is dangerous for human health as well. These animals are ripped from their habitats and transported in tightly packed crates to their final destination, or they are bred unnaturally in captivity. Ultimately, they wind up in a squalid food market for slaughter or caged to be sold as exotic pets. Many are found diseased or dead upon arrival.
     It is no wonder that the stress of the wildlife trade on these animals causes zoonotic disease to flourish, which can then be transmitted to humans. It is widely believed that COVID-19 started this way. The fate of animals, people, and our global economy rests in the hands of the leaders of the G20, who have a practical solution to prevent future pandemics – ending the global wildlife trade. Italy, as the G20 Presidency holder and co-host of next month’s Global Health Summit, has shown leadership by proposing to ban the trade of wild and exotic animals – now it’s time for other countries to step up and do the same.
      Please let Congress know you want a wildlife trade ban in the US with one-click,
Ben Williamson
Programs Director
World Animal Protection"

U.S. Activities
(Note some developments not reported in developments are discussed under activities)

      Mark Walker, "Native Americans ‘Left Out in the Cold’ Under Trump Press Biden for Action: After showing political clout in the 2020 election, tribal communities are hoping for more attention and money to address their long-running problems with poverty, health care and other issues," The New York Times, February 18, 2021,, "When President Biden introduced Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico as his pick for interior secretary, making her the first Native American to be selected for a cabinet position, he acknowledged the country’s long history of failing the land’s first citizens."
     " Angry over their treatment during the Trump administration, which oversaw a deeply flawed response to the pandemic on tribal lands and pursued other policies at odds with Native American priorities, they are now hopeful that Mr. Biden, who benefited from their enthusiastic support in battleground states like Arizona last year, will back a far-reaching agenda to address the poverty that has long ravaged their communities."
      New York Times interviews with numerous tribal and Indian organization leaders found that there is widespread hope that the Biden administration will provide significant increases in the funding of the Indian health service, include in national infrastructure improvement greater access on tribal lands to access to water along with improvement of roads and bridges. There is also a push for long overdue improvement of tribal education and for the appointment of judges more knowledgeable of Indian affairs and friendly toward tribal sovereignty.

     "NCAI Commends President Biden’s Day One Executive Actions Addressing Climate Change, Racial Equity, and the Governmental Regulatory Review Process," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Published on January 21, 2021,, stated, "Yesterday, President Joseph R. Biden signed a series of executive orders, memoranda, and directives impacting Indian Country immediately after being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. These actions include rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, halting funding obligations to the southern U.S. border wall, reviewing size reductions to the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, presenting a 2020 census apportionment that is fair and accurate, and directing all executive departments and agencies to review and take appropriate actions to ensure consistency with the Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations . NCAI applauds the new Administration’s immediate responses to Indian Country’s advocacy on these issues, many of which were identified by tribal nations as priorities in NCAI’s 2021 Presidential Transition Plan . NCAI looks forward to supporting tribal government-to-government engagement with our federal partners. Below is additional information about these executive orders and NCAI’s resolutions supporting these decisions.
     By Executive Order , President Biden revoked the Presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL pipeline and has signed the instrument to rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Beginning in 2008, NCAI opposed the Keystone XL pipeline and since 2015, has called for the adoption of strong human rights-based approaches to climate change, including recognition of the principles of free, prior, and informed consent and the rights of sovereign tribal nations to combat climate-related threats through a formal and meaningful commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. NCAI applauds the Administration’s decision to prioritize climate change and tribal sovereignty on Day 1 by revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit and commencing the process to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
      NCAI’s Resolutions on the Keystone XL Pipeline and Paris Climate Agreement:
Resolution # DEN-18-061: Opposition to Construction of Keystone XL Pipeline and the Use of Excessive Force or Private Security to Suppress Free Speech (
Resolution #MOH-17-053: Continued Support for the Paris Climate Agreement and Action to Address Climate Change (
     For more information about NCAI’s climate-based advocacy, please visit our Climate Action Resource Center here and NCAI’s Climate Action Task Force at:
     By Executive Order, President Biden directed the Census Bureau to include all persons, regardless of immigration status, in the apportionment count. The President also directed the Secretary of Commerce to “ensure the total population information presented to the President and the States is accurate and complies with all applicable laws.” NCAI has continued to call for timeline extensions for the 2020 Census, as this census has been plagued by numerous issues, including suspension of the enumeration process due to COVID-19, data accuracy in proposed privacy methods, and an undue acceleration of data processing. NCAI encourages President Biden to fulfill the commitment made today to ensuring a fair and accurate census, which must begin with the new Administration conducting meaningful tribal consultation.
      NCAI’s Resolution on the 2020 Census:
Resolution #PDX-20-007: Extending Census Reporting Deadlines to Ensure a Fair and Accurate Census
     Cultural Resources and Tribal Sovereignty (
     President Biden declared an immediate termination of the national emergency declared through Proclamation 9844. Terminating Proclamation 9844 effectively ends the funding diversions to support construction of the southern border wall. Tribal nations have citizens on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border who make crossings for traditional cultural, ceremonial, and religious purposes. Access to healthcare, transportation, and other governmental services are also affected by the border. NCAI supports the Biden Administration’s actions intended to halt construction of a continuous border wall, which would erect a physical barrier that divide tribal lands and communities, harm the wildlife and natural resources sacred to tribal nations, and infringe upon tribal sovereignty.
     President Biden, through Executive Order, also directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce, the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, and tribal governments to conduct a review of the size reduction of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The Secretary of the Interior has 60 days to submit a report to the President summarizing the findings. In 2015, NCAI supported the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Indian Tribe, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe – which collectively make up the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition – in the creation and tribal co-management of the Bears Ears National Monument. NCAI has since opposed any reduction of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments as well as changes to the Antiquities Act of 1906 that would threaten National Monument protections for tribal historic landmarks and objects of historic and ongoing cultural importance. NCAI supports this review of the previous Administration’s actions and looks forward to the protections of National Monument status being restored to the original boundaries of these vital cultural places.
     NCAI’s Resolution on the Border Wall:
      Resolution #ECWS-17-002: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement on Tribal Lands (
     NCAI’s Resolutions on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments:
      Resolution #MOH-17-006: In Support of Preserving National Monument Designations (
Resolution #MKE-17-057: Opposition to Amendments to the Antiquities Act
Resolution #EC-15-002: Supporting the Presidential Proclamation of the Bears Ears National Monument, Including Collaborative Management Between Tribal Nations and the Federal Agencies
      Regulatory Oversight:
     By Executive Order, President Biden withdrew the previous Administration’s regulatory process executive orders, and issued a memorandum placing a freeze on all of the Trump Administration’s new regulations and other actions, including several legal opinions negatively affecting tribal nations, until the Biden Administration can review them. This includes withdrawing rules not yet published in the Federal Register until they can be reviewed, and rules and legal opinions that have been published but have not taken effect, and agency actions that otherwise do not comply with the Biden Administration’s national objectives. These previous legal opinions and rules include, but are not limited to:
     M-37056: Status of Mineral Ownership Underlying the Missouri River within the Boundaries of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation (North Dakota) (May 26, 2020) (;
     M-37055: Withdrawal of Solicitor’s Opinion M-37029, “The Meaning of ‘Under Federal Jurisdiction’ for      'Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act' (March 9, 2020,; and
     “Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands; Rescission of a 2015 Rule,” 82 Fed. Reg. 61924 (December 29, 2017).
     To view these presidential actions, please click:
     NCAI will be closely monitoring the Biden Administration’s initial actions in the coming days and weeks and will share out further updates as developments warrant."

      National Congress of American Indians ( NCAI) President Fawn Sharp gave the State of Indian Nations address, virtually, Feb. 22, 2021. Noting the terrible impact of COVID-19 on Indian Country, she commented, " Tribal elders, leaders, language speakers, fathers, mothers, grandparents, siblings, and children – taken by a virus that has disproportionately impacted Indian Country, laying bare the ultimate price of the federal government’s longstanding neglect of its trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations.” Sharp stated that the United States has failed, and continues to fail, to meet and uphold promises made to tribes in exchange for land, as exemplified by the “chronic underfunding” of trust and treaty obligations, governmental interference with tribal jurisdiction and the lack of “free, prior, and informed consent.... The list, sadly, goes on and on.”
     Sharp said , however, that progress was being made, as indicated by encouraging actions by the Biden administration. These have included the historic nomination for Secretary of the Interior of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblos, the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Accord to the revocation of the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
     She continued, " These steps – while significant – must be first steps in an ongoing and deliberate, bilateral process. There is much hard work the federal government must do – and much that it needs to undo – if it is to help tribal nations create the courageous future we seek. There is no time to waste.”
      Concerning tribal consultation, Sharp called for the codification of Biden’s executive order to make it legally enforceable so that federal agencies could not avoid consultation through the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Among the issues that Indian Country has long voiced the need for action, Sharp listed a Carcieri fix, additional inclusion of tribal solutions to help combat climate change, and the permanent retirement of Native-themed mascots.
      Concerning racial equity and justice, Sharp said that the first area requiting action is education. She stipulated the need for governments, local to federal, to put int operation comprehensive curricula about tribes, saying, “All Americans need to be taught – from a young age – who tribal nations and peoples are today, how we have persevered in the face of policies designed to extinguish or assimilate us, and why they have a civic responsibility – as Americans – to respect and uphold the inherent sovereign right of tribal nations to live as our Creator intended.”
     The address can be heard by going to:
Giving the congressional response was Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the new ranking member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, presented the congressional response. This was the third time she has taken that role. (Kolby KickingWoman "'United, we will not be denied,’" ICT, February 22, 2021,

