Monday, July 31, 2017
Buffalo still roam a pristine landscape that must be protected for future generations.
9 Things America Needs to Understand About Native Values:
Out of the 500 treaties signed between Native tribes and the United States, none has ever been fully honored
Values and integrity have always been respected by traditional Native peoples, but when colonization forced its way onto this land, dishonesty and treachery took a terrible toll. Even many mainstream Americans are tired of it, but still don’t understand where they went wrong. Here’s a sample of things mainstream America needs to understand—add your own in the comments.
Honesty and Integrity
Out of the 500 treaties signed between tribes and the United States, none has ever been fully honored. History proves that at the time of contact, Native nations couldn’t even imagine such dishonesty.
Today, oil companies are trying to force pipelines, fracking, and uranium mining onto reservation and treaty lands even as other areas already suffer oil spills. America needs to develop a truthfulness in their dealings and a sense of responsibility for their actions, not just with tribes, but with the whole world.
Prioritizing Who Is Paid Well For What
In today’s America, the most financially rewarding jobs are often paid to people in power. For those who work to benefit society, the pay is usually much less. Rather than seek personal power, ideally, Native politicians do what is best for the tribe. Self-serving actions are frowned upon. Success, wealth, and a rich life should not be measured by money.
Appreciation for Women
According to the Six Nations Traditional Women’s Council Fire, clan mothers traditionally held great influence in the well-being of their Clans and Nations. They have authority as life givers, as holders of the land, and a deep understanding of the price of war.
For humanity to see all sides of an issue, the woman’s perspective must be included in important decisions.
Kinship and the Relationship Between All Beings
How would relationships change if all teachers and students, businesses and clients, saw each other as relatives? Would truth and honesty increase? Would business include a general feeling of love and respect for clients? Would food be processed differently? Would the earth be treated with respect if the four-leggeds and wingeds were considered relatives?
Americans respect positions of power. Natives respect the natural power that comes from wisdom and the knowledge elders carry forward. Natives respect the earth mother while Americans respect the money that can be made from developing the land. Some Americans are beginning to pick up on this, but too many businesses and politicians have no interest in protecting the people and the world around them, because they don’t respect the people.
Respect is about living in the right way, honoring the earth, the people, and all beings. Respect is barely even covered in Webster’s Dictionary.
Americans don’t understand the meaning of life, and buy lots of books on the subject. Depression and disconnectedness are the result of not understanding the world in a spiritual manner. A relationship with Creator, appreciation for humility, and the ability to make the most of one’s journey in preparation for the next world, gives meaning to life.
The Sacredness of Life and Intention
Carol Iron Rope Herrera, Lakota, explained the difference between giving birth to a child with family present singing and praying, as opposed to a baby landing in the hands of a medical doctor, a stranger, who is on a schedule.
Ceremonies, rites of passage, help children and adults understand their roles at home, in their community, and in the world. Mainstream Americans rarely see life in a sacred manner among all sacred beings.
Charles A. Eastman, Lakota, wrote in The Soul of the Indian, “Parents often gave so much to the needy that they frequently impoverished themselves, thus setting an example to the child of self denial for the general good… Children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.”
Many American individuals are generous, but few understand the Native way of just passing on what is needed until you or someone else need it again. True story: A woman on the Mojave Reservation got a new washer and dryer, and all of her neighbors brought their laundry over.
Carol Iron Rope Herrera said, “We women have been taught that this Mother Earth has taken care of us, so we have to be like her essence. She never abandoned us, she is here, she nurtures us every day, she protects us, she feeds us, she clothes us.”*
By Christina Rose • July 7, 2014
Kin 69: Red Self-Existing Moon
I define in order to purify
I seal the process of universal water
With the self-existing tone of form
I am guided by the power of life force
I am a galactic activation portal
The memory of a "lost chord", or "lost planet" is also deeply embedded in the unconscious of the human psyche.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Manipura Chakra (Limi Plasma)
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Courtesy: IPCC/Felix Vigil
Flight of an Eagle, by Felix Vigil.
Rachel Moore (Hopi) is the new Curator of Exhibitions at IPCC and told ICMN. “As part of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s 40th Anniversary in 2016 all exhibition and gallery spaces were re-evaluated to ensure our center was innovative and in-line with our mission to preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture. “Marla Alison’s (Laguna Pueblo) “Consumed by Design” was the inaugural exhibit.
