Thursday, July 22, 2010
More than 50 tribal nations peacefully took control of the Marine Life Protection Act’s
Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting in California Wednesday. Their message: The state will no longer impose its will on indigenous people.
“This is about more than a fouled-up process that attempts to prohibit tribes from
doing something they have done sustainably for thousands of years,” said Frankie Joe Myers,a Yurok tribal citizen and organizer for the Coastal Justice Coalition. “It is about respect,acknowledgement and recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights.”
The group of more than 300 met up at 11a.m. on the Main Street of Fort Bragg, CA.
and hiked up a half mile to the C.V. Star Community Center with a unified voice that pulsed: M-L-P-A Taking Tribal Rights Away! Just before heading into the meeting tribal community members standing twenty deep chanted “No Way M.L.P.A.!” to the Blue Ribbon Task Force Members waiting inside.
“The Blue Ribbon Task Force had given us no indication that they were listening to
North Coast Tribes’ call to respect our sovereignty,” Dania Rose Colegrove, a Hoopa tribal citizen. “We felt that we needed show them a small symbol of what we are willing to do to pass on our culture to future generations."
The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative is a public and privately funded partnership
between the State of California and a few deep-pocketed foundations — chiefly the Resources Legacy Fund to — implement the Marine Life Protection Act, which was signed into law in 1999. That Act calls for the creation of marine reserves with varying levels of protection from one end of the state to the other. The Blue Ribbon Task Force is charged with making recommendations to the California Fish and Game Commission of where to put the protected areas. To date, the Task Force has said it will view traditional tribal gathers in the same light as recreational fishermen, which is largely offensive to tribal people.
Citizens from tribal nations as far away as the Choktaw Nation attended the meeting
to stand in solidarity with the North California Tribes. Many pointed out the absurdity and pain caused by asking Native Americans to give something else.
“Whether it is their intention or not, what the Marine Life Protection Act does to tribes is it systematically decimates our ability to be who we are,” Myers said. “That is the definition cultural genocide.”
Coastal indigenous people collect mussels, seaweed and other ocean resources for
sustenance and ceremonial regalia. All of these resources were abundant until Europeans
“We should have had better immigration laws,” tribal citizen and Air Force Veteran
Wally Obie told the Blue Ribbon Task Force. “That’s not funny.”
This is the second time indigenous Californian’s have halted Marine Life Protection
Act Initiative meeting. On June 29, a smaller group interrupted the MLPAI’s Science Advisory Team meeting in Eureka. Members of the Coastal Justice Coalition pointed out that there is no scientific data that says tribal gathering has any negative impact on the coastal ecosystem and the Act does nothing to stop pollution and off-shore drilling — the real threats to the ocean’s productivity.
The Coastal Justice Coalition is a group of concerned tribal citizens and community
members who came together to make sure indigenous peoples’ right to gather on the coast is respected.
Coastal Justice Coalition
For Immediate Release: July 21, 2010
Georgiana Myers, Coastal Justice Coalition: (707) 951-5548, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frankie Myers, Klamath Justice Coalition: (707) 951-5052, email@example.com
California Tribes and Allies March to Protect Ocean Resources and Tribal Rights
California coastal Tribes and their allies are marching to the Marine Life Protection Act’s (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force Meeting on Wednesday afternoon July 21st, 2010 in Fort Bragg, CA to defend traditional gathering rights on California’s coastline.
“In our view the MLPA is another attack on tribal rights and sovereignty. So we feel we must defend our rights through non-violent direct action when necessary,” said Dania Rose Colegrove, a Hoopa Tribal member and Coastal Justice Coalition (CJC) activist.
The Coastal Justice Coalition (CJC), a branch of the Klamath Justice Coalition, is an activist group comprised of tribal people and interested community members concerned with social and environmental issues along the Pacific coast. The CJC believes that the MLPA initiative will have negative impacts on traditional subsistence gathering along the Pacific coast. Some tribal members have taken the position that regardless of the outcome of the MLPA process they will continue to gather, a position that the CJC fully supports and encourages.
“The MLPA process completely disregards tribal gathering rights and only permits discussion of commercial and recreational harvest. The whole process is inherently flawed by institutionalized racism. It doesn’t recognize Tribes as political entities, or Tribal biologists as legitimate scientists,” said Frankie Myers, Yurok Tribal member and CJC activist.
The MLPA, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999, is very broad in scope. The law was intended to not only restrict or prohibit fishing in a network of “marine protected areas,” but to address other “human uses” and “extractive activities” including coastal development and water pollution.
The Schwarzenegger administration has taken all other “human uses” and “extractive activities” other than fishing and seaweed harvesting off the table in the implementation of the MLPA process. The MLPA initiative does nothing to stop water pollution, oil drilling, and wave energy projects or other activities from destroying fish and other marine life populations in California’s coastal waters.
Schwarzenegger has appointed oil industry, marina development, real estate and other corporate interests with numerous conflicts of interest to the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces. Many MLPA Initiative critics believe that Schwarzenegger has appointed these corporate operatives to these task forces to remove fishermen and Indian Tribal members, the staunchest supporters of true ocean protection, from their fishing and gathering grounds to pave the way for ocean industrialization and privatization.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, is chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast and now serves on the MLPA panel for the North Coast. In spite of the environmental and economic devastation caused by the BP Oil Gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, she has called for new oil drilling off the California coast.
Times Standard Article
Native American groups protest MLPA Scientific Advisory Committee
The Global Realm Article
Blaming the Tribes, Greenwashing Big Oil
Should Oil Lobbyists Write and Implement California's Environmental Laws?
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Call to Action!
Wednesday July 21st 2010 - Fort Bragg, CA
The Coastal Justice Coalition (CJC), a branch of the Klamath Justice Coalition, is an activist group comprised of tribal people and interested community members concerned with social /environmental issues along the Pacific coast.
The CJC is very concerned with the impacts that the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) has on tribal gathering along the Pacific coast. Some tribal members have taken the position that regardless of the outcome of the MLPA process they will continue to gather, a position that the CJC fully supports and encourages.
The MLPA, in our view, is another attack on tribal rights and sovereignty. Therefore, we feel we must defend our rights and our lands through non-violent direct action. The MLPA process completely disregards tribal gathering rights and only permits discussion of commercial and recreational harvest. Our voice has not been heard; therefore, we feel we must stand and make our message be heard.
The next Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting is where we take our stand. If your way of life is being targeted for MLPA restrictions, meet us at *11:30 AM at the corner of Oak and Main St. in Fort Bragg on Wednesday, July 21st,* to protest. We are joining forces with other non-tribal groups that are also being affected and feel it is an injustice to stop tribal gathering. This is an attack that has already affected too many tribal people. To show solidarity, blue t-shirts will be handed out to be worn during the protest. There will be an action for those who want to express a stronger message.
Limited transportation is available from the Humboldt-Del Norte area. For more information please contact Frankie Myers at (707) 951-5052.