     "NCAI Participates in White House Announcement of Historic Investment in Broadband for Indian Country," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 3, 2021,, reported, " Shannon Holsey, Treasurer of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, delivered opening remarks today as the White House announced Broadband deployment as a key component of President’s Biden infrastructure plan, also known as the American Jobs Plan. Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo also delivered remarks from the White House complex and discussed how this investment would be aimed toward tribal communities. Secretary Raimondo announced that the Department of Commerce would make $1 billion in funding available to tribal governments, tribal colleges and universities, and tribal organizations for broadband infrastructure.
     'Thanks to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris - my community and others like mine are finally being heard, and our longstanding infrastructure issues are addressed. Indian Country is 100 percent behind the Administration and looks forward to working through a strong partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration,” Holsey said. “Expanding broadband to our communities is not just a game changer - it is a life changer to tribal communities like mine and all Tribal Nations across the country.'
     There are 574 federally recognized Tribal Nations within the United States that are rich in their geographic, political, and cultural diversity. For decades, the federal government has recognized that Indian Country has substandard infrastructure in every sector. According to a 2019 Federal Communications Commission report, individuals residing on tribal lands are nearly 4.5 times less likely to have Broadband internet access as compared to those on non-tribal lands. This chronic underfunding of infrastructure exacerbated the vulnerability of American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in tribal communities having at times the highest rate of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths per capita in the United States.
     On April 13, 2021, NCAI and 30 AI/AN organizations, which collectively serve over 580 federally recognized tribal governments, sent a letter to Congress and the White House requesting resources to urgently address neglected and dilapidated infrastructure that requires improvements to meet the health, safety, welfare, and development needs of AI/AN communities. On May 28, 2021, the President released his Fiscal Year 2022 budget request to Congress. This budget proposal includes substantial investments in tribal infrastructure, which Tribal Nations are urging Congress to include in any upcoming budget negotiations. In an effort to address immediate broadband needs today, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released its Notice of Funding Opportunity for tribal governments, tribal colleges and universities, tribal organizations, and Alaska Native Corporations to access approximately $1 billion in funding for broadband infrastructure. The deadline to apply for this funding is September 1, 2021."

     "NDN Collective Responds to Violent White Supremacist Protests in Washington D.C.," NDN Collective, January 8, 2020, E-mail, Contact: Aprill Turner,, 202-499-0120; or Cabot Petoia,, 828-899-9239, stated, "As Indigenous people, we have endured generations of oppression and inequality,' said Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of NDN Collective. 'There is a glaring double standard in the police response to right-wing and white supremacist protests compared to the way Indigenous, Black and POC have been brutalized by police throughout history, and continue facing violence and death at the hands of the state today. We’re targeted for just being ourselves, or, in response to our movements for justice in our own lands.'
     Tilsen, a well-known political organizer in the Native American community, is currently facing felony charges and up to 17 years in prison for a stand he took on July 3 leading up to Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore, which is situated in his ancestral homelands of the Black Hills. Tilsen was joined by over 200 other land defenders in the Black Hills who also exercised their First Amendment rights in nonviolent direct action that day, ending in 21 arrests being made alongside Tilsen.
      'We call upon Congress and the incoming Biden-Harris Administration to take swift action, to listen to the people who organized in our communities to bring them this victory on how to rebuild a nation that truly serves, protects and keeps our people safe,' said Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director for NDN Collective. Begay played a critical role in 2020 GOTV efforts in Indian Country with the Sko Vote Den podcast. 'They must listen to the Indigenous and Black people who have faced outrageous police violence during our attempts to protect our land, water, and people.'
      'The abhorrent actions at the Capitol are the culmination of a fascist Trump presidency that has repeatedly incited violence in an effort to maintain the white supremacist power structures that this country has been built upon' said Sarah Sunshine Manning, NDN Collective Director of Communications. 'NDN Collective vehemently supports the calls for impeachment of President Trump, but more importantly, and beyond this presidency, this moment illuminates the urgent need to dismantle white supremacy and radically imagine a new future.'
     Supporters are urged to donate to the DC Street Medic Fund, which provides safehouse funding, snacks for jail support, money for supplies for folx on the ground:"

     "NCAI Calls for Transparency and Accountability for Historical and Generational Trauma Caused by Native American Boarding Schools," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 2, 202,, stated, " The discovery of the remains of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada is a sorrowful reminder that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has repeatedly called for transparency and accountability for the historical and generational trauma caused by Native American boarding schools in the United States. In 2016 and 2017, NCAI called upon the United States government and organizations that operated residential boarding schools to fully account for their treatment of Native children and be fully transparent in providing records related to enrollment and living conditions.
     'The discovery of unmarked graves of Native children at Kamloops, dating back possibly a century or more, is beyond horrific. By law, our ancestors were systematically forced into boarding schools where they were beaten, starved, sexually abused and, as we see now, died from neglect or even worse. Their families were never told the truth about what happened, and the perpetrators, individually or institutionally, were never held responsible,” said Fawn Sharp, president of NCAI. “These were lawful actions for nearly 100 years by both the United States and Canada. A new era of accountability starts with a genuine commitment to truth and reconciliation with tribal nations, and with the formation of a formal Commission to study the impacts of the Indian Boarding School Policy. We call on the federal government to finally answer for these transgressions against Native children and families.”
     Historically, the Boarding School Policy of 1869 required American Indian and Alaska Native children to attend boarding schools to assimilate the children into a Westernized identity and way of life. Federal boarding school policies required AI/AN children to be taken from their families and stripped of their culture, language, and tribal identity and placed in the ‘care’ of federally run schools. Children could face severe punishment in the form of physical, mental, and emotional trauma, in addition to neglect, inadequate nutrition, disease, and succumbing to illness either as a result of either non-compliance to the assimilationist rules or as a byproduct of attending such an institution. Some students forced into these institutions between 1869 and 1972 are unaccounted for, and their fates and whereabouts remain unknown.
     In 2016, NCAI passed a resolution to address our lost relatives and formally call upon the United States government to provide a full accounting of the total number of students removed to the custody of boarding schools or churches operating with federal funding and to account for the fate and final resting place of each child who did not survive.
     In 2017, NCAI passed another resolution to call upon our membership to gather testimony and share information about our loved ones who attended boarding schools but who remain unaccounted for. NCAI will continue to work to ensure that none of our American Indian and Alaska Native children are ever forgotten and to right the wrongs imposed upon both past and present generations."

     "NCAI and NARF Applaud Unanimous Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Tribal Law Enforcement Authority in United States v. Cooley," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 1, 2021, The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) applaud this morning’s decision in the United States Supreme Court case United States v. Cooley (19-1414). Rightfully, the Court held that tribal law enforcement have the authority to temporarily detain and search non-Indians traveling on public rights-of-way running through a reservation for suspected violations of state or federal law.
     'Protecting our tribal citizens is one of the most basic services we can provide, and today every member of the Supreme Court agreed,' said Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians. 'This 9-0 decision is one of the strongest affirmations of tribal sovereignty in a generation and helps secure Native communities. For too long, non-Native criminals escaped justice from crimes committed on tribal lands, but today’s unanimous decision in United States v. Cooley is monumental in changing that. We applaud this decision and look forward to advocating for our member tribes as they improve safety and security in tribal communities as a result of this new precedent.'
     This case involves the temporary detention and search of Mr. Cooley, a non-Indian, by a Crow Tribe police officer. After conducting a safety check of the vehicle parked on the side of a state roadway crossing the reservation, the tribal police officer formed the opinion that the motorist was non-Indian, observed firearms in the vehicle, and suspected possible violations of state or federal law. He detained the motorist while local and federal police were being dispatched. A subsequent search of the vehicle by the tribal police officer uncovered 50 grams of methamphetamine and additional firearms. The district court granted the driver’s motion to suppress evidence obtained by the tribal police officer, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
     The Tribal Supreme Court Project, which is jointly staffed by NARF and NCAI attorneys, coordinated the preparation and filing of eight amicus briefs supporting the tribal interests in this case. NCAI joined tribal nations and inter-tribal organizations in urging the Court to reject the Ninth Circuit’s decision. NCAI’s amicus brief can be found on the Tribal Supreme Court Project’s website.
     Relying on the second exception in Montana v. United States, 450 U.S. 644, 566 (1981), the Court affirmed tribal inherent sovereign authority to address 'conduct [that] threatens or has some direct effect on . . . the health or welfare of the tribe.'It also reasoned that not recognizing authority to detain suspected non-Indian offenders could pose serious threats to public safety in Indian country. The Court noted that several state and lower federal courts have recognized this authority and several Supreme Court opinions assumed such authority existed. Moreover, the Court pointed out, such detentions of non-Indians do not subject them to tribal law, but only to applicable state or federal law.
     The Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. Read today’s opinion at:" The case is reported below, in, "In the Courts."

     "NCAI President Fawn Sharp Commends CNN's Actions to Address Political Commentator Rick Santorum's Racist Remarks," National Congress of American Indians, May 22, 2021,, stated, " National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp applauds CNN's termination of its contract with senior political commentator Rick Santorum after his racist remarks at a conservative youth conference. CNN's decision upholds the network's profound responsibility to cover racial discourse equitably and responsibly.
     'I am thrilled that CNN is ensuring that justice is served,' President Sharp said. 'This was never a matter of if a decision would be made; it was only a matter of when. I look forward to continuing to be a resource for CNN as the network works to combat racist and inaccurate narratives.'
     President Sharp emphasized the importance of partnerships with American Indian tribes, journalists, and media to develop creative solutions that address inaccurate portrayals of Indigenous peoples and Native erasure in the media.
      The National Congress of American Indians joined tribal leaders, advocacy groups, and allies in calling for the network to cut ties with Santorum following the former Republican senator and failed GOP presidential candidate's assertion there was "nothing" in America before colonization.
      Santorum's remarks propagated systematic expunction of American Indian peoples' culture and contributions to the United States. The incident highlights the critical role of media platforms like CNN in fighting the systematic eradication of Native Americans from the mainstream narrative of the United States."

