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Native American tribe battles corporations – Al Jazeera Blogs


Native American tribe battles corporations – Al Jazeera Blogs. (FULL ARTICLE)

A highway twisting through the wilderness of northern Idaho lies at the heart of a battle pitting some of America’s most powerful corporations against a small tribe of native Americans and their allies. And the corporations are losing.

“We are not gonna stand by and let this happen,” declares Nez Perce tribal chairman Silas Whitman.

“We are not gonna go away. It affects our homeland, and our resources, and our way of life, our treaty culture, everything that we are about, and we are not going to see a re-visit of what happened to us in the past. No more.”

US Highway 12 runs through the Nez Perce reservation and the tribe’s historic cultural territory, along the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers. It’s also the cheapest route for the Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips and General Electric corporations to transport giant oil-processing equipment, from manufacturers in Asia for use in the tar sands of Alberta, in Canada. The shipments, called “mega-loads”, are too big to fit beneath overpasses on larger highways. They take up the entire width of the two lane highway.

The highway 12 corridor is protected from development under Federal law as a place of unique natural beauty and environmental value. Plans to run hundreds of mega-loads through the corridor appalled Lin Laughly and Borge Hendrickson, who’ve live nearly all their lives along the river….

 


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