‘They Know Their Lands Better Than We Do’: Sally Jewell on Tribal Keystone XL Opposition

MSNBC screen shotU.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell tells MSNBC host José Díaz-Balart, 'They know their lands better than we do' when asked about the Keystone XL pipeline.

MSNBC screen shot
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell tells MSNBC host José Díaz-Balart, ‘They know their lands better than we do’ when asked about the Keystone XL pipeline.

 

By: Indian Country Today

 

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell invoked not only tribal sovereignty but also environmental expertise when she spoke to MSNBC’s José Díaz-Balart about the Keystone XL pipeline, which many tribes oppose.

“I think the fact that the tribal nations are standing up saying, ‘We are concerned about this. We are concerned about water quality. We’re concerned about tribal sovereignty. We’re concerned about what this pipeline may do for our lands and our rights,’ needs to be heard,” she said when he asked her to put tribal opposition to Keystone in context.

“In my role as secretary of the interior we will make sure that there’s a platform for those tribal voices to be heard,” she said. “And I think they will make a very effective case because they know their lands better than we do.”

In the end it will all come down to the State Department, she said, which will make the pipeline decision “by listening to all of the facts and information they have,” including tribal voices.

Jewell also spoke about Native youth, the centuries of oppression that have led to the current state of affairs regarding mental health, education and poverty, and on how it is time to make things right.

“We have destroyed much of the hope and the pride and the future for a lot of Native youth,” she said. “This is the time to turn that around.”

Her full chat with Díaz-Balart can be seen at MSNBC.com.

The pipeline threatens many tribal lands, especially Sioux territory in South Dakota, given that the proposed route traverses the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Last month tribal President Cyril Scott said that if the pipeline passes it would be considered “an act of war,” and promised to fight it all the way.

RELATED: Rosebud Sioux Tribe Calls House Keystone XL Passage an ‘Act of War,’ Vows Legal Action

Rosebud Leader on Keystone: ‘Test Us—You’ll See an Indian Uprising’

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/12/04/they-know-their-lands-better-we-do-sally-jewell-keystone-xl-opposition-158132

Descendants of Freedmen sue U.S. government

 BY RYAN ABBOTT,  Courthouse News Service
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government turned its back on the descendants of freed slaves of Native Americans, swindling them out of lucrative land royalties allotted to them as children, a class action claims in federal court.
Leatrice Tanner-Brown and the Harvest Institute Freedman Federation sued Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, seeking an accounting of revenue from leases on land promised to children of Freedmen, who were liberated by citizens of the so-called “Five Civilized Indian Tribes” or Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole nations.
According to the complaint: “The Five Civilized Tribes allied themselves with the Confederacy during the Civil War and attempted to maintain slaves following the War. As a result of the Tribes’ disloyalty to the United States during the Civil War all territory owned by the Tribes was forfeited. The status of the Tribes was reestablished under treaties entered in 1866.”
Some of the forfeited land was allotted to the freed slaves and their descendants.
The Department of Interior in 1908 agreed to keep track of revenue from leases on land granted to Freedmen minors or their descendants.
“Notwithstanding demand from plaintiffs for an accounting of revenue from leases on restricted lands during the period that these lands were held by Freedmen minors and not subject to alienation, defendants have failed to provide the requested accounting,” the complaint states.
“Under the Act of May 27, 1908, restrictions against alienation of Freedmen allotments … were not removed. Accordingly, any royalties derived from leases on [Freedmen] allotments should have been accounted for by the Department of Interior under the terms of the Sections 2 and 6 of the 1908 Act,” according to the complaint. “These failures were not innocent. They were the result of a deliberate strategy to swindle land and money from Freedmen.”
The claims says many of these allotments were for oil-rich land, and the government allowed grafters and speculators “anxious to obtain oil-rich lands for little or no payment to allottees” to exploit the often unsophisticated and uneducated Freedmen.
According to the complaint, there were 23,405 Freedmen in 1914.
“Defendants breached their duty to avoid conflicts of interests and to monitor Freedmen allotments in favor of alienation of European settlers, Oklahoma statehood, and corporate interests,” the class claims.
They want an accounting of money collected from the allotted lands and declaration of the government’s fiduciary duties.
They are represented by Paul Robinson Jr. of Memphis, Tenn.