     "Statement from Cheryl Crazy Bull About Mass Grave at Kamloops Indian Residential School: American Indian College Fund Calls for Government Accounting of Missing Indigenous Children," American Indian College Fund Email, June8, 2021, stated, " The discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada has, once again, ignited the trauma of Indigenous people across North America.
      In the United States, Indigenous children were also taken from their families and homes and required to attend boarding schools. While Native peoples’ boarding school experiences are complex, there is no doubt that the sole purpose of boarding schools as expressed by their founders, whether government or religious officials, was cultural erasure. Children were deliberately removed from their loving families and from the influences that preserved their identities and ways of knowing, with the goal of erasing them.
Boarding schools tore apart families; destroyed Native languages, cultural practices, and belief systems; and brutally punished Indigenous children and youth, often to the point of physical, mental, and emotional torture if they refused to comply by abandoning their identities. Many children who lived never saw their families again, and many others did not survive the horrific experience. Tribal ways of knowing and family systems were forever altered
     The American Indian College Fund, as a national Native-led and Native-serving education non-profit organization supporting American Indian and Alaska Native students’ access to higher education, believes in education grounded in truth, culture, and identity. We believe the right to an education is not only an individual human right, but it is also a right of Tribes as Nations to socialize and educate their people in their own ways of knowing and being in the world. We also know how an assimilationist policy shrouded in the guise of education was used in a concerted attempt to eliminate our people. We believe tribally controlled education is a form of self-determination for Native peoples and must be supported in the form of tribal colleges and universities.
     Tribally controlled education as a transformative movement in American education is partially a response to the failure of American education to honor and uphold Indigenous people’s identities and ways of living. The values that support tribal people’s very existence as people—kinship, spirituality, self-determination, Indigenous languages and cultural practices, and love of place—are taught at tribally-controlled educational institutions. These values and Indigenous knowledge are taught to not only repair the damage done through boarding schools, but to also be part of the renaissance of American Indian and Alaska Native lifeways.
     In addition to supporting tribal colleges and universities and every Indigenous person’s right to attend the college or university of their choice, the American Indian College Fund believes the truth of our nation’s history and Native histories and cultures must be taught in all schools. The College Fund supports the National Congress of American Indians’ repeated calls for the federal government to account for the fates and/or final resting places of Indigenous children that were taken into their custody.
     Visit to find your officials’ contact information."

     "NCAI and NARF on President Biden's Nomination of Washington State's First Ever Native American Federal Judge," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), May 12, 2021,, stated, " This morning, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Lauren J. King (Muscogee Nation) as a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. If confirmed, Ms. King would be the third active Native American federal district court judge in the United States, the fifth in the history of the federal judiciary, and the first Native American federal judge in the Western District of Washington.
     'NCAI strongly supports the nomination of Lauren J. King, a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, as the first ever Native American judge to serve on a federal bench in Washington state
,' said President Fawn Sharp of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). 'Washington state is home to 29 federally recognized Indian tribes, making it critical that its federal judges better reflect the communities they serve and understand the unique histories of Native peoples and the legal principles that protect and preserve our standing under federal law.'
      For decades, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and NCAI have advocated for more Native American nominees for federal judgeships. Given the unique relationship between the United States and Indian tribes under federal law, federal court decisions impact the daily lives of Native Americans more so than other American citizens. Despite this, Native Americans have been historically under-represented in the federal judiciary. In the 231-year history of federal courts, only four Native Americans have been appointed as federal judges. Currently, of the 890 authorized federal judgeships, only two Native Americans serve as active federal district court judges. If the federal judiciary reflected nationwide demographics, there would be at least 14 Native Americans serving as federal judges.
     John Echohawk, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund said, 'Ms. King is a highly respected Native American attorney whose background and experience has prepared her well for the federal bench. We congratulate Ms. King and encourage the United States Senate to act swiftly on her confirmation.”

     Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson posted in a January 26, 2021 E-mail, "Last year, we warned you of an attempt by the federal government to rush the sale of our National Archives building. The DNA of our region lives inside those walls — including treaty documents and records related to the internment of Japanese Americans and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Here’s the bottom line — these archives have a profound and personal meaning for many communities in Washington.
      Working with a broad coalition, including 40 tribes and community organizations, my office took action to protect these important documents that hold the history of the Pacific Northwest.
     We filed a lawsuit to save our National Archives and stop the federal government from scattering these invaluable, original historical records of our region thousands of miles away.
      These irreplaceable records must remain in Washington state."

     "Advocacy groups to hold Custer Falls Again rally June 25," ICT, June 15, 2021,, reported, " Advocacy groups Good Trouble Monroe and the Anishinaabek Caucus of the Democratic Party are hosting a peaceful rally, Custer Falls Again, on June 25, 2021 to protest the George Armstrong Custer statue in Monroe, Michigan."

     Pueblo Action Alliance ( has been working in Albuquerque, NM in collaboration with other Native groups on a variety of urban Indigenous issues including environmental and social sustainability for the Indigenous community (including protecting greater Chaco and settling Native water claims); community development; mutual aid; homelessness and housing; transportation; health; and finding an Indigenous meeting and activity space.
     Pueblo Action Alliance's Mission is, “Pueblo Action Alliance is a community driven organization that promotes cultural sustainability and community defense by addressing environmental and social impacts in Indigenous communities.”
     Contact is Julia Bernal:

     " First Nations’ Impact Report 2020 is Here!" First Nations Development Institute, March 25, 2021,, stated, "We’re happy to recap the accomplishments of Native communities throughout the country that have been made possible thanks to First Nations’ unwavering supporters.
     In a year marked by devastating loss in Native communities, First Nations’ core work as a grantmaker, educator, advocate and connector was more critical than ever. The core strategies and programs that First Nations has implemented for four decades and the strong traditions of relationship building and trust have positioned the organization to step up and help where needed to support grassroots initiatives."
     " We distributed $3.14 million in COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund grants in 2020 . This was in addition to the $3.4 million we awarded in program grants for our core programs ( pck9Q6QNPEiuBt3JmyTokQ.jVKdxvSXXbUOiACgEhT_xug.r_VzghCFiMkmgJWTB-n8B_A.ljjo1PI_iiUiyc1H7IZjjPw)."
     "Download the 2020 Impact Report here:
     See Impact Reports from previous years:"

      Mark Walker, "Tribes Want Medals Awarded for Wounded Knee Massacre Rescinde: Native Americans are stepping up efforts to pressure Congress to revoke Medals of Honor awarded for the killings of Sioux, including unarmed women and children, at Wounded Knee," The New York Times, 23, 2021,, reported that members of the Lakota Sioux Tribe have been calling for the medals of Honor awarded to 20 members of the U.S. Army for their actions in massacring members of their tribe at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890 be rescinded.
     "They recently won support from the State Senate in South Dakota, which
passed a resolution in February urging Congress to investigate the award of the medals. On Capitol Hill, supporters of the effort, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, both Democrats, are hoping to make a new push on behalf of legislation they have sponsored, the 'Remove the Stain' bill, that would rescind the medals."

     "The Red Nation and Common Notions Need Your Support!" Common Notions E-mail, March 25, 2021, stated, " Help us publish The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth , the first book in the Red Media Series. We are working with the Red Nation to donate at least 250 copies to the community. All donated copies will go to Indigenous schools, libraries, organizations, infoshops, and community centers chosen by the Red Nation.
     Ordering one of our Solidarity Packages will help us do just that.
      The Red Deal is a political program for the liberation that emerges from the oldest class struggle in the Americas—the fight by Native people to win sovereignty, autonomy, and dignity. As the Red Nation proclaims, it is time to reclaim the life and future that has been stolen, come together to confront climate disaster, and build a world where all life can thrive. One-part visionary platform, one-part practical toolkit, The Red Deal is a call to action for everyone, including non-Indigenous comrades and relatives who live on Indigenous land. ( more about the book:"
     " The Red Nation is a coalition of Native and non-Native activists, educators, students, and community organizers advocating Native liberation that formed to address the marginalization and invisibility of Native struggles within mainstream social justice organizing, and to foreground the targeted destruction and violence towards Native life and land."

