Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Navajo Women Saanii, life sparkling magic

By Brenda Norrell
A book came in the mail, "Navajo Women Saanii." This is no ordinary book, for it is written by Betty Reid, Navajo, with photos by Japanese photographer Kenji Kawano.
This book carries me back to when Betty and I lived in a log cabin in the Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation. We worked for the Navajo Times, which for a while was the daily Navajo Times TODAY in the early 1980s. Most days, I traveled across Navajoland for stories and usually Kawano was assigned to photograph those stories.
Our lives were filled with Saanii, Navajo women, who showed us how to spin sheep's wool into yarn and make kneeldown bread from fresh ground corn. There was always something for the women to laugh with us about, always a secret to whisper. They always showed us a gentler and more loving way to be. Stepping lightly on Mother Earth, with memories of trading posts and wagons, grinding blue corn and gathering wild tea, they always spoke to us with tenderness.
At home, in the log cabin on the mountain, we fed the woodstove with wood and dug out of deep snow. We drove down the mountain and struggled with computers, copy editors and deadlines. Those were sweet times and this new book, "Navajo Women Saanii" brings it all back, like Navajo women singing.
Some of the women we interviewed during those years are listed in Betty's new book in the section, "Twenty Noteworthy Navajo Women." One of those women was Claudeen Bates-Arthur, who died in 2004. She was the first Navajo Attorney General and the first female Navajo Chief Justice. One sentence Bates-Arthur said during an interview for Navajo Times is always with me. I asked her who made the most difference in her life and why. She said it was her mother. "She was always there for me," Claudeen said.
Another woman on the list of 29, is Annie Dodge Wauneka, who died in 1997. During her last years, she spent a day showing me her sheep and windmill, remembering how she spent her life. It wasn't the Presidential Medal of Freedom for helping eradicate tuberculosis, or the politics and travel, she remembered. It was her family, the sheep and the windmills.
In this book, "Navajo Women Saanii," Betty tells the stories of women living the quiet life of the Beauty Way and women balancing traditional and modern ways, from educators to rodeo riders. She writes of grandmothers, mothers and daughters. She writes for future generations.
"I remember chubby lambs in the spring and watching women snip wool off the sheep and goats by hand as they gossiped and laughed. I remember the flashlights we relied on for light during inky-black winter nights ..." Betty writes."Traditional Dine' (Navajo) elders say we live in the Fifth World. It sparkles with everything magical."
The mountaintop where we lived in Crystal, between the trading post and the lake, was magical. Looking out the front door, we could see all the journeys, the moon rise, the tracks of bobcats, deer and wild turkey in the snow and the changing colors of oak leaves with the breath of winter.
Life sparkled with everything magical.
Ahe'hee', thank you Betty.
.
"Navajo Women Saanii" is published by Rio Nuevo Publishers in Tucson. Betty Reid is a news reporter for the Arizona Republic. Kenji Kawano lives with his family on the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mohawk Women Title Holders: Notice on borders to invaders

Mohawk Nation News
Oct. 29, 2007.

The following position on the Border Issue is being presented by the Mohawk Women Title Holders on November 7, 2007 at the "Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas" at Tohono O'odham Nation which is claimed by foreign entities known as Mexico and the U.S. The corporate colonial franchises known as "Canada", "U.S." and "Mexico" are trying to illegally place physical and destructive restrictions on our movements over our ancestral lands. The Women Title Holder intend to serve notice to these immigrants and the world community that we refuse to tolerate it. Comments appreciated MNN Mohawk Nation News http://www.mohawknationnews.com/

NOTICE FROM:

The Kohtihon’tia:kwenio of the Kanion’ke:haka - Women Title Holders of the Mohawk Nation of the Rotino’shonni:onwe (Iroquois)

November 7, 2007

TO: The Invaders of North, Central and South America, all their criminal agencies and departments, their international terrorist allies and the useless members of the United Nations;

RE: Freedom of Rotino’shonni:onwe to traverse throughout Indigenous lands known as Onowaregeh, Turtle Island of the “ Western Hemisphere ” and beyond without hindrance from the invading aliens and their agents;

PRESENTED AT:

The Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas ,
San Xavier Community Center, 2018 West San Xavier Road, Tohono O’odham Nation whose territory is claimed by Mexico and the United States.

