23 November 2016

Upcoming University Panel on the Stand at Standing Rock

Indigenous Water Protectors and the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy: Implications for Protecting Global Water Security, People, and Environmental Resources
Panel Discussion

30 November, 7-9pm

Florida International University MMC (main campus) Building PG5 Room 153

Florida International University asked me to help organize a panel on the topic of the Stand at Standing Rock - Indigenous People's rights in America and US Government preference for the oil industry in claiming energy security priority over water security, food security, and human security. In a remarkably quick turnaround - three FIU groups came together to make this happen:
  • The Global Indigenous Forum
  • The GLobal Water Security Forum
  • Studies of Spirituality

For this panel Faith Spotted Eagle, an Elder from the Yankton Sioux Tribe and Treaty Council member, as well as member of the Brave Heart Society, an indigenous society for grandmothers to keep Dakota Tradition, will be our Keynote Speaker. She will be joined by Bob Billie, spiritual leader of the local Miccosukee Tribe, Sam Tommie environmental activist and filmmaker from the Seminole Tribe, Dennis Wiedman medical and environmental anthropologist who works with Indigenous Peoples in Florida and Oklahoma as well as Director of FIU's Global Indigenous Forum, Manuel Gomez lawyer working on the Chevron oil case in Ecuador with Indigenous People, and I will moderate and contribute as a water security geographer and river scientist working with Indigenous People on conflicts of modernity in the Nile, Mekong, and now the Missouri basins.

I hope you can join us for this discussion about one of the most pressing issues in America at this moment in time.

21 November 2016

07 November 2016

High Country News Piece on Our Missouri River Standing Rock DAPL Water Security Research

Thanks to journalist Lydsey Gilpin, the team's ongoing research efforts were highlighted this weekend on High Cuuntry News website, a news source that focuses on the American West people and environment. The article, These Maps Help Fill the Information Gaps About the Dakota Access Pipeline, traces the impetus for why I put together the team and then what we've produced so far. The maps that I along with Drs. Mariya Pak & Candice Weems created were featured. Very exciting for the team and helps create more visibility about our narrative, which is taking the part of the indigenous story - one that is being told only marginally in the news.

Our team's work is collecting scientific basis to highlight threats to the Missouri River Basin human and ecological systems from the exemption permitted Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  Yes, the pipeline went through some permitting process - but it was not a normal or complete process. While DAPL has only had to put forward their project in small segments to bypass NEPA and Clean Water Act consideration, my team is attempting to pull together a quasi environmental impact assessment from the macro perspective - not what are the 1000 foot segment threats of this pipeline project to a certain place, but what is the 1172 mile threat of this pipeline project to the overall human and environmental systems? The economic, political, cultural, and environmental aspects of the Missouri River Basin, and eventually the Mississippi River Basin (the Missouri provides about 45% annual flow to the Mississippi - impacts can flow all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. And we are most interested in the minority that are vocalizing their discontent - the Indigenous People, the American Indians, the Native Americans - several names for the same group of people - the people who are leading the movement in North Dakota and around the country.

The team keeps expanding - we are collectively identifying the gaps in the story - the largest one of all is the voice of the Indigenous People of the United States of America. 

05 November 2016

New Water Security of the Missouri River Project Page

On my website, I put up a simple project page for:

Water Security of the Missouri River and Potential Impacts from the Dakota Access Pipeline on People and the Environment Project

You can find high resolution images of our two published maps and there are more maps in the making as I write this. Also, I am creating a list of the some of our team members, so you can get an idea of the interdisciplinary background we collectively possess. Our potential projects are listed  and I hope in the coming weeks we will start to populate those links as well. For now, they are simply - coming soon.

I am putting out a public call for anyone interested to help out with small pieces of what we are doing. There are many tasks that take 3 -5 hours of concentrated attention. Please let me know if you want to work on something by contacting me through my website.


04 November 2016

Fundraising, Please Contribute So Our Research Gets Back to the Tribes

I am currently fundraising to send myself back north to share the analysis and work my team has pulled together this last month. So far I have raised close to half of the amount I need for logistics - total is estimated at $3000 for airfare, ground transportation, hotels, food, materials, etc.

My trip is scheduled for mid-November, I have bought the plane tickets already, and I plan to bring our new maps, a report, and more dialogue for collaboration with the Elders I met in Standing Rock on my last trip. Since this is a collaboration with the Tribes, I require their input about where we are taking this work and we would like to do this face-to-face meeting.

We would also like to further discuss plans for continued collaboration in mapping the oral histories and traditional knowledge from the Tribes about the landscape in the Missouri River Basin. I am currently looking for funding for that as well, but that is another situation!

Please consider contributing to my fundraiser, every dollar counts.

