Northwest Tribes United With Southeast Alaska Tribes to Protect the Tongass

Op-Ed by Terri Parr, Executive Director, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest IndiansJan 27, 2020

https://www.anchoragepress.com/opinion/northwest-tribes-united-with-southeast-alaska-tribes-to-protect-the/article_19581872-415e-11ea-ab89-0bea995660c3.html?fbclid=IwAR0SGqP-z0hmek2p5k1g80ftlIRXNhzuqXx2D3_6y8vELwNFN2v34PBckt4

The United States government is proposing to remove protections from nearly 10 million acres of critical national forest land in the state of Alaska. This rollback in important environmental safeguards threatens the food security and livelihoods of Southeast Alaska Tribal residents whose sovereign lands are nearby, impacts some of the world’s last remaining old-growth forests, and imperils efforts to grow a sustainable tourism industry. During our annual winter convention in October of 2017, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) passed a resolution calling on the Forest Service to fully protect designated roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest, our country’s largest national forest.

On October 17, 2019, the Forest Service, housed within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommended removing all currently protected roadless areas in the Tongass in its upcoming draft management plan. This initiated a 60-day public comment period that ended on December 17. Over a dozen Southeast Alaskan Tribal governments and many more individuals, from the Craig Tribal Association to the Organized Village of Kasaan and others, have spoken out in opposition to this plan. One of these Tribal leaders, Joel Jackson, President of the Organized Village of Kake, a federally recognized tribal government, has taken a stand against the U.S. Forest Service and brought the plight of his home, the Tongass National Forest, to our attention.

ATNI is a 65-year old nonprofit organization representing over 50 Northwest Tribal governments from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Southeast Alaska, Northern California and Montana. As an inter-Tribal, advocacy organization we are dedicated to promoting and protecting Tribal self-determination and sovereignty. Our purpose is to provide a forum for sharing information, discussing a range of issues that impact across the Tribes, and using our collective voices to pass resolutions on policy matters.

In passing our resolution on the Tongass National Forest, ATNI is fulfilling what we were created to do: supporting local tribes in Southeast Alaska in the fight to protect traditional homelands and way of life. ATNI recognizes that the pristine nature of the Tongass forests are integral to and inseparable from the cultural traditions and subsistence of local Tribal entities. Accordingly, we urged the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to “select the ‘no-action alternative’ as the preferred alternative in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska – Roadless Rulemaking process,” to maintain current protections for many Southeast Tribes’ customary and traditional use areas.

The Forest Service’s proposed removal of protections for 9.5 million acres would open some of the world’s last remaining old growth to logging that would impact local Tribes’ customary uses of these lands. President Jackson and other Tribal leaders in the area have told Alaska Senator Murkowski this, have presented at a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, and testified during Forest Service hearings.

It’s clear that the only corporate special interests would gain from the removal of forest protections would be the timber industry which, using taxpayer subsidies, would immediately move to clear cut our traditional homelands. As Joel stated at our convention when he presented this information to us,

“we depend on our forests and salmon streams to sustain us, and logging threatens those streams. Our traditional hunting and fishing practices are critical because they put food on our tables.”

The Forest Service itself seems to agree that logging endangers salmon streams. In a Jan 28, 2018 Tweet, the Forest Service stated “past logging activities on the Sitka Island of Alaska damaged the intact salmon stream habitat” and announced a new program to restore the damaged watershed and improve salmon production. Additionally, over 200 commercial and recreational fishermen and fisherwomen in Alaska recently added their names to a letter to the Forest Service making the same point and urging roadless protections for the Tongass National Forest remain in place.

Let’s listen to what Tribes, fishermen and fisherwomen, and many others in Southeast Alaska are saying. We have a very limited time left to ensure the U.S. Forest Service doesn’t allow clear cut logging on some of our last remaining pristine lands. Tongass roadless protections are an integral part of the identity of local Tribes and should be protected as once they are gone, they are gone forever.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., keynote speaker at ATNI Winter Convention 2020

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, which represents tribes across seven states, adopted a resolution this week in support of a Cherokee Nation Delegatein Congress during its winter convention in Portland. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., who was a keynote speaker, thanked ATNI leadership for their efforts to uphold treaty rights for all Indian Nations. 