International Activities
(Note some developments not reported in developments are discussed under activities)

     "Indigenous Media Suffer from Lack of Funding, Representation," Cultural Survival, May 4, 2021,, reported, " Indigenous media practitioners on April 29, 2021, underscored the need to galvanize a movement that would ensure that Indigenous peoples worldwide can exercise their right to 'establish their own media and have access to all forms of non-Indigenous media without discrimination' as stated in Article 16 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
      Indigenous media representatives from South Africa, the United States, Nepal, and Venezuela spoke at an online forum organized by the Indigenous Media Caucus, Cultural Survival, and WACC as a side event during the 20th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The forum also discussed the results of 'Are Indigenous voices being heard?' — a global study commissioned by these organizations, which looked at the state of Indigenous broadcasting around the world.
     Jagat Man Lama Dong, chairperson of Indigenous Community Radio Network, composed of 24 Indigenous community radio in Nepal, said lack of government funding hinders Indigenous Peoples’ right to access information, to communicate in their own language, and to fully participate in society. He noted that only a few media outlets provide programming in Indigenous languages, and 93% of newspapers and magazines are published in non-Indigenous languages. Indigenous People make up 36% of the country’s population, but they only constitute 7% of subjects and sources in the news, he said. Government-run media translate content into some Indigenous languages, but these do not reflect Indigenous Peoples’ concerns and cultures, he added. Indigenous radio has become 'the lifeblood of remote communities,' he said.
     Marianne Dekker, a media practitioner and descendant of South Africa’s Khoi and San people, lamented how her country’s Indigenous Peoples are invisible in mainstream media and how they are often treated with condescension. 'We are far behind in the implementation of UNDRIP,' she said. The voices of South Africa’s Indigenous community members are not heard, and their views are often regarded as 'not sophisticated enough' to be put forward, said Dekker. They are treated 'as if they are less human,' and their causes are deemed not important.
     Dekker said this could be due to a lack of information and knowledge about the history of Indigenous Peoples. Too often, mainstream media rely on press releases from government and do not bother to conduct their own research and reach out to Indigenous communities when reporting on stories that affect them, she said. “There’s a need for Indigenous Peoples’ voices to be heard. They should be part of mainstream media, just as respected and accepted,” she said, adding that they are yearning to have all aspects of their culture recognized and maintained.
       In the United States, award-winning Indigenous journalist Jenni Monet described Indigenous radio as 'a bright spot' in the American media landscape. About 60 Indigenous radio stations are organized by the Native Public Media, which works directly with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a non-profit corporation funded by the American taxpayer, while another 40 or so operate independently, she said. In addition, there is a live call-in program, Native America Calling, that links public, community and tribal radio stations, the Internet and listeners in discussions about issues specific to Native communities. It acts as a 'microphone' for the network of Indigenous communities on issues such as current events and is 'a gauge for where viewpoints are on issues such as sovereignty, human rights, decolonized thinking,' she said.
      Still, the invisibility of Native Americans in mainstream media and public consciousness is “so extreme and so high,' said Monet. She referenced Dekker’s view, saying 'the condescension when addressing Indigenous Peoples is very real.” Just recently a conservative pundit with a paid analyst position at CNN spoke at a conference and made the case that the US nation was 'birthed from nothing,' she said, noting that 'it’s a complete erasure of Indigenous Peoples.' She also cited that native people comprise less than one-half of one percent of staff journalists in US newsrooms.
     David Hernández Palmar, a Wayuu filmmaker, producer, journalist and curator from Venezuela stressed the importance of funding Indigenous radio. 'We need sustainability, not just a license,' he said, noting that most Indigenous radio stations in Latin and South America cannot sustain themselves because they’re not allowed to accept advertising. Some Indigenous Peoples who have set up their own radio without a license are also criminalized, he said.
      Against all odds, however, Indigenous Peoples have used digital technology to their advantage, he said, citing how some are using WhatsApp to send short videos and podcasts.
     WACC’s Communication for Social Change manager Lorenzo Vargas emphasized the need to democratize media in order to advance Indigenous Rights. The two 'are absolutely tied, in the same way that we say Indigenous Peoples should be in control of their own resources, they must be in control of their own media and narratives. 'Indigenous Peoples need to have platforms and structures where their voices are heard, he said.
     Jose Manuel Ramos Rodriguez, researcher of 'Are Indigenous voices being heard?' and lecturer at Mexico’s Ibero-American University, highlighted the need to work on the legal recognition of Indigenous radio, to advance their autonomy from a financial and technological aspect, and to view Indigenous broadcasting as empowering and contributing to self-determination and sovereignty at all levels."

Canada Activities

     “IITC joins the call for justice for the Tkémlúps te Secwépemc Nation and all Indigenous Nations in Canada,” International Indian Treaty Council,” June 2, 2021,, stated, “ The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) joins the Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc, the Indigenous Nations of Canada, and the international community in expressing our horror and outrage at the discovery of a mass burial site containing the remains of 215 children who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, Canada. These children are among the thousands of Indigenous children who were forcibly removed from their homes but who never returned from these schools. There were 146 such residential schools open from 1834 to 1996 in Canada established under the legal mandate of the Canadian government. Over 60% of these schools were operated by the Catholic church.
     Our hearts go out to the families who are reexperiencing the impacts of these atrocities firsthand. We know that the necessary ceremonies and cultural protocols are being carried out and respected. We also stand with all the Indigenous Nations throughout Canada as they continue to seek justice and accountability for their lost children, and finally, bring them home.     
     Justice Murray Sinclair who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the Canadian Residential Schools told the Canadian Press on May 31, 2015, that the Canadian government stopped recording the deaths of children in these schools in 1920. He estimated that at least 4,000 - 6,000 children died at the residential schools but stated that it was impossible to say with certainty, due to lack of government information.
   Ron Lameman, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, in Alberta was forcibly taken from his family to the Ermineskin Indian Residential School at age 11. He now serves as the Bilateral Treaty Coordinator for the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations based in Edmonton and is also IITC’s Board President. Ron stated that “what the Canadian government carried out against the original Nations of Canada, targeting our children for forced removal, cultural alienation, trauma, abuse, and in many cases death, constitutes the crime of genocide”. Ron stated today that the Treaty 6 Grand Chief Okimaw Vernon Watchmaker has written a formal letter to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Francisco Cali Tzay, inviting him to visit Treaty 6 Territory to review the situation of the still-missing children who may lie in clandestine cemeteries near the 25 Residential Schools in Alberta, the most of any Canadian province.
     Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir also welcomed the engagement of the international human rights community including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Kukpi7 Rosanne states that “the involvement of the United Nations will help ensure that Canada takes true and meaningful action and commitment” to address this situation, which has retraumatized many of the residential school survivors and their families in her community and in Indigenous Nations across the country.
The IITC will continue to monitor this horrific situation closely. We offer our support to Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc and all the Indigenous Nations of Canada as they find strength for the painful process of bringing their loved ones home. We also support their call for adequate resources and complete information from both the churches and the Canadian government to assist their efforts to find the children that are still missing and bring about justice for the crimes that occurred.
IITC was founded in 1974 as a voice for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations. In 1977, IITC became the first Indigenous Peoples’ organization to be recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with Consultative Status to the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council. In 2011, IITC was the first to be upgraded to General Consultative Status in recognition of its active participation in a wide range of international bodies and processes to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
For more information contact: Ron Lameman, IITC Board President,”

     " National Chief Demands Action For Missing First Nations Children And Grave Sites," Assembly of First Nations, June 1, 2021, reported, "Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde released the below statement to mark the first day of Indigenous Peoples History month and in advance of the June 2 anniversary of the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
      'In the days since the discovery of the remains of children from Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and those who attended Kamloops Indian Residential School, there has been an outpour of support to our people and communities. Flags are half mast, children’s shoes line the steps at Parliament and at monuments across the country and an orange wave is washing over social media. All eyes are on First Nations as we attempt to digest the most recent evidence of the genocide against our people, our children.
     We have the attention of our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters, many of whom seek direction on how to show support. It’s incumbent on us right now to work together to seize the opportunity to harness this awareness and this energy. Everyone has a role. Every single government and person in Canada can help drive change, to honour our shared history and commit to doing better as a country.
      The Government of Canada must respond to First Nations seeking assistance in finding our lost children and support our mourning First Nations communities. We deeply appreciate the support of so many concerned Canadians. I demand that all governments commit to supporting First Nations seeking thorough investigations into former residential school sites and to take any, and all action available to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
     The resources and efforts currently being put toward a judicial review of the 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision should be invested in fulfilling the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Calls to Justice of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and Girls.
     Moments of silence are respectful and heartfelt, but we need to see real action. I demand the federal government stop fighting our children in court and implement the orders from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Provincial and territorial governments must stop apprehending our children and work with First Nations to fully implement the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.
      We need to see real action to end the systemic racism that persists in every single system in the country. And we need to see Parliament implement international human rights standards in Canada by passing C-15, the proposed legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
     The discovery at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirms what First Nations have believed for decades took place at residential schools. With increased awareness, it’s my hope there will be increased understanding for the searing reality of intergenerational impacts of the 'Indian' Residential School system.
     I encourage every single person in Canada to stand with First Nations as we press forward for action to ensure our children are returned to their people to finally receive the respect and dignity not provided to them in life.
     I encourage any concerned Canadian to write their Member of Parliament to press for the full implementation of all the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We must continue to reveal the truth, no matter how painful, in order to move toward reconciliation.”
     The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
Lori Kittelberg
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
604-340-3117 (mobile)"

