Expert in Native American Treaties needed to help #noDAPL movement
October 27, 2016 5:57 AM   Subscribe

The Native Americans at Standing Rock, who are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline being run through the Missouri River, as well as through their sacred grounds and burial grounds, are in need of an expert in Native American Treaties, to help their legal battle.

Asking for literally thousands of friends. As you may have heard, the largest gathering of Native American Tribes in over 100 years is happening in North Dakota, where they are trying to stop an oil pipeline from being built under the Missouri River. This pipeline crosses their ancient burial grounds and other sacred land, and there are high odds that it will break, thereby poisoning the water supply of 18 million people downstream. This land was taken from them illegally, and they have set up a camp on this land to block the pipeline, and are declaring Indigenous Eminent Domain.

They have a legal team. The UN is there observing to report on the human rights violations allegedly being perpetrated by law enforcement, and the ACLU is also working with them. However, tribal councilmen are requesting help in finding someone who is an expert in Native American treaties, to help their legal team. So, MeFites, do we know anyone?

(Thanks in advance! I'm sorry if my post is sloppily constructed - I'm smack in the middle of moving out of state, and things are really discombobulated right now!)
posted by MexicanYenta to Law & Government (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm on my phone so can't link easily but maybe try talking to Morgan Angel and Associates and see who they recommend .
posted by gudrun at 6:11 AM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Are there any Anthropological consultation firms out that way that could help?

I came across this on the Bureau of Indian Affairs website:

Does the United States still make treaties with Indian tribes?

No. Congress ended treaty-making with Indian tribes in 1871. Since then, relations with Indian groups have been formalized and/or codified by Congressional acts, Executive Orders, and Executive Agreements. Between 1778, when the first treaty was made with the Delawares, to 1871, when Congress ended the treaty-making period, the United States Senate ratified 370 treaties. At least 45 others were negotiated with tribes but were never ratified by the Senate.
The treaties that were made often contain commitments that have either been fulfilled or subsequently superseded by Congressional legislation.

In addition, American Indians and Alaska Natives can access education, health, welfare, and other social service programs available to all citizens, if they are eligible. Even if a tribe does not have a treaty with the United States, or has treaties that were negotiated but not ratified, its members may still receive services from the BIA or other federal programs, if eligible.

If someone is asking for a treaty, I would be concerned that it's a setup for failure, given the above information. See if someone with cultural and historical expertise can shed some light on this.
posted by Mistress of the Bunnies at 7:46 AM on October 27, 2016

Mistress of the Bunnies, I'm sorry, my post didn't make it clear - the treaty already exists. They just need help with it somehow. I don't know enough about treaty law myself to explain it more than that, though.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:55 AM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Does the legal team already include anyone from the Native American Rights Fund?
posted by Synesthesia at 8:30 AM on October 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

However, tribal councilmen are requesting help in finding someone who is an expert in Native American treaties, to help their legal team. So, MeFites, do we know anyone?

Do you have a link to an actual request from the councilmen involved?

For one thing, I'm a little skeptical that the "legal team" is unable to find such a person on their own.

For another, I do have a name in mind (at the very least she'll be able to point to more qualified people) but before I go giving it out to strangers on the internet, I'd like to be able to provide her with an idea of what role the tribes are looking to fill (which is information that would best come from the tribes themselves, or the legal team.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:46 AM on October 27, 2016 [4 favorites]

Does the legal team already include anyone from the Native American Rights Fund?

Seriously, that's who I would talk to.

But the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe should have attorneys who are not only Indian Law experts, but experts in interpreting the exact treaty in question here. Tribes usually have either in-house counsel or external law firms (with specialists in Indian Law, environmental law, real estate, municipal law) on retainer.

And I know that Earthjustice is supporting the protest, and they have a ton of expertise both in-house and via volunteers/pro bono work.

I do not understand why they're looking for more legal support via the internet.
posted by suelac at 10:28 AM on October 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

@sparklemotion I get what you're saying, but they do things differently than non-natives do. What looks disorganized to outsiders is actually very well organized behind the scenes - just done differently. Their legal team consists of lawyers from another tribe who have volunteered to help. Also, this entire action is being organized almost entirely through Facebook.

The link I'm posting here is from someone I've come to trust as a reliable source of information. (I have asked for verification of many things they have posted. I'm from NYC originally, so I trust no one, haha.) I have asked her for the full name and title of the person, but I believe she is on the front line at this moment, and as of a few minutes ago law enforcement officers from all over the country were converging on them, presumably to start arresting them. However, upon rereading her post, it appears to actually be the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman, David Archambault II, who made the request. The councilman she mentions is Standing Rock Sioux Councilman at Large, Chad Harrison.


Update upon preview: live video confirms the camp is being raided right now.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:30 AM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

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