Indigenous leaders vowed Thursday to protect their Alaskan lands from fossil fuel exploitation after the Trump administration moved closer to allowing drilling along the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—a move the House just tried to block.”
The Gwich’in are protectors,” said Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, “and we will not give up.”
Some of the outlets participating in Covering Climate Now will share their climate coverage with one another, though this is by no means obligatory. Many outlets will publish or broadcast only stories they themselves produce. This decision is entirely up to each participating outlet. A full list of participating outlets follows.
Because the oceans cover three fifths of the globe, this correction implies that previous estimates of overall global warming have been too low. Moreover it was reported recently that in the one place where it was carefully measured, the underwater melting that is driving disintegration of ice sheets and glaciers is occurring far faster than predicted by theory—as much as two orders of magnitude faster—throwing current model projections of sea level rise further in doubt.
“As somebody who lives here in Alaska — and I’ve reported all over the Arctic and I’ve been to the North Pole twice, 10 years apart — I have a pretty good idea of how bad [climate change] is, and I think most Americans have a pretty good idea of how bad it is. And I’m a lot more interested in what we’re doing about it, and I don’t think I’m alone,” Arnold said.
WHAT REPORTERS GET WRONG: “They focus on gloom and doom, desensitizing readers to the subject.”
From my research, I’ve learned that there’s a huge body of research that shows that this gloom-and-doom narrative in climate change reporting leads people to TUNE OUT. This sort of daily drip of stories — the warmest year on record; the least amount of ice in the Bering sea; a month ago it was the decline of outdoor ice skating rinks in Canada — it just reaches this point where people feel hopeless and overwhelmed. And when we feel that way, psychologists say, we tend to just avoid and deny, and tune out.”
US officials have warned that feral hogs heading across the border from Canada may pose a danger to the local environment.The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that sightings of the feral animals on the US-Canadian border have increased in recent years.
I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call “Turtle Island.” My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our ways of beliefs in the Creator.
We have been warned from ancient prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a vital message about a solution to turn these terrible times.
To understand the depth of this message, you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in the reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.
I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12 when I received the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and its teachings. Our people have strived to protect Sacred Sites from the beginning of time. These places have been violated for centuries and have brought us to the predicament that we are in at the global level.
Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations, and we are on the brink of destroying the possibility of a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, our children’s children.
Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site called the Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, “Heart of Everything That Is,” from continued violations. Our ancestors never saw a satellite view of this site, but now that those pictures are available, we see that it is in the shape of a heart and, when fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping.
The Diné have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver of the earth, and we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal there and the poisoning processes used in doing so.
The Aborigines have warned of the contaminating effects of global warming on the Coral Reefs, which they see as Mother Earth’s blood purifier.
The indigenous people of the rainforest say that the rainforests are the lungs of the planet and need protection.
The Gwich’in Nation in Alaska has had to face oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, also known to the Gwich’in as “Where life begins.”
The coastal plain is the birthplace of many life forms of the animal nations. The death of these animal nations will destroy indigenous nations in this territory.
As these destructive developments continue all over the world, we will witness much more extinct animal, plant, and human nations, because of humankind’s misuse of power and their lack of understanding of the “balance of life.”
The Indigenous people warn that these negative developments will cause havoc globally. There are many, many more original teachings and knowledge about Mother Earth’s Sacred Sites, her chakras, and connections to our spirit that will surely affect our future generations.
There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all Nations upon Mother Earth. We need to understand the types of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community. Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us.
Our Ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. This Prophecy was hard to believe! The water was plentiful, pure, full of energy, nutrition, and spirit. Today we have to buy clean water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it’s just clear liquid. Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford.
Not everyone will have the right to drink safe water. We fail to appreciate and honor our Sacred Sites, ripping out the minerals and gifts that lay underneath them as if Mother Earth were simply a resource, instead of the source of life itself.
Attacking nations and using more resources to carry out destruction in the name of peace is not the answer! We need to understand how all these decisions affect the global nation; we will not be immune to its repercussions. Allowing continual contamination of our food and land is affecting the way we think.
A “disease of the mind” has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring peace.
In our Prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unite spiritually as a global nation or faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives’ eyes.
We are the only species that is destroying the source of life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land. Using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.
I ask you to join me in this endeavor. Our vision is for the peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Site.
“We are in great danger”: In Amazon, indigenous Waiapi chief is killed by illegal (gold) miners
“They’re paying with their lives,” a human rights activist says about indigenous groups trying to protect the rainforest from mining and agribusiness.
Currently, there at least 10,000 (gold) miners illegally occupying and exploiting Brazil’s indigenous Yanomami land in northern Brazil. These sorts of invasions have increased by 150 percent since Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, took power earlier this year, according to a report published in April by Amazon Watch, an indigenous rights and rainforest conservation advocacy group.
sad news… I was notified my Glaciologist friend Dr. Dick Cameron passed on July 21. We were planning his first book of his prose and poetry this fall. He’d just turned 89 on July 11 and was visiting a close colleague in WA state. Right to the end, he was writing poetry, bless his heart. He will be greatly missed… I send my deepest sympathy to his family. (I still plan to work on Dick’s book(s)…)
“Humanity right now is entering into what I see as an initiation, an ordeal that will bring us to another level of our evolution. What is being offered to us is a completely different relationship to the rest of life on Earth. The planetary crisis that we call climate change is meant to bring us to that realisation, to bring us to that relationship of love because the losses that we’re seeing are connecting us with the reality of this living being here…. this new and ancient relationship to the rest of life.” ~ Charles Eisenstein
I want to share this story by Charles Eisenstein: Every Act is a Ceremony. I can’t stop thinking about it and I read it a few months ago.