     "Federal Budget 2021," Assembly of First Nations [Canada]. April 2o, 2021,, stated,
     " SUMMARY:
      The federal budget was tabled in the House of Commons on April 19, 2021
      Budget 2021 commits a total of $18 billion for Indigenous peoples – the largest ever investment for First Nations
      Cumulative budget investments since 2015 have surpassed $39 billion
      The AFN will continue to advocate for consistent and sustained investments to close the socio-economic gap only widening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
     The 2021 federal budget tabled Monday April 19, 2021 by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland includes the largest ever investment for First Nations and builds on the momentum achieved through First Nations advocacy. Cumulative budget investments toward Indigenous priorities since 2015 have surpassed $39 billion.
      Budget 2021 includes a total of $18 billion over five years for Indigenous people, with much of the funding committed to addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically responds to areas identified by First Nations for additional support to respond to COVID-19, such as mental wellness, health response, and safety measures for educational spaces, items reflected in the throne speeches of 2019 and 2020.
      Additional investments have been identified for health, infrastructure and essential services, economic development, child and family services, policing and justice, education, languages, culture, and economic development, detailed below and in the attached chart.
      COVID-19 Supports:
     Budget 2021 commits that Indigenous communities will have the resources they need to deliver vaccine doses to people as quickly as possible. The commitment totals $478.1 million in health response and $760.8 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund.
Mental wellness:
     Budget 2021 promises innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID 19, including First Nations. Indigenous peoples will receive $36 million over three years to address the mental health impacts of COVID-19.
      Addressing Racism in Health:
     Budget 2021 makes specific reference to the death of Joyce Echaquan and the devastating consequences of anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health care systems. It identifies $127.7 million over three years for efforts toward equitable access to healthcare without discrimination, and $12.5 million over five years, and $2.5 ongoing to support the well-being of families and survivors through project-based programming in collaboration with the National Family Survivors Circle.
      Infrastructure and Essential Services:
     This federal budget commits $4.3 billion over four years for an Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund and $1.7 billion over five years ($338.9 million ongoing) for Operations and Maintenance on-reserve.
      Economic development and Growth:
     This federal budget includes 11 programs that will provide funding for Indigenous economic development. Programs include modernizing federal procurement and creating opportunities for specific communities by diversifying the federal supplier base ($87.4 million) and designating $117 million for the Indigenous Community Business Fund. Following up on a commitment made in 2019, the budget promises $150 million for the launch of the Indigenous Growth Fund. This fund will provide capital to Indigenous entrepreneurs to aid in securing additional investors. This new fund is the result of collaboration between the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
      Child and Family Services:
     This budget references the federal government’s commitment to working with Indigenous leadership to reform child and family services in ways that Indigenous children have every opportunity to grow up in their communities, immersed in their cultures and with their families and relatives. It commits $1 billion over five years and $118 million ongoing for child and family services, and $73.6 million over four years for the implementation of Bill C-92 (an Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families).
     Budget 2021 proposes to provide $43.7 million over five years to establish First Nations policing as an essential service and an investment of $540.3 million over five years to expand the First Nations Policing Program and $108.6 million over five years to repair, renovate, and replace policing facilities in First Nation and Inuit communities. These and additional investment in this area total 886.1 million over five years.
     This federal budget identifies $74.8 over three years to improve access to justice for Indigenous people and support the development of an Indigenous justice strategy to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
     The government will provide $2.2 billion over five years to implement the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Budget 2021 will begin these investments in 2021-22, with $160.9 million ongoing.
     Budget 2021 promises $1.2 billion over five years for three areas related to Indigenous education. COVID-19 support, including PPE for students and staff as well as remote learning resources, will receive $112 million in 2021-22. Student transportation and Regional Education Agreements will receive $726 million over five years, starting in 2021-22. First Nations adults on reserve who wish to complete their high school degree have $350 million in funding support.
      Culture and Language:
     Budget 2021 designates $460 million for Indigenous culture and language-based programs. $275 million will bolster reclamation, revitalization, and strengthening of Indigenous languages. The budget also promises investments of $14.9 million for the preservation of Indigenous heritage through Library and Archives Canada. Additional funds will support cultural spaces, sports and recreational activities, and programs specific to Indigenous women and girls.
     The AFN will continue to advocate for consistent and sustained investments to close the socio-economic gap only widening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For further details on all programs included in the $18 billion investment for Indigenous peoples, please see the attached chart ("

     "Assembly of First Nations calls for sustained investments for water certainty," Assembly of First Nations, February 26, 2021,, stated, " Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says urgent action is required to end long-term boil water advisories and achieve water certainty in First Nations following yesterday’s release of a report by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada evaluating water-related commitments made by the federal government.
      'Access to safe, clean water is more important now than ever to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep us all safe,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. 'While there has been some progress to address and end boil water advisories, currently more than 50 remain, and one is too many. I continue to urge the federal government to work together with First Nations to implement long-term solutions that will provide water certainty for our children and families. I want to see significant and sustained investments in water treatment and water distribution for First Nations, a renewed commitment by the federal government to end boil water advisories within realistic timelines and real investments in First Nations infrastructure to close the infrastructure gap by 2030.'
     The report Access to Safe Drinking Water in First Nations released today by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada highlights three main areas of concern: the commitment by Indigenous Services Canada to eliminate long-term drinking water advisories, the operations and maintenance policy for water and wastewater and the now 30-year-old funding formula, and potential for a regulatory framework.
      Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller announced recently the government will not meet their target to end long-term boil water advisories by March 2021. To date at least 57 long-term advisories are in place across Canada.
     'Water is sacred to First Nations and key to the health and well-being of all living things,' said National Chief Bellegarde. 'We must see the human right to safe drinking water prioritized by our government partners. Sustained funding, including investments in operations and maintenance that reflect the true costs, not formula-driven numbers, is the only way to address long-standing issues and ensure safe drinking water for our people and nations.'
     In the 2019 Speech from the Throne, the federal government committed to 'continue the work of eliminating all long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by 2021 and ensure safe drinking water in First Nations.' The repeal and replacement of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, together with co-developed legislation, continues to be a priority for First Nations as a necessary step to ensuring the future of safe drinking water in First Nations across the country.
      AFN is hosting virtual engagement sessions with First Nations leaders and water experts on the repeal and replacement of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act this week.
     The AFN is the national organization representing First Nation peoples in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Karen Joyner
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (cell)"

     "National Chief Welcomes Step Toward Distinctions-Based Health Legislation for First Nations," Assembly of First Nations, January 28, 2021,, stated, " Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomes today’s announcement by Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller to engage with First Nations and Indigenous leaders to transform the health system in Canada.
      Minister Miller today announced efforts toward the co-development of distinctions-based health legislation, starting with pre-engagement consultation with First Nations, Metis and Inuit taking place over the next few months.
     'I welcome this initiative and step toward addressing the inequities and discrimination toward First Nations and other Indigenous peoples in Canada’s health care systems,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, adding he is encouraged that the federal government is moving ahead on commitments from the Fall 2020 Throne Speech and Economic Statement. 'Long-standing inequities, underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to result in poor health outcomes for First Nations across Canada. Any proposed process must include the rights and title holders and be grounded in First Nations control over the development and delivery of health services with priorities identified by First Nations.'
     'Developing distinctions-based health legislation for First Nations must be done with the leadership at the decision-making tables from the outset. It must at the same time include the important work to enforce the treaty right to health, including implementation of the spirit and intent of the medicine chest clause,” said AFN Regional Chief Marlene Poitras who is the health portfolio lead on the AFN Executive. “This legislation must provide the basis for a health system that addresses systemic racism, is respectful of the individual needs of our people, and treated as foundational, a cornerstone of Canada’s overall healthcare system.”
In 2017 AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly passed resolution 69/2017, directing the AFN to explore a legislative base for First Nations Health that is reflective of inherent, Treaty and international legal requirements, as well at the nation to nation relationship.
     The announcement comes after a two-day virtual meeting on anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health care systems with federal, provincial and territorial ministers and First Nations, Metis and Inuit leaders where National Chief Bellegarde reiterated recommendations and called for urgency in addressing systemic racism in Canada’s health care systems.
     The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Karen Joyner
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (cell)"

     "National Chief welcomes federal investment in Indigenous Covid-19 response," Assembly of First Nations, January 13, 2021,, " Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomes today’s announcement by Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller to invest in Indigenous communities to better respond to COVID-19. The investment comes after a January 7 letter from National Chief Bellegarde to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging the government to take action to address the growing rate of COVID-19 infections among First Nation people across the country.
     'Keeping our people and nations safe remains top priority, particularly at a time when infection rates are rising and risk getting completely out of control,' said National Chief Bellegarde, adding that First Nations are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and require resources to meet needs exacerbated by remoteness, crowded homes and lack of clean water. 'I lift up First Nations leadership across the country for speaking up. Our voices have been heard. We will save lives.'
      Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller today announced $1.2 Billion, which includes support for public health, further investments in the Indigenous Community Support Fund and Supportive Care for long-term care and Elder care facilities.
     'It’s essential we work together and that the approach is coordinated, with First Nations taking the lead,' said National Chief Bellegarde. 'I am encouraged by Minister Miller’s commitment to First Nations having flexibility to respond to needs and will continue to press provincial and territorial governments to support and work together with First Nations as we respond to this crisis. This includes access to mental health supports for our front-line workers and community members.'
National Chief Bellegarde made it clear this week he will be getting his COVID-19 vaccine when his turn comes.
     'Just like wearing a mask, getting the vaccine is about keeping you and those around you safe,' said National Chief Bellegarde. 'If you don’t plan to do it for yourself, please consider doing it for your family, friends and community. Together we’ll conquer COVID-19.'
     For more details on today’s funding announcement, read this press release from the Indigenous Services Canada website.
     The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates.
     For more information please contact:
Karen Joyner
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (cell)"

     "National Chief Pleased With Thunder Bay Verdict Ruling Brayden Bushby Guilty of Manslaughter," Assembly of First Nations, December 14, 2020,, stated, " National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations said today’s verdict in the trailer hitch manslaughter case is a welcome surprise.
     'This is a significant verdict for First Nations and a wonderful day for Canadian justice,” said National Chief Bellegarde. 'First Nations have faced an uphill battle to receive fairness in the judicial system. Perhaps today’s decision demonstrates that courts in this country will begin treating crimes against First Nations (among Black, Indigenous and people of colour) the same as they do attacks on non-Indigenous Canadians. This seems to be a major step in the right direction, but we must remain vigilant if we are to root out institutional racism in our justice system.'
     This afternoon, Justice Helen Pierce of the Thunder Bay court ruled Bushby guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault, which he plead guilty of prior to today’s verdict. Bushby threw a trailer hitch from a moving vehicle, hitting Barbara Kentner in the abdomen. Kentner, 34 at the time, from Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, later died of internal injuries. Bushby’s lawyers claimed the injuries were unrelated to the assault. Bushby, who was 18 and drunk at the time of the incident, admitted to having thrown the hitch.
     The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Karen Joyner
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (cell)"

