Recently, United Nation representative Victoria Tauli-Corpuz made critical statements on how the United States government’s use of excessive force on Standing Rock activists reflects the country’s continued mistreatment of Native people. In her statement, Tauli-Corpuz claims that the government is robbing Native people of their entitlement to tribal lands based on the drive for acquisition of power.
Tauli-Corpuz gave this address at a press conference after being invited to speak by the Obama administration. Clashes between tribes and the U.S. government over the Dakota Access pipeline illustrate, in Tauli Corpuz’s opinion, the incredibly disjointed communication system the government has with tribal council leaders.
In a statement to Buzzfeed, chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon, expressed the idea that having to be called out by a UN Special Rapporteur on how it is handling communication with and treatment of Native people is an “international embarrassment” for the United States government.
Tauli-Corpuz has visited with a wide array of tribes in the west and southwest portions of the nation and has broached the subjected of the Dakota Access Pipeline with Major General Donald Jackson, Jr. and North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. She has also cited her immense concern over the Trump administration’s executive orders to speed up the process of building the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline but has hope that these decisions will be rescinded.
Unfortunately, on February 7, 2017 the U.S. Army reversed its decision to conduct an extensive environmental survey of the land before commencing construction. They received permission to start drilling that day, something Lhamon sees as extremely problematic. It appears that the Trump administration will continue, and possibly even deepen, the trend of the U.S. government failing to effectively communicate with and be sympathetic to the issues faced by Native American tribal communities.