Nez Perce Tribe stands up for treaty rights in megaload case


This map from The New York Times shows the route taken by the first megaload shipment. The truck traveled Highway 12 for about 72 miles through the Nez Perce Reservation.

Members and leaders of the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho are defending their treaty rights in a lawsuit against megaload shipments.

Chairman Silas Whitman, 72, was among 28 tribal members who were arrested last month for trying to stop a truck carrying energy equipment through the reservation. They weren't successful on the ground but they won a key decision in federal court this month that prevents a second shipment.

“The development of American corporate society has always been — and it’s true throughout the world — on the backs of those who are oppressed, repressed or depressed,” Whitman told The New York Times.

The truck was carrying a 225-foot-long water purification unit to the tar sands oil development area in Alberta, Canada. General Electric -- the third largest company in the world, according to Forbes -- manufactures the equipment and has asked Judge B. Lynn Winmill to reconsider his decision to stop the shipments.

The truck passed through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, an area where the tribe retains hunting, gathering and other treaty-based rights. Winmill ordered the U.S. Forest Service to consult the tribe before further shipments come through the area.

Get the Story:
Fight Over Energy Finds a New Front in a Corner of Idaho (The New York Times 9/26)
The GOAT Blog: Idaho Wild and Scenic Rivers and the Nez Perce Tribe trump tar sands megaloads—for now (High Country News 9/25)

District Court Decision:
Nez Perce Tribe v. USFS (September 13, 2013)

Related Stories
Editorial: Idaho to blame for mess over megaload shipment (9/23)
Gabe Galanda: Decision favors Nez Perce Tribe's treaty rights (9/18)
Nez Perce Tribe wins decision against 2nd megaload shipment (9/13)
Leaders of Nez Perce Tribe charged for protesting megaloads (9/12)
Nez Perce Tribe in court to block second megaload shipment (9/10)
Silas Whitman: Nez Perce Tribe ignored on megaload shipment (9/9)

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