Native tribes

Alaska Native Tribes Receive $ 500 Million Funding From CARES Through SOCTUS Decision

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday in favor of granting $ 500 million to Native American Indian tribes in Alaska under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, instead of distributing benefits more widely among Native American tribes, the Associated Press reported.

The judges decided 6-3 to send the relief package to the natives of Alaska after a debate over whether they counted as “Indian tribes” because they were for-profit companies that provide benefits and social services to more than 100,000 Alaskan natives.

After the CARES Act was passed, three Native American groups filed a lawsuit to prevent Native Alaskan corporations from receiving the money. They argued that aid belongs to the tribes which are sovereign governments and not to corporations.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 23: Associate Judge Sonia Sotomayor sits during a Supreme Court justices group photo in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.
Erin Schaff-Pool / Getty Images

The broad pandemic contingency plan was adopted last year and promulgated by then-President Donald Trump. The $ 2.2 trillion legislation earmarked $ 8 billion for “tribal governments” to cover expenses related to the pandemic.

“The Court now affirms what the federal government has maintained for almost half a century: the NCAs are Indian tribes,” Judge Sonia Sotomayor wrote on behalf of a group of members both liberal and conservative. from the courtyard.

Sotomayor and dissenting Judge Neil Gorsuch argued over the wording of the CARES Act, with Sotomayor at one point comparing it to a poorly constructed restaurant advertisement.

If the restaurant offers “50% off any meat, vegetable or seafood dish, including ceviche, which is cooked,” the best ad reading, she said, is that ” cooked ”does not apply to ceviche, a raw fish dish, but this ceviche is still 50% off. A different reading would make the ceviche a “red herring,” she continued.

Gorsuch, who in an argument once revealed his preference for turmeric in his steak, called the example “a bit lacking”. He then cited two different newspaper articles on the ceviche. He was joined in his dissent by Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan.

The case is significant not only because of the amount of money it involves, but also because Native Americans and Alaska Natives have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The Trump and Biden administrations both agreed that businesses should be treated like Indian tribes and that doing it differently would be a radical departure from the status quo.

In a statement after the ruling, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the coalition of tribes that brought the lawsuit were disappointed.

“This case was never about funds. Instead, it was about maintaining tribal sovereignty and the status of federally recognized tribes,” he said, adding that the decision ” undermines federally recognized tribes and will have consequences far beyond the CARES Act allocation dollar. “

Part of the question for the Supreme Court was that Alaska is unique. Unlike the lower 48 states, Alaska’s native tribes are not located on reservations. Instead, native lands are owned by Alaska Native corporations established under a 1971 statute. For-profit corporations run oil, gas, mining, and other businesses. Alaskan natives own shares in companies, which provide a range of services from health and elderly care to educational support and housing assistance.

Associations representing indigenous societies applauded the decision.

“We are delighted to see the Court affirm the eligibility of Alaska Native societies for CARES Act funds to help our people and communities recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19. Alaska’s economy is only starting to recover, and these funds are needed to help our communities get back on their feet, ”the associations said.

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FILE – This file photo from June 8, 2021 shows the Supreme Court in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press
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The army corps asks the judge to throw out the environments, the indigenous tribes file a complaint on line 3

An activist opposing the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline hangs from a structure in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, June 28, 2018. REUTERS / Rod Nickel

  • Army Corps says line review took greenhouse gas emissions into account
  • Plaintiffs ‘disappointed’ with Biden administrator backing pipeline project

(Reuters) – The Biden administration has asked a Washington DC federal court to file a lawsuit against Indigenous tribes and environmental groups seeking to stop construction of the Line 3 pipeline replacement project of Enbridge Inc in northern Minnesota.

In a case filed Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers asked U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the Red Lake Chippewa Indian Band, the Sierra Club and others, arguing that it had authorized the disputed project after a five-year review. process that meets all review requirements, including analysis of greenhouse gas emissions.