Thank you!

02 November 2016

Two Maps that Describe Water Security Threats from DAPL for the Missouri River and Indigenous People Living There

*Edit : Please see our webpage for additional maps and information.

My team has produced two new maps to describe the situation of the threats from the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Missouri River water security for humans and ecosystem - particularly the population at risk of Indigenous Peoples.

While our maps are focused on the Missouri River, which contributes close to half of the annual flow to the Mississippi River, the pipeline also crosses the Mississippi and just last week the pipeline construction under the Mississippi was completed. This means that although we are focused now on water security of the Missouri - this pipeline threatens the water security of the Mississippi River as well - a threat that carries all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. But that may take a larger study and more time and resources...

The maps:
While this map focuses on the Indigenous Populations at risk, please keep in mind that major city centers such as Kansas City, Sioux City, Omaha, and St. Lois are also at risk. In fact, there are about 2000 urban centers in the Missouri River Basin. This brings the number of people potentially impacted by a pipeline failure into the tens of millions. 

This first map shows the relationship with where the Tribal Lands are held, the proposed pipeline route, where the proposed pipeline route crosses major waterways (there are hundreds of minor ones), and who lives downstream of those crossings - so who is at risk. This shows where Indigenous People are at risk. We have the names of the waterway crossings identified and listed, and the Tribal Land names downstream from those crossings listed.

What do I mean about Indigenous People at risk? I read a well researched but extremely biased piece about how the Indigenous claim to this pipeline problem is false. That the water intake is not even the primary intake for the Standing Rock Reservation drinking water supply. I am not only concerned with drinking water, although that factors in of course - Kansas City also sources their water from the river, by the way...

Water's biggest use is for agriculture. This is world wide. But water is also used for cultural, religious, and social reasons and this is often overlooked as an important and significant use of water.

Water, for Indigenous People world wide, holds sacred and special significance. Much like for the Christians, water is used for baptism, or Muslims water is used to cleanse before prayer, water for Indigenous People features into religious observance and practice, the spirit of the river itself is of vital importance - and this means that the river, the water, is sacred. So how the river is treated and managed is important not only for consumption, but for identity, prayer, and community. Many of the Indigenous People in question with Standing Rock and the DAPL conflict are river people, as is shown in Map 2 below. This is why, in my opinion, the Indigenous People are calling themselves water protectors. So, if the water is contaminated by oil, there is cultural and religious significance that is ruined or desecrated as well as human health risks and ecosystem health risks - so why would we want to take that risk?

Isn't it illegal to limit someone's religious freedom in this country?

The ecosystem is getting only a vague nod by the Feds. Two birds and fish are listed as endangered in the Missouri River mainstem. I featured them in a post two weeks ago. While this pipeline threatens their already altered and shrinking habitats, oil and hyrdofracking for oil upstream in the Bakken (which is contributing hydrofraking fluid to the Missouri River) is also ruining aquatic habitat and threatens to push more species into a threatened or endangered status. The ecosystems are also very important to Indigenous People's culture and religion. Damage to species of plants, animals, fish, birds are also a threat to Indigenous People in this way.

This second map is a demographic map that shows where populations of people live by county. In this case, we are interested in the percentage of Indigenous Population by US county in relationship to the waterways and the pipeline route. You can clearly see in this map that the Indigenous People living in the Missouri River Basin live mainly along waterways. They are largely river communities and river peoples - connected intimately with the rivers. The importance of the water for the Indigenous People population can be recognized in their presence and proximity to it. Again you can see the populations at risk, downstream of the pipeline route waterway crossings.

01 November 2016

Public Talk about Standing Rock & Water Security this Saturday in Miami

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On Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, Native American Tribes are standing against development of a 1,172 mile oil pipeline. Mississippi Rivers. The Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, is designed to cross hundreds of waterways including the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.  

ImageWater protectors are led by indigenous peoples and joined by non-native allies from around the country and world. More than 240 recognized Tribes stand in solidarity with Standing Rock against this threat of potential contamination of our longest and largest national water basins. This moment is unprecendented in contempoary times: this is the largest gathering of Native American Tribes. They stand unwavering under the banner of Mni Wiconi, Lakota words that express: Water is Life 

Jennifer will share the story of the movement as she understands it, her trip to North Dakota, and her current research efforts toward understanding and describing threats to water security for people and ecosystems from this development.  

Talk & Photographs by Dr. Jennifer Veilleux  
Luna Star CafĂ© – 775 NE 125th Street North Miami (305) 799-7123 
Saturday November 5, 2016 – 3:00pm $10.00 Cover  
Fundraising Event for International Indigenous Youth Camp at Standing Rock, Live Music to Follow