During the trip, Quinault President Fawn Sharp and Vice President Tyson Johnston also passed a resolution on behalf of the Quinault Nation unanimously supporting a Delegate to Congress. 

To date nine tribes and tribal organizations across the country have passed resolutions in support of a delegate. Chief Hoskin appointed a delegate to Congress, Kim Teehee, in August.

Thank you Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. for your remarks and taking time to visit the Northwest!
#ProtectingTribalSovereignty #TribalSolidarity
#TribalDelegate #UpholdTreaties

https://www.anadisgoi.com/archive/2592-chief-hoskin-announces-the-appointment-of-a-cherokee-nation-delegate-to-congress?fbclid=IwAR0Wl6W9nSBx_xZz5ugzIICrBmwDaDhQErIm1QlU8FWvIWnbUE5UgQn4g8E

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and Northwest tribal leaders stand together to protect the environment


Northwest tribes call on federal government to respect tribal opposition to controversial environmental decisions that impact traditional lands

News Release

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians

On January 30, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) concluded their successful Winter Convention.

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians’ Winter Convention is one of the largest Pacific Northwest regional convening of tribal leaders from across Oregon, Idaho, Washington, southeast Alaska, Northern California and Montana. Tribal leaders engage in policy and legislative discussions, share emerging trends on critical issues facing tribal communities, and work collaboratively on committees to develop positions on policy, legislation, and help frame the future of Indian Country in the Northwest. 

A wide array of pressing issues were discussed this Convention ranging from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic to fighting climate change but a clear theme emerged: the United States Government needs to respect and hear tribal voices that are working so hard to protect their people and their traditional lands and waters. 

With the Trump administration’s recent rollback of protections to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), tribal leaders are increasingly concerned and, therefore, unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Council on Environmental Quality to consult with tribes on the regulatory proposal to change important regulations under the Environmental Policy Act. 

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) has become a leading voice for environmental protection for Indian Country nationwide and is a strong voice in support of Alaska tribes that are fighting efforts to remove environmental protections in Alaska, especially in areas like Bristol Bay whose waters and salmon are an integral part of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians members’ traditional ways of life. 

“We are so thankful that the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians are standing with the people of Bristol Bay as fellow salmon people. We are doing everything we can to protect our people’s way of life,” said Alannah Hurley (Yup’ik), United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “The fact that Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and other nations across the U.S. are standing with us, makes a very big difference. This is a really big year for us. The Corps is talking about getting a permit decision out in 2020, so our unity and cooperation is paramount in the work we are doing.” 

At the convention, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians members also reiterated their support for the Alaska tribes fighting U.S. Government efforts to remove protections for 9.5 million acres of the Tongass National Forest. In October 2019, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians passed a formal resolution calling on the Forest Service to fully protect designated roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest, our country’s largest national forest. As the Federal Government seems content to ignore the concerns of tribes and the impact that widespread logging of the Tongass would have on traditional hunting and fishing grounds, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians felt it important to reaffirm their solidarity with Alaska tribes. 

“We fully support the Organized Village of Kake and tribes of Southeast Alaska that are advocating against removal of protections for the Tongass,” said Catherine Edwards, 6th Vice President of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. “We urge the U.S. Forest Service to listen and have meaningful consultations with tribal leaders. The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska have strongly opposed the Forest Service’s handling of the tribal consultation process with tribal villages across Southeast Alaska. They should be the ones to determine what happens to their forests since this is their ancestral lands and they’ve been there since time immemorial.” 