Protector efforts to thwart the development of the pipeline has been met with violence and surveillance by police. In order to track the Water Protectors, police and Energy Transfer Partners use helicopters, planes, and drones to photograph, monitor and harass. In some cases, the helicopters are used for more direct action against Water Protectors.
This nine-part series will illuminate the FAA’s complacency and the role the FAA’s concession played in the violence against Water Protectors. A listing of the other eight articles is at the bottom of this article.
The number of arrests surpassed 600 this week, as 16 were arrested Monday and Tuesday in confrontations near the camp.
The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux also are fighting the pipeline work in court, with the next hearing set for Feb. 28. In the meantime, hundreds of pipeline opponents have continued to occupy a camp near the drilling site in North Dakota.
State and federal authorities have told the few hundred people remaining in the camp to leave by Wednesday (today). Authorities want the area cleaned and closed before spring floodwaters wash tons of trash and debris into nearby rivers, including the Missouri River, and cause an environmental disaster.
The tribe launched a cleanup effort in late January. The state and Corps were continuing Friday to try to line up additional contractors to speed up the work, according to Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight and Mike Nowatzki, spokesman for Gov. Doug Burgum.
“We’re running out of time,” Hignight said. “We need to ensure that the land is remediated as soon as possible.”
Some in camp think the flood fears are overblown and that authorities are trying to turn public sentiment against them.
“We’re all working hard to get the lower (flood-prone) grounds clear,” said Giovanni Sanchez, a Pennsylvania man who has been at the camp since November. “I think they’re just trying to find any reason to get us out of here.”
The latest spring flood outlook from the National Weather Service, issued Thursday, calls for minor flooding in the area. The outlook doesn’t include flood risks associated with river ice jams, which can’t be predicted.
How the Supreme Court and a divided Congress have stymied efforts by poor tribes to recover long-lost lands.
Custer’s long gone, but a hostile Supreme Court and divided Congress are still playing havoc these days with Indian tribes trying to get some of their lands back.
“With all due respect, there’s not anybody on the court who knows very much about Indians or Indian law,” says Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican who hails from the Chickasaw tribe. It’s little better in the House and Senate where the growth in Indian gaming has so poisoned the well that getting any relief for the tribes is harder and harder.
The immediate issue is how Congress should respond to a 2009 ruling in which the justices narrowed the mandate of the Indian Reorganization Act that has guided federal policy since the New Deal. In the process, the court effectively created two new classes of tribes under the 1934 law and cast doubt on decades of land conveyances approved by the Interior Department.
“They literally overturned what both parties and successive secretaries of the Interior thought was the law for 80 years,” says Cole.
But getting a simple legislative fix is anything but simple in Congress, as major stakeholders have seized the chance to demand larger changes — not just in IRA but also the direction of Indian gaming.
Indeed, the whole Indian lands debate in Washington has turned 180 degrees. The fight is less about the justice of returning historic territory and more simply cash — whether measured in the revenues gained from casinos or property taxes lost for local counties. From Oklahoma to California, rich tribes play the political system to protect their share of the gaming markets. Lost is any perspective on the hundreds of poorer tribes just trying to establish some economic foothold and homeland for themselves.
“You’ve hit the nail on the head,” says Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) with a rueful laugh. But defying the odds, this Yale-trained orthopedist and rodeo physician has set out to mend these old bones and try to end the impasse this year.
The early spadework has been done in the form of hearings and discussion groups held since Barrasso took over the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs last winter. A first draft of his bill was filed in July. A manager’s amendment is now in the works. And the Wyoming Republican brings two important assets: his Western GOP credentials and the learning experience of having watched past efforts fail.
“Anybody who thinks they can solve this on their own has to be kidding themselves. What we’re trying to do is put a whole group together,” he says. “We have draft legislation. We’ve asked for input … Nobody’s saying `stop the process.’”
Nonetheless, the political obstacles remain huge. And no debate in Congress goes more to heart of the American experience.
“We didn’t invade Europe. Europe invaded the tribes. And just because that invasion was successful doesn’t mean we no longer want the tribes,” said William Rice, a tribal member himself and co-director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Tulsa. “We never gave up our rights to self-government, we never gave up our rights to territory. We’ve been recognized as nations since the days of the Founding Fathers.”
Land is inextricably part of this calculus, not just for the property itself but the opportunity to establish a tribe’s identity and sovereignty. That’s why IRA was such a watershed event, and Franklin Roosevelt’s administration billed it then as a “New Deal” for Native Americans after the destructive policies enacted by Congress in the late 19th century.