Moneen Nasmith of Earthjustice, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Biden administration is continuing the Trump administration’s policy of ignoring tribal rights, environmental justice and climate concerns in favor of profits. of the fossil fuel industry “.

Spokesman Gene Pawlik said the body is not commenting on the pending litigation.

Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes said: “The brief filed for the US Army Corps of Engineers … sets out the very in-depth review of scientific approvals of federal permits and approvals for the proposed replacement of the line 3 ”.

The coalition of indigenous tribes and green groups lodged a complaint in December. He said the Corps’ conclusions that the project poses no significant risk are too narrow because they do not sufficiently take into account the indirect impacts of the pipeline on climate change.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to overturn November building permits, including a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit to dump dredged material into federal waters.

In Wednesday’s counterclaim for summary judgment, the Corps denied claims it acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner when it discovered that greenhouse gas emissions from “permitted activities would be negligible to minor.” .

He further argued that although the plaintiffs claim that the construction will indirectly increase oil production levels in Canada, where the line begins, “the authority of the Corps is limited to the United States.”

The replacement of the pipeline, which entered service in 1968, will allow Enbridge to approximately double its capacity to 760,000 barrels per day.

Earlier this month, protesters halted construction of Line 3 just days before Calgary-based Enbridge claimed victory in the Minnesota Court of Appeals on June 14, which upheld the ruling a state regulatory agency that line replacement is sufficiently necessary.

Construction of the 330-mile Minnesota section of Line 3, which connects Alberta to Wisconsin, began in December and is expected to be completed in the last quarter of this year, according to Enbridge.

The case is Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians et al v. US Army Corps of Engineers, US District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1: 20-cv-03817.

For Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians et al: Moneen Nasmith of Earthjustice

For the US Army Corps of Engineers: Heather Gange with the US Department of Justice

For the intervener defendant Enbridge Energy Limited: Deidre Duncan de Hunton Andrews Kurth

Read more:

Enbridge oil line secures key victory as Minnesota court confirms approval

Protesters clash with police at the Enbridge pipeline construction site in Minnesota

Despite the second rebuff, in federal court, enviros say starting only pleading line 3

Sebastien malo

Sébastien Malo reporters on environmental, climate and energy litigation. Contact him at [email protected]

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The legacy of Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, brothers who united indigenous tribes against American expansion

At the start of the 19th century, two Shawnee brothers rose to prominence in the Great Lakes region. The younger brother, Tenskwatawa, was a spiritual leader known as “The Prophet”. His older brother was Tecumseh, a renowned statesman and military commander who organized a pan-Indian confederacy of several thousand people, many from Michigan. A new biography published in October 2020 details the brothers’ experiences and their interwoven visions of an alliance of indigenous tribes, unified in spirituality and resistance to white settlers who were encroaching on their lands and lives.

Pierre Cozzens is a historian and author of the new book Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation. He said that after the War of Independence, the United States expanded its colonies westward, causing significant and often violent disruption to tribal life, especially for Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa. As children, they did not have the chance to have a stable and normal childhood, he noted. Several members of their family, including their father, were killed when they were very young.

“They were constantly uprooted by raids launched by the Kentucky militia or other American forces in the area. So they were constantly pushed deeper into Ohio and saw their lands shrink and their tribe split, ”Cozzens said.

Cozzens said it is likely that constantly having to deal with the threat of invaders from an early age shaped both Tenskwatawa’s spiritual doctrine and Tecumseh’s approach to leadership.

“Tenskwatawa [called for] spiritual and cultural rebirth on the part of the tribes of the Great Lakes region as a kind of precursor of a revitalization of their cultures and way of life, which was shattered by the American presence and the influence of alcohol and of American encroachment, ”he mentioned. “Tecumseh [called] for political unity among the tribes, for the tribes to stop negotiating piecemeal semi-legitimate treaties with the U.S. government, and instead unite and consider any remaining land they owned in the Midwest as being theirs in common.