As the original stewards of the Pacific Northwest since time immemorial, tribes and tribal leaders need the Federal Government to work in good faith and engage in meaningful consultation with tribes to ensure that our future generations will continue to benefit from these lands. 

About Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians  

In 1953 farsighted tribal leaders in the Northwest formed the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, and dedicated it to tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Today, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is a nonprofit organization representing over 50 Northwest tribal governments from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, southeast Alaska, Northern California, and Western Montana. Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is an organization whose foundation is composed of the people it is meant to serve — the Indian peoples. Through its conferences, forums, networks and alliances, it is the intent of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians to represent and advocate for the interests of its member tribes to national Indian and non-Indian organizations and governments.

The Protect ICWA Campaign Urges Federal Appeals Court to Affirm ICWA’s Constitutionality Following Oral Arguments in Brackeen v. Bernhardt

by Amory Zschach | Jan 22, 2020 | ICWA

(NEW ORLEANS, January 22, 2020)—Following today’s United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals oral arguments in the Brackeen v. Bernhardt case, the Protect ICWA Campaign, consisting of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Congress of American Indians, the Association on American Indian Affairs, and the Native American Rights Fund, issued the following statements:

“We look forward to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision,” said Sarah Kastelic, Executive Director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. “We are confident the Fifth Circuit will affirm ICWA’s strong constitutional grounding. ICWA protects children in state child welfare systems and helps them remain connected to their families, cultures, and communities.”

“NCAI applauds the strong advocacy of the intervening tribes and the federal government, as Indian Country’s trustee, in defending the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act before the entire Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this morning,” said Kevin Allis, NCAI Chief Executive Officer. “We pray for relief that upholds ICWA in its entirety and continues to protect the best interests of Indian children and families.”

“There has been an overwhelming amount of resources coming forward to support the Indian Child Welfare Act. We should be spending our resources protecting Indian children and not fighting interest groups that seek to dismantle the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Tribes. The Fifth Circuit will be on the right side of history protecting Indian children, and by doing so strengthening the child welfare system for all children,” said Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, Executive Director and Attorney for the Association on American Indian Affairs.

“We are confident the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will again confirm the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act,” said John Echohawk, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund. “We will always stand with our children, families, and Tribes against any and all efforts to diminish our communities, well-being, and sovereignty.”

More about the Indian Child Welfare Act

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a 41-year-old federal law protecting the well-being and best interests of Indian children and families by upholding family integrity and stability and keeping Indian children connected to their community and culture. ICWA also reaffirms the inherent rights of tribal nations to be involved in child welfare matters involving their citizens.

The law protects the best interests of American Indian and Alaska Native children by requiring agencies and courts take into account not just the immediate needs of Indian children, but also their long-term interests as they grow and move into adulthood.

A nationwide coalition of 495 tribal nations, more than 60 Native organizations, 26 states and the District of Columbia, 77 members of Congress, 31 leading child welfare organizations, and Indian and constitutional law professors agree ICWA is vital to the well-being of Indian children and the stability and integrity of Indian families today.

To learn more about ICWA visit: nicwa.org/about-icwa/ or read the full text of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The following briefs were filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Fifth Circuit in Brackeen v. Bernhardt:

Defendants-Appellants Briefs

United States Brief

Tribal Intervenor Defendants Brief

Navajo Nation Brief

Amicus Briefs Supporting ICWA

486 Tribes and 59 Indian Organizations Brief

26 States and District of Columbia Brief

Members of Congress Brief

Casey Family Programs and Child Welfare Organizations Brief

Indian Law Professors Brief

Administrative Law and Constitution Law Professors Brief

Professor Gregory Ablavsky Brief

Native American Women, Indian Tribes, and Organizations Brief

Quapaw Nation Brief

TRIBES WIN KXL ORDER IN ROSEBUD SIOUX TRIBE V. TRUMP

December 20, 2019
Categories: Environmental Protection (Climate Change)Native LandsReligious Rights (Religious Freedom, Sacred Places, Repatriation)Tribal Sovereignty and Jurisdiction

https://www.narf.org/keystone-xl/?fbclid=IwAR27aTbfTLiglZwCoAS3UD53TbkymwKOwiTh2mPgCLhFeDfPuAMr5A9I5iA

On Friday, December 20, 2019, NARF and their clients, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Fort Belknap Indian Community (the Tribes) received some great news from a Montana court. The federal court denied the United States federal government’s and the TransCanada’s (TC Energy) efforts to dismiss the Tribes’ case against the KXL Pipeline (Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Trump).

