As it seems for the first time in the past one hundred years federal initiative is seeking out large amounts of Native American land. This is all thanks to their thirst for big oil.
Utah Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz came up with a proposal three years ago that they named the Utah Public Lands Initiative. This proposal was planned so that they could turn over a quarter of the Ute Tribe’s land into oil and drilling zones. After waiting and planning for three whole years this initiative has transformed into HR5780 and is now in the process of being pushed through the U.S. House of Representatives, something that is only going to take a few short weeks. This is the first grab of Native American land to be in such a large amount in the past one hundred years.
On the surface the proposal comes off as fair but it is not. You see congressman Bishop is one of the leading cheerleaders for gas and oil development and will do anything in his power to further it. Considering the recent destruction of sacred Native land at Standing Rock during the construction of the DAPL the Ute tribe is intending to fight this proposition.
If you look at the tribes webpage you will see that this bill will directly impact 100,000 acres of Ute reservation land. Land that is home to well over half of the tribes population. This land has been inhabited by natives for over 11,000 years and has plenty of rock paintings and petroglyphs to show it.
The Ute tribe has been out of the loop on this matter for far too long it seems. The land being likely taken is known for being rich in mining deposits including things like uranium and potash as well as tar sands. This region has been eyeballed for years by the gas and oil companies as it seems one of the perfect places to drill. It seems quite soon they will be able to do just that.
The main issue here is that the oil and gas companies are able to use the power of the government to grant themselves special privileges and among these land rights not afforded to others. There is nothing legitimate about taking land. If it weren’t for their passes given to them by the government they too would be held accountable for the things they do. They would not be allowed to continue on in such unethical business practices. Is there nothing we can do on this matter? Will the next land grab be even larger? There is really no way to tell at this point.