The past 121 days have marked a dizzying number of changes to all American Citizens. Often it feels as if there are too many important causes worth fighting for whether it is education, the environment, woman’s rights. For the native population across the USA a new threat has emerged.
Throughout the 1800’s as European settlers began moving west they found that much of the territory was already occupied by multiple Native tribes. After much fighting there was a treaty signed in 1851 called ‘The Treaty of Fort Laramie’. This treaty was inclusive of many different tribes and it gave territories to the natives where they would be allowed to live peacefully without fear of or persecution from settlers. This treaty was short lived as settlers found that the natives land was fertile and lucrative with minerals. (1) By the end of the 1800’s many of the natives were forced onto reservations where a majority still live today. These reservations are well established and are governed by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). The federal government has no rights to these lands all changes need to go through tribal leaders and the BIA.
It seems history is doomed to repeat itself. The native population has had no rest as their ‘protected’ lands have been continuously encroached upon. One of the most well-known recent examples of the overreach is DAPL in 2016. The government allowed big oil to side step every restriction and environmental process that is in place that is designed to protect the sacred Native lands its waters. (2) In January 2017 DAPL was pushed forward via executive order and is now near completion. The construction of this pipeline does not actually go through any native lands however it does go through many sacred ancestral sites, many of which were destroyed. It also goes through the water supply for the entire region that many people and animals rely on. (2) Oil spills have already been reported from the DAPL which puts credence to the Tribes fears.
Donald Trump is now planning to make another land grab of protected reservations via the America First Initiative. While the reservations occupy a tiny 2% of the United States, it is estimated to contain 1/5 of the oil, gas and coal supply. As the federal government loosens the regulation on our national parks to allow new coal mining and oil and gas rigs they have turned their eye to the native lands. The BIA has stated that the federal government has not rights to these lands and cannot sell of permits or plots of land to private companies or individuals. (3) Currently the native population has a vast majority that opposes this because the processes used to mine and drill are so destructive to their mother earth that the cost is not worth the benefit. The tribes view clean air, water and a thriving plant life essential to everything that they hold dear.
The government is saying that the reservations are still property of the federal government; they just merely allow the natives to live there. They essentially have been given rights to the land, but they do not actually own any of it. This is why the Trump administration feels they are within their rights to sell the leases as well as sell of parcels of land that they feel are profitable to the highest bidder. The natives disagree with this as they are sovereign nations and are supposed to be protected from such government overreach via any number of protections that have been signed over the years. (3)
One thing is for certain, when we band together we have a very loud voice, and we are being heard. Please make sure you are paying attention and standing up for what you believe to be right and true. The Native communities have been raped and pillaged for two centuries, it is time that we stand with them and show the government that some things are more important than money. The CANA Foundation stands shoulder to shoulder to our brothers and sisters in solidarity to protecting our mother earth. Please make sure you are contacting your state representatives and senators so they know that we are watching, we are paying attention and we will be heard.
About CANA Foundation
CANA Foundation’s mission is to responsibly restore an ecological balance in our environment through specific rewilding initiatives. These projects support harmony between the humans, plants, and animals that inhabit U.S. rangelands and focus on the restoration of our land’s native habitats through natural resources and indigenous species, like America’s wild horses. CANA initiatives work towards long-term, sustainable solutions that prevent further land degradation, protect and preserve wild horse populations, and encourage a beneficial, thriving ecosystem for today and tomorrow.
Contact CANA Foundation: PO Box 674, Locust Valley, NY 11560 or [email protected]Donate to CANA Foundation
It is up to us, American citizens, to contact our elected representatives of government and let them know how we feel about the issues. Use a service like GovTrack.us to find your local representatives and make your voice heard.Visit GovTrack.us
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