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Why This Matters: Native American tribal governments must be treated fairly under the law. The Trump administration dragged its feet on disbursing the badly needed stimulus funds, which Senator Tom Udall called “inexcusable” at a time when native communities are being ravaged by the coronavirus due to their lack of adequate health care and basic needs like clean running water. And that it took drawn-out litigation to invalidate long-defunct oil and gas leases on Native American sacred lands is further evidence of systemic discrimination against them.
CARES Funding Foot Dragging
Tribes initially sued to gain access to the full amount of CARES Act funding because the Trump Administration had withheld it all while the Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) claimed they were eligible for it even though they are not recognized tribal governments but rather private corporations owned by Native Alaskans. Only after the same judge ruled in May that the ANCs cannot receive the funds (a decision which is being appealed now) did the Treasury Department disburse 60% of the CARES Funds intended for tribal governments. But they withheld a portion for the ANCs should they succeed, which the court just struck down now. This paves the way for the final nearly $700m to get to the tribal governments that desperately need it albeit months late.
The Blackfeet explained the significance of their court victory this way in an Earth Justice press statement. “Our traditional practices and traditional lands are the firm ground underfoot that we need to push off into the future,” said Tyson Running Wolf. Running Wolf is a Montana state legislator, former Blackfeet Tribal Business Council member, hunting outfitter, and leader among Blackfeet traditionalists. “This is how we heal ourselves, how we heal our communities, how we move forward into success. The Badger-Two Medicine is more than just land; it’s an entire way of life.”
Wilton Gregory, appointed the first African American Catholic cardinal, is an ally in the fight against global warming. He not only believes in climate change, but he also has supported the Pope’s landmark environmental treatise— “Laudato Si:’ On Care for our Common Home” —when many archbishops in the United States did not, and put together a plan to address the Pope’s concerns about climate change that has been an inspiration for other faith leaders in Boston, Columbus, Minneapolis, San Diego, and other cities.
This week, just in time for Thanksgiving, we talk with Adam Kolton, the Executive Director of the Alaska Wilderness League about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Arctic Indigenous Communities, and conserving Alaskan wilderness. Watch the entire interview. Here are a few highlights: On the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: “This is the area where hundreds of […]
This week we had the pleasure of sitting with Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, a title he’s held since October 2019. We asked the minister about how Indonesia is balancing the precarious equation of conserving its rich biodiversity while addressing the duel climate and COVID crises. Now that […]
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