Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Stephen Hockman QC is proposing a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.

The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year.

But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the “right to a healthy environment”.


Brazil cracks down on Amazon loggers after riot

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s environment minister led a crackdown on illegal timber businesses in the Amazon on Thursday, displaying force after loggers ransacked government offices and escaped with contraband wood.

Environment Minister Carlos Minc shut down two saw mills in the city of Paragominas in the northern state of Para and impounded 3,000 cubic meters (105,900 cu ft) of tropical wood, which would roughly fill up to 150 trucks. He was flanked by police officers and environmental protection agents.

The move is part of the government’s uphill battle to try to break the supply chain of illegal wood cut by tens of thousands of loggers, ranchers and farmers and consumed by millions of people in Brazil and abroad.

Polar Bears Struggle to Survive as Arctic Climate Changes

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, two reports on the polar bears’ struggle to survive in a changing climate. Lawrence McGinty of Independent Television News filed this story from Churchill on Canada’s Hudson Bay.

LAWRENCE MCGINTY, ITN ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Amid the broken rubble of sea ice, a forlorn polar bear unable to hunt seals, unable to go where it wants, a refugee almost in its own land, stranded because the sea ice on the Hudson Bay is forming weeks later than it used to.

The sea ice we’re flying over is where the polar bears live. It’s their niche in the world. It’s their supermarket where they get meat from hunting seals. It’s their highway for traveling around the Arctic region. It’s their school where they teach cubs how to hunt.

Sekaquaptewa: Time for Hopi to ‘get to self-governing’

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

I find myself in the ironic position of highlighting the great strides of tribal justice systems over the years for an ABA journal article while at the same time my own tribal government is in the throws of a constitutional crisis.

Recently, the Hopi Tribal Council managed to take out the entire tribal high court by resolution. The vice-chairman, who orchestrated the removal of our duly elected chairman, with the assistance of the formerly removed chairman, states that he plans to farm out our appellate judging to a regional intertribal appellate court. This, I believe, is an effort to remove the vice-chairman’s office and supporting members of the council from being immediately accountable to Hopi judges in a Hopi judicial system.

I must admit that despite the shortcomings of our governing document (originally drafted and pushed through by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1936), I never expected to see such a rapid deterioration of our key institutions and the rule of law. If this can happen at Hopi where we have had stable court system for over thirty years, it can happen to any tribal government operating under one of the Bureau’s governing document boilerplates. We should have reformed our constitution years ago and now we will have to take back our government.

One Day Left! Letters Needed to Protect Bear Butte

One Day Left! Letters Needed to Protect Bear Butte

The Meade County Commissioners (MCC) are about to hold a hearing for the renewal of liquor licenses at venues surrounding Bear Butte, a sacred place of prayer to over thirty Indigenous Nations across the Plains.

The hearing will take place this coming Wednesday, December 3rd at 4:00. Your letters of opposition are urgently needed before Tuesday, December 2nd at 4:00 pm to help make sure the MCC does NOT renew the licenses.

Please see below for more information and a sample letter you can send, courtesy of Tamra Brennan,

Action Alert! Opposition Letters Needed for Protection of Bear Butte

Hello everyone,

It’s that time again! The upcoming Meade County Commissioners hearing for the liquor license renewals around Bear Butte, will be held this coming Wednesday December 3rd at 4:00.

We are asking for folks to PLEASE send in opposition letters to the MCC. I have created a sample letter for folks to use, if they wish. You can use this letter, modify it or write your own, but please take a moment to send one in.

If you live in the area and are able to make the hearing, please join us! We are hoping to have alot of people attend to oppose in person as well.

Since we are on very limited time, please either email or fax your letters, the info is provided below.

The DEADLINE FOR LETTERS is Tuesday, December 2nd by 4:00 pm (mtn time).

In addition to the liquor license hearing, at 3pm (at the same location) The Meade County Commissioners will also having public comment and review of candidates to replace Dean Wink on the MCC seat for District 1, which is the Bear Butte District. Dean Wink successfully won the State Representative District #29 seat, in the November election and will be vacating his seat as Meade County Commissioner.

This is also a important meeting to attend, so we can voice our opinions and suggestions about the applicants. Normally this is a public vote position, however since it is in the middle of a cycle, the MCC will appoint a candidate.


December 3rd

3pm – Public Comment for MCC District 1 seat
4pm – Liquor License Renewal Hearing

Meade County Commissioners
1425 W. Sherman St.
Sturgis S.D. 57785

(605) 347-2360 (Phone)
(605) 347-5925 (Fax)

Email the letters directly to

Copy and paste the sample letter into a new email document. Please remember to add today’s date and your personal contact info (full name and address) below the signature line. Thank you!

Sample Letter:


Add Today’s Date: ____________

Attn: Meade County Auditor
Meade County Board of Commissioners
1425 Sherman Street
Sturgis, SD 67625
Via fax: 605-347-5925
via email:

Dear County Commissioners:

I oppose the annual on-sale & off sale liquor license renewal’s for all Rally locations surrounding Bear Butte, including but not limited to, Broken Spoke Campground, Glencoe Campground/Rockin the Rally and Buffalo Chip.

The annual on-sale & Off sale liquor license renewal should be denied because the locations are not suitable.

