Aboriginal Justice

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Moccasins on the Ground—Lakota prepare to defend their people and land

 Moccasins 1 crop
 

Preparations for closing ceremony of Moccasins
on the Ground training, held near the place

where the Keystone XL pipeline is slated to cross
the Cheyenne River in violation of United States
treaty commitments.

The "Moccasins on the Ground Tour of Resistance," is training people from across the region and continent to protect land, water and life from threats presented by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline (KXL), intended to carry tar sands bitumen mixed with benzene and other chemicals from Alberta to Texas.

Christian Peacemaker Teams members Carol Rose and Duane Ediger supported the 14-16 June training on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Youth and elders, men and women, leaders of Lakota and other nations, including Winona LaDuke and Idle No More co-founder Nina Was'te Wilson, and a variety of allies engaged in prayer and participated in stories and workshops on tar sands, treaty and civil law, spiritually grounded resistance, media strategy, nonviolent action, abducted native women and sacred sites.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Urgent invitations from Colombia, Elsipogtog and the Owe Aku--Can you help us respond?


A week ago, on 30 May 2013, we got word from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia that Tito, one of the members of Las Pavas community in Colombia, had been attacked with machetes by workers for Aportes San Isidro, the palm oil company that has been trying to push the community of Las Pavas off their land for many years…



Tito (yellow and green shirt) taking
picture of security guard who had
ordered his men to shoot out tires of
Las Pavas's tractor.
 

This attack is an escalation of the pressure on this community that is deeply committed to nonviolence.  The Las Pavas leadership asked CPT to provide increased accompaniment for community members as they walk to and from their fields.  Our team on the ground is already stretched thin and they have made an appeal to CPT reservists to support them.  We have people ready to go to Colombia if we can raise the funds. Can you contribute $10 now to make this possible?…

This request is just one of four that CPT has received in the two weeks.  On 8 June 2013, our Aboriginal Justice team sent a group of reservists to New Brunswick, Canada in response to an invitation 48 hours earlier from Elsipogtog First Nation. Mi'kmaq and Maliseet peoples have been using creative Nonviolent Direct Action to stop shale gas exploration on their traditional lands, including peacefully blockading a truck hired by the exploration company, SWN Resources Canada.

ELSIPOGTOG FRACKING PROTEST UPDATE: 9-14 June 2013

“The role of the warrior chief is to protect the land, the water and the people.  Our only weapons are our drums, our sweetgrasses, our pipes, and our ceremonies.  We are nonviolent.”

This description was how John Levi, warrior chief of the Elsipogtog First Nation, explained his role to an emergency CPT exploratory delegation to his New Brunswick Mi’kmaq community located north of Moncton.

The Elsipogtog First Nation and non-Aboriginal landowners in Kent County, New Brunswick are fighting to stop shale gas exploration by SWN Resources.  They are concerned fracking will lead to the depletion of groundwater and widespread water contamination.

Fracking is a slang term for the process of digging deep wells (up to two miles) into the earth and injecting water under high pressure laden with industrial chemicals to fracture shale.  The procedure releases otherwise inaccessible deposits of natural gas.

Each frack uses millions of gallons of water laden with hundreds of different chemicals.  Resource companies have not had to disclose the types of chemicals they are using because of patent protections.  Scientists have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

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ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: CPT to support nonviolence training for Lakota Nations as they prepare to resist XL pipeline


In response to a request from the Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) International Justice Project, Christian Peacemaker Teams is renewing a relationship with Lakota communities by sending a pair of peacemakers to support a nonviolent direct action training on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota 14-16 June.




posted by Debra White Plume
March 2013

Alberta-based TransCanada Corporation has proposed building the Keystone XL pipeline to carry tar sands bitumen from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf coast. The pipeline's proposed path crosses treaty lands of Lakota nations that have pronounced themselves solidly against the pipeline.  It also runs over the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world's largest, and crosses more than 1,700 other bodies of water. Pipeline ruptures often occur near water crossings since these lowest points subject pipes to the highest internal pressures.  Bitumen spills have poisoned portions of the Kalamazoo River (Michigan), Lake Conway (Arkansas), the Des Plaines River (Illinois) and many other waterways.

Tar sands bitumen, produced through a scorched-earth process, sinks in water and is impossible to clean up. The thick goo is diluted with benzene and other "proprietary" chemicals to allow it to flow through pipes. Those lighter volatile compounds go airborne after a spill, harming humans and animals. A pipeline proposal similar to Keystone XL through Vancouver, British Columbia, was rejected by Band and City Councils, which in turn forced the provincial government to nix the project on 31 May 2013.

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 12, 2013

Pray for Mi'kmaq and Maliseet people and their allies in New Brunswick, protesting
seismic testing and plans for fracking with its threat of contaminated land, water
and air.  Pray for courage among supporters, safety for activists, and a good mind
for police.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for those involved with the current fracking dispute in Mi’kmaq and Maliseet First Nations.

Christian Peacemaker Teams has received an urgent invitation to send a team to the Elsipogtog Reserve in New Brunswick following arrests of Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists, who are protesting the threat of the environmentally destructive “fracking” process.  Please share the following prayer with your faith communities and contacts. Follow the CPT Aboriginal Justice Facebook Page for more information as this situation develops.

Pray for Mi'kmaq and Maliseet people and their allies in New Brunswick, protesting seismic testing and plans for fracking that threatens to contaminate land and water.  Pray for all involved in the conflict, for courage among supporters, safety for activists, and what our indigenous partners call “a good mind” for police.

 

ASUBPEESCHOSEEWAGONG REFLECTION: On unrighteous indignation


Our first evening on the Grassy Narrows reserve, we went to the local garbage dump to look for bears.  Watching them close-up was awesome, although seeing them in the context of a trash pile was troubling.  â€śSo much garbage, just dumped right there in the middle of the forest,” I thought, “and this from people who are supposed to be defending nature and protecting Mother Earth!” Allowing myself to indulge in some ugly stereotypes of native people, I went back to our guesthouse with my nose held high.

 Trappers Center - Shoon and the gang
 May 2013 delegation to Grassy Narrows

On our last day in Grassy Narrows, as we were packing up and cleaning out the building in which we were staying, I saw the kitchen garbage can.  The thought went through my head, “We should bring this garbage back with us to Kenora.  Otherwise they’re just going to throw it out there on that garbage pile.”

Thankfully, I noticed the gaping hole in my logic before I voiced my thoughts:  What would happen to that garbage bag if we brought it back to Kenora?  We’d put it out for collection, and the garbage truck would take it away to a landfill, which, of course, is just a glorified garbage pile messing up someone else’s forest…

Prayers for Peacemakers, May 15, 2013

Ask for God's grace that the church may undo colonial oppression by opposing resource extraction at the expense of First Nations, and by respecting Indian life, lands and waters.  Pray for new Christian Peacemaker Teams delegates to First Nations territories in Canada.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Anticipating a long, hot summer

Indigenous rights network Defenders of the Land entered into an alliance with Idle No More, anticipating a "Spring of Solidarity" and a "Summer of Sovereignty". Their statement includes a new call for nonviolent direct action to resist the unfettered, unconsented resource extraction affecting both indigenous and settler land users, and urban campaigns to educate, rally, and mobilize support.

CPT OUTREACH REFLECTION: Forgiving children

After fifteen months of full-time service with CPT's Aboriginal Justice Team, my view of peacemaking is broadening from answering Ron Sider's 1984 challenge, embracing the cross and the Spirit of The Way and standing in front of weapons, to also challenging the church to transform violence and oppression through outreach, education, advocacy and liberating love.