Prior to IRA, the federal goal had been more one of forced assimilation, imposing new blood rules on the tribes as to who qualified as a member and breaking up community lands. Between passage of the General Allotment Act in 1887 and 1934, total Indian land holdings had fallen by almost two-thirds, from 138 million acres to 48 million. Nearly half of what remained was better described as desert or semi-desert.
The new IRA law sought to go in the opposite direction by promoting self-governance and tribal sovereignty. Stop-loss provisions were put in place to protect the remaining lands. Most important to the current debate in Congress, Interior was charged with supervising a new lands-to-trust process by which tribes could bring lands under their control.
In the decades since, about 8 million acres have been added to Indian land holdings. But to the surprise of many, the 2009 court ruling said IRA only narrowly applied to those tribes that can prove they were both recognized and “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934.
It was a quirky little case, matching Rhode Island’s small Narragansett tribe against the Republican governor at the time, Donald Carcieri, and will have a place forever in the annals of Indian law. Just 31 acres were in dispute and it all turned on the legislative meaning of a single word: “now.”
But by ruling as it did, the Supreme Court cast a cloud over IRA and a much broader universe of land transactions covering thousands of acres more. Lawsuits have since popped up in states like Alabama. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) accuses the justices of imposing a “caste” system on Native Americans. Most striking is how raw relations are between the tribes and the court, once viewed as their protector.
The central question most often is where to draw the line between state and tribal authority, two competing sovereigns. It’s here where Native American professionals and legal experts say there has been a decided shift beginning with Chief Justice William Rehnquist and now his former clerk, Chief Justice John Roberts. In fact, the 2015 edition of the casebook, American Indian Law: Cases and Commentary, found that the Roberts court had decided 11 Indian law cases thus far and ruled against tribal interests in all but two of them, an 82 percent loss record.
“Every Indian lawyer, expert, close observer cringes every time they take a case,” said Joe Valandra, an attorney who has long been active in Indian affairs and gaming. “I will say there are folks on the Supreme Court who are reflexively anti-Indian,” said Matthew Fletcher, a professor of law at Michigan State University.
Robert Anderson once served in the Interior Department and now teaches law at the University of Washington and Harvard. He opts for the gentler-sounding: “anti-tribal sovereignty.” But the bottom line is still the same.
“They are definitely hostile,” Anderson said of the current majority. “It is all federal common law and the court is basically legislating through these decisions what the powers of the tribes are in the absence of particular congressional direction.”
“They are very protective of states’ rights,” Anderson said. “When Indian governmental powers run up against the states, they give a very hard look to the Indian powers. There’s a majority that wants to trim the Indian sovereignty back in favor of the states.”
Anderson’s description of the high court as “legislating” is telling here. And it illustrates what’s become a three-arena battle in Washington over who sets Indian policy.
The Constitution assigns that power foremost to Congress. But the current paralysis has created a void in which the court has been more aggressive on behalf of the states while the executive branch under President Barack Obama has championed the tribes.
This administration has sped up approvals for restoring lands to Indian sovereignty; more than 305,000 acres have been approved since 2009. And alarm bells are going off now in Congress over new proposed rules drafted by Interior to update the process by which tribes can seek recognition from Washington.
Leading the charge is Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, a soft-spoken former law school dean who is of Chickasaw ancestry.
“I do think there is hostility among certain segments of Congress to tribal sovereignty in general,” Washburn says. “To some degree it’s a backlash against our own success. The Obama administration has done a lot of positive things for tribes and I feel this is a backlash against all the positive steps we have done.”
He welcomes Barrasso’s efforts at compromise. “We don’t agree with everything in it, but it looks like they’ve done some difficult thinking,” Washburn says of the Senate bill. “At this point after seeing so many efforts fail, I’m really grateful that someone’s willing to take up the task. He has bravely plowed forward.”
But there are flashes of anger in Washburn: moments which show his impatience with what he sees as the core injustice of the Indian lands debate and his growing concern that time is running out on the chances for a deal.
“You’ve not hidden your prejudices and I respect that … [But] I worry that your vision returns us to what some believe were the darkest days of Indian policy,” Washburn snapped back at Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) at a tense hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources in May. And in an interview, Washburn mocks demands from Western Republicans that federal lands should be “returned” to the states by Washington.
“That’s just a misreading of history,” he says. “Most of it was not taken from the states. It was taken from the tribes. If they really wanted to return it, give it back, it would be given back to the tribes from whom it was taken in the first place.”
Navigating between the Supreme Court and executive branch, Barrasso wants Congress to reassert itself and address the issues at hand. He finds the court confusing but is frustrated too by Interior’s reliance on executive memoranda to map a path forward. From his experience, the tribes and local governments can work well together but clarity is needed to improve the process and avoid litigation for both sides.
“The idea is to add some certainty,” he says. “Because ever since the Supreme Court ruling, things have been pretty confusing for just about everyone … We want to allow tribes to take land into trust by statute, not by lawsuit and Interior Department memorandum.”
