A good day for Indigenous people

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Decommission Line-5, Indigenous People’s Day, land acknowledgment, and universal healthcare

News Release

Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party

Ypsilanti, Michigan, 2020 September 11 — The Anishinaabek Caucus members wrote 2 resolutions and brought another to the Michigan Democratic Party Nominating Convention-2020, where 97% of Michigan Democratic Party membership voted them into the party platform: Resolution on the Shutdown and Decommissioning of Line-5; Indigenous People’s Day; Resolution Supporting Universal Single-Payer Healthcare. The Caucus thanks Ethyl Rivera, Kathleen McKee, and Catherine Manigold. Michigan Democratic Party membership also passed Resolution on Establishment of Special Committee to Draft Indigenous Land Acknowledgement written by Roger McClary.

"I am pleased that the Michigan Democratic Party has welcomed multiple resolutions that affect Michigan's Native populations into the platform. Increasing Native visibility and lifting our voices strengthens our partnership and collective goal of putting words to action,” said Julie Dye, Pokagon Band Potawatomi Nation citizen and Anishinaabek Caucus Secretary and Founder.

Resolution on the Shutdown and Decommissioning of Line-5 correct the conclusion of the 2016 resolution that addressed Enbridge’s Line-5. Although it tallied facts correctly and named the threat to Michigan accurately, it resolved to install a smaller pipeline — a solution that was neither economically nor environmentally sound. The Anishinaabek Caucus’ correctly cites that the only protective measure is decommissioning. It also cures the oversight of extant Tribal Treaty Rights. The United States’ Constitution grants Treaty Rights to the federally recognized Tribes in Michigan. On May 20, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld these through mandated Tribal participation — not merely consultation.

“The Michigan Democratic Party recognizes how dangerous Line-5 is and has taken a proactive stance for action before Enridge destroys the Great Lakes,” Andrea Pierce, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians citizen and Anishinaabek Caucus Chair and Founder, said. She added, “Now that the Michigan Democratic Party has made this resolution part of the party platform, Governor Whitmer should fulfill her campaign promise to SHUT DOWN AND DECOMMISSION LINE-5.”

Resolution of Michigan Recognizing the Contributions of its Indigenous People by Designating each Second Monday in October, “Michigan’s Indigenous People Day” aligns the history of people of the Great Lake Basin with official observation of the facts — Europeans were immigrants.

Resolution on Establishment of Special Committee to Draft Indigenous Land Acknowledge at all Michigan Democratic Party Public Meetings instructs the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party to appoint a committee of not less than seven people to write a statement overturning the Doctrine of Discovery in Michigan with acknowledgement that land now identified as Michigan was inhabited by indigenous people; it was neither vacant nor devoid of settlements. There are 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan, including the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Tribes, who comprise the Anishinaabe.

Brandi Nehila, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians citizen and Anishinaabek Caucus Treasurer, thanks Roger McClary for introducing and the Michigan Democratic Party for passing the land acknowledgement resolution. “It is important to recognize the Anishinaabek as the first people of Michigan.” She adds on behalf of the Caucus, “Nicely done Democrats!”

Resolution Supporting Universal Single-Payer Healthcare, in its declaration for healthcare for all Michiganders resolves the shortcomings of employer-provided healthcare. Necessary measures to protect the populace from the COVID-19 caused many Michiganders to lose their jobs and hence their healthcare coverage at a time when preventative medicine, diagnostic medicine, and hospital care was urgently needed by many. The pandemic made this clear to all.

“These resolutions represent our mission to create a better Michigan for all our people,” TJ Stephens, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians citizen and Anishinaabek Caucus Vice-Chair, said. “Further,” Stephens continued, “advocating for the well-being of our Native American people protects all Michiganders as well. Preservation of Tribal Treaty Rights prevents catastrophes that would endanger Great Lakes Basin ecosystem, the state’s water supply, family farms, and the businesses dependent on Michigan’s land and water.”

Stephens said, “The Anishinaabek Caucus promotes the interests and concerns of the Indigenous people. It unites allies and engages elected Anishinaabek Democrats.”

Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party logo
(Image: Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party)
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