July 2023 Newsletter

Dear Relatives,

We hope you and your loved ones are enjoying summer and the many gifts our natural world brings during this time of year. For our network, July 2023 has been filled with intentional learning, nurturing all our relations, and strengthening our base.

Our team came together for our annual staff gathering at our headquarters on Anishinaabe lands in Bemidji, MN. IEN has grown to a nearly 30-member team, and we spent time strengthening our kinship with one another, bringing our minds together as one to kick off our strategic planning process in person. For four days, our team exchanged assessments of our work, deepened our understanding of Non-Violent Direct Action, and began to strategize and plan for our work ahead.

July 2023 staff meeting hanging out in the garden in bimidji mn
Hanging out in the garden at the staff meeting, July 2023, Bimidji.

Protecting Indigenous Sacred Sites and Spiritual Autonomy

From July 11-13th, Mona Polacca, IEN’s Indigenous Water Ethics Organizer and a member of the International Council of Thirteen Grandmothers, participated in a gathering for the Religious Liberty Initiative at Notre Dame University of which she is a member of the  Board of Advisors since its beginning in 2020. The Religious Liberty Initiative envisions a world in which society has more peace as a result of robust legal protections and cultural acceptance that treat the freedom of religion or belief as a foundational component of human flourishing for all people. Grandmother Mona has and continues to be a respected and influential voice for Indigenous Peoples’ spiritual and cultural rights at international negotiations. At the Hague in 2008 “Faith in Human Rights,” Mona was the only Indigenous participant from Turtle Island and one of the contributors for the religious leaders pledge to uphold the Universal Declaration and freedom of religion or belief. And at the United Nation Conference(s) of the Parties, and international water rights gatherings she contributes to the protection of our sacred waters and sites from the ravages of over-development and natural resources extraction.

West Coast Ring of Fire Tour Continues

IEN’s Carbon Pricing team continues its West Coast Ring of Fire circuit tour, visiting Indigenous communities in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington impacted by false solutions to climate change as well as carbon markets and offsets. Our team continues to build and strengthen relationships in the region, sharing information and resources, and distributing educational materials.

Inherent Relationships Jurisprudence Community Working Sessions

The Indigenous Environmental Network and the Earth Law Center hosted four, two-day working sessions with Indigenous relatives in Bemidji, Durango, Seattle and Toronto. These community working sessions provided background to the concept of Inherent Relationships Jurisprudence (IRJ) as a legal philosophy arising from Traditional Indigenous Knowledge and how it might be used by Indigenous Nations, organizations, etc. to advocate from. IEN aims to create a Working Group of approximately ten (10) or so people to further develop the concept of Inherent Relationships Jurisprudence and how it might be utilized and implemented as something that is legally enforceable. Furthermore, it is our goal to work with ten (10) Indigenous Nations and communities that want to incorporate IRJ into their internal structure, so as to use it externally as an advocacy framework.

Pottery Workshop and Cultural Exchange 

IEN’s Indigenous Just Transition program hosted a three and a half day pottery workshop and cultural exchange with acclaimed Acoma Pueblo artist Mary Seymour at the Arikara Cultural Center in White Shield, North Dakota. Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara relatives participated in the workshop and stories about their journey to revitalize their traditions of pottery making were shared.  

Tonawanda Seneca Nation Defends their Homelands from Development Project

The Indigenous Environmental Network is in solidarity with relatives and allies of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation, and joining with the Nation to defend their unceded homelands from a ​massive industrial development project sited on the boundary of their Reservation, located in western New York. 
PLEASE read the info at their website and support this fight by sending comments by the extended deadline for public comment  until August 1 at 5pm.

You can find a sample comment letter as well as further context and guidance here
At heart of this struggle is one of Western New York’s greatest treasures – a 20,000-acre wetland-grassland complex located mainly in the Town of Alabama, and locally known as “Alabama Swamp.” It is also known as the Sixth Great Lake, a glacial lake now largely underground but surfacing in the plentiful streams and pools that make this watery landscape essential to the many reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds who live or pass through, especially during spring migration.
Click HERE to learn more about the Nation, their homelands, the development, & solidarity campaign.
All comments must be submitted to joconnor@phillipslytle.com BEFORE 5pm on Tuesday, August 1. Please BCC alliesoftsn@gmail.com and Alexander Eaton, Esq. (legal counsel for Orleans County) at aeaton@lippes.com to help us track public comments. 
Please forward this action alert to other friends and allies, follow on Facebook, or sign up to stay in touch for future updates and action alerts.