To give himself some running room, Barrasso broadly titled his bill, the “Interior Improvement Act.” Introduced in late July, the 15-page measure includes a retroactive provision to protect existing Indian lands from lawsuits born of the high court’s decision in Carcieri. But it would also tighten the lands-to-trust process going forward. Tribes would be required to be more specific about their development plans. Interior must give more timely notice to local towns and counties affected by the outcome.
“This goes beyond a fix,” Barrasso says. “This is a complete reform.”
That said, the challenges ahead are illustrated by the tangled politics of two states, California and Oklahoma, where the advent of Indian gaming has affected the landscape.
Total annual revenues for the industry nationally run near $28.5 billion, a number that dwarfs Washburn’s entire budget or tribal receipts from oil and gas revenues. But the dark side of gaming’s success has been the often poisonous tribal divisions it creates between the haves and have-nots. And this being Washington, the haves tend to be heard first.
In California’s case, public sentiment is running against further expansion of Indian casinos and some of the most successful gaming tribes are spending heavily to keep out new entrants — and perhaps block Barrasso.
This was seen just a year ago in the Proposition 48 ballot referendum fight, in which the “no” forces enjoyed a huge financial advantage and rolled up 61 percent of the vote against a new casino in the Central Valley that had been endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic state Legislature.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has tapped into this state movement and is out front demanding that Barrasso do more to rein in what she calls “reservation shopping” by tribes, who want access to urban markets far from their historic lands.
“As currently implemented, there is effectively no limit to where a tribe may propose a casino,” she wrote in an Oct. 1 letter to the committee. And Feinstein proposes to reopen the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and insert tougher language that would require tribes to show a “substantial, direct, aboriginal connection” to any lands that are taken into trust for gaming.
A former mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein’s roots in local government make her naturally sympathetic with the added burdens on county officials imposed by the casinos. But her critics add that she and her allies are pulling up the draw bridge after they have already gained advantage on the other side.
In fact, the senator’s husband, investment banker Richard Blum, held an important stake in the Perini Corp. from November 1996 to January 2006 — a window during which Perini profited from major contracts to build some of the biggest tribal casino projects in California. And the “no” forces in the Proposition 48 fight received large contributions from some of the same tribes, enriched by their own casinos.
A Feinstein aide said she had no involvement in her husband’s business dealings and keeps all her assets in a blind trust. But there’s a significant overlap between those casino tribes that helped bankroll the Proposition 48 fight and the client list for Ietan Consulting, a prominent Washington lobbying shop on Indian issues.
Ietan’s principals share past ties to the Clinton administration, which was aggressive in promoting the spread of Indian gaming. But Ietan has since promoted what it calls the “Aboriginal Lands Coalition” — a collection of often wealthy tribes that fear gaming’s image and their own profits could suffer unless more is done to prevent new casinos far from historic lands.
The coalition has yet to endorse Feinstein’s language outright but clearly shares common interests with the senator and worries about the direction taken by Barrasso thus far.
“Allowing tribes to `leap-frog’ other tribes for better gaming markets would undermine public support for Indian gaming,” said Larry Rosenthal of Ietan. “Tribal leaders have met with Sen. Feinstein to discuss their concerns about off-reservation gaming outside a tribe’s aboriginal lands.”
Oklahoma has its own set of haves and have-nots, but the politics break very differently than in California.
That’s because the often-preferential treatment enjoyed by a handful of dominant tribes has allowed them to largely corner the gaming market at the expense of the often-poorer Plains Indians. For these haves, the top priority for any Carcieri fix is to make it as broad as possible, then to protect their gains from future legal challenges.
This is seen in Cole’s own Carcieri bill introduced in the House in July and quickly matched by a companion Senate measure put forward in August by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).
Like Barrasso, Cole includes a retroactive section protecting against lawsuits. But he goes well beyond Carcieri and would ratify “any action” taken by the secretary on past trust deals quite apart from whether the tribe was recognized in 1934 or not. “It was drafted as broadly as possible,” an aide confirmed. “To address as many `fee-to-trust challenge scenarios’ as possible, and avoid further litigation on the issue.”
Cole’s approach has won the support of the Chickasaw tribe, which dominates the Oklahoma gaming market and has grown to be a major political contributor at the state and federal level.
“The Chickasaw Nation stands with Indian Country in urging Congress to enact a clean fix to the Supreme Court’s Carcieri decision,” said the tribe’s long-time Gov. Bill Anoatubby. “We appreciate the efforts of Tom Cole and Sen. Jerry Moran for introducing legislation to accomplish that goal.”
Cole insists his bill was not tailored for any Oklahoma interest. And in Congress, he is well-respected as a voice for tribal rights far beyond his home turf. But Cole also likes to tell his colleagues: “Just remember when you are involved in Indian wars, be on the side of your Indians.” And his legislative language clearly serves the Chickasaw.
That’s because legal questions still hang over the tribe’s huge gaming empire, built on a series of rapid-fire land deals approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the first decade after passage of IGRA in 1988.
Because all such land-to-trust approvals constitute a “federal action,” an environmental impact analysis is typically required under the National Environmental Protection Act. Yet records show the well-connected Chickasaw often received categorical exemptions from BIA, even though the newly-acquired land was clearly being converted to a very different purpose.
