The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, November 13, 2016


An unexpected Presidential win, a pipeline progresses, and another corporate battlefield north of the 49th Parallel were all prominent in the headlines during the Week That Was leading up to November 13.

HE DID IT: Donald Trump, running on the Republican ticket, won the electoral vote and will be the new President of the United States. Democrat Hillary Clinton, while winning the popular vote, will not be sworn in. “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” Trump said in his acceptance speech following Clinton’s concession. “So all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.” Almost immediately, though, a rash of hate crimes, graffiti and harassment broke out across the country. ICTMN Culture Editor Simon Moya-Smith warned everyone not to underestimate what Trump could do. The International Indian Treaty Council called it a ‘day of sober reckoning’ in its statement expressing concern about Indigenous People’s rights worldwide. Meanwhile, at least one elector, a Puyallup man, had indicated he might not vote for Clinton, becoming what is known as a “faithless elector.” Overall, reported ICTMN contributor Mark Trahant, there were a few important wins on the congressional front, though losses kept the number of Natives in the two legislative bodies flat.

UNABATED AND UNABASHED: As the Dakota Access Pipeline neared the Missouri River, Energy Transfer Partners continued to build, even in the face of at least two requests from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that they hold off until the water protectors could be moved and the tense situation de-escalated. The violent raids at Standing Rock formed a stark contrast to the trust-building listening sessions that have been taking place between tribes and the U.S. government seeking more effective consultation methods. Indeed, disgust at the treatment of water protectors by North Dakota authorities, the company and the National Guard sparked worldwide protest and shows of support. The day before Election Day, 38 water protectors were arraigned, pleading not guilty to trespassing on “stolen land.” Rounding out the support, it was announced that Jason Mraz will join Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Joel Rafael and the late John Trudell’s band Bad Dog for a benefit concert on Sunday, November 27 at Prairie Knights Pavilion in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

LNG LAWSUIT: Several legal challenges have been launched by First Nations and environmental groups opposed to the recent federal approval of the massive Pacific Northwest LNG project (PNW LNG) in British Columbia. The legal battles come after repeated attempts by the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams to have the project site relocated out of concern that the $11.4 billion facility and tanker berth would destroy Lelu Island and critical salmon habitat in the estuary of the Skeena River and eventually wipe out Canada’s second largest salmon run.

ANCIENT ASTRONOMY UNDER SIEGE: In an effort to address concerns about oil and gas leasing near Chaco Culture National Historic Park, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have expanded the review of the mineral management plan near the ancestral site in Northwest New Mexico.

RACIST OF THE YEAR: The international tribal advocacy organization Survival International bestowed its Racist of the Year 2016 Award to President Ian Khama of Botswana, who has referred to the heavily persecuted Bushmen of the Kalahari as living "lives of backwardness" and "a primeval life of a bygone era" while preventing them from returning to their land despite a court verdict in their favor.

GAMING VICTORY: The Seminole Tribe of Florida won the right to keep its blackjack tables through 2030 after a judge determined that the state violated the terms of the 20-year tribal-state gaming compact by allowing pari-mutuels throughout Florida to offer “designated-player games” —electronic versions of their house-banked games.

VETERANS DAY: On November 11 we paid tribute to warriors who have served in the U.S. military. A photo gallery by Arts and Entertainment Editor Vincent Schilling, himself a veteran, was rounded out by news of help that is on the way for veterans in Arizona.

THE SUPEREST OF SUPERMOONS: After a tumultuous week, the world was in sore need of light. The heavens delivered, as the moon edged closer to Mother Earth than it has in 69 years, treating Turtle Island and its denizens to a stunning, shimmering super moon.

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