Cozzens notes in his biography the importance of the brothers’ relationship, as well as how they shaped and supported each other’s ideas.

“Tecumseh readily accepted Tenskwatawa’s doctrine and vision. And when Tecumseh developed this to include his call for unity against American encroachment, Tenskwatawa also supported that and incorporated it into his spiritual and cultural doctrine, ”he said. “They seemed to work very well together, hand in hand.”

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While some indigenous individuals and communities in the region agreed with Tenskwatawa’s messages, others did not, said Eric Hemenway, Director of Archives and Records of the Odawa Indian Bands of Little Traverse Bay and Member of the Michigan Historical Commission.

“[Tenskwatawa] had quite a bit of hold. But then the Prophet was also very, very strict, for lack of term, in his messages and delivery, ”Hemenway said. “He has taken a very hard line in some cases with other tribes. He was interfering, and some other tribes didn’t like how it was. They thought he exceeded his limits. So it was all based on the individual and the community and how they viewed that person. “

Relations between tribes in the Great Lakes regions were always on the move, Hemenway said. Thus, Tecumseh’s ability to unite the tribes and their warriors into a single alliance was a testament to his skill as a leader.

“Every warrior is independent,” he said. “They weren’t under this allegiance to Tecumseh or even to their own warlords. They left of their own accord and could leave the battlefield at any time. So when you had thousands of these warriors together in the field, it was truly remarkable leadership. “

Hemenway said indigenous peoples faced unfathomable hardships during Tecumseh’s time of life, including disease, displacement, open hostilities and attacks from militias and settlers. He said it was part of what led the tribes to consider joining an alliance like the one proposed by Tecumseh.

“You have to have land and land where you can feed your families and carry out your culture and ceremonies. So if that means you live in shared territories, so be it, because what’s the alternative? Destruction, “he said.” Violence was not the first answer, but sometimes you had to go to war. And that’s what I think was going on in those days, that they just had to , in quotes, take the hatchet to protect what they had for thousands of years.

At the start of the War of 1812, Tecumseh and his alliance joined forces with the British on the battlefield to fight the Americans. Cozzens said Tecumseh envisioned and fought for a permanent homeland for indigenous peoples that was non-negotiable. This sovereign nation would have included the lands that make up Michigan.

“The government of the United States would have no influence, no control over this land,” Cozzens said. “It would be a land that would be inviolable and would be the domain of the Native Americans forever.”

Hemenway said he viewed the War of 1812 as part of a continuation of Indigenous resistance to encroachment by white settlers, as in the Pontiac War and the War of the Little Turtle, which took place during of previous decades.

“So Tecumseh has this history, this lineage within the Great Lakes, of resistance,” Hemenway said. “He watches what Little Turtle has done, he watches what Pontiac has done, and he carries the torch.

But the sovereign nation envisioned by Tecumseh never saw the light of day. Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames in 1813 and the tribal alliance dissolved after his death. Tenskwatawa died a few decades later, in 1836.

Hemenway noted that Tecumseh was both a persuasive speaker and a distinguished leader on the battlefield. He said that while many people may be familiar with Tecumseh’s name, they may not know much about his heritage, which has permanently shaped the region, nation and continent.

“He’s a hero. I mean, I can’t think of another word. I could say chief, I could say chief, but in my mind, as an Anishinaabe, that doesn’t do him justice, ”Hemenway said. “We talk all the time about the Founding Fathers – Jefferson, Washington, Franklin. Tribes have their own heroes and people who have gone above and beyond to defend their interests and fight for their freedom and rights, and Tecumseh is a prime example. So maybe as we recognize Tecumseh, we’ll begin to recognize other Indigenous heroes – from the state of Michigan, to begin with as well. We had people from here in Emmet County – Assiginack, Makadepenasi, Apawkausegun – men who were eminent leaders who helped shape the world we live in today.

This article was written by Nell Ovitt, Production Assistant in the United States.

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