Feb 13, 2014 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ODOT MEGALOAD PERMIT VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ CONSENT RIGHT
ODOT MEGALOAD PERMIT VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ CONSENT RIGHT
On Tuesday, Peo Peo Mox Mox Headman of the Walla Walla Tribe Carl Sampson, and Mr. Peter Goodman representing ActOnClimate.net, filed in Marion County Circuit Court to require a court review of a third tarsands equipment Megaload permit issued Thursday February 6 by ODOT.
The filing, a “Petition for Review of Agency Decision”, asserts that ODOT failed to meet its legal obligation to determine whether “the public interests will be served” before issuing the permit on Thursday February 6. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) issued the permit for Omega Morgan to haul a third tarsands equipment Megaload along Eastern Oregon scenic highways passing through Indigenous territories. ODOT previously denied a request for “party status” to members of the public, Goodman and Sampson. This denial and the lack of any process for public comment prevented public input before ODOT issued the permit. Oregon law requires ODOT to determine that public interests will be served before issuing a Megaload variance permit. Furthermore, as Treaty rights holders we expect to be asked foremost for consent, consistent with the intent of International Indigenous Peoples’ right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (“FPIC”). ORS 182.843 also directs that a “state agency shall make a reasonable effort to cooperate with tribes in the development and implementation of programs of the state agency that affect tribes.”
I, as a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (“CTWS”) tribal member, who maintains a vested interest in the stewardship of our territories, foremost for our unborn Treaty “rights” holders, do not believe that ODOT has made a “reasonable effort” to cooperate with CTWS and primarily our membership regarding its decision to permit these oversize shipments through lands we own, manage and utilize for spiritual, sustenance, cultural and ecological restoration purposes. CTWS and our membership maintains crucial interests in our ceded/unceded lands and traditional use areas, and work to protect our First Foods, resources related to Treaty rights, and cultural resources throughout these areas. When Oregon state agencies take action that has the potential to impact any of these rights and resources, we as rights holders demand consent. The grassroots treaty beneficiaries and “unrecognized” descendants have not granted consent to the State of Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation, nor Omega Morgan in regards to “megaload” transportation through our territories. No elected delegate who participates in government to government negotiations, nor the people who are sitting as elected tribal representatives have the full sovereign authority to grant permission/give consent on behalf of the Peoples’ to any agency, company or corporation.
Ultimate sovereignty is vested in the Peoples’, who received that sovereign authority in the form of laws given by the Creator and by the land itself. Our Peoples’ have delegated only limited authority to the tribal council and have reserved the rest of our national sovereignty to ourselves. Our people, as the custodians of our sovereignty, revere our homelands and declare that they shall be protected absolutely and forever. [CTWS Declaration of Sovereignty]
Under current practices ODOT only considers comments from the permit applicant and not from the public, at large, whom it considers irrelevant parties. The position of Sampson and Goodman is that these Megaloads are not ordinary vehicles to be permitted on Oregon scenic highways using routine practices established for normal oversize loads, but that they are extraordinarily large industrial loads (longer than a football field and weighing up to 900,000 pounds), causing substantial harm to the citizens of Oregon and therefore not in the public interest. At the very least, they argue, ODOT should not be making a unilateral decision without a process for hearing public comments on whether these Megaloads are in the “Public Interests”.
Kayla L. Godowa-Tufti, member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon, descendant of Indigenous peoples of Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada:
Galasq’ó, (Wasco, those that have the cup) Kiksht, Upper Chinook. Present day The Dalles, OR: Columbia River Gorge. Represented by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon
Yakama (Runaway) /Pa` kiut`lema (people of the gap) /Waptai’lmin (people of the narrow river) Represented by the Yakama Nation, WA
Warm Springs/Walla Walla (Little River) N’ chi Wana/The big river, Sahaptain: Columbia River gorge. Represented by Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs & Umatilla
Chakgeenknii-Tufti band (Molallish peoples from the Cascades: Waldo Lake and Fall Creek) Rep. by Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Tufti: contemporary Warm Springs family name. Traced back to Charlie Tufti, credited for “discovering” Waldo Lake
Wadadökadö and Hunipuitöka Northern Paiute from the Caves of Eastern Oregon; Represented by the Burns Paiute Tribe of Oregon. Burns, OR. The Great Basin
Atsakudökwa tuviwarai Paiute (‘Those who live in the red mesas’, lived in the northwest of Nevada along the Oregon-Nevada border in the Santa Rosa Mountains); Rep. by the Paiute and Shoshone of Fort McDermitt, NV; Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation
Palaihnihan (Pit River Tribe; Burney, CA) Burney Valley
Plaíkni (Klamath, Móatokni [Modoc], Yahooskin/Goyatikendu, on the Sprague River; Beatty) Klamath Tribes; Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin Snake band Paiute. Klamath Basin