The south rotunda was a space that had been used for artist shows to extensions of exhibition space. It is a unique space with tall ceilings, abundant natural light, and rounded walls. We developed a new concept for the South rotunda as the Artists Circle Gallery to showcase living Pueblo artists as a means to promote and sustain pueblo arts.”
“We unveiled Felix Vigil’s “Meditations on the Journey” for opening on July 21st. He will be here for three months to October 30. After Felix Vigil, the gallery will host our Annual Native American Student Art Show (NASAS). As part of the goal to promote pueblo arts the Student Art Show encourages our youth and children to experience the arts and sell their work. This year’s NASAS is titled “The Power of Stories” to be opened November 4th,” said Moore.
“We currently have an active Call to Artists to recruit our next three artists for the year 2018. Applications close September 6th.”
Felix Vigil (Jicarilla Apache/Jemez Pueblo) was working in his studio in Dulce, NM and brought his new work to Albuquerque to start installing for his exhibit at the Circle Gallery. Felix was able to answer a few questions with ICMN.
You have made quite a journey to get here at this show, at this time, at this space. Can you tell us about yourself?
Felix Vigil: Yes it’s been some journey! Starting out from childhood observing my dad, Francis Paul Vigil, working on his paintings. Getting my BFA degree from Maryland Institute College of Art, then teaching at the IAIA for 11 years. While at IAIA I taught painting, life drawing and 2-D design. I was department chair in 2-D area and then Dean of Fine Arts for 3 years. Teaching college level was one of my favorite jobs!
My father is Jicarilla Apache and my mom, Juanita is Hemis (Jemez). We grew up both in Walatowa and in Dulce. Two distinct cultural identities but we were fortunate to be raised in those environments. My parents and grandparents were very traditional. So we were able to participate in the ceremonies of both cultures.
Can you tell us a little about your film-making and how it relates to your artwork, your painting today?
I worked on the artwork for Surviving Columbus, while working at IAIA. It is a documentary about how our world was disrupted by the European invasion of Columbus.
Then I worked on several projects with Cortina Productions for the Smithsonian and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.[Nearly a dozen of Vigil’s short films are on permanent display.] It is a very slow process working on film projects. I literally have to shift my state of being to work on film. Usually when I’m painting it’s fast paced and more reactionary. But film imagery is deliberate and very planned out.
I still use my cultural identity as inspiration for all my work. I don’t separate who I am with what I do as an artist. We are one and the same.
Tell us something about your painting process now, inspiration, motivation and studio.
I work both in mixed medium and collage painting. I also work in bronze sculptures. When I’m working on my painting it is usually fast paced and reacting to what is happening on the surface. One color or textural quality will influence something else and it’s just a continuum of endless possibilities. I never think of a finished painting because I don’t know where a painting will take me.
With bronze sculptures it’s more deliberate and slow. But I like the shift and change of pace. It helps me to think in a different mode and mood. I can visualize in a three dimensional state and ‘walk’ around a piece. My inspiration comes from my cultural background or should I say it is my anchor. It is who I am that dictates my work and my thoughts. Ideas can come in endless ways and forms. I have to be open to those hints of inspiration. Sometimes it is very simple and subtle.
Is there anything you’d like to share with our audience?
Life is a gift. It is also a journey. All the things we experience and all the people we come in contact with are a part of our journey. The work that we create comes from within, it is our story, our identity. Our story is unique and powerful, and it should be told without hesitation or digression. The Arrows of Fate fly across the Universe and we are part of that design.
Felix Vigil – “Meditations on the Journey” at Artists Circle Gallery, opening began Friday, July 21, at the IPCC at 2401 12th St NW, Albuquerque. For information visit the IPCC webpage.*
Kin 68: Yellow Electric Star
I activate in order to beautify
I seal the store of elegance
With the electric tone of service
I am guided by the power of free will.
The human learns through attempts to align patterns of intelligence with the experience of the patterns perceived in the phenomenal world. Since the human is nature, the same process that creates nature creates the human*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2107.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) leaves the Senate Chamber after a vote on a stripped-down, or "Skinny Repeal," version of Obamacare reform on July 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. McCain was one of three Republican Senators to vote against the measure.
