Overturning Roe v. Wade further harms Native women
National Native org says decision violates a “sacred right”
Washington, DC —Native Organizers Alliance responds to the decision by the Supreme Court to
overturn Roe v. Wade. The following statement from Judith LeBlanc, executive director of
Native Organizers Alliance, can be quoted in-full or in-part.
“Overturning Roe v. Wade is another blow to the sovereignty of Native women over their own
bodies. We are just a few decades away from the forced sterilization of Native women by the U.S.
government, and today’s decision is another violation of our most sacred right to bodily
Native women are 2 to 3 times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women, according to
the Centers for Disease Control. Our women are already dying in childbirth. And the Court’s
decision today puts even more at risk by forcing at-risk pregnant women to carry a pregnancy to
The decision ignores the humanity and rights of victims of violence. One in 3 Native women will
experience violence, including sexual violence, in their lifetime. They are also more likely to be
victims of sex trafficking. The Supreme Court has sentenced these women to a full-term
pregnancy that has resulted from sexual violence. It is the ultimate violation of their rights.
Native Organizers Alliance has seen the power of our people when we unite to defend our rights.
The fight isn’t over, and we will do all we can to support tribes and Native organizations in their
work to protect and defend reproductive rights.”
Brad Angerman, Pyramid Communications
Keystone XL Pipeline is Canceled
On January 20th, 2021 President Joe Biden signed an executive order to cancel the permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Native Organizers Alliance has been a partner in the Promise to Protect network of Indigenous activists and Tribal leaders who have been leading the resistance against these extractive industries for over 10 years.
Deb Haaland Nominated for Secretary of the DOI
At Native Organizers Alliance we launched a campaign to advocate for Congresswoman Deb Haaland to be nominated for this important position in President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet. With your help and that of our grassroots organizers we delivered a list of 18,000 people’s names endorsing Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior to Biden’s transition team showing widespread support for her nomination.
“Rep. Haaland’s nomination to lead the Department of the Interior is a historic moment for tribes and the representation of Native peoples in our federal government. Her nomination validates the impact Native people had in this year’s presidential election. For the first time, we will have a person who looks like us and understands the complexities of treaties and tribal governments in the process of overseeing public lands.
Rep. Haaland brings deep experience in natural resources and tribal sovereignty, and an understanding of our Indigenous ways of protecting our lands, waters, fish, and wildlife. Native peoples have always been stewards of this land but we have not always been in the political positions to make the key policy decisions that shape our natural resources.
We praise President-elect Joe Biden for his decision to nominate a Native woman for a position that has tremendous impact on tribal governments and our cultures and traditions. This decision will have a lasting impact on Indian Country, and we can only hope it is the first step in reversing a long history of the federal government’s failure to uphold our treaties and a signal that the Biden administration will make good on its trust responsibilities.” – Judith LeBlanc (Caddo) Director of Native Organizers Alliance
The 2020 election is an inflection point to further build Native peoples’ visibility and political power by ensuring that Native voices are heard. Our communities have untapped power because of our history, our ancestors—we must use it in many ways from the streets to the ballot box. Our collective power is necessary to move our work forward.
Natives Vote is a collaboration between IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance and First Peoples Worldwide. Our organizations have joined together to provide information, resources, and content to drive voter engagement in Indian Country.
Under this campaign, we are commissioning art from at least 50 Native artists including a collaboration between fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail and Steven Paul Judd with a line of apparel available at B. Yellowtail.com
We hosted two impactful virtual town halls on Facebook Live about the importance of voting and representation on Sept. 22, National Voter Registration Day, and Oct. 14.
Video- Press conference, Wounded Knee Descendants request removal of Medals of Honor
Many Native Americans, Citing History, Angry Over Trump Immigration Policy
WASHINGTON — “Indian Country remembers,” Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today wrote in Monday’s edition of the pan-Native news site. “This is not the first administration to order the forced separation of families.”
He later told VOA, “I basically wanted to show the recurring nature of history. It’s a story so familiar.”
President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy has separated nearly 2,000 youths from their parents since April, triggering outcry from many Native Americans who find parallels in their own history with the U.S. government.
Author, speaker and storyteller Gyasi Ross, who comes from the Blackfeet Nation and how lives on the Port Madison Indian Reservation near Seattle, Washington, suggested on Twitter that the policy is no surprise:
White liberal friends stop saying that separating children from their parents is “unAmerican.” That is ahistorical & insensitive as hell to the 100ks of Native people who were separated from their children by official US policy from boarding schools & the Indian Adoption Project.— (@BigIndianGyasi) June 16, 2018
Native Americans are no strangers to the break-up of families.
“Most [non-Native] Americans do not know their own history, partly because any history that was embarrassing was not taught in school,” said Oglala Lakota journalist Tim Giago, editor of Native Sun News Today. “Native Americans were taken from their parents starting in the late 1800s and shipped to places like Carlisle, PA and Genoa, Neb. to Indian boarding schools. We are still suffering from the trauma it caused.