A second legal question arises from how the BIA enforced the tougher standards set by IGRA for gaming on lands brought into trust after 1988. Here again the Chickasaw benefited from an expansive view of what qualified as “former reservation” lands in Oklahoma and was therefore exempt under Sect. 20 of IGRA.
An early draft rule circulated by the BIA in 2006 defined “former reservation” lands as those that are “within the jurisdiction of an Oklahoma tribe and that are within the boundaries of the last reservation for that tribe in Oklahoma.” But the jurisdiction clause was later dropped after the Apache tribe of Oklahoma quoted back BIA’s own language in challenging what grew into the Chickasaw’s Chisholm Trail casino in Stephens County.
The history of this case is telling of what still angers the poorer Plains tribes who have felt squeezed out of the gaming market. The lost revenues compound the inequities in how federal aid is distributed among the tribes.
Records indicate the land itself was acquired by the Chickasaw in 1992 and brought into trust soon after in 1993. The property fell within the old treaty boundaries, but the Apache argued that the Chickasaw had not exercised jurisdiction prior to the purchase and therefore did not meet IGRA’s standard for what constitutes Indian lands for gaming.
When BIA nonetheless signed off on the compact, the Apache brought suit. A federal judge remanded the case back to BIA in 2007, saying the administrative record is “so lacking in substance that it fails to provide a satisfactory explanation” to support the approval.
The following year the jurisdiction language was dropped from the final BIA rule without explanation. In 2010, the agency again approved the compact in a lengthy solicitor’s opinion that cited the less restrictive definition of a “former reservation.” In a final twist, the same 2010 legal opinion cited a tribal police substation on the site as evidence of the Chickasaw’s jurisdictional claims. But that station didn’t even exist at the outset of the case.
For sure, history played a big hand in how the Oklahoma gaming market took shape. The old Chickasaw treaty lands included a wide swath of southeast Oklahoma, near key highways and customers from Texas.
But the fast pace of BIA approvals also helped. In the 23 years from 1985 to 2008, an estimated 16,915 acres were brought into trust by BIA’s eastern Oklahoma regional office, according to government numbers requested by POLITICO. That’s almost three times the 5,713 acres conveyed into trust in western Oklahoma since 1980 — a much longer time period.
Today, public records of how much the state of Oklahoma collects in fees from each of the 30 tribe’s gaming operations are a good measure of who is enjoying the most revenues from gaming and who is not. The Chickasaw alone accounted for 35 percent of this in 2015. When the Cherokee and Choctaw gaming operations are factored in, the numbers show that just these three powerful tribes account for almost two-thirds of the market shared with 27 others.
“They essentially created a land rush for the preferred tribes who were given special locations to start to grab the market way ahead of everybody else and before the rules were equally applied,” said Richard Grellner, an attorney with a long history of representing the Plains Indian tribes. “Everything since then has been to move the goal posts to protect what was previously done.”
Given his own Chickasaw ties, Washburn must recuse himself from matters now involving the tribe. He remains proud of its success but admits too that fairness is not always served by the growth in Indian gaming.
“It’s not fairly distributed, that’s the heartbreak of it, “ Washburn said. But he then adds: “The fact is everybody used to be have-nots.”
US title to the land depends on legal fiction, crafted by the colonists to benefit themselves. Under the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’, which had its origins in the Crusades and underpinned the pioneering navigators of the 15th century, ultimate sovereignty over any pagan land belonged, courtesy of the Vatican, to the first Christian monarch who discovered it. Embraced by imperial powers around the world, the doctrine was adopted by the US Supreme Court in 1823. The US did not rely on Papal Bulls alone, however. It also extinguished the land title of the continent’s first peoples by treaty, executive order, and federal statute. – Claudio Saunt
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has received government permission to field test its HELLADS laser weapon system.
“The technical hurdles were daunting, but it is extremely gratifying to have produced a new type of solid-state laser with unprecedented power and beam quality for its size,” DARPA program manager Rich Bagnell said in a statement cited by the agency’s website. The testing is set to start this summer.
High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) has been in development since 2003. It is intended for use as a protection system for aircraft.
“Enemy surface-to-air threats to manned and unmanned aircraft have become increasingly sophisticated,” DARPA states on its website. “High power lasers can provide a solution to this challenge, as they harness the speed and power of light to counter multiple threats.”
The statement adds however, that the laser could also be used for attack: “Laser weapon systems provide additional capability for offensive missions as well—adding precise targeting with low probability of collateral damage.”
To deploy that in practice, though, DARPA says the weapon must be made smaller and lighter than currently possible – and America’s drones will have to stick with relatively imprecise missiles for the time being.
The goal of the HELLADS project is to build a laser with 150 kilowatts of power, weighing under 750 kilograms, and with a size less than 3 cubic meters.
In mid-April, DARPA’s contractor General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), unveiled the HEL Generation 3 laser. It meets these size specifications and is fitted with a module generator system, which enables it to produce 75 to 300-kilowatt beams.