Key Native-Focused Senators Blocked Obamacare Repeal:
American Indians from Alaska to Maine had pressed for Congress to vote against President Trump’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act
Just after 1:30 a.m. ET on July 28, the Republican U.S. Senate failed 49 – 51 to pass its latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), widely known as Obamacare.
Signaling a major defeat for President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda, a grim Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the vote that it was “time to move on,” adding that he would still like to see Congress try to improve America’s healthcare and insurance system. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed in a floor speech of his own, and he called for the Senate to return to “regular order” after the intense partisan wrangling of recent years.
Three Republican senators – John McCain (AZ), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) – along with all Democratic senators voted against what was labeled by Senate leadership as a “skinny repeal” that could have removed insurance coverage from over 15 million Americans currently covered by the Obamacare. The legislation was a less robust version of Republican-led repeal bills that also failed over the past week, which would have left even more Americans unprotected.
Indian country played a role in the proceedings, with tribal citizens who have received improved healthcare – due to the ACA and its inclusion of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act as well as expansion of Medicaid services – pressing their senators to vote against repeal and replacement bills that could harm their care and coverage. Many tribal leaders and Indian health advocates had met over the past months with legislators about their concerns, and Senate Democrats held a symposium earlier in July focused specifically on the harmful impacts to Native Americans if ACA were repealed.
Alaska Natives – who played a crucial supportive role during Murkowski’s tough re-election campaign in 2010 during which McConnell turned his own support to a different candidate – widely communicated their desire for Obamacare to be strengthened, not eliminated.
This Alaska Native support, combined with Murkowski’s popularity as an independent moderate in her state, played a substantial role in her ability to rebuff threats from current Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, who told her that her legislative projects and suggestions for Interior nominees would be threatened if she continued to oppose Trump’s ACA repeal efforts. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) explained this threat from Zinke to news outlets based in his and Murkowski’s home state, and Sullivan said he pushed back against Zinke’s complaints.
“I did have a conversation with the secretary, and he told me what I already knew, which was that the president wasn’t pleased with the vote that I had taken, and I knew that,” Murkowski told CBS News.
Whether Zinke and Trump, who singled out Murkowski on his Twitter feed with harsh words surrounding this issue, will make good on their promises to work against her and Alaska remains to be seen.
Another key player with deep ties to Indian country was McCain, former chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, who gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor earlier in the week after he was very recently diagnosed with a serious form of brain cancer, calling for bipartisan work to improve Obamacare.
While McCain did vote for some repeal and replace efforts offered by his Republican leadership, even this week, he ultimately lived up to his maverick reputation with a vote against the last one, saying that it was “the right vote.”
“We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” McCain said in a statement after his vote. “We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”
On the Democratic side, senators had been preparing an Indian-focused amendment if Republicans were successful in their repeal efforts. On the evening of July 27, just hours before the repeal failed, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tom Udall (D-NM), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) announced that they had offered an amendment to protect healthcare for Indians.
“Heitkamp, Udall, and Heinrich’s amendment would send the Republican health care repeal bill to committee to be amended to exempt the Indian Health Service, tribal health care facilities, and other urban Indian health providers from any Medicaid cuts if Republicans succeed in repeal,” according to a press release issued by the senators. “The amendment would also make sure that American Indians and Alaska Natives are not harmed by changes to the private insurance market that create barriers to individual coverage.”
The senators noted that almost 287,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives from 492 tribes have benefited from the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. In addition, they said that 30,000 individual Native Americans were covered due to the ACA’s individual marketplace and Indian cost-sharing subsidies.
The Democrats also seemed willing to compromise to achieve better healthcare for Indians. “Access to health care is a treaty and trust obligation to Native communities,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “It’s past time that Republicans join us and work across the aisle to find real, bipartisan solutions to improve health care instead of taking an axe to it.”*
By Rob Capriccioso • July 28, 2017
Kin 67: Blue Lunar Hand
I polarize in order to know
I seal the store of accomplishment
With the lunar tone of challenge
I am guided by the power of self-generation.
Cosmic sky teachings accommodate every single stage and phase of spiritual growth as well as the evolutionary stages of life and consciousness simultaneously on all world systems.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Svadhistanha Chakra (Kali Plasma)
Friday, July 28, 2017
Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Jerry Natanine, community leader and former mayor of Clyde River, celebrates the Supreme Court of Canada ruling against seismic testing in Nunavut.