PREAMBLE:

Our land is who we are. We can never forfeit ourselves or our land as we are part of Creation on in these lands known as the “Western Hemisphere”, which includes North, Central and South America . We were never conquered by anybody. We survived outright murder, chemical and germ warfare, starvation, genocide by statute, lies and ignorance committed by fabricated colonial nations that are squatting on our Indigenous lands. Canada, United States, Mexico and all the other colonists are fictitious “nations”. They are corporate “franchises” of Europe , not governments. They do not and can never have title to our land. Only we, the original Title Holders, have sovereign authority.

WAMPUM 44 –
GREAT LAW OF PEACE, KAIANEREH’KO:WA

According to Wampum 44 of our law, the Kaianereh’ko:wa, the Great Law of Peace, we, the Kohtihon’tia:kwenio - Women Title Holders - are the caretakers of the land, water and air of “Onowaregeh” [Turtle Island]; and as trustees, our obligation is to preserve and protect the land for the future generations.

a)WHEREAS the Two Row Wampum Agreement and Wampum 58 of the Kaianereh’ko:wa, Great Law of Peace, stipulate that no one shall restrict our freedom of passage on our lands we call Onowaregeh and beyond; we will always reject these artificial borders that were created by the capitalist corporations known as “Canada”, “United States” and “Mexico” which are meant to illegally divide up lands and resources stolen from the Indigenous peoples; and we, the original people, will continue to make agreements and alliances among our nations as we see fit and as we have done since time immemorial.

b)WHEREAS regarding the northeastern area of Onowaregeh, the Kohtihon’tia:kwenio give notice that we reject the attempt by the colonists to make unlawful restrictions on our freedom of passage on our territory and beyond.

c)WHEREAS respect for our rights is entrenched in the constitutions of Canada and the United States .

d)WHEREAS the Charter of the United Nations requires respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; and its members have signed a commitment to resolve differences peacefully without using force.

e)WHEREAS Canada, the United States and Mexico have ascribed to the internationally recognized standards for respecting political rights of the People as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, United Nations Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international legal instruments.

f)WHEREAS General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) requires the informed consent of the people before they are included in another state; and the international Court of Justice affirmed this Resolution in the Western Sahara case.

g)WHEREAS according to article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Sections 1 and 2, every nation has a right to its nationality; and no nation can change another nation’s identity by imposing legislation to restrict travel, trade and commerce which must be unhindered throughout our original pre-contact territories.

h)WHEREAS international law is committed to affirming the equal and inalienable rights of all peoples.

i)WHEREAS Canada, the United States, Mexico and all other colonial states must abide by the international law principles that there can be no arbitrary encroachment on Indigenous peoples; ignoring the true Indigenous people is now universally recognized as illegal; independent Indigenous people’s rights must be respected and heeded; and our perspectives on the issues must not be ignored;

j)WHEREAS the Indigenous peoples have our own constitutions, we cannot be arbitrarily turned into Canadian, American or Mexican citizens without our knowledge or consent; and we cannot be governed by foreign laws that have been arbitrarily imposed without our consent.

k)WHEREAS foreign nations that have invaded our territory cannot restrict our movements and make unlawful demands for us to carry foreign passports and other forms of alien identity; we have made agreements and means by which to traverse the lands of our Indigenous allies; and we have a form of identification, the “Red Card”, which are issued to us under our constitution, the Kaianereh’ko:wa. The “Haudenosaunee Passport” is for travel outside of Onowaregeh.

l)WHEREAS the “Red Card” and the “Haudenosaunee Passport” identifies that a person is a “Haudenosaunee”, Six Nations, of Onowaregeh; according to the Two Row Wampum Agreement we are free to pass and re-pass by land or inland navigation or by air onto our territories; we are free to continue to carry on trade and commerce with each other; it is illegal for taxes, duties or any fees whatsoever to be extracted from us by any foreigners; we are free to hunt and fish anywhere on our territory; and we shall have free passage over all toll roads and bridges that have been built on Onowaregeh.