Fire erupts after explosion at TC Energy pipeline in Strasburg, Virginia

A large fire was spotted Tuesday morning off Interstate 81 in Shenandoah County, Virginia. Shenandoah County fire officials said there was an explosion on a TC Energy Pipeline. Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue said the Columbia Gas Transmission Pipeline has been shut down. Read more here

Enbridge Ordered to Shutdown Line 5 and Pay Bad River Band $5.1M

Canadian oil corporation Enbridge has been ordered to shut down its Line 5 tar sands oil pipeline and pay the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians $5.1 million. Chief Judge William M. Conley of the U.S. District Court for Wisconsin ruled on June 16, 2023 that Enbridge must adopt a more conservative shutdown and purge plan for its remaining time on the Bad River Indian Reservation. Read more here

TC Energy Selling 40% Stake in Gas Pipeline Systems for $3.9B

TC Energy Corp. is selling a 40% interest in its Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission pipelines in a deal with Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). TC Energy is divesting a 40% stake in the pipeline systems for $3.9 billion (CA$5.2 billion) in cash. The Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf pipeline systems will be organized in a joint venture partnership between Calgary-based TC Energy and private equity firm GIP. The two companies will jointly invest growth capital to enhance the systems’ capacity and reliability, in addition to annual maintenance and modernization investments. TC Energy will continue to operate the pipelines after closing, which is expected to occur in the fourth quarter. Read more here

The fate of the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Ultimately, the future of the pipeline is still uncertain. Its completion can’t be guaranteed as it still waits for the 4th Circuit Court to decide whether to dismiss the pending two cases challenging the project.
If the court decides to dismiss the cases, the environmental groups could potentially pursue legal recourse through the D.C. Circuit Court, which was the court Congress granted jurisdiction through the debt ceiling bill. But if the court decides not to dismiss the lawsuits, the environmental groups could try to halt construction again as their cases continue to work through the court.
For now, what comes next will be determined by how the 4th Circuit Court rules over the motion to dismiss the cases. Until then, construction on the pipeline can continue. READ MORE HERE

New public-land drilling rules would overhaul the Western oil industry

The last time the federal government raised the amount that oil and gas companies have to pay to drill on public land was in 1960 — the same year that four unknown, floppy-haired Brits formed a band called The Beatles. Other aspects of the Department of the Interior’s oil and gas leasing regime are more than a century old. The Biden administration proposed what would be a substantial overhaul of this system, a broad new set of rules that would dramatically increase the operators’ financial obligations, boost the royalties that companies pay and tighten permissive leasing regulations. Read more here

Restoring our Waters is Restoring Ourselves: Using Water Quality Research to Bring Healing and Sovereignty to the Apsáalooke.

We have known that the water is a reflection of us since time immemorial. However, our rivers and water have been impacted by human activity such as agriculture, sewage waste and abandoned mines. But I and other Apsáalooke researchers are working together to understand the quality of our water systems and how this poses risks to our community members and cultural practices. As Apsáalooke researchers we are testing the water of our neighbors, friends and family — and by leading this research we are contributing to our individual, community, cultural, and tribal autonomy. Read more here… 

Civil Society Groups Raise Concerns over Increasing Push for Carbon Markets, Offsets, False Solutions like Geoengineering and Land Base Removals During Climate Negotiations

Read the open letter here 

Thanks to Federal Tax Credits, it’s Boom Time in the Midwest for Carbon Dioxide Pipelines

Thousands of miles of carbon dioxide pipelines planned in the Midwest have been spurred, in part, by a major expansion of federal tax credits in Democrats’ 2022 climate law. That could lead to billions of dollars per year in federal tax credits benefiting the powerful Midwest ethanol industry, even as the proposals create intense conflicts between developers and local landowners worried about pipelines on their property. Read more here 

The United Nations is calling on world leaders to take real steps to lead us off fossil fuels to protect people and the planet. This September, the UN Climate Ambition Summit in New York will gather world leaders to commit to phasing out fossil fuels. 

Thousands of us will take to the streets of New York to demand President Biden take bold action to #End Fossil Fuels.
Join the People v Fossil Fuels, Indigenous Environmental Network, and others September 17, 2023 from 1-4p in New York City for the March to End Fossil Fuels!

The Indigenous Environmental Network is seeking an experienced and energetic Financial Manager to join our team. The Financial Manager will play a crucial role in providing financial resource functions for IEN. These functions include accounting, financial management and analysis, budget analysis, benefits and risk management. CLICK HERE TO learn more and APPLY!

There’s always more to read, view, and learn – follow us on social media and the web – ienearth.org

Established in 1990, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is an international alliance of Indigenous Peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws. IEN works with Indigenous grassroots community organizations, Tribal governments, Indigenous national organizations, multi-cultural alliances, Tribal universities and colleges, as well as Tribal Knowledge holders and spiritual leaders. We work to empower and build the capacities of Indigenous Peoples and front line communities to develop mechanisms to demand environmental justice, protect our sacred sites, land, air, water, the health of our people and all living things, and to build sustainable communities.


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