Love The Everglades Movement.
In their Initial Comments letter, the Miccosukee Tribe requests an extension of the Public Comment period because the amount of time originally given is insufficient to adequately translate and convey the message to the Community Elders -- many of whom do not read or write in the English language.
Some other concerns include the following:
- Negative Cultural Impacts;
- Risk of exposure of Miccosukee cultural, historical, and archaeological resources to loss, theft, and vandalism;
- Invasion of Privacy;
- Negative Wetland and Habitat Impacts;
- ROGG fails to adequately address how the bike path might influence the Spread of Exotic Species;
- Use of herbicides to maintain grass strips impacting Native Species;
- Water Quality Impacts;
- Miccosukee Tribal lands have stringent Water Quality Standards which Must Be Met;
- Water Quality Certification Responsibility;
- Miccosukee Tribe sees no reasonable alternative that do not impact Tribal lands or waters and therefore will deny Water Quality Certification for any portion of the project within Miccosukee jurisdiction;
- Health & Safety Concerns;
- ROGG places more demands on the limited fire resources of the National Park Service;
- ROGG will also divert fire rangers and and fire management resources from saving lives.
The Miccosukee Tribe also goes on to enumerate the many laws that must be followed.
- All Applicable Laws Must Be Followed, including:
- National Environmental Policy Act;
- Endangered Species Act;
- Federal Advisory Committee Act;
- Clean Water Act;
- Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA);
- Big Cypress Enabling Act;
- Big Cypress National Preserve 2014 Superintendent's Compendium;
- Miccosukee Reserved Area Act;
Quote from the letter:
"The ROGG Draft Plan does not comply with all applicable laws, does not meet the requirements of NEPA, and does not comply with Tribal policies and practices."
Outside of the scope of the letter, I would like to remind folks what a separate indigenous sovereignty has been saying for quite sometime. I'm referring to Bobby C. Billie of the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples. One of the messages that he's been repeating is that burial sites would be disturbed if this project were to move forward. He's been reluctant to specifically identify the locations of these burial sites. I empathize, because I know very well how the sacred and holy can be open to violation, parody, or satire, once this information becomes public knowledge. His concerns are definitely serious enough that they would have NAGPRA implications. A lot of times, though, these areas are a taboo subject for public discourse, and that also complicates matters
I would personally like to take this time to remind the public of the difficult and contentious histories that indigenous communities across this continent have had with colonial powers, and governments like the USA. Treaties signed and disregarded, broken promises, genocidal policies, forced removals of children, forced relocation of communities, wartime atrocities, assimilation policies, prohibitions on freedom of religion. And yet, our indigenous communities have also found shining moments of cooperation, collaboration, and mutually-beneficial accords which contribute to the revitalization of indigenous communities and strengthened sovereignty.
There is a way forward where parties on all sides can express respect and appreciation for each other's customs and ways of life. And what we must first do is pause, and listen, and reflect. So let's take this opportunity to listen to and appreciate what this particular indigenous sovereignty is saying about how negatively this project will impact a way of life that has already been threatened by massive and prolonged environmental degradation.
And what is it about this particular way of life that is so special and unique that they are using all legal, moral, and spiritual avenues to express their concerns?
Well, in my opinion, it's about a garden, it's about a cooking fire, it's about the stories told at night by family and friends, it's about the stars twinkling overhead, it's about that Milky Way above, it's about knowing your place in the Universe. It's about healing, and balance, and songs.
Read the Initial Comments by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida below. (Document only visible on laptop or desktop computer. Click the icon in the lower-right corner to read the document Full Screen.)