Bear Butte is sacred land. There is extensive documentation of the spiritual and historical significance of Bear Butte to the area. Each summer for thousands of years, people have traveled hundreds of miles, to Bear Butte to worship and conduct their sacred ceremonies. People travel to Bear Butte for healing, guidance, spiritual renewal and to fast on the sacred mountain.

The Meade County Commissioners have arbitrarily decided location is not a issue, over the past three years. There is NO justification for this continual decision, the failure to take into account the Tribes repeated requests in regards to location, is not acceptable. Location IS a ISSUE for the people that continue to travel to Bear Butte to pray, and for the generations yet to come. This will never change and we will continue to oppose until the MCC realizes that location, is in fact, a issue.

This decision is a direct violation of the, American Indian Freedom of Religion Act of 1978, in addition to Executive Order 13007 Protection and Accommodation of Access to “Indian Sacred Sites” signed by President Clinton on May 24, 1996.

These large scale commercial developments invite noise and cumulative impacts of increased traffic and travel, which all stand to adversely impact the natural serenity and tranquility needed for cultural, ceremonial and other visitations to Bear Butte. They also negatively impact the experience of people who enjoy the spiritual, cultural, and natural resources at Bear Butte. Issues include, the unsuitability of this location, unacceptable noise and disturbance that this location continues to cause, to those who travel to Bear Butte who need solitude and serenity.

The application should be denied on the basis that the applicants are not suitable characters to hold license(s) as proposed.

On Monday, August 4th 2008 these venues created complete chaos with noise, helicopters and several hours of gridlock traffic from Interstate 90, through Sturgis onto Highway 79. Tens of thousands of people, traveled onto Highway 79 to attend these concerts being held at these locations on the same night, all directly next to, and effecting Bear Butte.

These venues fail to take into account local concerns of impacts to the spiritual, cultural, and natural resources at Bear Butte. Bear Butte is a place of prayer where the natural environment needs to be free from negative influences of alcohol that could affect religious beliefs and practices of those who travel to Bear Butte to pray.

I respectfully request for the Meade County Commissioners to DENY ALL of the liquor license renewals for the renewal’s for all Rally locations surrounding Bear Butte, including but not limited to, Broken Spoke Campground, Glencoe Campground/Rockin the Rally and Buffalo Chip.


PLEASE INSERT YOUR full legal name and address here

Thank you for your continued support for the protection of Bear Butte! For additional information about the ongoing efforts to Protect Bear Butte, please visit our website at

Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation is a grass roots organization, working towards the protection of sacred sites across the country. Our organization has been actively involved with the ongoing struggle to Protect Bear Butte for several years. We are continuing these efforts, our organization is currently leading the campaign regarding the new developments and further expansions at Bear Butte. Please visit our main website at and our dedicated website for Bear Butte at

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at

In peace & solidarity,

Tamra Brennan


“Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on
Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of
them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past
so forgotten?”……excerpt from One Nation, One Land, One People by Tamra
Brennan, 2006


Peltier Day of Justice Statement

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

It is ironic that in April 1977, I was tried here in Fargo. And then 31 years later to the month, my newly formed defense offense committee was founded here. It is no coincidence, and it may surprise people that I believe we are coming full circle and that my time of freedom is near.

I know that 31 years ago, many people in this town were mislead into believing that the American Indian Movement was a communist-infiltrated organization and that they were going to launch a massive military styled assault upon the federal courthouse.

Everyone knows that hindsight is 20-20, and since then many of the jury members learned the government with held evidence from them. Federal Appeals Court Judge, Gerald Heaney said that had the withheld evidence had been presented to the jury; it is possible they would have rendered a different verdict. This piece of evidence exonerated me from being the killer because the gun did not match the shell casings found at the scene. Without any evidence, the prosecutor admitted that they did not know who killed the agents and they can’t prove who did. But it was due to a legal technicality that the court did not grant me a new trial


Please read article(pdf file), cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

This judicial review proceeding lies at the intersection of laws governing
authority of the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to
1 The town of Carter Lake, a geographic anomaly, is located on the only Iowa land west
of the Missouri River. Created by an avulsion along the river in the nineteenth century, Carter
Lake borders Omaha, Nebraska, and is the site of the Omaha International Airport.
take restored lands into trust for an Indian tribe, and laws enabling the National Indian Gaming
Commission (NIGC) to govern gaming once rooted on tribal land. The court here decides not
whether gaming should ever be allowed on the Carter Lake, Iowa site, but whether the NIGC had
authority to make the decision to allow gaming there and whether its reasoning may be upheld.
The DOI and BIA, not the NIGC, had the sole authority to allow tribal gaming under the unique
circumstances of this case. The court reverses the NIGC decision that was unlawful, arbitrary,
and not well reasoned.
I. Background. The parties in this consolidated lawsuit are several plaintiffs: the
States of Nebraska and Iowa, with intervenor City of Council Bluffs, Iowa; and several
defendants: the DOI, the NIGC and its three Commissioners as of December 31, 2007; and the
amicus Ponca Tribe of Nebraska (Ponca Tribe). The Ponca Tribe sought and on December 31,
2007 obtained from NIGC approval of a proposed amendment to an existing ordinance that
added a provision to allow casino gaming (a.k.a. gambling) on its small Carter Lake parcel of
land.1 The Ponca Tribe purchased in fee that 4.8 acres in 1999, and the Tribe deeded it to the
BIA in trust for non-gaming purposes in February of 2003.