The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Passes Resolution Supporting Water, Land, Treaty Rights Protectors

At their Winter Convention 2018 (January 22-25, 2018), The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) passed a resolution supporting the rights of water, land and treaty rights protectors and condemned efforts by lawmakers to pass laws classifying activists as “Domestic Terrorist.”

Red Line Salish Sea, who have come under intense targeting by local law enforcement and the Justice Department, released the following statement in response to the passage of the resolution;

This Resolution provides strong support for Indigenous activists and allies who defend the land, water, and air in the Northwest region and Salish Sea areas. The Resolution recognizes the tie between current protectors and the 1960s and 1970s ‘fishing war’ activists and, most importantly, their intrinsic tie to being caretakers of the land, water, and air since time immemorial.”

The The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is a coalition of 58 Tribal Nations.

Full text of resolution

2018 Winter Convention
Portland, Oregon

RESOLUTION #18 – 07 “SUPPORT FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH, RIGHT TO GATHER AND NOT BE LABELED AS DOMESTIC TERRORISTS” PREAMBLE

We, the members of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants rights secured under Indian Treaties, Executive Orders, and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and constitution of the United States and several states, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise to promote the welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) are representatives of and advocates for national, regional, and specific tribal concerns; and

WHEREAS, ATNI is a regional organization comprised of American Indians/Alaska Natives and tribes in the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Northern California, and Alaska; and

WHEREAS, the health, safety, welfare, education, economic and employment opportunity, and preservation of cultural and natural resources are primary goals and objectives of the ATNI; and

WHEREAS, since time immemorial, our economy, culture, religions and way of life has been centered around our fishing, hunting, gathering and related spiritual practices, and the lands and waters upon which all of those practices depend; we have been and remain careful stewards of those lands and waters; and

WHEREAS, we the indigenous peoples have an inherent responsibility to protect the lands and waters from desecration, be it from over harvesting, natural resource or mineral extraction, or pollution or contamination; and

WHEREAS, freedom of group expression, as exercised in the Fishing Wars of the 1970s most notably, has been critical for our protection of the lands and waters and our way of life since Treaty times; and

WHEREAS, “privacy in group association,” according to the United States Supreme Court, “is indispensable to the preservation of freedom of association;” and

WHEREAS, federal, state and private actors are targeting and criminalizing indigenous environmental stewards and advocates by labeling them as organizers of crime; and

WHEREAS, seven states have passed protest suppression bills that label protesting as “domestic terrorism,” which criminalize and increase penalties for protesting that “disable” streets, public buildings, or critical infrastructures; and

WHEREAS, the Whatcom County Prosecutor worked with the United States Department of Justice to issue a criminal subpoena to Facebook for the messages of environmental stewards and advocates in order to charge them with criminal activity; and

WHEREAS, the Whatcom County Prosecutors view protesting as criminal conduct, rather than activity protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment as group association, is ostensible cause for criminal inquiry of environmental stewards and advocates have been identified as Red Line Salish Sea in Bellingham, Washington; and

WHEREAS, ATNI Tribes expect indigenous environmental stewards and advocates to exercise freedom of group association and privacy rights to oppose projects that imminently threaten Coast Salish lands and waters, including the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Tacoma, Washington; Kinder Morgan pipelines in Vancouver, British Columbia, supertankers moving through the Coast Salish Sea; railways moving through the Pacific Northwest for fossil fuel transport; fossil fuel export facilities along the Pacific Coastline; and farmed Atlantic salmon farms in Salish waters; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that ATNI does hereby:

  • Recognize that group expression is critical to the protection of lands and waters and our way of life;
  • Condemn acts of intimidation and suppression by any government, including the U.S. Department of Justice;
  • Condemns federal, state and private actors who are collaborating to target and oppress expression by environmental stewards and advocates, and to retaliate against them; and
  • Stand in support of indigenous environmental stewards and advocates who are exercising their rights pursuant to the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment to protect lands and waters and our way of life.

CERTIFICATION
The foregoing resolution was adopted at the 2018 Winter Convention of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Portland, Oregon, on January 22-25, 2018, with a quorum present.
Leonard Forsman, President
Norma Jean Louie, Secretary

Web link here

The resolution was sponsored by Theresa Sheldon (Tulalip Tribes). It was initiated by Theresa Sheldon in collaboration with Matt Remle (Lakota), Michael and Michelle Vendiola (Swinomish & Paiute)

One thought on “The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Passes Resolution Supporting Water, Land, Treaty Rights Protectors

  1. Thank you for providing vital leadership for defining and claiming rights and defending the rights of water and land.
    Marita Bujold

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