Inuit Victory: Canadian Supreme Court Rules Against Seismic Testing in Nunavut:
While the Supreme Court halted Arctic seismic blasting, it approved Line 9 pipeline changes despite Chippewas of the Thames' appeal
For the past three years, the Inuit community of Clyde River, Nunavut, has taken legal action to stop seismic testing in their Arctic waters. This morning, in a tremendous Inuit and environmental victory, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously in their favor—that Inuit were not properly consulted on the oil exploration project in Baffin Island and Davis Strait. The decision overturns the five-year seismic testing permit issued by the National Energy Board (NEB) in 2014.
The ruling, written by Justices Andromache Karakatsanis and Russell Brown, determined that the NEB’s consultation process with the Clyde River Inuit was “significantly flawed,” paying little if any respect to the treaty rights of Inuit and their reliance on local marine mammals for subsistence. “Clyde River, a tiny hamlet in Baffin Island, Nunavut, surmounted nearly impossible odds,” Nader Hasan, Clyde River’s legal counsel, said at a press conference at the Supreme Court today. “It took countless, dedicated people working around the clock for three years to get to this point.”
Hasan underscored that it took the highest court to remind the Government of Canada, once again, that the duty to consult indigenous peoples must be taken seriously. “I hope for Mr. Trudeau and his Cabinet that this decision today functions as a bit of a wakeup call,” Hasan said. “…Government cannot simply pay lip service to solemn, constitutional obligations.”
Yet in a related decision today, June 26, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled against the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation appeal. The decision allows Enbridge to proceed with the reversal of crude oil flow and increase in capacity via the 40-year-old Line 9 pipeline. The pipeline presently runs from Sarnia to Montreal, cutting through the traditional and treaty territory of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.
The Chippewas of the Thames argue that they were not adequately consulted prior to the project’s construction. Their grave environmental concerns stem from the pipeline’s age and original reason it was built: to transport light crude oil. The added density of oil sands bitumen, and increased temperature and pressure, could cause the pipeline to rupture, states a Union of Ontario Indians press release.
“We are tremendously disappointed in this ruling. This is not the end,” stated Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee following the ruling. “We will continue to support Chippewas of the Thames in this toilsome fight for our rights. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Section 35 of the Constitution Act, the treaty relationship, and the 10 principles outlined by Justice Minister Raybould speak to a Nation-to-Nation relationship, not about third-parties that do not have any business in a Nation-to-Nation relationship.”
Clyde River joined the Chippewas at the Supreme Court of Canada for back-to-back hearings in November 2016, as both lawsuits concerned the NEB’s neglect of proper indigenous consultation.
Today’s victory for Clyde River is bittersweet in light of the Chippewas losing their appeal. “We stand in solidarity with them today,” Hasan said.
About 1,000 Inuit reside in Clyde River, but support for their fight against seismic testing extended well beyond their tiny hamlet in Baffin Bay. “It’s totally unbelievable all the support we’ve had, not just from Inuit in Nunavut, but Greenpeace and international support,” said Jerry Natanine, former mayor and community leader from Clyde River. Greenpeace covered Clyde River’s lawyer fees and raised awareness of the lawsuit via media coverage. Natanine described the powerful advocacy of allies worldwide as “heartwarming. I cannot express my gratitude enough,” he said.
The process of mapping for fossil fuels involves blasting air canons underwater to the ocean floor to measure the echo signature, which indicates if oil and gas reserves exist beneath the seabed. Huge sonic blasts go off every 10 seconds for months on end. The noise pollution is devastating to the Arctic’s population of large, sound-sensitive mammals that use echolocation to navigate and communicate with other members thousands of miles away, as well as to feed, reproduce, and nurture their young. Whales, essentially, see through their ears. The consistent explosions, 100,000 times louder than a jet engine or dynamite, can deafen sea creatures. Similar, high-intensity noise has caused marine mammals to bleed from their ears and resulted in brain hemorrhaging. Seismic testing further interferes with the migration of narwhals, the tusked whales central to Inuit culture.
“The sea mammals we hunt are our everyday food,” Natanine said. “As it is right now, we cannot live off store-bought food,” he added, referring to the prohibitively high-priced and generally speaking unhealthy, processed food available in their nearest grocery stores.
