Jukasa News Update – Tuesday, December 5, 2017
President Donald Trump’s rare move to shrink two large national monuments in Utah triggered another round of outrage among Native American leaders who vowed to unite and take the fight to court to preserve protections for lands they consider sacred.
Environmental and conservation groups joined the battle Monday and began filing lawsuits that ensure that Trump’s announcement is far from the final chapter of the yearslong public lands battle. The court cases are likely to drag on for years, maybe even into a new presidency.
Trump decided to reduce Bears Ears _ created last December by President Barack Obama _ by about 85 per cent and Grand Staircase-Escalante _ designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton _ by nearly half. The moves earned him cheers from Republican leaders in Utah who lobbied him to undo protections they considered overly broad.
Conservation groups called it the largest elimination of protected land in American history.
Native American leaders say President Donald Trump’s move to drastically shrink a Utah national monument is the president’s second insult to native people in a week and an offence that tribes will unite to fight.
A coalition of five tribes that spent years pushing for the creation of Bears Ears National Monument said Monday it will wage a legal battle over the president’s plan to reduce the protected area by 85 per cent.
Trump announced in a visit to Salt Lake City that he would also cut protections at Utah’s Grand Staircase National Monument roughly in half.
Trump says Utah’s lands should not be managed by “distant bureaucrats in Washington” and said he was reversing federal overreach.
Utah’s Republican leaders had pushed for Trump’s action, saying the monuments closed off the land to energy development and other access.
Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott has officially been given responsibility for overseeing the delivery of First Nations and Inuit health services.
The federal government says the First Nations and Inuit health branch at Health Canada has been formally reassigned to Philpott’s new department.
In the last year, the branch has been subject to criticism from Indigenous leaders for its handling of the suicide crisis plaguing Aboriginal youth across the country.
Philpott says the structural changes will allow the federal government to work more effectively with Indigenous partners to provide services.
This past summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initiated a major shakeup in how his government handles the Indigenous Affairs file, an effort critics say had stalled out.
He put Carolyn Bennett, who was named Indigenous affairs minister in Trudeau’s original cabinet, in charge of the Crown’s relationship with IndigenousPeoples, with Philpott focused on service issues, including fixing long-term water quality problems, First Nations education and housing.
A move by the Ontario government to limit the prosecution of HIV-positive people who don’t disclose their status to sexual partners is being called a step in the right direction by those affected, but they say there’s much more progress to be made.
The government announced on Friday that people with low viral loads who don’t have a realistic chance of transmitting the disease can’t be charged with a crime if they don’t disclose their medical status to a sexual partner.
Previously, non-disclosure could lead to an aggravated sexual assault charge that landed convicted people on a sex offender list.
Ontario made the changes after studies showed that the risk of transmission is negligible if people are being treated for the disease or if appropriate precautions are taken.
A indigenous rights chapter in the North American Free Trade Agreement could just be window dressing according to critics if it does not address indigenous land rights properly.
Oneida representatives told the CBC Canadian negotiators for NAFTA’s overhaul tabled a draft chapter on Trade and Indigenous People that leans toward inclusion of the UNs Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the protection of indigenous knowledge.
Critics of the proposed chapter say it could be just words on a page to create the image of indigenous inclusion but not protect the rights on indigenous people.
Representatives for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade are criticizing the tabled NAFTA changes, saying it merely prioritizes corporate access to indigenous lands and resources.
A chief from the Onondaga Nation has died.
Chief Irving Powless of the Onondaga Beaver Clan in the US passed late last week. The author and elder was 88 years old.
Powless held the title of Dehatgahtos since the 1970s and was secretary to the Onondaga Council of Chiefs for 30 years. The title was a “duplicate” and is also currently held by the Onondaga Beaver Clan Hoyane at Six Nations.
Powless was a teacher, lacrosse player and veteran — as well as an environmental protector in his community.
He received an honorary Doctor of Law degree in 2009 from Syracuse University.
Six Nations Elected Council issued a statement of condolence after the passing of District 5 Councillor Robert E Johnson.
Johnson was a Vietnam War veteran and served as the Director of the Gane Yohs health clinic for 30 years.
Chief Ava Hill said there are “no words to express how saddened” the council is for the loss, and offered condolences for everyone affected by his passing.
Johnson was 71 years old. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday.
- Previous Jukasa News Update – Friday, December 1, 2017
- Next Jukasa News Update – Thursday, December 7, 2017