m)WHEREAS the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that every human being has the inherent right to life and fundamental freedom; no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life or freedom; we demand that the United States stop the practice of murdering and detaining our people for crossing their illegally imposed economic border; this contravenes the internationally recognized principles of fundamental justice; life is sacred; and no product of the human imagination can justify these systemic detentions and murders. Human life may not be sacred to the invaders, but it is to us.

n)WHEREAS the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People has been adopted by a majority of 144 states; international law has affirmed that all Indigenous peoples are to be treated as equals to all other peoples; and we accordingly claim our right to the full enjoyment as collectives and as individuals to all the human rights and fundamental freedoms that have been recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law, including the right to self-determination and the right to self-government in all our affairs without being subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of our culture.

o)WHEREAS states are required to provide redress for violations of our rights through effective mechanisms; we hereby notify Canada, United States and Mexico that their citizens have been violating our rights; we demand they disarm and stop them from detaining and shooting us; we demand that they stop harassing and charging us in their illegally imposed judicial system; and should they have any issues with us, they must bring their complaints to the legal representatives of our traditional governments.

p)WHEREAS we are aware that torture is an intentional act that is premeditated, systemic and scientific which is meant to break down our dignity, our social fabric and foment terror within our people; and these detentions are illegal and violations of fundamental human rights.

q)WHEREAS most of us have been subjected to illegal “puppet” tribal and band councils imposed by foreign colonial states, we demand that the colonizing states disband their puppet entities and restore proper diplomatic relations with our inherent traditional governments.

WE, THE KOHTIHON’TIA:KWENIO SEEK TO INFORM YOU THAT THIS IS FULL AND FAIR NOTICE THAT:

Canada, United States, Mexico and other colonial franchises must cease and desist their attempts to violate our authority; that they must deal with us on a nation-to-nation basis as required under both our law and international law; that any individual or foreign entity wishing to discuss any issues between our nations must provide full information through proper diplomatic channels, which are the Governor General of Canada and the Presidents of the United States and Mexico, who have a duty to inform us.

We, the Kohtihon’tia:kwenio, brought this matter to the attention of Canada in an action in the Supreme Court of Canada – Kanion’ke:haka Kaianereh’ko:wa Kanon’ses:neh v. Attorney General of Canada and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontarion, Court File: 05-CV-030785.

We, the Kohtihon’tia:kwenio, brought this constitutional jurisdiction issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. See No. 05-165: 2005. In the Supreme Court of the United States in re: Kanion’ke:haka Kaianereh’ko:wa Kanon’ses:ne, Non-party, Petitioner/Movant/Appellant, The Canadian St. Regis Band of Mohawk Indians, Plaintiffs, Respondents v. The State of New York , Defendants, Respondents. Petition for Writs of Certiorari and Quo Warranto with Prohibition and Mandamus in Aid to Prevent Genocide. Rules 17.1 and 20.1.

FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, WE, THE KOHTIHON’TIA:KWENIO, AS MEMBERS OF THE ROTINO’SHONNI:ONWE – IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR PHYSICAL INTEGRITY AND LEGAL RIGHTS – SAY AS FOLLOWS:

i)The Women Title Holders of the Rotino’shonni:onwe does not tolerate the violations of our constitution, ancient customs, traditions and agreements by Canada, U.S., Mexico or any franchises, corporations and agents violating our inherent rights by encroaching on our land.

ii)Murder and torture have no place in either internal or international relations of any peoples. It is a violation of the Great Law which is the first and only law of the Western Hemisphere .

iii) We invite Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to put away their guns and weaponry so we can resolve our differences in a mature and peaceful way, by rediscovering and brightening the spirit of the Two Row Wampum and the Covenant Chain that began our peaceful international relationship centuries ago.

iv)Should Canada , U.S. and Mexico continue to breach our rights, we shall take the necessary measures available to us in the international arena to correct the injustices that have been committed against us.

v)It has never been acceptable to abuse people on the basis of race, religion, nationality, belief or membership in a particular social group. We invite all members of the colonizing societies to become partners with us to end the cycle of abuse, stop the illegal criminalization of our people and extend dignity, equality and a voice to all peoples.