Developers believe it can be mounted on GA-ASI’s new Avenger drone. The drone’s jet engine is capable of producing enough energy to recharge the laser’s battery in flight, essentially giving the weapon infinite ammunition.
Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing Main Street — and threatening the vitality of our communities
Even by the anything-goes ethical code of the corporate jungle, Amazon.com’s alpha male, Jeff Bezos, is considered a ruthless predator by businesses that deal with him. As overlord of Amazon, by far the largest online marketer in the world (with more sales than the next nine US online retailers combined), Bezos has the monopoly power to stalk, weaken, and even kill off retail competitors–including going after such giants as Barnes & Noble and Walmart, as well as draining the lifeblood from hundreds of small Main Street shops. He also goes for the throats of both large and small businesses that supply the millions of products his online behemoth sells. They’re lured into Amazon by its unparalleled computerized base of some 200 million customers. But once in, they face unrelenting pressure to lower what they charge Amazon for their products, compelled to give it a much better deal than other retailers can extract.
Lest you think that “predator” is too harsh a term, consider the metaphor that Bezos himself chose when explaining how to approach small book publishers to make them cough up ever deeper discounts to Amazon as the price of getting their titles listed on his website. As related by Businessweek reporter Brad Stone, Bezos instructed his negotiators to stalk them “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.”
Philomena journalist Martin Sixsmith reports on the tragic consequences of the adoption trade of illegitimate children by the Catholic Church in Ireland. Journalist Martin Sixmith was the person who helped Philomena Lee in her 50 year search to find out what happened to her son after being forced by the Catholic church to give up her child for adoption. Sixsmith wrote a book ‘The Lost Child of Philomena Lee’ which was subsequently made into an acclaimed film starring Judi Dench (as Philomena) and Steve Coogan (as Martin Sixmith).
During his investigations into the Catholic Church’s role in the adoption trade of illegitimate children, Sixmith came across many other sad stories from both mothers who were forced to give up a child for adoption and from children who were adopted and how there lives were also changed forever, one who went onto to be abused at a very young age by her adoptive father in the US.
In this new documentary, Sixsmith takes a journey with both mothers and children and investigates the many sad and tragic stories of ‘Ireland’s Lost Babies’.
In their 2010 Washington Post series “Top Secret America,” Dana Priest and William Arkin offered this thumbnail summary of the extent of that boom for the U.S. Intelligence Community: “In Washington and the surrounding area,” they wrote, “33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings — about 17 million square feet of space.” And in 2014, the expansion is ongoing.
In her Senate speech, Feinstein accused the (CIA) Agency of potentially breaching both the law and the Constitution. “I have grave concerns,” she said, “that the CIA’s search [of the committee’s computer system] may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution, including the Speech and Debate clause. It may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function… Besides the constitutional implications, the CIA’s search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”
Her sobering speech should be read by every American, especially as it comes not from a critic but a perennial supporter of the Fourth Branch.
This is another WAKE UP CALL! We do owe Edward Snowden a debt of gratitude for his whistle-blowing! What will we find out from new whistle-blowers?
The article mentions “warrior corporations” – private contractors like Haliburton and others who make $$$$$$’s off the American taxpayer, you and me. I ask “when did we say this is OK with us?” … I didn’t… And who gave them this power and authority? Someone had to…and that someone needs to put an end to this NOW… Lara
HEADLINES you might have missed: Banker Suicides? Read here and All Wars are Bankers Wars? Watch here
This is not my usual post about adoption. But one thing that adoption can cause is (drum roll) – SUICIDE.
I used to think about this when I was writing my memoir – why would someone take this drastic measure?
It’s obvious to me now. When guilt or grief take over your mind and your life, there is apparently no other apparent option (or few options on your list seem good enough for you to live longer and face the music for whatever you may have done or had done to you.)
If you visit a psychologist, they will talk to you and possibly drug you as an adoptee. As a joke, I posted “I AM IN BIG TROUBLE” here. It’s true that Big Pharma is out to medicate you for just about everything – including: arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior…(and those are just the new ones!)
Now I am not worried about this for me but I am worried about this for some adoptees who have not had any (emotional) support and feel isolated and possibly crazy.
A quick check of the keyword: SUICIDE will show you some of the recent headlines here.
I’d found a statistic that adoptees do commit suicide more often than others, statistically speaking. WHY? Unresolved (untreated) (not recognized) (buried) GRIEF!
The good news is: I read this about how GRIEF IS SUBVERSIVE here. It is definitely something that can be healed!
My journalist friend Suzette shared her response on FACEBOOK: In general, I find “therapy” as it currently is, as useless. I found my own method and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and you don’t spend time circling and circling the same airport and never getting resolution. And guess what? You may never get resolution. But then that even becomes okay. “We’re supposed to heal from grief.” Is that really true? No. But you can integrate it, whatever “it” is and keep moving... Conventional therapy has it backwards and frankly enables people to keep them emotionally broken, (in my honest opinion)…”
Growing up, I was not aware of the various medical terms for adoptee issues such as severe narcissist injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. I am sure no one in my family even considered I might have a problem with being adopted… Since 2004, I read numerous studies about adoptees in treatment for “identity” issues (split feather syndrome), reactive attachment disorder (RAD), depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Then I found statistics. An adoptee friend in Toronto told me to read Adoption: Unchartered Waters by Dr. David Kirschner, a book about adoptees who are notorious serial killers. (I did read it.)