Latin American Activities

     “Mixe Women in Mexico Denounce Sexual Violence by Male Politicians, Cultural Survival, April 5, 2021,, reported, “In March 2020, the existence of a WhatsApp group entitled “ Sierra XXX'' was made public, in which some 100 men from the Sierra Mixe sexualized images of Indigenous Mixe women from Oaxaca in Mexico without their consent. Multiple screenshots corroborate these facts. Among the participants in the group are politicians and public figures from the region, who encouraged the use of the group to share pornography and intimate photos of "preferably Mixe women."
     Sandra Domínguez Martínez, made a complaint after learning that her own photographs were in that group. An official from the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI) and part of the group Donato Vargas confirmed the information and offered Domínguez an apology for his participation. Later, after the complaint, another man implicated, Rolando Vásquez, resigned from his public position at INPI.
     The case comes to light again a year after the initial reporting, since the facts were never clarified and the creator of this group, Humberto Santos (also known as Beto Zacate), is seeking candidacy under the Morena political party, (to which the current president of Mexico belongs) as a local deputy of District 10 Mixe-Choápam. Santos has tried to minimize the recent public complaints by arguing that it is a smear campaign against him and denied the existence of the group of the women whose privacy was violated and the legal processes pending against him. However, two cases are still open for investigation by the Oaxaca State Attorney General's Office (FGEO) against Santos, for the crimes of gender violence, discrimination, and human trafficking.
Several Mixe women from different communities in the region have made their voices heard in a public letter demanding the removal of Santos' candidacy. The letter is non-partisan and calls for justice and an end to gender violence and the hyper-sexualization of Indigenous women. In the letter, the women denounce news of the group chat as ‘evidence of a despicable normalization of gender violence,’ calling on Santos’ political party ‘to prohibit his participation as a basic measure of justice for the women who were exhibited in this group chat.’
       The events come in the context of the passage of the November 2020 Olimpia Law in the state of Oaxaca, which was approved to ‘classify crimes related to digital harassment, in particular with regard to the dissemination of intimate and sexual content, with penalties of up to 6 years in jail’ and that is why despite the complaint already filed on Humberto Santos on March 16, the justice process, in this case, is still pending.
      Cultural Survival joins the demands of the Mixe women, requesting compliance with the precautionary measures for Sandra Domínguez Martínez by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) after being the subject of a smear campaign for her whistleblowing of the group, and endorse the complaint presented to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).”

A Zapatista delegation set sail from Mexico for Spain, May 2, 2021, on a mission of solidarity and rebellion on the anniversary of the 1519-1521 Spanish Conquest of Mexico ("Mexico: Zapatistas Set Sail to Europe," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2021).

     Katia Yoza, "Indigenous Peoples in Colombia Accuse Ivan Duque's Government of Repression," Cultural Survival, May 14, 2021,, reported, " Local and regional Indigenous organizations in Colombia demand that President Iván Duque's government stop using violence against Colombian Peoples. On May 4, 2021, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia or ONIC), which unites Indigenous Peoples in the country, branded the violent repression of the government as " state terrorism " after armed attacks against civilians. ONIC condemned Duque's government and the collusion of Defense Minister Diego Molano and the National Army Commanding General Eduardo Zapateiro. ONIC compared the civilian deaths to typical brutality characteristic of a military dictatorship disguised as democracy, not only because of recent assassinations and forced disappearances but also due to sexual assaults on women and a large number of people injured from state-sponsored brutality.
     Since April 28, 2021, massive protests have spread across Colombia rejecting President Duque’s proposal for a tax reform called Sustainable Solidarity Law ("Ley de solidaridad sostenible"). This reform project, which has since been canceled by Duque because of the demonstrations, planned to overcome the budget deficit by increasing value-added taxes, affecting essential goods and services such as water, electricity, and gas public services. The tax increase would affect mainly middle and low classes who have also been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Demonstrations coincided with the third wave of COVID-19 in Colombia
, which has brought the highest number of infections since the start of the pandemic. One protest poster read, ' If people rise in protest during a pandemic, it is because the government is more dangerous than the virus.' Protests are the convergence of pre-pandemic social discontent against the neoliberal capitalist model and the corruption-plagued Duque administration. The discontent has increased in the past months following the growth of poverty and unemployment of millions of Colombians due to poor governance during the health emergency. According to the National Direction of Statistics of Colombia (DANE), 1 out of 4 families went from eating three meals per day to only two and, according to La República journal, unemployment reached 14.2% in March 2021.
      Indigenous Peoples have been vocal about their support for the national strike involving youth, workers, campesinos, drivers, and students. Indigenous Peoples joined the national strike with their ' Minga hacia afuera' mobilization, which is growing in the south-western region of the country. ONIC demands that the government stop treating social protests as matters of war, and calls for the removal of the national army and Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios, ESMAD) from the streets, as they have been using military weapons against civilians.
      Despite cancelation of the tax reform, intense protests in Colombia continue. The Regional Indigenous Council of the department of Caldas (CRIDEC) highlights the change in protest focus from being a reaction against the tax reform to a collective response that unites Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendants, campesinos, workers, women, LGBTQIA+ groups, labor unions, students, teachers and health workers against the high levels of inequality and structural violence. In Caldas, CRIDEC united 6,000 people from different Indigenous Peoples to demand Indigenous Peoples’ rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, as well as the creation of health policies that respond to the needs of the population. In addition, Indigenous Peoples demand the implementation of the Peace Accords, as Indigenous territories have been threatened by the reconfiguration of the armed conflict.
     In this context, Embera Chami Peoples from Caldas have put out a call for peace and social well-being in the face of systemic violence against their lands and ancestral authorities. A wave of extreme violence has threatened the human rights and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination, in spite of the Peace Treaties signed in 2016. Nasa Peoples from Cauca have been among the most impacted. The Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) denounced this violence as genocide. Violent and deadly attacks have increased since the signing of the Peace Treaties . After President Duque came to power in 2018, the year was characterized by an exponential growth of violence—43.7% more than the previous year, with 634 violent or deadly attacks. In 2018-2019, 43% of the Human Rights defenders who were killed were Indigenous People or Afro-descendants. Cultural Survival’s 2019 report to the UN Commission for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on human rights violations in Colombia highlighted the systematic nature of this violence which seeks to intimidate Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities because of their efforts to reclaim their territories and lands. Additionally, under Duque's government, deforestation, misappropriation of land, extractive industries such as mining and petroleum, logging, agro-industry, illegal cultivation of drugs, land grabs and land encroachment, and violence against Indigenous leaders have increased. This has been condemned by Indigenous Peoples during recent protests. Later in 2019, the CERD issued a strong warning against what they called ' targeted killings of members of communities of African descent and Indigenous Peoples .'
      In 2020, Cultural Survival documented 11 murders of Indigenous people in Colombia, as well as 2 massacres which took the life of 9 more people. Between January and June 2020, a stark total of 121 activists and human rights defenders were assassinated in Colombia.
     As of May 10, 2021, 321 missing people and 47 deaths have been reported in relation to the recent protests. Cultural Survival expresses our solidarity with the Colombian people in their call for a stop to violence in Cali and condemns violent acts perpetrated in Indigenous territories. We join the call for justice in the face of violence against human rights defenders during the protests and within Colombian borders.
     Read a statement in solidarity with Colombia by Cultural Survival Indigenous Youth Fellow, Arnab Chaudhary, of the Tharu Indigenous People of Nepal. Arnab is 21, and hails from Gadhawa Village in the Dang district. Currently in his third year of law school, he is also a legal intern for ProPublica working in the field of public interest litigation with a focus on environmental justice. Chaudhary previously worked as an executive member of the Kathmandu Valley Committee of the Tharu Student Society and continues to be active in discussions of social, legal, political, and economic issues related to Indigenous communities with his peers."

     "Threats to Peru’s uncontacted tribes prompt emergency appeal to Inter-American Commission," Survival International, February 2, 2021,, reported, " An indigenous organization in Peru has appealed to the Americas’ top human rights body for urgent action to protect six uncontacted tribes’ territories.
     The emergency appeal comes in the face of renewed threats to the proposed Amazonian reserves, whose legal status has been in limbo for up to 27 years
      The government has reactivated logging, oil and gas concessions in these areas, and until the reserves are properly established further concessions are likely to be sold off.
     The reserves were first initiated between 15 and 27 years ago, but have never been officially completed.
      Indigenous organization ORPIO (Organización Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente), assisted by the human rights organization Instituto de Defensa Legal , announced today that they had submitted a formal request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (
     They’ve petitioned the Commission to order Peru’s government to a) finalize the creation of the six reserves, and b) enact the necessary measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of the uncontacted people, given the Covid-19 pandemic, and the invasion of the reserves by outsiders.
     In their submission ORPIO say: 'During the Covid-19 pandemic, not only has the Peruvian state not taken any actions to protect the lives of the uncontacted tribes, on the contrary, they’ve authorised the granting of logging and oil and gas concessions.'
     ORPIO add: 'If immediate actions are not taken, these populations could be wiped out. There are more than twenty uncontacted tribes in Peru at risk of extinction, especially during a pandemic that’s struck hardest at the most vulnerable groups.'
     Survival researcher Teresa Martínez said today: 'No legal process that’s meant to urgently protect the right to life should end up taking so long. The Peruvian government’s actions are illegal, immoral and genocidal. The only explanation is the desire for profits, and the total absence of political will to finally establish these reserves and protect the lives of the uncontacted tribes, the most vulnerable peoples on the planet.'
     Notes to Editors:
     - The six reserves are: Yavarí – Tapiche (Department of Loreto), Kakataibo (Ucayali), Yavarí Mirim (Loreto), Sierra del Divisor Occidental (Loreto y Ucayali), Napo-Tigre (Loreto) and Atacuari (Loreto).
     - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is part of the Organization of American States.
     - The submission has been presented by ORPIO with the support of IDL, and the Human Rights Clinic of the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre."