NARF Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth praised the decision, “The court’s decision means that ALL of the tribes’ claims on the current permits will proceed. The only claims dismissed are the ones that the Tribes conceded should be dismissed because they were based on an old permit. So this is a complete win for the tribes on the motions to dismiss. We look forward to holding the Trump Administration and TransCanada accountable to the Tribes and the applicable laws that must be followed.”

NARF Staff Attorney Matthew Campbell also reacted to the news, “Of course, the treaties were agreed to by the president of the United States and ratified by the Senate, so the treaties clearly apply. The court rightly found that today.”

#HonorTheTreaties

Learn more about Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Trump.

Ninth Circuit Court: EPA Broke the Law, Must Plan to Reduce Columbia and Snake River Temperatures

EPA must protect Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead from dangerously warm river temperatures

Salmon leaping over Lyle Falls, photo by Peter Marbach
Salmon leaping over Lyle Falls, photo by Peter Marbach.

December 20, 2019 (Seattle, WA)—Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of conservation and trade groups and ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect Columbia basin salmon and steelhead from dangerously warm river temperatures. Warm water, caused by large, shallow reservoirs and intensifying climate change, threatens the Columbia and Snake rivers’ already imperiled salmon and steelhead.

The lawsuit was sparked by record-high water temperatures in recent years, including an incident in 2015 where 250,000 adult sockeye salmon died when the Columbia and Snake rivers became too warm. This year, hot water in the lower Snake River again killed many endangered Snake River sockeye.

Columbia Riverkeeper, Snake River Waterkeeper, Idaho Rivers United, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and the Institute for Fisheries Resources brought the suit. The court found that EPA has failed to undertake its mandatory duty to issue a temperature TMDL, stating: “The time has come–EPA must do so now.”  The temperature TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, is a Clean Water Act pollution plan designed to protect salmon from hot water in the Columbia and Snake rivers. 

“Because of today’s victory, EPA will finally write a comprehensive plan to deal with dams’ impacts on water temperature and salmon survival,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. 

“Our members’ livelihoods depend on healthy salmon runs,” said Glen Spain, Northwest Regional Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and the Institute for Fisheries Resources. “It’s simply unacceptable to let hot water kill otherwise-healthy adult salmon before they can spawn. We’re glad EPA will finally do its job.”

“Hot water in the lower Snake and Columbia rivers has been a year-in, year-out problem for endangered salmon,” said Nic Nelson, Executive Director of Idaho Rivers United. “This victory will create more protections for endangered species that are an indelible part of our northwest way of life, culture, economy, and heritage.”

“This decision represents a clear victory for critically endangered salmon and steelhead populations” said Snake River Waterkeeper Buck Ryan. “EPA must now act to protect what remains of the once-magnificent anadromous fisheries on the Snake, Clearwater, and Salmon rivers by ensuring water temperatures stay cool enough to allow passage for spawning.

Columbia Riverkeeper, Snake River Waterkeeper, Idaho Rivers United, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and the Institute for Fisheries Resources are represented by the law firm Advocates for the West. Advocates for the West litigates to protect western public lands, waters, and wildlife.  

For more information, visit columbiariverkeeper.orgsnakeriverwaterkeeper.orgidahorivers.orgpcffa.orgifrfish.organd advocateswest.org.

