D.C. Council to Consider Indigenous Peoples’ Day

From David Grosso, D.C. Council Member:

For Immediate Release
October 7, 2019

Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105


It’s time to honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day in D.C.
Washington, D.C. –  The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso ahead of tomorrow’s legislative meeting of the Council of the District of Columbia, where he will propose legislation to rename the holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”:

“For at least five years now legislation supported by a majority of the Council that would honor our native populations and rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been stalled by Chairman Mendelson without any public input or hearing.

“Tomorrow, along with Councilmembers Cheh, Bonds, Nadeau, Trayon White, and Robert White, I will put forth legislation that will force a vote of the full Council to finally do the right thing by ending the celebration of the misleading narrative of Christopher Columbus on the second Monday in October.

“This move is not controversial. Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, North Carolina, Alaska, South Dakota, Oregon, and at least 130 cities and towns have now renamed the holiday, according to the New York Times.

“This is not just a movement in other areas of the country—I feel it right here in the District of Columbia every single day. I get letters from students requesting the name change; I know many schools use the holiday to honor Indigenous People instead of Christopher Columbus; and frankly, it’s an accident of history that Columbus is honored in this way.

“Columbus Day was officially designated as a federal holiday in 1937 despite the fact that Columbus did not discover North America, despite the fact that millions of people were already living in North America upon his arrival in the Americas, and despite the fact that Columbus never set foot on the shores of the current United States.

“Columbus enslaved, colonized, mutilated, and massacred thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas.

“We cannot continue to allow this history to be celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia. The government of the District of Columbia is clear that we are a government that values equality, diversity, and inclusion. Continuing to observe a holiday built on the celebration of oppression runs counter to those values.

“Already a majority of the Council has indicated their support to re-designate the second Monday in October through previous bills. It is my hope that we can come together tomorrow and honor Indigenous People and their rich history and cultural contributions with a ‘yes’ vote ahead of October 14.”

Office of Councilmember David Grosso

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Suite 402

Washington, Dc 20004 Continue reading

Tenth Circuit (Barely) Keeps Alive Caddo Nation Suit against Wichita and Affiliated Tribes

Here is the unpublished opinion in Caddo Nation v. Wichita and Affiliated Tribes.

Briefs here.

Opinion in Pueblo of Jemez v. United States

Here is the opinion:

404 DCT Opinion

An excerpt:

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the bench trial held on October 29-November 20, 2018; November 29-November 30, 2018; December 3, 2018; December 5, 2018; and December 13, 2018. The primary issue is whether Plaintiff Pueblo of Jemez has the exclusive right to use, occupy, and possess the lands of the Valles Caldera National Preserve (“Valles Caldera”) pursuant to its allegedly unextinguished and continuing aboriginal title to those lands. The Court concludes that Jemez Pueblo has not established aboriginal title to the Valles Caldera. Although the evidence proves that Jemez Pueblo has actually and continuously used and occupied the Valles Caldera for a long time, the evidence also shows that many Pueblos and Tribes also used the Valles Caldera in ways that defeat Jemez Pueblo’s aboriginal title claim.

Earlier posts here.

Danielle Delaney on Environmental Law, Indigenous Identity, and #NoDAPL

Danielle Delaney has published “Under Coyote’s Mask: Environmental Law, Indigenous Identity, and #NoDAPL” in the Michigan Journal of Race & Law.

The abstract:

This Article studies the relationship between the three main lawsuits filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DaPL) and the mass protests launched from the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin protest camps. The use of environmental law as the primary legal mechanism to challenge the construction of the pipeline distorted the indigenous demand for justice as U.S. federal law is incapable of seeing the full depth of the indigenous worldview supporting their challenge. Indigenous activists constantly re-centered the direct actions and protests within indigenous culture to remind non-indigenous activists and the wider media audience that the protests were an indigenous protest, rather than a purely environmental protest, a distinction that was obscured as the litigation progressed. The NoDAPL protests, the litigation to prevent the completion and later operation of the pipeline, and the social movement that the protests engendered, were an explosive expression of indigenous resistance—resistance to systems that silence and ignore indigenous voices while attempting to extract resources from their lands and communities. As a case study, the protests demonstrate how the use of litigation, while often critical to achieving the goals of political protest, distorts the expression of politics not already recognized within the legal discourse.

Ninth Circuit Decides Protect Our Communities v. LaCounte [Wind Energy and Eagle Protection]

Here is the opinion.

Briefs here.