No, you didn’t see that book mentioned on TV or on OPRAH or anywhere else…
No, I am not saying that adoptees have more problems than the rest of the world, not at all. I am saying that something big hit us hard as babies (or small children) and some of us did NOT recover – and that is something a psychologist might drug you for… but listen to me: DRUGS are not the answer to our problems.
The war is inside us. There is a heroin epidemic where I live, and probably where you live too. WHY? People (some are even adoptees) are so desperate to numb themselves they are self-medicating.
The school shooters who were diagnosed as children with ADHD and given drugs – ask yourself: what happens when they are older, on their own, in college – some go stark raving mad! (Mainstream media doesn’t disclose that many of the shooters were ADHD kids and medicated.)
ADHD Drug Warnings:
There have been 44 warnings from eight countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France and Singapore) warning that ADHD drugs/stimulants cause harmful side effects. These include the following (note that some warnings cite more than one side effect, so the list below may not be equal to the total number of warnings):
13 warnings on stimulants causing heart problems
10 warnings on stimulants causing mania/psychosis
9 warnings on stimulants causing cardiovascular problems
8 warnings on stimulants causing death
4 warnings on stimulants causing hallucinations
4 warnings on stimulants causing depression
4 warnings on stimulants causing violence, hostility or aggression
4 warnings on stimulants causing seizures
3 warnings on stimulants causing agitation or irritability
3 warnings on stimulants causing anxiety
2 warnings on stimulants causing suicide risk/attempts
2 warnings on stimulants causing addiction or dependence
So my hope is anyone reading this will consider SUICIDE as a flashing sign. STOP immediately and call a suicide hotline. If you know someone who is considering it, be their advocate and get them to make the call!
It’s a SIGN you need to change your life, your direction, your path. Not take drugs but CHANGE your mind. CHANGE your thoughts – not with drugs or self-medicating behaviors – no.
If Big Pharm has its way, we’d ALL be medicated and that my friends is one of the scariest ideas — EVER!
Each of us has the choice. Our mental (emotional) health is our problem! We all must learn to handle our emotions (with help, with support, with healing) and face the problem and GRIEVE when we need to!
For more on this crisis in Indigenous populations:
14 Mar 2014: Suicide rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children more than five times that of non-Indigenous young, report finds…
[Sorry for all the links in this article but this topic needs much more discussion…] [I am also doing research for a new book/anthology HEALING THE MIND – email me if you’d like to contribute!! email@example.com]
Many consider the plight of Native Americans an archetypal genocide. Centuries ago, the British suggested the response to their presence should be “extermination.”[i] Their soldiers then proceeded to knowingly decimate them with smallpox—a virus to which Native Americans had no immunity. Additional efforts over centuries to eradicate their population would follow. There would be a “Trail of Tears,” lethal attacks on Nez Perce men, women, and children to acquire their ancestral homeland, and a massacre at Wounded Knee—to name merely a few. The protracted policy directed against the United States of America’s indigenous peoples represented misguided governments, widespread greed, and enforcement by an at times ruthless, undisciplined military. A recent, albeit weakly publicized, continuation of this policy has been played out in a bioethical arena. Indeed, after the Nuremberg Trials and an explicit international consensus, this would be considered anathema. On view is the evil of forced abortions and sterilizations. This two-pronged approach to knowingly limit births in selected populations was emblematic of eugenic policy in the early to mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, eugenic birth control had been resuscitated as late as the 1970s through voluntary physician complicity with an immoral national eugenic policy.
When she was 20 years old, a Native American woman underwent a total hysterectomy by an Indian Health Service (IHS) physician for unconvincing indications.[ii] Her experience came to light when she visited Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri, a physician of Native American heritage in the 1970s. Two other young women in Montana needed appendectomies and also received “incidental” tubal ligations. Were these merely aberrations or the first examples of a disturbing pattern? Bureau of Census Reports explicitly documented a steep decline in childbirth for diverse Native American tribes comparing birth numbers from 1960 through 1980.[iii] The three examples were, unfortunately, merely the tip of the iceberg.
GRANTS: Members of the Lakota People’s Law Project, a nonprofit that advises Native Americans about Indian Child Welfare violations, say they have been talking to government officials in Washington about money for South Dakota’s nine tribes. GOAL: Help tribes develop their own foster care and child protection programs.
DIVISION: Though the state says it would support such efforts, there are some involved in tribal child protection who question whether the tribes could successfully run those programs on their own.
Juanita Scherich remembers how they cut her hair, how they made her scrub and wash every day, as if a trim and a bath would take the “Indian” out of a 9-year-old child.
Though it was decades ago, Scherich can’t forget how no one in a string of Rapid City foster homes spoke her native language. How none of them prayed to tunkasila, great spirit-father of the Lakota. How no one offered her even a whiff of her tribal culture.
