Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thank you, the journey was never my own


By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Today, between a hospital stay and fight for my life in May, and a journey to the Zapatista Stronghold in Chiapas in August, I'm especially thankful for this road I've been on, which was never really my own. I've never spoken in public about journalism over the past 32 years, because, for me, it was a matter of following my inner voice, and what some call the Spirit or Creator.

There were turning points along the way, and today, I will remember a few of those. The first turning point came when Louise Benally of Big Mountain on Black Mesa shared the truth with me about Peabody coal. "The corporations lie," she said. At the time, I was a new reporter for Navajo Times and living in a log cabin in the Chuska mountains on Navajoland. During those years, my friends took me to the home of Chief Frank Fool's Crow on Pine Ridge. While on Hopi land, Dan Evehema, more than 100 years old, told me, "Don't ever apply for grants, or they will own you." (And I didn't.)

The next time for a new beginning was when I first traveled with an Indigenous delegation to Chiapas, nearly two decades ago. The publisher who created Indian Country Today, Tim Giago, and my editor Monty Ecoffey, both Lakotas, made that possible. Once in the mountains and jungle of Chiapas, there was no turning back. There was the reality of what the United States and corporations are doing to the people.

Thanks to the Zapatistas in a barrio in Tucson, the journeys with the Zapatistas continued through the years, with the caravan across Mexico, and gatherings in Chiapas in the south, and Sonora in the north. The force behind those who kept this going, as they have said about Che, was the force of love, and the outrage at the injustice. It was truly the path of justice, dignity and autonomy.

There was a final turning point which brings me to today, living near the southern so-called border, and learning from the Tohono O'odham in the south and the Mohawks in the north. Along the way, Govinda at Earthcycles and I broadcast live for five months on the Longest Walk 2 northern route in the Earthcycles bus. What I brought away from this was beautiful friendships, especially with the young Native American walkers and their promise of the future. During the walk, I was also able to visit Kahentinetha, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, after she was nearly killed by Canadian border patrol agents. She was forced into a stresshold at the border which resulted in a heart attack.

A couple of years later, as a member of the foreign press, I was in the mountains of Bolivia, with President Evo Morales, during the gathering for the protection of Mother Earth. Along the way, both Wikileaks and Anonymous provided truth online that would have never been made public otherwise. Censored News coverage became global with volunteer translators and websites in Europe.

Along the way, I've learned another important life lesson: When everything looks the bleakest, something good is just around the corner.

So today, I say thank you to each of you who inspired me, helped me, and encouraged me on. You know who you are. Thank you, Brenda

Brenda Norrell has been a reporter in Indian country for 32 years, beginning with Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for AP and USA Today while living on Navajoland. Then, she served as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today. In 2006, she was censored and terminated by ICT, under new ownership, and created Censored News as a result. Censored News was published for eight years as a labor of love with no advertising or grants. Censored News exposed what is being censored in Indian country and provided a publishing platform for grassroots voices. Censored News archives continue to be read around the world by thousands of readers each week in countries circling the earth. Today, the new Indigenous Resistance, a collective of writers, continues this work. 
Indigenous Resistance http://indigenousresistancejuly2014.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Zapatistas 'Just so you know' July 26, 2014

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION
MEXICO.
July 2014

By Subcomandante Moises
Trucking to La Realidad photo by Brenda Norrell
Indigenous Resistance

To the compañer@s of the Sixth in Mexico and in the world:
To all those who supported us in the reconstruction of the school and the clinic that belong to thecompañeros of La Realidad:
Compañer@s:
Greetings from the Zapatistas.
We want to inform you of the following:
1. Upon hearing that the National Indigenous Congress still lacks adequate funds to travel to the exchange in the Caracol of La Realidad, the Zapatista compañeros and compañeras from the community of La Realidad have decided to use part of the $958,646.26 Mexican pesos that they received for reconstruction in La Realidad to support this travel.
2. According to the accounts the CNI sent us, they need approximately $200,000 (two hundred thousandpesos). They already have a part of this from donations sent by musicians, compas of the Sixth in Mexico and the world, and other good people who have supported them without any self-interest. But they don’t have sufficient funds to cover the rental costs of the trucks that will take them to CIDECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, which is where we are going to pick them up to bring them to Zapatista Reality [La Realidad].
3. The Zapatista bases of support in La Realidad are the ones who received the support you all sent for the reconstruction of what the CIOAC-Histórica destroyed, so we consulted them about this budget problem that the compañeros and compañeras of the CNI are having. We consulted the bases of support because that money belongs to them, not to the EZLN; we just function as their voice to ask for and receive support, which we hand over to them as it arrives. In other words, we as the EZLN cannot decide what to do with that money. We explained to the Zapatista compas of La Realidad that this money was given to support their community reconstruction, and that if it is to be used for something else we have to consult them. We can’t act like the bad government who says the money is for one thing and then uses it for another. So that’s what we explained.
4. The compas in Zapatista La Realidad got together and decided to contribute $59,000 (fifty-nine thousandpesos) to support the National Indigenous Congress’ travel to the exchange that we will hold here soon. They agreed to offer this support, and they told us to let you know about this agreement so that there wouldn’t be any deceit or misunderstandings.
5. So, according to the last report that we gave you, there remain $899,646.26 (eight hundred ninety-nine thousand, six hundred and forty-six pesos and twenty-six cents Mexican pesos). We still have to see if more comes in, but we will let you know.
I also want to tell you that we have finished the construction work for the exchange with the brothers and sisters of the indigenous peoples, and we are now putting on the finishing touches in order to have everything ready to joyfully receive our invitees.
Next comes the construction of the new school and clinic, which will also be undertaken with joy. Because what those above destroy, we below will rebuild.
That’s all the information I have for you for now.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.
Mexico, July 2014. In the twentieth year of the war against oblivion.