###

Resources:
Background:

The Clean Water Act bans Columbia River temperatures over 68 degrees Fahrenheit. When water temperatures reach the 70s, salmon die. In 2003, EPA studied the causes of hot water in the Columbia and Snake rivers and began developing a legally enforceable plan to fix the problem. But dam operators objected and the plan was shelved. Why? EPA found that dams are the main cause of temperature problems. Thanks to today’s ruling, EPA will have to put that plan into action and protect salmon.

What is the law?

The Clean Water Act prohibits temperature in the Columbia River from exceeding 68 degrees. The Endangered Species Act is designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction. But the government agencies in charge of the Columbia and Snake river dams aren’t obeying the law. Today’s ruling establishes that EPA is legally obligated to write a plan to bring the rivers’ temperature back in line with the needs of salmon—and the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

USDA Funding Opportunity: Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant

This grant program is intended to provide associations technical assistance and/or training with respect to essential community facilities programs. The technical assistance and/or training will assist tribal nations to identify and plan for community facility needs that exist in their area. Once those needs have been identified, the grantee can assist in identifying public and private resources to finance those identified community facility needs.
Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation.
For more information, and to view the full solicitation, please click here
Deadline to submit application: June 17, 2019.

Department of Transportation BUILD Grant Applications due 8:00 p.m. EDT July 15, 2019

On April 22, 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $900 million in discretionary grant funding through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program.
Fiscal Year 2019 BUILD grants are targeted for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and will be awarded on a competitive basis. The maximum grant award is $25 million for the 2019 round of BUILD grants.
DOT is hosting a series of webinars to provide stakeholders technical assistance on the BUILD grant process.
Register for the technical assistance webinars here.
View the BUILD grant NOFO here.
Deadline: July 15, 2019, 8:00 p.m. EDT

Proposed 2020 Census Data Products Plan Webinars

Proposed 2020 Census Data Products Plan Webinars
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDTWednesday, May 29, 2019 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
The U.S. Census Bureau is hosting two national webinars with federally recognized tribal nations as part of the Census Bureau’s ongoing efforts to improve and maintain a government-to-government relationship with tribal nations. The webinars are scheduled to provide updated information to the tribes about the Proposed 2020 Census Data Products Plan. In preparation for the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is conducting a comprehensive review of the decennial census data products. Given the need for improved confidentiality protection, the Bureau may reduce the amount of detailed data that is released in their 2020 data products, including detailed data on American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations and villages. The Proposed 2020 Census Data Products Plan webinars will be held on the following dates and times:
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDTDial-in Information to join the audio conference portion of the webinar:800-857-8887 | Passcode: 1206443To participate in the May 28 webinar online, please click hereWednesday, May 29, 2019 | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDTDial-in Information to join the audio conference portion of the webinar:800-857-8887 | Passcode: 1206443To participate in the May 28 webinar online, please click here
If you have any questions prior to the webinar, please contact Rachel Marks at (301) 763-9658, or pop.2020.dataproducts@census.gov.

2020 Census Tribal Geographies: National Webinars

Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDTWednesday, May 8, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT
The U.S. Census Bureau is hosting two national webinars with federally recognized tribal nations as part of the Census Bureau’s ongoing efforts to improve and maintain a government-to-government relationship with tribal nations. The webinars will provide a forum for tribal leaders to share insights, make recommendations, and discuss concerns related to tribal boundaries with the Census Bureau. Additionally, the Census Bureau will provide further information on current tribal boundaries, the Boundary and Annexation Survey, and collaborative work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The 2020 Census Tribal Geographies national webinar will be held during the following dates and times:
Thursday, May 2, 2019 | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDTDial-in Information to join the audio conference portion of the webinar:800-857-8887 | Passcode: 9328707To participate in the May 2 webinar online, please click here.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDTDial-in Information to join the audio conference portion of the webinar:800-857-8887 | Passcode: 9328706To participate in the May 8 webinar online, please click here
For any questions prior to the webinar, please contact Dee Alexander at (301) 763-9335 or ocia.tao@census.gov.