Protesters supporting a Native Canadian chief's 23-day hunger strike blocked a rail line at Pointe-a-la-Croix in eastern Quebec Jan. 2. Theresa Spence of Ontario's Attawapiskat First Nation has been fasting to press her demands for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss new legislation that weakens indigenous land rights and environmental protections. The new law, part of the Harper government's budget bill, sparked the #IdleNoMore movement, which has brought together First Nations and environmental activists in a wave of protests across Canada.
Dakota Indians and their supporters commemorated the largest mass execution in US history at a ceremony Dec. 26 in Mankato, Minn. On that day in 1862, a public hanging was held of 38 Dakota men, for crimes allegedly committed in that year's US-Dakota War—the execution order personally signed by President Abraham Lincoln. A new monument was dedicated as part of the ceremony at the town's old hanging ground, now called Reconciliation Park. Participants included a group of some 50 Dakota horseback riders and supporters who left South Dakota three weeks ago for Mankato. One organizer of the ride, Peter Lengkeek, told the crowd: "In 1862, those 38 were hung as criminals. They died because they were protecting the children, the women, our way of life. And for that I am ever thankful."
A Dec. 5 public hearing on the proposed re-route of the Keystone XL Pipeline at the Boone County Fairgrounds in the central Nebraska town of Albion was unexpectedly packed with nearly 1,000 people who showed up to sound off on the project. The lone hearing was hosted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality—the only opportunity for impacted residents to weigh in on the DEQ's findings on TransCanada's revised plan for an oil pipeline through the state on its way to Gulf Coast refineries. Oglala Lakota Nation vice president Tom Poor Bear was among those who expressed concerns about groundwater contamination from the project. TransCanada says it has altered the pipeline's path through Nebraska to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills and some town water wells.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed on Sept. 21 the dismissal of the Alaskan village of Kivalina's nuisance claims against energy companies for greenhouse emissions it claimed contributed to global warming and threatened its existence. Kivalina brought suit against 22 energy corporations, attributing the destruction of its land to the effects of global warming, which it alleged partially results from emissions of greenhouse gases by the defendants. The US District Court for the Northern District of California had dismissed the claim on standing in 2009, stating that because it was a political question the courts could not intervene. Citing to the Supreme Court's ruling in American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the Ninth Circuit ruled that:
Global domination and corporate power are obviously inextricably linked to white supremacy, and certainly the prior two rose along with the last. But the three no longer form the seamless unity they did even a generation ago. This is what those on the left who repeat like a mantra that there is "no difference" between Romney and Obama don't seem to get. We have pointed out before Mitt Romney's use of coded messages to play to the racist vote while still maintaining a veil (however diaphanous) of plausible deniability. Among his supporters at the GOP convention in Tampa last month, the veil was sometimes not there at all. Note this enlightening litany from the Washington Post, Aug. 29: