The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline

 Photo: Chief Stanley Grier, Piikani Nation.  

 In an unprecedented series of events, Tribes from across North America are rising up to protect land, water, and wildlife such as the sacred grizzly bear from degradation by greedy corporations. Last week, in one of the latest developments, Chief Stanley Grier of the Piikani Nation of the Blackfeet Confederacy submitted a declaration to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell reaffirming their opposition to removal of federal protections for the Yellowstone grizzly bear (“delisting”) and support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their protest against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) (link).

Chief Grier also demanded a halt in the federal move to delist bears until meaningful government consultation with Tribes occurs. Such a moratorium would be consistent with the recent federal decision to halt construction of the DAPL until the government could assess impacts and more meaningfully consult with the Standing Rock and other Tribes.

The Dakota Access pipeline, called by Tribes “the black snake”, would degrade lands regarded as sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux. The federal government stopped construction in response to a tense standoff in North Dakota that has drawn support from over a hundred Tribes from across the country.

The latest Piikani declaration follows a similar one submitted to Jewell by the Navajo Tribe in August (link). During the last three years, 50 plus Tribes, from the Blackfeet…

Read more