Megaload Update: Umatilla Show Solidarity Against Tar Sands

Umatilla members, Rising Tide, and allies rallied to blockade a megaload on December 2

Members of CTUIR, Rising Tide, and allies rallied to blockade the megaload on December 2

from Earth First! Newswire

Megaload shipments through Eastern Oregon and Idaho received another blow this week in the form of  a strongly worded letter from the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) stating concern over the impacts of megaloads and the tar sands.

In the letter, sent Monday, the newly elected Umatilla Chair of the Board of Trustees Gary Burke explains, “First, ODOT [Oregon Department of Transportation] did not adequately consult with the CTUIR on a government-to-government level prior to issuing the permit. Second, the CTUIR has strong concerns regarding the potential long-term and indirect impacts to the CTUIR’s interests caused by tar sands development.”

The lack of consultation, explains Burke, violates an Executive Order from Kitzhaber, himself, which directs state agencies to “make a reasonable effort to cooperate with tribes in the development and implementation of programs of the state agency that effect tribes.”

After attempting to meet with ODOT, the CTUIR received notice that the permit had been granted for megaload transportation.

On Sunday, December 2, Omega Morgan’s megaload was stopped before it could leave the Port of Umatilla by a lock down and rally with participants from Rising Tide as well as members of the Warm Springs and Umatilla tribes. The next day, however, the megaload broke through a human blockade with the help of police who brutally removed a Umatilla elder from its path.

As the CTUIR letter bluntly states, ”Consultation has little meaning when, as in this instance, the outcome is a foregone conclusion.”

“The CTUIR also has concerns regarding the eventual use of the equipment being moved,” the letter states, in a profound expression of solidarity. “Out understanding is that this equipment is destined for use in tar sands mining in Alberta, Canada. As you are aware, tar sands mining has had negative impacts on indigenous peoples in Canada, causes significant environmental damage, and is contributor to global climate change.”

In spite of the strongly worded CTUIR letter, the megaload started up again yesterday and rolled from Pendelton to Ukiah. A group of protesters from the CTUIR, led by Walla Walla Chief Carl Sampson (Yellowbird) and Shaker leader Art McConville were gathered together to witness the move.

As another snow storm passes through and blocks the megaload for what is likely to be the next few days, Native activists and allies continue to hold ceremonies and keep a vigilant and watchful eye on its movements.

See below for more.

by Tribal member x-603. Wey-ow’sux. Cathy Sampson-kruse

Last night at approximately 7:50pm CTUIR Tribal members gathered in song & prayer. Led by Walla Walla Chief Carl Sampson (Yellowbird) and Shaker leader Art McConville. There were moments of police interruption but the group stood strong in their right and belief to protect our aboriginal treaty rights of the ceded boundary area of 1855.

We stood witness to the Megaload movement at approximately 10pm. Two Tribal women, Linda & Sandy Sampson followed the Beasts trail to it’s ODOT approved destination of Ukiah, Oregon and on its destructive path to our relatives of the First Nations. Along the path more than a dozen folks in the community of Pilot Rock stood witness the entourage of vehicles with police & ODOT escorts. Documented footage and photos of the dangerous road conditions will be given to our Tribal Chairmans, Alan Crawford and Gary Burke as they prepare for Government to Government consultation ( a letter from Chairman Burke was sent to Governor Kitzhaber on 12/9/13).

It appears the Omega Morgan Company is in direct violation of their own agreement with the State of Oregon/ODOT regulation:

“734-075-0600 Weather Restrictions 1) Movement is prohibited when road surfaces are hazardous due to ice, snow, or frost or when visibility is less than 500 feet due to snow, mist, rain, dust, smoke, fog or other atmospheric conditions.”

Chief Carl Sampson, Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox translated as Yellowbird has spoken to the Umatilla and Cayuse Chiefs; as well as our relatives of the Columbia River Treaty Tribes: Nez Perce, Warm Springs, Yakama & Burns-Paiute, to come together on Saturday at noon for a traditional pipe ceremony. The public will be invited to parts of the ceremony and the potluck dinner to follow at our Longhouse with more details posted by 12/12/13.

Follow the load on:

Our Tribal website:

Tribal member x-603. Wey-ow’sux. Cathy Sampson-kruse

Tags: , , , ,