“I lost everything in 2½ years in foster care,” the Indian Child Welfare Act director for the Oglala Sioux Tribe says. “My language, my culture, I had to relearn it all. That wasn’t right.”
Today, she and tribal officials across South Dakota are prepared to change that. With 35 years of federal ICWA legislation on the books and 80 percent of Native children still showing up in white foster homes, the tribes insist they are ready to take over foster care and child protection services, and to keep more of their children on the reservations.
The key to accomplishing that, they say, is directly accessing federal dollars now being funneled through the state.
“If we had direct funding,” Scherich said, “we would see that more of our children are staying with relatives, staying with our own people.”
But how many federal dollars are they talking about? A National Public Radio series that aired in October 2011 suggested the state receives $100 million a year to subsidize its foster care program. The Coalition of Sioux Tribes for Children and Families and the Lakota People’s Law Project cited that number in a report to Congress in January.
Danny Sheehan, chief counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project, a nonprofit that provides expertise to the Lakota about ICWA violations, suspects the amount is at least in the $56 million range.
“Federal money comes in now to the state under various provisions of Title IV of the Social Security Act,” Sheehan said. “Our best estimate is that 56 percent of the children in foster care are Native Americans. So we’re talking about a good percentage of that $56 million.”
You don’t have to go far to find racism. It turns out President Obama’s election was a boon to bigots, as can be seen on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s recently-released “Hate Map.”
In the year before Obama was elected, there were only 888 organized hate groups on record. Although the total number dropped from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 in 2013, that is still a disturbing increase. Black separatists do comprise a small part of this list, of course, but the rest includes a range of white supremacists (the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, Racist Skinheads, Neo-Confederates) and Christian Identity movements. It should be noted that there is a heavy concentration of these groups below the Mason-Dixon Line, although California technically has more than any other state.
Since the vast majority of America’s affiliated hate parties promote a white racist ideology, it’s helpful to briefly explore the history of those groups.
Usually, you only see the term “private re-homing” on message boards where pet owners seek new caretakers for unwanted animals. But, Reuters reports, there’s a far more sinister context for the phrase—on another, scarily similar network of online bulletin boards where desperate parents advertise and abandon children they regret adopting from overseas.
Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America.
According to Reuters, over the course of five years a Yahoo message board called Adopting-from-Disruption (failed adoptions are sometimes referred to as “disrupted”) featured an new ad for a child about once a week. At least 70 percent of kids advertised there had been adopted from overseas, including countries such as Russia, China, Ethiopia and the Ukraine. Most ranged from ages 6 to 14.
The solicitations bear a “striking” resemblance to the way owners would describe an unwanted pet:
“Born in October of 2000 – this handsome boy, ‘Rick’ was placed from India a year ago and is obedient and eager to please,” one ad for a child read.
A woman who said she is from Nebraska offered an 11-year-old boy she had adopted from Guatemala. “I am totally ashamed to say it but we do truly hate this boy!” she wrote in a July 2012 post.
Another parent advertised a child days after bringing her to America. “We adopted an 8-year-old girl from China… Unfortunately, We are now struggling having been home for 5 days.” The parent asked that others share the ad “with anyone you think may be interested.”
After Reuters informed Yahoo of the message board, the company swiftly shut it down, along with five other groups. Reuters said a similar Facebook group called “Way Stations of Love” was still active, although it’s no longer searchable on the social network. A Facebook spokesperson initially defended the group to Reuters, explaining “that the Internet is a reflection of society, and people are using it for all kinds of communications and to tackle all sorts of problems, including very complicated issues such as this one.”
But as Reuters notes, “[g]iving away a child in America can be surprisingly easy,” and the process allows for flexibility that benefits the child. But these online forums circumvent existing safeguards.
The Reuters investigation found that some children who were adopted and later re-homed have endured severe abuse. Speaking publicly about her experience for the first time, one girl adopted from China and later sent to a second home said she was made to dig her own grave. Another re-homed child, a Russian girl, recounted how a boy in one house urinated on her after the two had sex; she was 13 at the time and was re-homed three times in six months.
Nicole Eason, who had been accused of sexual abuse by children in her care and had her own newborn removed from her home by child welfare authorities because the “parents have severe psychiatric problems as well with violent tendencies,” was able to take in a 16-year-old girl from Liberia named Quinta by forging documents in a response to an ad on one of those sites.
In an interview with Reuters earlier this year, Eason described her parenting style as: “Dude, just be a little mean, OK? … I’ll threaten to throw a knife at your ass, I will. I’ll chase you with a hose. I won’t leave burns on you. I won’t leave marks on you. I’m not going to send you with bruises to school.”
The headline of this post initially indicated that parents were selling adopted children via Facebook and Yahoo groups. As the Reuters story reported, “re-homing often costs nothing. In fact, taking a child may enable the new family to claim a tax deduction and draw government benefits.”
From Lara/Trace: Until the world catches on to the world of “human trafficking” (purposefully called adoption) and now the re-trafficking of adoptees, until criminal charges are filed on the agencies and parents, these children are the victims of the unscrupulous and criminal “dark side” of adoption trafficking. The chances these re-homed children will be abused in some way, is obvious to me.