By Alex Brown, In These Times
The U.S. has largely ignored the nearly 400 treaties signed with tribal nations, but that may be starting to change. And some think that could prevent, or even reverse, environmental degradation.
Last month, Michigan officials announced plans to shut down a controversial oil pipeline that runs below the Great Lakes at the Straits of Mackinac. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats, cited several reasons for the decision, including one that got the attention of tribal leaders in Michigan who have been fighting the pipeline for years.
In the shutdown order, Whitmer referenced an 1836 treaty in which tribal nations ceded more than a third of the territory that would become Michigan in exchange for the right to hunt and fish on the land in perpetuity. An oil spill from the pipeline would destroy the state’s ability to honor that right, Whitmer said.