KOHTIHON’TIA:KWENIO, the Women Title Holders of the Kanion’ke:haka of the Rotino’shonni:onwe:

Katenies
Kahentinetha

Contact: P.O. Box 991 , Kahnawake of Mohawk territory [ Quebec , Canada ] J0L 1B0, kahentinetha2@yahoo.com katenies20@yahoo.com

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mohawk Nation News: Great Law and the Handsome Lake Code

BOOK ON "THE ON-GOING CONFUSION BETWEEN THE GREAT LAW AND THE HANDSOME LAKE CODE"

MNN. Oct. 28, 2007. MNN Mohawk Nation News has published another book in the "Mohawk Issues for Dummies Series". It's called "The On-Going Confusion Between the Great Law of
Peace and the Handsome Lake Code". Here are some comments from two people who read the book:

"Gees, I always thought I was "traditional" because of my belief in the "Creator"! It looks like I have to question how I relate to the natural world and my responsibilities to it", stated a Kanion'ke:haka youth who is always looking for answers.

"What a colonial conspiracy! This is the first time anyone took the Great Law philosophy and compared it with the Christian-based Handsome Lake Code ", said a surprised elder of Kahnawake. This book helps readers to understand the alarming turn of events at Six Nations over the land reclamation. For almost two years the Six Nations people, our friends and allies
successfully took back and held Indigenous land known as "Douglas Creek Estates", now called "Kanenhstaton." Read more ...
http://censored-news.blogspot.com/2007/10/mohawk-nation-news-great-law-and.html

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FEMA scolded for phony news conference on fires

FEMA exposed: Used their own employees to stage phony PR for FEMA on fires

Since the Washington Post exposed the phony reporters, now there's a cleanup spin going on. But there's so many big questions, like why did television reporters allow the fire coverage to become all about praising politicians and FEMA. Also, there's Blackwater's pending training base on the border at Potrero, where the Harris fire started.
Some of the most biased news reporting that was ever broadcast assaulted viewers during the California fires last week, ignoring the magnitude of the tragedies, enormous loss of homes and evacuation of nearly a million people. The cameras focused on smiling Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Bush, and praising politicians, while people watched their homes burn and struggled for news of their loved ones.
FEMA's phony news reporters:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/10/27/fema_scolded_for_staging_phony_news_conference/

Friday, October 26, 2007

Solidarity: Photos of Mohawks and Zapatistas at encuentro


More photos from Zapatistas' encuentro in Sonora, Mexico:

Special thanks to Angela Sterritt and the Indigenous Free School for the photos!
Angela was among the Native youth there, including Dustin from Redwire Native Youth Media and Gord from Warrior Publications. More photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/indigenous-encuentro/
.
Special thanks to Redwire Native Youth Media for sending those photos. Read more about Redwire:
http://www.redwiremag.com/


The Vícam Declaration: “We will defend Mother Earth with our lives”
by Hermann Bellinghausen

Originally published in La Jornada
Translation by Zapagringo

... The participants in the encuentro proclaimed their historic right to free self-determination, “respecting the different ways that, for the exercise of this, our people decide, according to their origin, history and aspirations." Also, they reject “the war of conquest and capitalist extermination imposed by the transnational companies and the international financial organizations in complicity with the great powers and nation states.
"They express their rejection of “the destruction and sacking of mother earth by means of the occupation of our territories for industrial, mining, agribusiness, touristic, savage urbanization and infrastructure activities, as well as the privatization of the water, land, forests, oceans and coasts, biological diversity, the air, the rain, traditional knowledge and all that is born of mother earth."
Read more ...
http://zapagringo.blogspot.com/2007/10/vcam-declaration.html

