Indigenous Sovereignty and the Rights of Nature in Local Governance
a panel featuring Aurolyn Stwyer, Treothe Bullock, Paul Cienfuegos and Lucy Marie
This panel seeks to explore the positive and problematic intersections between Indigenous Sovereignty strategies and rights-based organizing in Cascadia, with the purpose of elaborating an appropriate practice of decolonization within a settler colonial context.
As the power of multinational corporations continues to grow and international trade agreements preempt environmental protection laws, can grassroots movements effectively confront the logic and power of colonial law by implementing proactive decolonial assertions of sovereignty from below? Can a bioregional vision be employed to reinterpret the mainstream narrative of the relationship between the State, corporate power, and civil society while dismantling settler colonialism?
Can complementary strategies be developed between these two movements, which both seek to contravene the State-centric sovereignty of “law-from-above” with grassroots assertions of “law-from-below?” What potential risks of re-colonization may exist in Community Rights strategies within a settler colonial context, and how can these risks be recognized, transformed, and deliberately rooted within and through Indigenous vision and struggle?
This dialogue will bring together voices from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Spring, the People’s Water Trust, Friends of Celilo Falls, and Community Rights PDX.
Aurolyn Stwyer is a member of the Warm Springs and Wasco tribes. She is a traditional food gatherer for the longhouse. She has an MBA with the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in human and organizational systems with the Fielding Graduate University, her Ph.D studies has a focus on the Plateau heritage rites of passage ceremonies. Her board memberships include the Museum at Warm Springs, Friends of Celilo, and ONABEN. Aurolyn is the owner of Red Skye Trading Post and Pawn Store at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Treothe Bullock is an experienced glaciologist and ecologist who currently works as a science educator, writer and photographer. His blog, Tree Oathe, features writing and photography from a Bioregional Cascadian perspective. He sits on the boards of Friends of Celilo Falls and The Celilo Falls Restoration Fund – working toward restoration of Cascadia’s historic ecological/spiritual/cultural center – Celilo Falls.
Paul Cienfuegos is a regional leader in the Community Rights movement, which works to dismantle corporate constitutional so-called “rights” and assert the people’s inherent right to self-government. He has been leading workshops, giving public talks, and organizing local communities since 1995 when he founded Democracy Unlimited in northern California. Since 2011, he has lived in Portland, Oregon, where he co-founded CommunityRightsPDX.org, and is helping to establish the Oregon Community Rights Network which launched in 2013. His talks have been broadcast nationally on ‘Alternative Radio’.
More info can be found at PaulCienfuegos.com
Marie is a 4th Generation Portlander. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Environmental Studies, earned her Permaculture Design Certificate from Three Sisters Permaculture and the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA, She returned to Portland in 2012 to attend the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College, where she is now in her last year.
Marie is a co-author of The People’s Water Trust municipal ballot initiative, a first-of-its-kind policy innovation designed to keep our city’s water clean, affordable, accessible, and managed solely in the public’s interest. If enacted (when enacted), the Trust may well become a model of responsible conservation for the entire nation.