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'Everyone' is watching Washington

Holly Cook Macarro joins the show today. She's a regular contributor to Indian Country Today. Mary Annette Pember takes us to the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project in Northern Minnesota.
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Holly Cook Macarro, a partner at Spirit Rock Consulting, is a familiar face. She’s a regular contributor to Indian Country Today explaining what’s going on in Washington.

There’s the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline and thousand of other pipelines criss-crossing North America. One that’s particularly important is Line 3.

Enbridge is building the 334-mile long oil pipeline across Northern Minnesota. Called Line 3, it’s part of the company's huge Mainline pipeline system and will carry 760,000 barrels of oil per day, including tar sands oil, from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin.

(Related: Enbridge Line 3 divides Indigenous lands, people)

Much of Line 3’s path takes it through treaty and reservation lands on which the Ojibwe have relied on for centuries to harvest traditional wild rice, hunt game and collect plant medicines.

Water protectors opposing the project face more than sub-zero temperatures in their fight to call attention to the short-sighted profit driven project that ignores the dangers of climate change wrought by continued dependence on fossil fuels.

They risk angering friends and family members who work for the company in this job-strapped region.

It’s a messy, deep human affair and Indian Country Today’s Mary Annette Pember takes us to the front lines.

A slice of our Indigenous world 

  • The confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland took on larger issues in the Senate Tuesday

  • The Urban Indian Health Institute released a report that graded all 50 states on the quality, collection, and reporting of COVID-19 data as it relates to American Indian and Alaska Native people.
  • More evidence that tribes are getting ahead on efforts to vaccinate citizens, as the Hopi Tribe is now vaccinating anyone 18 years and older who lives in the service area

  • U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo has been chosen to address graduates at Smith College's commencement ceremony.

Some quotes from today's show:

Holly Cook Macarro

"I think there's $ 350 billion and there's $20 billion directed for tribal governmental relief ... somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 billion that will go for tribal programs within the federal side to the BIA, IHS, BIA, et cetera. The large chunk that I think tribal governments are tracking very closely is that $20 billion. And as the bill says, $ 1 billion of that will be distributed pro-rata between the 574 tribes. And then another $19 billion will be distributed via a formula determined by the Department of Treasury and the Department of Interior.”

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How important is a senator's vote on Deb Haaland?

Consider the Native American voters. "And it's not just the voters in the state of Montana, the Native American voters, where that vote is, is 10 percent of the population or in Alaska, where it's similar at 10, 11 percent of the population. Huge. Those Senate races in those states can be won with the single digit. So the Native American vote can determine the winner of those states and those Senate seats."

On top of that, a lot of those candidates "come knocking" looking to help fund their campaigns. 

"There has been no more significant event in Indian country than the nomination of Deb Haaland to the cabinet as interior secretary. Everyone is watching. And I don't think that the voters in Indian country will forget how their senators and senators across the country land and vote on, on her nomination."

Mary Annette Pember

"Denying water protectors use of public space is emblematic of Enbridge’s powerful economic hold over the region, effectively robbing them of their constitutional rights to free speech according to Shanai Matteson."

"Born and raised in Palisade, Matteson is currently living at the Honor the Earth’s water protector camp where she and others are working to oppose Line 3 and educate the public about the pipelines long term negative impacts on the environment and economy." 

"The director, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, wrote a letter to city of Palisade and Aitkin County leaders accusing them of violating the water protectors First Amendment rights by denying them access to the park and failing to provide legal justification or a clear appeal process for their decision."

"In the end water protectors held their event on private land nearby and marched down to the Mississippi River in Berglund Park where they offered prayers and songs."

Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix.

Mary Annette Pember, citizen of the Red Cliff Ojibwe tribe, is national correspondent for Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @mapember. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pember loves film, books and jingle dress dancing.

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