     "Stop the Armed Invasion of Munduruku Territory in Brazil!" Amazon Watch, March 24, 2021,, stated, " The Munduruku people from the Brazilian Amazon are calling all allies to support them as they face an imminent threat of invasion by armed illegal miners. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is negotiating a deal with the Brazilian government related to the Amazon.
     Join us in urging Climate Envoy John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman to encourage the Brazilian authorities to evict the illegal miners from Munduruku territory and protect the lives of threatened leaders!"

     Edson Krenak Naknanuk, “The Amazon is Dirty, Our Rivers and Fish are Contaminated, Everyone is Sick,” Cultural Survival, January 21, 2021,, reported, "’The Amazon is dirty, our rivers and fish are contaminated, everyone is sick. We no longer feel safe in the forest, in our home.” -- Alessandra Munduruk,’ Munduruku Mother
      The Yanomami, Munduruku, and Kayapo Peoples share how the Bolsonaro government is worsening their situation and threatening the forest and human rights in Brazil in this three part article series. Part one focuses on Yanomami Peoples.
     At the beginning of December 2020, Brazil’s Congresswoman Joenia Wapichana, the Joint Parliamentary Front in Defense of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Parliamentary Environmental Front organized a webinar with politicians and civil society to hear testimonies of three Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon on their current realities.
     After the event, I connected with members of the mentioned Peoples who shared more in detail about what is happening on the ground in Brazil. One of the speakers connected me with the public prosecutor, the equivalent of a district attorney, who divulged important documents about illegal mining activities on Yanomami lands.
This article focuses on five issues related to the violation of Indigenous Peoples' rights and the destruction of their lands in the Brazilian Amazon: the invasion of Indigenous lands; the contamination of soil, rivers, fish and communities with mercury; diseases and health problems, such as infertility, resulting from malnutrition; high consumption of drugs and alcohol, brought by prospectors, affecting Indigenous communities; dismantling of agencies and institutions that protect forests and Indigenous communities, such as local Indigenous health posts, environmental protection bases, and policing and monitoring of territories.
       The Yanomami Report
The small Yanomami village of the Kayanaú community, near the Mucajaí River in the Rio Negro basin, numbers about 200 people who are dealing with a contingent of more than 1,600 illegal prospectors on their lands.
       An airstrip for small aircrafts was built in their territory in the state of Roraima, the country's far north region bordering Venezuela. The track that once received health personnel and environmental and border protection agencies was taken over by illegal miners. The frequency of flights of airplanes and helicopters to supply the mine is now more than 50 per week. This heightened number has alerted the team of healthcare officers who visited the Indigenous community during a health and vaccination check in. The planes bring more prospectors, alcoholic beverages, and even drugs to the site weekly. Not only do they land with their fleet, but miners wander around the villages in armed groups, travel the rivers by boat, and settle in strategic places to establish illegal mining sites. These people not only offer Yanomami goods and money, disrupting their traditional economies, but also introduce individuals to drugs, alcohol, even prostitution to coerce the local community as a labor force. Without legal, environmental and even special protections such as consent protocols, State monitoring, and insufficient healthcare, the negative impacts on the Indigenous livelihoods are quickly felt.
The medical team and the prosecutor who are monitoring the situation without resources told me that they found ‘Indigenous people constantly drunk and that women, children, and adults walk through the woods with alcohol at all times. That's why they're refusing medical treatment.
In addition, the practice of semi-slavery of Indigenous Peoples in the region is prevalent, because, after creating drug and alcohol dependency, the community no longer wants to practice traditional activities, such as agriculture, hunting, and gathering. In exchange for drugs, alcoholic beverages, and prostitution, they go to work for the prospectors. The medicine, vaccinations, and resources intended for the Yanomami were taken by the miners, leaving the Indigenous People completely unprotected, sick and vulnerable.
      Moreover, the situation is even more alarming with regard to violence at various levels. The monitoring medical team is afraid of retaliation and threats from prospectors if they release their report which shows how the miners, employed corporations whose names and affiliations are never revealed, install a structure of scaffolds along the rivers, to support and protect their illegal activities. The region has been abandoned by the State.
Dário Kopenawa, son of prominent Indigenous leader, thinker, and author of The Falling Sky - Words of a Yanomami Shaman, David Kopenawa, reveals that, despite all the visibility that the Yanomami people have, the Brazilian government has done nothing to stop the invasions and illegal mining on their lands. Yanomami associations are raising the visibility of this issue and have collected more than 439,000 signatures from people in Brazil and abroad in a petition demanding the removal of 20,000 illegal prospectors in the Yanomami territories.
The mining, beyond causing the degradation of rivers and forests, and undermining the rights and protections of Indigenous Peoples, has caused serious health issues for communities near and far. The miners, prospectors and their entourage are the main sources of transmission of the new coronavirus, and other diseases, such as STDs, and the flu. A total of 1,202 Yanomami were infected by COVID-19 and 23 have died, according to a report produced by the Yanomami and Ye'kwana Leadership Forum.
The lands of the Yanomami are located in two states in the north of the country, Roraima and Amazonas. They are neighbors to the territories of the Munduruku and Kayapo Peoples, who are also facing a systematic invasion of their lands and are endangered by genocide and unprecedented environmental impacts.
The Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information, or Raisg, in their report entitled Looted Amazon ( Amazonia Saqueada), shows that there are more than 2,500 mining sites in the Amazon region, comprising areas in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The report also shows the general routes going in and out of mining areas in the region as well as the impacted rivers and Indigenous lands by illegal practices.
If a mining station accommodates an average of 1000 people, it is not difficult to conclude that the Amazon today has never been more in danger. With the high price of gold on the international market, the practice of mining has intensified even more during the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn increases the human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples.
Given this situation, protection agencies as FUNAI, the federal police, and IBAMA-- the federal agency of monitoring and protection of the environment, have seen their budgets cut dramatically. In the case of FUNAI, its mission has been changed profoundly, ‘from an Indian affairs agency to a State agency against Indigenous Peoples,’ as described by Alessandra Munduruku, a Indigenous activist from Munduruku people.
      In addition, the Brazilian government has insisted on implementing unconstitutional laws and influencing public opinion to serve the interests of mining companies. According to the website Amazonia Legal and E. de Sao Paulo newspaper, a survey reveals that 145 applications for mining permits were filed with the National Mining Agency by November 3, 2020, the highest volume in 24 years.
A bill formulated by Brazilian President Bolsonaro in February 2020 aims to legalize mining activity on Indigenous lands and is currently sealed by the Brazilian Constitution. In September, the government launched the Mining and Development Program , which cites its goals as ‘promoting the regulation of mining on Indigenous land, granting of mining titles, stimulating the implantation of mining sites, and fostering geological research of mineral goods considered a priority for the country.’
Despite being unconstitutional, the National Mining Agency (ANM) maintains the requests of more than 3,000 applications to mine on Indigenous lands (IT) in the Amazon, as the Looted Amazon report reveals. Any mining activity, even research and prospecting, is prohibited by Brazil’s Constitution in these areas, but Indigenous Peoples have witnessed that leveraged by the federal government, every month, dozens of new requests are filed and accepted. All these actions multiply the problems that Indigenous Peoples in Amazon are facing.
On the day before Christmas, the Coogal Union of Miners in the north of the country in Lourenço, a region near Roraima and Para, where the Yanomami, Munduruku and Kayapo Peoples live, managed to reverse a court decision on the suspension of old extraction activity as well as the dissolution of the entity for its illegal and risky activities. However, the judge of TRT-8, the regional labor court, Luís Ribeiro saw serious social impact implications to families living in the region. The Union has more than 900 members whose families also live in the area. This is yet another example of how the situation, unresolved by the government, creates an avalanche of social, environmental, and legal problems.
In June 2020, representatives of Yanomami associations organized a conference with the Vice-President of the Republic, Hamilton Mourão, with Congresswoman Joenia Wapichana. He received the document with evidence of the illegal mining activities and a formal petition for the removal of the miners. According to Dario Kopenawa, Vice-President Mourão said, ‘Ah, Dario, the Yanomami territory is very large, the federal government does not have the resources to pay employees, has no planes, logistics are difficult [to protect the area]. I worked in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, I know the region.’
Then, on his Twitter account, the Vice-President said that the number of prospectors on Yanomami lands is 3,500 and not 20,000, as estimated by Indigenous organizations. This attitude of disrespecting Indigenous Peoples and trying to delegitimize their cause has been commonplace in the current administration. Still, the second man in the government has promised a plan to remove illegal prospectors from Indigenous lands. So far, nothing has happened.
This situation is not only an example of the problems faced by Indigenous Peoples, but the Brasileiro State, in its deadly incompetence, does not offer environmental protection, prevent social and cultural conflicts in the region, or guarantee a healthy environment for vulnerable citizens. The rights to life, integrity, culture, property, freedom, according to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, through Consultative Opinion (OC) 23/17 , has a strong interdependence with the environment and sustainable development, in other words, that human rights are fully satisfied only if a "minimum environmental quality" is respected.
Indigenous Peoples in Brazil want the world to know that their rights are being violated on their own territories. The Brazilian State is violating their rights to a healthy environment and therefore their rights to life, health, food, water, sanitation, property, private life, culture, and non-discrimination, among others. There is a profound relationship between the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the rights of Nature and its protection. The destruction of such a large area, larger than many countries in Europe, has a significant impact on the environmental relations on the planet, worsening the effects of climate change which affects everyone, Indigenous or non-Indigenous.
A fighting generation of the Yanomami, as well many Indigenous Peoples in Brazil, have suffered devastating losses in 2020 due to COVID-19. ‘Our Grandmothers are dying. We want to live in peace. We want our land in peace, without the presence of prospectors. Our relatives, the fish and animals are dying of mercury. Our land is already demarcated. The Constitution has very beautiful words about our rights, but in practice this is not what happens,’ concludes Dario Kopenawa.
The request is simple and clear: "Remove Miners from Our Lands!"

