Indian Country's presidential expectations

Timothy Nuvangyaoma and Terry Rambler join the newscast to discuss what's on the table for the tribes they represent with respect to the new presidential administration. Plus national correspondent Mary Annette Pember is on the show to talk about the pipelines that could be shut down by President Biden.
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Now that Joe Biden is our 46th president, what will his administration do that will positively impact tribes? In October, he traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, he met with tribal leaders and discussed his plans for Indian Country. Since then, he's tapped representative Deb Haaland to be the next secretary of the Interior. She has Laguna Pueblo and once confirmed, she will be the first Native American to head this department that oversees more than 500 federally recognized tribes and millions of acres in public lands. Biden has also said he is going to restart the tribal nations summit at the White house to hear from tribal leaders directly. This of course was started when Biden was vice-president to Barack Obama.

Joining us today is Timothy Nuvangyaoma the chairman of the Hopi tribe and Terry Rambler, the chairman of the San Carlos Apache nation. Both were at that Phoenix meeting with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at the heard museum. They'll be telling us more about the Biden administration's plans for Indian Country.

When president Biden was on the campaign trail he promised one of the first things he would do as president would be to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. Mary Annette Pember is our national correspondent and her recent story, 'Canceling pipelines presents challenges', took a look at that campaign promise as well as other pipelines. She joins the show with more details behind this story.

A slice of our Indigenous world today

 We'll tell you why the Gwich’in Steering Committee president, Bernadette Demientieff is thanking the new president for his recent actions. And more on how Montana tribes are participating in a national moment of unity and memorial for COVID-19 victims. Plus California tribes taking action on climate change are getting a boost from a new program designed to support tribally led efforts. Also the YMCA of central New York has changed one of their popular day camps names due to misappropriated Indigenous culture. You can find more on these stories at the start of todays newscast.

Some quotes from todays show

Terry Rambler:

"There was five of us there and it was very historic. We met with them and each of us had about 10 minutes or so to talk, but they had us put on these extra masks. So we had to kind of shout it out. But I did let them know, both Biden and Harris know that the protection of sacred sites was very important to us and other tribes. The response to COVID-19 working together rather than in isolation was important to us and the additional funding that we needed for the CARES Act was important to us. And also his plan on renewable energy, which I think for the most part rings up rings true. And it's good news for Indian Country."

"I was asking him about our issue that we had here in Arizona about the Resolution copper mine where they're going to be block caving in destroying a sacred site of not only Apaches, but other tribes, there's about 10 tribes affected in that area. And that's only 14 straight miles from where we live and not only would it destroy an area that's sacred to us about ties into our religion, but it will also affect the water resources in that area. And also leave behind the most waste that the United States will have ever seen in its history."

Timothy Nuvangyaoma:

"I was fortunate to get that second dose of the Moderna vaccine and it's an aggressive effort out here on Hopi. Coordinating with our Hopi healthcare center with IHS. We've been aggressively trying to get some of the essentials. So we've taken care of a large part of the 1A group, which is our first responders healthcare personnel, those that are engaged with providing assistance to a local community. I just received notice while being here that an additional amount of vaccines had been provided to the Hopi health care center to continue administering those to some central personnel and with a vaccination mobile app." 

"We're hoping that we can extend this further to that over 65 age group. And we're hoping we can start touching with some of those with underlying conditions within the community at a different age group. So it's been a coordinated effort. It hasn't gone without its minor hiccups, but being able to adjust and put solutions in place to overcome those has been something that we've been successful with. And again, that's coordination with the Hopi tribal government, our Hopi emergency response team, and primarily with the Hopi health care center out here on the Hopi IHS service unit for our communities strongly looking at continuing with that approach."

Mary Annette Pember:

"Yes, it certainly is. And of course the other folks opposing other pipelines, such as Dakota Access pipeline and Enbridge's line three, which is part of their main line pipelines. They're anxious that new president Biden might also render a similar decision as he had in the Keystone pipeline for these pipelines are opposing, but it's really unclear if that's going to happen or if it would in the future. These companies have such a really imaginative sort of control over how the permitting process works and the guidelines that govern them, particularly projects that are already underway. For instance, Enbridge's line three pipeline, they're framing it as a replacement pipeline." 

"So they have their presidential permit from they're based in Canada of crossing over into United States that was actually granted in the sixties and was kind of grandfathered in. So, and they are being very careful to build that pipeline exactly in the place that they had the permit or in 1960. So it's a little bit, it would require more work and more legal elements I think for a president Biden to rescind that work. There is a lawsuit in federal court right now. Basically saying the Army corps of engineers has not done their due diligence in looking at the impact of found water. So I guess he could, at the very least really instruct the Army corps of engineers to do a broader, a more thorough EIS study."

Read more:

'Canceling pipelines presents challenges'

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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