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Native News Briefs: Bay Mills Indian Community calls on Biden to shut down pipeline

MACKINAW CITY, Mich.

Citizens of Bay Mills Indian Community on Tuesday called on President Biden to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, reports Red Road to DC, which is transporting a totem pole to Washington, D.C.

Held as part of the Red Road’s cross-country tour highlighting indigenous sacred sites at risk, elected leaders of the BMIC said the pipeline is a violation of the Treaty of 1836 and a threat to their sacred waters.

Organizers of the Red Road tour stopped in Michigan to display a totem pole by Lummi Nation carvers to highlight sacred sites at risk due to development and infrastructure projects.

The pipeline, initially given an easement in 1953, has been the center of controversy in the Upper Peninsula for several years. Enbridge has planned to build a tunnel around the pipeline, saying it will protect the Straits from the danger of spills.

But that construction would allow the destruction of sensitive wetlands and the placement of structures on the bottomlands within the Straits of Mackinac. And these plans and permits have moved forward without tribal consultation.

“Time and time again, we must fight for what was promised to our ancestors in the treaties,” said BMIC Tribal Chairperson Whitney Gravelle. “This should never happen, and it is something the Biden administration can and should address. No infrastructure project should move ahead without the consent of the tribes affected.”

As part of the Treaty of 1836, BMIC reserved for all time the right to fish, hunt, and gather in the ceded land and waters of the state of Michigan – including the ceded waters of Lake Superior, Huron, and Michigan, which includes the Straits of Mackinac.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revoked the easement allowing the company to operate on May 12, yet Enbridge continues to operate illegally.

To get Enbridge to comply, Whitmer has threatened to go after Enbridge’s profits, but no action has yet been taken.

Alaska Natives, tribal organizations supportinclusion in federal fisheries management

BOULDER, Colo. – Five Alaska Native tribes and tribal organizations, including regional nonprofit consortiums for 76 tribes, support being included in federal fisheries management, according to the Native American Rights Fund.

On Monday, in response to the introduction of the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., and Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, NARF released statements from the groups’ leaders.

Amos Philemonoff Sr., president of Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, said, “(The community) supports this bill, which makes meaningful and necessary updates to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

“We have long voiced our concerns to federal and state fishery managers about the need to update the MSA,” he said, “as the impacts of climate change and bycatch degrade our ecosystem and threaten our commercial and subsistence fisheries.”

Vivian Korthuis, CEO for the Association of Village Presidents, said, “We appreciate their decision in giving Alaska’s tribal communities a seat at the table through the inclusion of designated Tribal voting seats.”

Melanie Bahnke, president and CEO of Kawerak Inc., said, “Our tribes are stewards of our oceans, and we are not merely users of resources, but intimately connected and part of the ecosystem in the Bering Sea.

“Our oceans and our people are facing unprecedented threats due to climate change and bycatch,” she said. “The Magnuson-Stevens Act needs an update, and this bill provides critical solutions to these emergencies.”

Mike Williams Sr., chairman of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, said, “We need to have voices representing the many Indigenous Peoples in Alaska, especially on this important Council that makes policy decisions about our salmon.”

Mellisa Johnson, executive director of the Bering Sea Elders Group, said, “Bering Sea Elders Group speaks and works together as one voice to protect and respect our traditional ways of life, the ocean web of life that supports the resources we rely on, and our children’s future. Our people have long deserved to be part of the management bodies that affect our lands and waters, including tribal representation on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.”

Tribe receives clean-energy dollars

PHOENIX – The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community was awarded more than $610,000 in federal grants to invest in transit options, including low and no-emission busses.

The $611,840 grant supports Salt River in purchasing or leasing low and no-emission busses and other transit vehicles that use advanced technologies, such as battery electric and fuel-cell power, to provide cleaner, more energy-efficient transit services in the community.

“These resources for innovative and energy-efficient buses will boost local economic opportunities and support Salt River jobs,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.


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