Washington SCT Restores Yakama Nation’s Challenge to Yakima County Land Use Decision that would Disturb Cemeteries

Here is the opinion in Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. Yakima County:


OHA statement on yesterday’s arrest of kūpuna and others on Maunakea

The arrests Wednesday morning happened at the base of Mauna Kea, where an estimated 1,000 Maunakea Kai’i have gathered to try to block construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (“TMT”). Despite the 33 arrests, the protest at the base of the summit has remained peaceful. Governor Ige of Hawai’i declared a state of emergency following the arrests.

OHA Statement here: “The Native Hawaiian community weeps today.”

State of Hawai’i Emergency Proclamation – Mauna Kea.

More news here.




Conflict on Mauna A Wakea

Hawaii News Now

Video ‘Conflict of Mauna Kea,’ a timeline exploring the history of tension over the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Updates here.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Mauna Kea.

OHA testimony on the Mauna Kea admin rules.

Draft rules from UH.

Department of Land and Natural Resources

Documents relating to the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Mauna Kea FAQ.

State of Hawai’i, Office of Hawaiian Affairs: “Mauna Kea is a deeply sacred place that is revered in Hawaiian traditions. It’s regarded as a shrine for worship, as a home to the gods, and as the piko of Hawaiʻi Island.

Mauna Kea is also a critical part of the ceded lands trust that the State of Hawaiʻi must protect and preserve for future generations, pursuant to its kuleana as a trustee.

Despite four state audits and generations of Native Hawaiians expressing concern about the threats to Mauna Kea, the state and the University of Hawaiʻi have continuously neglected their legal duties to adequately manage the mountain. Instead, they have prioritized astronomical development at the expense of properly caring for Mauna Kea’s natural and cultural resources.”

Dispute Between Muscogee and Poarch Creek Regarding Poarch Creek’s Construction of its Casino on Sacred Grounds

Here are the initial materials in the litigation between Muscogee Creek and Poarch Creek alleging the latter Tribe’s construction of a casino on sacred grounds:

Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint

Amended Complaint & Exhibits

Summary and Pictures from Finland, Sacred Sites Conference

I was lucky to be invited to give a keynote presentation at an International Conference titled “Experiencing and Protecting Arctic Sacred Sites and Culturally Important Landscapes – Creating Partnerships with Mutual Respect”. The 3 day event was held at The Saijos Cultural Centre; the Siida Museum, and Saami Educational Institute, Inari, Lapland, Finland. The purpose of the workshop was to launch the multidisciplinary participatory educational research project “Indigenous Peoples’ Sacred and Cultural Sites – Building Partnerships for Safeguarding and Transmitting Unique Arctic Heritage for Future Generations (ISACUS)”.

The participants included elders, scholars, knowledge holders, poets, drum makers, story tellers, politicians, healers, and traditional singers from Saami Land, North America, Siberian tribes, Russian association of Indigenous Peoples, Komi Republic, Canada, Vienna, Germany, and Finland. Issues were addressed during the conference regarding the proposed diamond mine in Utsjoki (near an important Saami sacred site); a proposed mine near Jokkmokk, Sweden, which threatens traditional reindeer grazing grounds; vandalism and desecration at sacred sites in Finland, Canada, North America and Siberia; International Law; and also the revival of Indigenous culture and traditions around the world.

Look for publications as well as more collaborative projects in the future from this group as it works to both raise awareness and encourage collaboration to protect sacred sites in this region. Thanks to the organizers from Arctic Centre, University of Lapland; Arctic Law  Thematic Network; Université de Montréal; Sámi Education Institute; Sámi Museum of Finland for this great event.

Traditional Saami drum maker playing for us in the opening session.



View from one of the sacred islands.





With some of my new friends from Russia.




More beautiful views.



Demonstrating a traditional yoik (joik).




A sacred spring that is said to never freeze even in the coldest winter temperatures. Sweetest water I have ever tasted.




Young Finnish Saami posing in front of protest art, trying to raise awareness of the fight against mining developments within Saami territory that threaten sacred sites and traditional livelihoods.




Outside of the Saami parliament building where keynote presentations were given on the first day.


Miss pic 1

Student Note on Tribal Consultation and Sacred Sites

The University of Colorado Law Review has published “Meaningful Consultation with Tribal Governments: A Uniform Standard to Guarantee that Federal Agencies Properly Consider Their Concerns.” Here is the abstract:

The obligation that federal agencies consult with Indian tribes regarding undertakings that impact tribal interests is grounded in various statutes, implementing regulations, and Executive Order 13,175. Currently, tribes confront a variety of approaches to consultation because each agency develops its own standards for conducting consultation. Once an agency has reached a final decision on a proposed undertaking, any consultation that occurred to comply with Executive Order 13,175 will not be reviewed in court because Executive Order 13,175 and the consultation policy that an agency developed as required by Executive Order 13,175 do not provide tribal governments with a cause of action to challenge the adequacy of consultation. While courts will review tribal-agency consultation mandated by a federal statute or implementing regulation, judicial review tends to focus on the procedural aspects of consultation rather than examining the substantive decision made by an agency. Thus, Indian tribes are unable to challenge whether an agency’s final determination adequately considered the concerns that tribal governments raised during the consultative process. In recognition of the federal government’s general trust responsibility to protect the general welfare of tribes and the government-to-government relationship that exists with Indian tribes, Congress should enact a statute that creates a uniform standard for agency-tribal consultation. The statute will create one standard for conducting tribal consultation. Additionally, the consultation statute will permit judicial review of the procedural and substantive aspects of the interaction between tribal governments and federal agencies. To ensure agency decisions adequately consider tribal interests and concerns, agencies will have to overcome a rebuttable presumption that will be granted to tribal assertions raised during consultation. If an agency cannot produce sufficient evidence to support its determination, a federal court will have the power to overturn the decision. The statutory approach to agency-tribal consultation will ensure the federal government honors the unique relationship it has with Indian tribes.