Natanine previously told Save The Arctic: “We are fighting for our lives—to be Inuit, to live off the land.”*
By Kristin Butler • July 26, 2017
Kin 66: White Magnetic World-Bridger
I unify in order to equalize
I seal the store of death
With the magnetic tone of purpose
I am guided by my own power doubled.
All teachers, teachings, science and knowledge of past, present and future are one program or experiment in cosmic engineering.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Ajna Chakra (Gamma Plasma)
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Corporate Personhood for Trees, Rivers and Nature?
Trump’s EPA won’t protect nature, but maybe the courts will
Corporate personhood has been lurking in U.S. law since 1886, but it came to public attention when the corporate person known as Hobby Lobby did not want to pay for health insurance that covered birth control pills because Hobby Lobby has religious scruples against birth control, or did in 2014.
A corporation having religious scruples shocked just about everybody except human persons still reeling from the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, holding that corporate persons had free speech rights to spend money opposing human persons.
Human political activists complained about spending contests with corporate political activists because the corporate persons have more money. The absurdity of corporate persons needing freedom of religion and freedom of speech is apparent, but cases are coming to court around the world that extend the idea of legal personhood even farther.
Unlike corporate persons, another class of non-human “persons” has obvious needs at the courthouse. They have been turned away with no argument beyond a general claim of absurdity, but that claim is losing force. An early example of the claim being brushed away was Sierra Club v. Morton.
The Sierra Club was suing Secretary of the Interior Roger Morton to protect a forest, and the SCOTUS threw them out because they lacked “standing,” a particularized harm to the Sierra Club at issue in the case, more harm than to just to any taxpayer off the street.
The purpose of the standing rule is to prevent anyone from suing over any governmental action claiming they did not like how their money was being spent.
Justice William O. Douglas, known in history as a civil libertarian, had a record in environmental cases to raise the question whether he shared DNA with plants. Douglas dissented from the Court’s opinion throwing out the case.
He agreed that the Sierra Club did not have standing but claimed it was the trees about to be harmed, not the Sierra Club. In that controversy between the trees and those who would kill them, the proper question was whether the Sierra Club was a responsible party that could be trusted to assert the legal interest of the trees in surviving. The trees were in need of a legal guardian just like a human being unable to assert his or her interests because of age or disability.
The trees are living things, Douglas believed, that have an interest in survival as trees rather than boards and sawdust. Douglas has been widely ridiculed within the legal profession for this dissenting opinion. I have yet to meet an American Indian lawyer who joined the laughter. Even those Indian lawyers who disagree with the Douglas formulation of standing do not ridicule it.
The Sierra Club or the trees (depending on your point of view) lost their case in 1972. Over 50 years later, the courts of another nation rooted in English common law as we are has agreed with Justice Douglas. The same issue is rising in two other nations, one common law and one not.
The river Ganges has been sacred to Hindus in India from time immemorial. The Mother Ganges appears in the Rigveda, the earliest Hindu scripture, an indication she had already been a part of oral tradition. People make pilgrimages from all over India to bathe in her sacred waters, and it is believed that if one’s ashes are scattered on the living body of the Ganges, the person who has walked on is closer to moksha, liberation from the cycle of life and death.
To Western eyes, these beliefs would appear to be all the protection the Ganges would ever need. Who would dare harm a living goddess? As it happens, the Ganges is even more polluted than the Mississippi in places.
Only about 80 percent of the Indian population is Hindu. Of those who are Hindu, many believe that Mother Ganges could not be harmed by mere human beings. Before ridiculing this belief from a claim of cultural superiority, Americans had best pay attention to religious climate change deniers, who hold that mere humans could not possibly harm the planet.
Legal personhood in India is like the U.S. in that it is extended to corporations and trusts. India had already gone one step farther in recognizing the legal personhood of temple deities, what would be disparaged in this country as “idols.” This year, the high court of the Indian state of Uttarakhand extended legal personhood to two rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna.
The effect of riverine personhood is that pollution may be enjoined without proof that it harms humans. It is unlawful because it violates the river’s right to life. The court imposed a blanket ban on new mining licenses while environmental impact studies are conducted.
The state pollution control board has been ordered to shut down all establishments that are dumping untreated sewage into the rivers. That would close over 700 hotels in tourist areas. While polluters do not as a rule get sanctioned in India, the court intends to fine or jail government bureaucrats who fail to comply with orders to suppress pollution.
