Native News Network Staff in Native Challenges. Discussion »
MARTY, SOUTH DAKOTA In a continuing battle for the preservation of important Treaty and Aboriginal lands, the Ihanktonwan Oyate/Yankton Sioux General Council passed two key resolutions on April 4 and April 15. This new legislation bolsters the stance the Nation has taken in opposition to the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline.
The April 4th Resolution renounced a "flawed" process of consultation that has been forced upon tribes by the Department of State in its review of the proposed pipeline project. The Ihanktonwan scoffed at the 159 consultations cited in the State Department's Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as "gross misrepresentations" and stated that "Nation to Nation" consultation only occurs on Ihanktonwan homelands and with the General Council.
Citing numerous examples, the Resolution asserted that the State Department has neglected its legal obligation to engage with Indigenous Nations on a government to government basis and conduct meaningful consultation in its review of the project, as required by Section 106 of the national Historic Preservation Act. The tribe alleges that the State Department's failure is particularly egregious with respect to the surveying process as required by federal statutes to identify cultural and historical sites that will be harmed if Keystone XL pipeline is approved.
The Ihanktonwan General Council has now formally rejected the approach taken by the State Department thus far in its attempt to fulfill its statutory consultation duties, and the General Council is demanding that remedial action be taken, and proper consultation be conducted, prior to the issuance of any decision regarding the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.
The April 15th Resolution cited linguistic research that demonstrates the existence of the Siouan language group in five Canadian provinces and twenty four of the US states, thus firmly establishing aboriginal rights for the Dakota/Lakota/Nakota, even in unceded territories. The Resolution cites the recently signed INTERNATIONAL TREATY TO PROTECT THE SACRED AGAINST TARSANDS which was initiated between the Ihanktonwan and the Pawnee Nation, and signed by seven other Indigenous Sovereigns in the US and Canada since January 25, 2013. The parties to that Treaty affirmed that "our laws define our solemn duty and responsibility to our ancestors, to ourselves and to future generations, to protect the lands and waters of our homelands, and we agree to mutually and collectively oppose tar sands projects which would impact our territories, including but not limited to the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline."
The April 15 action also resolved that the Ihanktonwan will support the Oglala Nation Resolution of March 26, 2013 prohibiting any intrusion of Tar Sands Projects in the 1851 and 1868 Treaty areas.
The elected Ihanktonwan government officials and the elected Treaty Council Delegates will deliver the two resolutions as well as the recently signed International Treaty to Protect the Sacred to the State Department Hearing in Grand Island, Nebraska on April 18, 2013.
Treaty Delegates John Wright and Faith Spotted Eagle say that the Ihanktonwan have pledged to assist Canadian relatives in the upcoming "sovereignty summer" against tar sands developments.
posted April 17, 2013 6:00 am edt