Read more at Narco News:

"Mohawks in solidarity with Zapatistas at Encuentro"
Revolution begins with Awakening
by Brenda Norrell
http://www.narconews.com/

"O'odham: Awakening at the Encuentro"
by Brenda Norrell
http://www.narconews.com/

Thursday, October 25, 2007

San Diego Harris fire began at controversial Blackwater site

The Harris fire, that is still burning in San Diego Country, began near Potrero, where one man was killed in the fire on Sunday. Potrero is where Blackwater plans to build a military-style training facility near the border. Now, four more burned bodies have been found. The fire is only 20 percent contained and 97 homes have been lost with many injuries.

San Diego Fires: A Good Reason To Stop Blackwater
23 hours ago by Rosemary
If you have been following the efforts of Blackwater to create a facility in Potrero, you will know that many San Diegans have been blindsided by the plans for the mercenary corporation to build here. These fires are just another reason ...

...Beyond the damage and destruction to life and property, the timing of this wildfire could not be much worse. This fire exploded just as the people of Potrero were preparing for a recall election on December 11 to kick out the planning group members who approved Blackwater's base. With ballots scheduled to be mailed in early November to less than 600 registered voters in this historic vote-by-mail recall, Potrero residents were preparing for an intense campaign over the next six weeks.

Four more burned bodies found near Potrero:
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20071025-1757-bn25fires2.html

Somewhere on the border

By Brenda Norrell
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

SOMEWHERE ON THE BORDER -- For a couple of years now, I've had this romantic image of a journey from the southern border of the United States, to the northern tip of Alaska. In a perfect world, I would get in my very own camper truck and drive out of Tucson, then to the border at Lukeville, Arizona, and finally to San Diego, before heading north.

In a not-so-perfect-world, I began this journey five days ago, in a rental car with a discount coupon and really sick with a lung infection. Of course, I could have never imagined that when I reached San Diego, a few small fires would turn into all of southern California engulfed in flames. However, when I arrived Sunday afternoon, it was the hurricane force winds tossing the car around on canyon bridges that was the most terrifying.

Still, in just five days along the border, I've learned how extremely complex and different each region is, from Lukeville, Ajo and Yuma in Arizona, to the port of entry at Quechan. Then, there's my new personal favorite, Calexico, California. Driving through town, I had to ask myself, "I wonder if the Minutemen get in their faces here." Later, hanging out around the border wall west of town, a border agent wandered over. Looking at the border wall, he said, "They jump it pretty easy."

Looking back over the past five days, there's two things that stand out in my mind now: If you want to terrify a biologist on the federal payroll -- just ask how the border wall will effect the endangered jaguars, bats and Sonoran Pronghorns migrating along the border. (Their minds seem to take a quick accounting: "Will I be able to get unemployment?") They are terrified to speak the truth.

Second, there's a reason that the people of San Diego are often voted the most beautiful in the United States. There's a beauty of spirit within the people. While evacuees were watching their homes burn, or waiting without any news of homes and loved ones, there was a gentleness and sweetness of spirit that is rare. Yes, they said, they would rebuild. The place is too beautiful to leave.

Last night, I tried to drive back to Viejas to write about the humanitarian efforts there, but the dark smoke, blowing out to the east from the fires, was too heavy to breathe. So, I'm back to asking those questions about the border wall, jaguars, bats and Pronghorns.

And, I'm back on the road.