The Krenak Peoples of Brazil's Sao Paulo State along with Cultural Survival submitted an intervention to the April 2021, Twentieth session of the UN Indigenous Forum on Indigenous Issues calling on the Brazilian government to protect the Indigenous communities from the COVID-19 pandemic from which they have suffered greatly because of trespassers from outside their territory and the government's failure to provide needed health care and vaccines in a timely manner ("Brazil: Krenak Peoples Submit Intervention to UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2021).

African, Asian and Pacific Activities

     “Walk to Save the Okavango Delta from Oil and Gas Development Kicks Off,” Cultural Survival, February 1, 2021, “ A group of six San leaders and supporters will begin a journey on foot from Knysna to Cape Town, South Africa on the 1st of February. They walk in the footsteps of their ancestors who once followed a great cycle of life through the seasons around the coastline of southern Africa. The walkers will pass through and connect with San and Khoe communities who are now settled along this ancient route to gather their support in defense of their spiritual motherland in the Kavango which is threatened by oil and gas exploration.
Permits have been issued to prospect, drill, and ultimately extract oil and gas over 8.4 million acres of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia and Botswana extending to the south eastern banks of the Okavango River and Okavango Delta. The permits are held by inter-linked companies: in Namibia Canadian Reconnaissance Oil and Gas (ReConAfrica), registered as Reconnaissance Energy Namibia (PTY) LTD and in Botswana Craig Steinke of Renaissance Oil Corporation. On January 10, ReConAfrica commenced drilling operations on the first exploration well (6-2) located in Kawe in the Omatako riverbed, which drains into the Okavango Delta. In communications with investors and the media ReConAfrica have said they anticipate both conventional and unconventional (e.g. fracking) methods will be used to extract the oil and gas from the shale rock basin if this exploration is successful.
Not only is the Kavanago an area of unique beauty, it also contains ecosystems of global importance and the last remaining sacred lands that continue to sustain and tell the origin stories of the world’s first people, the San and possibly all of humanity.
The group will be passing through George, Albertinia, Riversdale, Swellendam, Bredesdorp, Gansbaai, Grabow, and on to Cape Town collecting support and signatures for an objection to the petroleum developments, which will be delivered to the governments of Botswana and Namibia, and other international institutions.
   ➢ Follow the progress of the walkers by joining the Facebook group: Khoe, San & Friends : Walk to Save the Okavango Delta ( or follow the hashtag #indigiwalk on social media.
   ➢ Individuals who would like to support the San in saying no to oil and gas drilling in the Kavango can sign the online petition:
  ➢ Read the objection letter here:
  ➢ Indigenous Peoples, community leaders, and civil society organisations globally can formally sign on to and support the objection that will be delivered at the end of the walk by complete this form:
   ➢ Follow the campaign by liking the Facebook page: Frack Free Namibia and Botswana :
  For interviews or more information please contact:
• Q Beckett, San youth leader - on mobile: +27 72 050 1835,
• or Sharri Cannell from First Peoples Southern Africa on and mobile: +27 82 578 9834”

     “The International Indian Treaty Council Calls on Israel, the Biden Administration and the World Community to Support the Rights of the Palestinian People,” The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), May 18, 2021,, stated, “The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) is an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific working for the Sovereignty and Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties, Traditional Cultures, and Sacred Lands.
IITC has a longstanding history of support for the Palestinian People. We consider the ongoing and current violence occurring in Israel and occupied Palestine to be a direct result of the rights of Palestinians not being respected and protected, in particular their right to self-determination under international law, including the continued proliferation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. IITC condemns the recent threat of forced displacement of Palestinian residents of the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood and the violent raid by Israeli security forces on the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem are the most recent examples, sparking the current wave of violence including an unprecedented level of Israeli aerial, naval and ground attacks on Gaza, claiming the lives of at least 192 Palestinians, including 58 children. 10 people have been killed in Israel, including 2 children, by Palestinian armed groups’ missiles launched from Gaza.
IITC Board member Lisa Bellanger, Leech Lake Ojibwe/Dakota, expressed her outrage and concern for the victims of the violence from her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
‘As a mother and grandmother, I am horrified to see weapons of war killing innocent children, babies, while those who have the greatest powers in the world watch and do nothing.’
‘The world is watching the continuing forced and violent dispossession of Palestinians by Israel,’ said international human rights lawyer and Adalah Justice Project Board Chair Jamil Dakwar. Reiterating the long-standing solidarity between Indigenous Peoples of North America and the Palestinian People in light of the current crisis, Dakwar added: ‘We remain steadfast and stand in gratitude and solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and around the globe to demand justice and decolonization of our lands’. As Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program, Dakwar participated in human rights hearings organized by the IITC on the Standing Rock Reservation in January 2017 with Pavel Sulyandziga, then Chairman of the United Nations Working Group on the issue of Human Rights, Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises. He also co-organized an emergency hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in March 2017 where IITC was invited to present this critical situation.
IITC calls upon Israel and all States to fully implement their international human rights and humanitarian law obligations, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ affirmation that ’recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world’. IITC calls on Israel to respect its obligations under the Geneva Convention including the prohibition against the targeting of civilians, and on the Biden Administration in the United States to take serious measures to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations. We also call on the U.S. Administration and Congress to support the United Nations resolution for an immediate cease-fire and to suspend sending any military aid or equipment to Israel that is being used to violate the human rights of the Palestinian People, their families, and children.
IITC was founded in 1974 as a voice for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations. In 1977, IITC became the first Indigenous Peoples’ organization to be recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with Consultative Status to the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council. In 2011, IITC was the first to be upgraded to General Consultative Status in recognition of its active participation in a wide range of international bodies and processes to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
     For additional information, contact: Roberto Borrero, IITC Communications Coordinator
c: (917) 334-5658,”

      Sumedha Pal, " Over 6,000 Jenu Kuruba Adivasis in Karnataka Begin Indefinite Protests against Tiger reserve: The Adivasi community says it has been protesting against forced eviction and harassment by the state’s forest department," NewsClick, 24 March 24, 2021,, reported, " More than 6,000 Jenu Kuruba Adivasis have been mounting a strong resistance against the Nagarhole Tiger reserve in Karnataka. The indefinite protest started on March 17 outside the forest ranger’s office in the reserve spanning around 600 kilometres.
      The community has accused the state government and the forest department alongside the Wildlife Conservation Society of trying to forcefully evict them from the forest in a bid to pave way for eco-tourism activities while trampling on the Adivasis’ rights to the forest and land."

      The Suunwar Welfare of Nepal, Cultural Survival Society and the Indigenous Media Foundation submitted an intervention, in April 2021, to the April 2021, Twentieth session of the UN Indigenous Forum on Indigenous Issues complaining of the human rights violations of the Indigenous Peoples of Nepal for aggressively undertaking the destructive and injuring construction of hydroelectric dams on Indigenous land without prior informed consent (Nepal: Joint Intervention Submitted to the UN Indigenous Forum on Indigenous Issues," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2021).

     "Thailand: Prevent Pushbacks, Establish Protection Mechanisms for Refugees Fleeing Myanmar: Thai government instructed authorities to block refugees from Myanmar," Fortify Rights, "May 12, 2021,, stated, " The Government of Thailand should protect refugees from Myanmar from being forcibly returned and establish protection mechanisms in line with international human rights law, Fortify Rights said today. On March 19, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed government agencies to prevent “illegal immigration” from Myanmar, according to government meeting minutes. In line with this order, a Thai provincial official confirmed to Fortify Rights that Thai authorities this week returned to Myanmar at least 2,000 refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Karen State."

      Livia Albeck-Ripka, "Day of Celebration or Mourning? Australia Grapples With Its National Holiday: For many, it’s a chance to kick back at beaches and barbecues. But for others, it’s a mark of the country’s shameful treatment of Indigenous people: Invasion Day," The New York Times, January 26, 2021,, " Those who celebrate Australia Day, the country’s national holiday, associate it with barbecues and pool parties. But for those who protest against it, it is a reminder of the continent’s brutal colonization.
     On Tuesday, tens of thousands of people marched through Australia’s major cities in opposition to the holiday, which they instead refer to as Invasion Day. It is a blunt reframing of the legacy of the arrival of the British 233 years ago, which set in motion centuries of oppression of Indigenous people.
     Year upon year, these protests have grown and gained political traction, and Tuesday’s were bolstered by the global Black Lives Matter movement."


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