The victory for the Mother Ganges comes in the same year that the indigenous people of another nation with a legal system rooted in English common law took similar steps. The Whanganui River in New Zealand is considered part of the living landscape by the Maori people indigenous to that landscape.
Unlike American Indians, the Maori have one master treaty that defines the relationship between themselves and the settlers. The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) was signed by 39 Maori chiefs over March and April of 1840, the number of signers reflecting that there are many bands of Maori.
The Whanganui Iwi people are historically linked to the sacred river of the same name. An indigenous Member of Parliament told Radio New Zealand, “From a Whanganui viewpoint the well-being of the river is directly linked to the well-being of the people…”
The Maori people have been fighting to protect their sacred river for over 160 years, sometimes by direct action and sometimes by lobbying and litigation. This year, the New Zealand Parliament passed a bill recognizing the personhood of the river and entrusting protection of the river’s interests in court to a pair of indigenous people, one appointed by the government and one elected by the Maori.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson defended the “strangeness” of a river with legal personhood, saying, “it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies, or incorporated societies.”
The common-law countries of India and New Zealand follow the civil law country of Ecuador, influenced by its indigenous people, granting constitutional rights to “nature” which, the constitution claims, “has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.”
The constitution puts the primary duty of protecting nature on the government, but gives citizens and cities legal standing to sue if the government fails in its duty. Cyril Mychalejko, writing on the OpEdNews blog before the provision was ratified, predicted, “Jaguars, spectacled bears, brown-headed spider monkeys, and plate-billed mountain toucans may all just breathe a little easier.”
Ecuador’s constitutional status of nature will have to contend with governments seeking to profit from extraction industries and transnational corporations seeking the same. Once more, though, American lawyers inclined to feelings of superiority should remember that the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution—intended to make former slaves and former masters equal before the law—took over 100 years to come to fruition.
The people ratified the constitutional status of nature in 2008. In 2015, Natalia Green, an Ecuadorian activist who first worked for the constitution and now works to enforce it, gave a presentation to the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. She reported that the efforts to use the law have been mixed, with wins and losses similar to what we see in the U.S. In both countries, there is stout opposition by businesses to shutting down development to protect endangered species.
Still, Green concluded that the rights of nature paradigm created an opportunity to rethink patterns of development in harmony with nature itself and with respect for the “voluntarily isolated” indigenous communities that were often in proximity to natural areas seeking protection from development.
The constitutional claims of the natural landscape aligned nicely with the desire of Indigenous Peoples to be left alone. While there remains much to be done to recognize the intrinsic value of nature, putting the fine words in the constitution created an incentive that did not exist before.
Ecuador, New Zealand, and India are geographically and culturally about as far apart as they could be and still exist on the same planet. By constitutional amendment, by act of parliament, and by court decision, all three legal systems have arrived at Justice Douglas’s position in Sierra Club v. Morton that the natural world is valuable on its own terms and deserves legal protection.
Douglas wrote in dissent almost 50 years ago, and the current U.S. government is about as hostile to forests, rivers, and endangered species as we’ve seen since Douglas penned his famous dissent. A growing body of evidence from around the world suggests that fewer people are laughing.*
By Steve Russell • July 27, 2017
Kin 65: Red Cosmic Serpent
I endure in order to survive
I seal the store of life force
With the cosmic tone of presence
I am guided by the power of universal water.
Everything that comes into being mutates at precise moments in a synchronized timing process which is governed by the Law of Time.*
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Svadhistanha Chakra (Seli Plasma)
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Welcome to the Yellow Crystal Seed Year! As we enter the first Moon of the year, the Magnetic Bat Moon, we ask ourselves: What is my purpose?
In this Moon take time to re-examine your life purpose, and goals for the next 13 Moons. Be quiet and listen. This is the Year to fully awaken your inner Avatar. The Universe is depending on it.
We have now entered the fourth year of the 26-year fractal of the New Beam (2013-2039). Big changes are afoot. We are in a time of overlapping time loops where what seemed Impossible before is now happening and what seemed possible before is not happening now.
August 16, 2017, Kin 85, marks the 30-year anniversary of the Harmonic Convergence. This began the 26-year fractal to the entry of the New Beam, 2013. Five days later is the much anticipated Solar Eclipse.