Fellow journalist Vi Waln, editor of the Lakota Times, expressed a sense of solidarity with those detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Many Indigenous people are praying for the [detained undocumented] children to be reunited with their families and for the United States to do the right thing,” Waln said. “But we know from experience that this might not happen.”
O.J. Semans, a Rosebud Sioux tribe member and executive director of South Dakota-based voting-rights group Four Directions, echoed Waln’s comment, remembering another government policy which encouraged placement of Native American children in non-Native foster families.
“In the 1970s, we had 25 to 35 percent of tribal children ripped away from their families. It took until 1978 to get Congress to create a law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, to curtail the abductions,” he said, predicting that the current policy of separating migrant and refugee children from their parents will leave lasting scars.
“The trauma of children being ripped away from their parents — the only true love they have — will haunt their dreams and memories till the day they die,” Semans said.
One Native American mother offered heartfelt sympathy for the immigrant parents.
“I just can’t imagine my children being taken away and not knowing if I will ever see them again,” said a member of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, who asked that her name not be used.
She said she believes the policy is racist: “Do you think we’ll see this happening to Canadians illegally crossing the border? No!”
Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians, released a statement Tuesday which said, in part, “Congress and the President should take heed of such abhorrent mistakes from the past and actually live the moral values this country proclaims to embody by immediately ending this policy and reuniting the affected children with their parents. Families belong together.”
But not all Native Americans oppose Trump’s policy.
“I think we as a government have the right to detain anyone who comes here illegally,” said Rick Cuevas, a disenrolled member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians in California and author of the Original Pechanga blog.
“And those who are going after the Trump administration now were the same ones protecting Barack Obama as he was separating children from parents. His policies allowed 50,000 unaccompanied minors into the country,” he added.
A surge in migration of unaccompanied minors in 2014 led the Obama Administration to place unaccompanied minors in closed housing units until they could be transferred to family in the United States while they awaited court proceedings.
Trump has blamed Democrats for the current policy, announced in April, citing a “horrible” laws that call for children of families attempting to illegally cross the U.S. border to be taken from their parents.
However, there is no U.S. law or court decision that mandates that action.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it has no policy on separation, but that children and parents may be separated in situations in which “DHS cannot ascertain the parental relationship, when DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the presumed parent or legal guardian, or if a parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution, including for illegal entry.”
In 2017, U.S. border agents apprehended more than 41,000 unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the southwest border of the U.S., and U.S. customs officials report that between October 2017 to March 31, 2018, nearly 40,000 families attempted the same crossing.
Reprinted from Voice of America News
Putting Solar Panels in Pipeline’s Path, Campaign to Combine Power of Sun ‘With Power of the People’
An Indigenous-led coalition is fundraising to install solar panels along the route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to protest the project and provide renewable energy to family farms and Native communities in Nebraska and South Dakota.
“In the fight against dirty tar sands oil from crossing Indigenous treaty lands, we must also take moments to highlight the things we are fighting for,” explained Indigenous Environmental Network campaigner Dallas Goldtooth. “We will not only build renewable energy in America’s breadbasket, on Indigenous lands for Indigenous people, demonstrating the goals of a just transition towards sustainable energy, but we will build it in the face of the Keystone XL pipeline.”
“The fight against Keystone XL has always been about more than one pipeline—we’re demanding a world free of dirty fossil fuels,” added 350.org executive director May Boeve. “Putting solar in the path of this pipeline models the massive overhaul our energy system needs to stop the worst of climate change.”
This effort is just the latest phase of the Solar XL campaign launched last year by the Indigenous Environmental Network, Native Organizers Alliance, Brave Heart Society, Dakota Rural Action, Bold Nebraska, and 350.org. The groups installed an earlier round of solar arrays last summer.
The activists and landowners—who are also fighting the pipeline’s development in court—are optimistic about the message the new solar installations will send to politicians and the public alike, and compared the effort to mass demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The powerful thing about alliances for mother earth is when they create a space to unlearn fear and to relearn leadership. This was true at Standing Rock, and Solar XL is another chance to learn and build a shining example of the future we want,” said Faith Spotted Eagle, a member of the Yankton Sioux Nation and the Brave Heart Society. “Our efforts to fight Keystone XL combines the power of solar with the power of the people.”
With a fossil fuel-friendly Republican Party in control of the White House and Congress, anti-Keystone XL activists continue to emphasize the importance of building broad opposition to the dirty energy industry and the politicians that back it.
“While Trump and fossil fuel executives continue to deny the writing on the wall, our resistance must grow stronger,” declared Boeve, referencing moves such as the administration’s attempt to save struggling coal and nuclear plants with a taxpayer-funded bailout. “We already know the just way forward is with renewable energy solutions like solar and wind, now we need the will.”
“Projects like Solar XL, built with grassroots financial support and owned by Indigenous communities and family farmers, are our best hope for a future of sustainable energy that delivers us from dependence on fossil fuels and the harm caused by extractive industries,” concluded Native Organizers Alliance director Judith LeBlanc Caddo.
The coalition has produced a video sharing the stories of families and communities who would be impacted by the pipeline:
Reprinted from CommonDreams.org