Showing posts from June, 2017

Tribe Charges Discrimination Against Native Children

A version of this article appeared in Rural America In These Times  in June 2017.   “I don’t want another generation to be pushed into suicide, addiction or prison,” said tribal executive board member Roxanne Gourneau, shown left, of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, in northeastern Montana. The executive board, which represents the reservation's impoverished Sioux and Assiniboine tribes, has asked the U.S. Justice and Education departments to investigate treatment of Native students in the public schools of Wolf Point, a reservation town. White families obtained land here in years past and have since controlled the local economy, politics and educational system. The tribal complaint alleges extreme disciplinary measures targeting Native children in the Wolf Point School District. These are accompanied by continual taunts and bullying by white administrators, teachers and students alike, as well as discriminatory employment practices that shut out Native teachers who might be

Talking Sense: Message from a Native leader on World Peace and Prayer Day

Chief Arvol Looking Horse C hief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has warned of “chaos, disasters, and severe tragedies for all life” if we don’t “unite all humanity at Mother Earth’s sacred sites.” Writing in Indian Country Media Network on the occasion of World Peace and Prayer Day on June 21, 2017, he decried the destruction of indigenous holy places around the United States and the world. A spiritual leader of the Sioux people since the age of 12, Looking Horse participated in the 2017 prayer day's main ceremony at Mauna Kea, in Hawaii, where Native Hawaiians and others seek to prevent the summit from being further desecrated by the installation of giant telescopes. The gathering was one of many worldwide, ecumenical prayer events on the summer solstice. Looking Horse has taken public positions on protection of sacred sites and the environment many times. He was among those who led the People’s Climate March ,  in April 2017 in Washington, D

Standing Rock: A Battle is Won, but the Threat Goes On

A version of this article appeared in Indian Country Media Network in June 2017. T he Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has won a significant victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL. This week, a federal court said that the agency overseeing the permitting process for the oil line hadn’t fully complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Tribal chairman Dave Archambault  praised  the court’s decision, saying the tribe would ask for the line to be shut down immediately.  The pipeline was completed across the Missouri River and is operational. That is despite more than  a year of demonstrations  against it by Standing Rock and hundreds of other tribes, resulting in some 700 arrests and many severe injuries to demonstrators, who call themselves water protectors.   According to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Army Corps of Engineers didn’t do the full environmental impact review required for large projects with s

From Paris to Pine Ridge: The Sioux Have a Climate Solution

It’s a breeze: Flags snap in the wind at a Yankton Sioux powwow. A version of this article appeared in Indian Country Media Network  in June 2017. I n defiance of President Trump’s plans to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement , cities, states and companies countrywide are joining global efforts to control climate change. The Sioux will be part of the solution as well, said Rosebud Sioux tribe member Dan Gargan. He sits on the board of Oceti Sakowin Power Authority (OSPA), a giant Sioux-owned wind farm that’s getting underway in the Northern Plains. The blustery region been called the Saudi Arabia of wind power and is said to be able to fill the United States's entire energy needs several times over with emissions-free, sustainably produced electricity. “We tribes see ourselves as custodians of the environment,” Gargan said. “This project is something we have wanted for a long time.” Oceti Sakowin means Great Sioux Nation in Lakota/Dakota, and the partici