From the Galactic Maya perspective this eclipse is a quickening of the inevitable breaking of old patterning and emergence of the noosphere (thinking layer of planet Earth). The noosphere is a function of what the Galactic Maya referred to as kinan – the Solar Force accounting for the higher spiritual or psychic energy on this planet.
Related to the kinan is the tin kinantah – the quality of transmitting this solar related energy that accounts for the various telepathic and paranormal capacities of the higher mind. These are attributes of the noosphere.
In this Moon consider that none of the thoughts you think are actually “yours”. You are a mere conduit, a channel of energy.
How can we align our mind with the Greater Planetary Mind (noosphere) to accelerate our consciousness? This synchronized alignment is the purpose of the daily codes of the Law of Time.
The Law of Time defines an order of reality known as the synchronic order.
This is the definition of the universe unified by time and apprehended solely by mind (and encompassed by heart).
All that exists constitutes the synchronic order.
To know or perceive this order requires a degree of self-reflective consciousness.
Because the Universal Order of time is so vast, it is the essence alone that must be perceived and known.
The inherent self-awareness does not derive from anything outside itself. This is the real introduction to the actual condition of things.
Courtesy House Committee on Natural Resources
Ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ): "This hearing isn't even an attempt to seek information – it's a forum for repeating anti-Native talking points."
Native Voices Ignored as House Committee Ponders Changes to Indian Trust Land Policy:
‘We should have a higher standard for Native American policy hearings than a panel of non-Native witnesses with axes to grind,’ says Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
The generally nonpartisan Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs took a sharp turn to the right at its July 13 oversight hearing, entitled, Comparing 21st Century Trust Land Acquisition with the intent of the 73rd Congress in Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act.
The Secretary of the Interior holds “exceptionally broad authority to acquire land in trust for Indians” under the 83-year-old Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA), according to a memorandum distributed before the hearing by Subcommittee Chairman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).
But Section 19 of the IRA, which states that only members of tribes “recognized and now under federal jurisdiction” could acquire trust land, created a legal quagmire in 2009 when the Supreme Court held to a literal and controversial interpretation of “now” in Carcieri v. Salazar.
Since then, according to LaMalfa in his memo, “…the Secretary may no longer use the IRA to acquire trust land for any post-1934 tribe without specific authorization from Congress.”
LaMalfa’s interpretation is at odds with a 2014 legal opinion issued by the Obama administration that defined “‘now under federal jurisdiction’ in a manner that allows the Interior Department to indeed continue to place land into trust for tribes recognized after 1934.
Of note, post-Carcieri, federal courts have not reversed any land-into-trust acquisitions made by Interior for tribes recognized after 1934, despite several challenges from localities in multiple venues.
While tribes generally supported the Obama administration’s opinion, a majority of tribes have continued to call for Congress to fix Carcieri by ensuring through legislation that all tribes, regardless of recognition date, are treated equally.
The hearing sought input on how this policy fix might look.
Although ostensibly an information-gathering session to determine whether Congress should revise policy on Indian trust land acquisition, ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) characterized the hearing instead as an attempt to attack tribal sovereignty and self-determination by questioning the legitimacy of tribes that have received federal recognition since 1934, and by extension, their ability to acquire land to place into trust.
“This hearing isn’t even an attempt to seek information – it’s a forum for repeating anti-Native talking points,” Grijalva said, adding that House Natural Resources] Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) “has a long history of opposing tribal sovereignty and attempting to weaken federal recognition for Native Americans.”
Grijalva lamented the lack of Indians representing their positions on land acquisition at the hearing, with three of the four witnesses speaking on behalf of the federal or local governments and only one speaking on behalf of tribes. “We should have a higher standard for Native American policy hearings than a panel of non-Native witnesses with axes to grind,” he said.
What were those “axes?” Largely state and local governments backed by the federal government seeking to limit or have a direct say in how tribes develop their trust land.
James Cason, associate deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior, testified, “Overall, land-into-trust acquisitions are uncontested transfers that often have local support,” but he also raised alarm, saying, “off-reservation lands that are acquired through the fee-to-trust process have the potential to raise jurisdictional uncertainties in local communities, as well as complicating [sic] land-use planning and the provision of services.”
