New Briefs – November 2021

A sit-in was held at the BIA in Washington, DC, demanding President Biden make good on his climate campaign pledges. (Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood, Survival Media Agency.)

Indigenous Leaders Occupy the BIA
Washington, DC – On October 14, Indigenous leaders occupied the B.I.A. in Washington, D.C for the first time in roughly 50 years. The Protectors released this statement:
“We will no longer allow the U.S. government to separate us from our relationship to the sacred knowledge of Mother Earth and all who depend on her. Her songs have no end, so we must continue the unfinished work of our ancestors who have walked on before us.
“Because of colonization, our mission has been passed on generation after generation – to protect the sacred. Just as those who walked before us, we continue their song and rise for our youth, for the land, and for the water. Politicians do not take care of us. Presidents will break their promises but Mother Earth has always given us what we need to thrive. We will not back down until our natural balance is restored….
“Our demands for the President of the United States are:
– Abolition of the B.I.A.
– Restoration of 110 million acres (450,000 km2) of land taken away from Native Nations
– Bring Home Our Children Buried At Your Residential Schools
– Restoration of treaty-making (ended by Congress in 1871)
– Establishment of a treaty commission to make new treaties (with sovereign Native Nations)
– Land Back
– Water Back
– Honor the Treaties
– No new leases for oil and gas or extractive industry on public lands
– Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
– Reclaim and affirm health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for all Indigenous people
– Restoration of terminated rights
– Repeal of state jurisdiction on Native Nations
– Federal protection for offenses against Indians.”

The sit-in was held on the fourth day of the People Vs. Fossil Fuels mobilization, which asks President Biden to make good on his climate campaign pledges.

According to a statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network, 55 people were arrested and taken away to D.C. Metro police stations.

At least two activists were tased by the police, organizers said. Police also assaulted one person with Indigenous media and broke their equipment, they added.

President Biden Restores Protections for Three National Monuments
Washington, DC – As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to better protect, conserve, and restore the lands and waters that sustain the health of communities and power our economy, President Biden signed three proclamations restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments.

By restoring these national monuments, which were significantly cut back during the previous administration, President Biden is fulfilling a key promise and upholding the longstanding principle that America’s national parks, monuments, and other protected areas are to be protected for all time and for all people.

The President’s protection of these three national monuments is among a series of steps the Administration has taken to restore protections to some of America’s most cherished lands and waters, many of which are sacred to Tribal Nations. The Administration has halted leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, committed to restore protections for the Tongass National Forest under the Roadless Rule, and initiated the process to protect Bristol Bay and the world-class salmon fishery it supports. The Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, the Columbia River Basin, and dozens of other special places are also back on America’s conservation agenda.