Also problematic for Cason were declines in tax revenues non-Indian governments might experience as assessable land is removed from their jurisdiction, or as tribes changed their economic development plans post acquisition that created additional competition or uncertainties for the surrounding communities.
“This possibility has prompted questions regarding what role the department could play in establishing land use restrictions to half certain lands from being used for gaming,” Cason testified.
The lone tribal witness, Kirk Francis, president of the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) and chief of the Penobscot Nation, reminded the subcommittee, “The IRA’s main purpose was and is to facilitate tribal nation self-governance, self-determination, and self-sufficiency in order to improve the lives of Indian people….Regaining a land base is essential to the exercise of tribal self-government.”
It is also a key component of national sovereignty, with all the rights and privileges as well as challenges that come with it. To get there, Francis proposed “a clean Carcieri fix,” something USET has been lobbying for over the past eight years.
“We think that this reaffirms what we already know – that trust land acquisition and regaining homelands should apply to all tribes,” he said.
Mayor Fred Allyn III, of Ledyard Connecticut, focused largely on the how harmful “the preemption of state and local taxation of non-Indian economic activities on Indian lands” have on state and local governments.
“The shortfall in the town’s budget increases every time the federal government takes more land into trust,” Allyn testified. He offered two fixes: objective standards to govern the trust acquisition decision and procedures that ensure genuine consideration of the impacts on surrounding communities. He also maintained, “the BIA refuses to consider the cumulative impact of trust acquisitions, and every new request is treated in isolation,…” Lastly, Allyn called for “the Secretary’s authority to take land out of trust” to be confirmed, especially “if the proposed land use changes after trust acquisition to a land use that was not considered in the original decision, or to stop the new land use from occurring until a new review is conducted.”
Left unsaid was whether Ledyard should return the favor when his town undertakes economic development or approves land-use development projects, as well as whether he believes that tribes near Ledyard – or any other non-Indian jurisdiction – should be able to nullify a land acquisition in a non-Indian community or to prevent a land-use project.
Pouring gas on the fire was Anchorage attorney Donald Mitchell who has appeared before Congressional committees and subcommittees a dozen times over the past 40 years. In a tone that took several subcommittee members aback, Mitchell made two highly controversial – and highly inflammatory – arguments predicated on the contentious assumption that Congress and Interior were “creating tribes.”
First, Mitchell contended, “the U.S. Constitution grants Congress – not the Secretary of the Interior, and certainly not [the BIA] – exclusive plenary power to decide the nation’s Indian policies.” For him, that brings into question “whether the members of tribes that Congress and the BIA created after the date of enactment of the IRA should be included within the purview of the first definition of the term “Indian in section 19 of the IRA so that the BIA can acquire land for those tribes….”
Second, Mitchell argued that “Section 5 of the IRA is an unconstitutional delegation of authority to an executive branch agency.” Essentially, he would like to see Congress revisit the definition of the term “Indian” and redefine it if necessary. At the same time, he would like to see Congress reexamine the Secretary of the Interior’s “unfettered authority to take into trust the title to land located outside the boundaries of Indian reservations that were in existence on June 18, 1934.” He’d prefer to see land acquisition in the hands of Congress.
While subcommittee members generally defended the status quo, they could see room for improvement in land acquisition policy, though mostly in facilitating it for tribes.
In Bishop’s (R-UT) words, “what we’d really like to get are written recommendations on how to create coherent land acquisition policy.” Members also vigorously defended tribal sovereignty and refuted Mitchell’s allegation that Congress was “suddenly and instantaneously creating Indian tribes.”
Francis rejected not only Mitchell’s notion of “[tying] federal acknowledgement to being under federal jurisdiction,” but called out the “delegitimizing of tribes” as “insulting and dangerous.”
LaMalfa concurred, reiterating that “the government doesn’t create a tribe!”
But the government does approve tribal trust land acquisition policies. LaMalfa concluded, “Are we in balance after eighty years? How can we clean up the process, and how can we make it more timely?”*
By Renae Ditmer • July 26, 2017
Kin 64: Yellow Crystal Seed
I dedicate in order to target
I seal the input of flowering
With the crystal tone of cooperation
I am guided by the power of intelligence
I am a galactic activation portal
Art is coincidental with the earliest stages of intelligence, and represents the highest dimensions of consciousness to which a human aspires.*
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Sahasrara Chakra (Dali Plasma)