Photo: On the border near Calexico, California/Photo Brenda Norrell

'We were left behind,' Rincon Indians lose 65 structures

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20071025/news_2m25tribes.html

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Navajo and Hopi coalition urges global action for Maoris

Black Mesa Water Coalition in solidarity: Global Day of Action for Maoris

In the spirit of Tino Rangatiratanga, we as Indigenous Peoples of the Americas are calling for International Indigenous solidarity with Indigenous Maori brothers and sisters of Aotearoa (New Zealand) who currently being detained by the Crown and Prime Minster of New Zealand under the guise of "Anti-terrorism law". On October 15, 2007-New Zealand police raided the homes and community spaces across Aotearoa (North Island and Christchurch) under New Zealand anti-terrorism legislation. Seventeen arrests have been made; among those who were arrested and questioned are vocal community leaders of Indigenous Peoples rights movement, environmental justice and peace activists. The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 is in response of U.S. 9/11 events. It is still unclear what conditions can be defined as "terrorism". This act has given the grounds to allow over 300 police raids, invasion of privacy, relinquishing civil liberties of Maori citizens and could easily be used against those engaging in political or industrial protest action. In September 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a non-binding declaration protecting the human, land and resources rights of the world's 370 million indigenous people, despite opposition from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. The vote in the assembly was 143 in favor and four against. Eleven countries, including Russia and Colombia, abstained "A violation of human rights to one group of Indigenous Peoples is a violation to all Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Indigenous Peoples have struggled and resisted for hundreds of years against countless forms colonialism and oppression through man-made laws and government regimes whose objective has been to dehumanize and ignore Indigenous Peoples right to live." Black Mesa Water Coalition, Wahleah Johns "As Indigenous Peoples here in the Southwestern United States when we stand up to protect our Mother Earth--when we stand against contaminated snow making on our sacred mountain, or we stand against the extraction of fossil fuels from our lands, or the taking of water from beneath our people -- when we stand up for our basic human rights, will we soon be labeled as terrorists? This is what is happening to our Maori brothers & sisters!" Black Mesa Water Coalition, Enei Begaye What: Please join us locally to observe the Global Day of Action at the "Cultivating the Seeds of Tomorrow Fundraiser Benefit". This event is dedicated to the human rights struggle in New Zealand, come by and learn what you can do to help. Who: Members of Black Mesa Water Coalition and Native Movement Collective
When: October 27, 2007 7 pm-12pm
Where: 113 S. San Francisco Flagstaff, AZ
###Tena koutou katoaIn a wave of massive state repression, 300+ Police, in many casesarmed, raided houses around Aotearoa / NZ on October 16th making 17arrests. Search warrants were carried out in Auckland, Whakatane,Ruatoki, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.Police are also seeking up to 60 people for questioning. The arresteesare all activists in the Tino Rangatiratanga / Mana Motuhake, peaceand environmental movements.Ka whawhai tonu matou ake ake ake!
For a History on Tuhoe see http://www.conscious.maori.nz/news.php?item.28.6
For more info see http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nzterror.htm

Blackwater at the border

The small town of Potrero on the California/Mexico border was where one of the first fires broke out on Sunday (see photo) before the whole county became engulfed in fires. Potrero, southwest of Campo, is where the first person died in the San Diego fires. Potrero is also where Blackwater is planning to build a border training camp. (Photo of smoke from Potrero area fire, known as the Harris fire, viewed from a hilltop south of Campo on Sunday afternoon/Brenda Norrell)

Blackwater's run for the border
Salon
October 23, 2007

The notorious security contractor has plans for a military-style complex near the U.S.-Mexico border. Critics worry the firm's "mercenary soldiers" could join the U.S. Border Patrol.
By Eilene Zimmerman
There are signs that Blackwater USA, the private security firm that came under intense scrutiny after its employees killed 17 civilians in Iraq in September, is positioning itself for direct involvement in U.S. border security. The company is poised to construct a major new training facility in California, just eight miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. While contracts for U.S. war efforts overseas may no longer be a growth industry for the company, Blackwater executives have lobbied the U.S. government since at least 2005 to help train and even deploy manpower for patrolling America's borders. Blackwater is planning to build an 824-acre military- style training complex in Potrero, Calif., a rural hamlet 45 miles east of San Diego. The company's proposal, which was approved last December by the Potrero Community Planning Group and has drawn protest from within the Potrero community, will turn a former chicken ranch into "Blackwater West," the company's second-largest facility in the country. It will include a multitude of weapons firing ranges, a tactical driving track, a helipad, a 33,000-square-foot urban simulation training area, an armory for storing guns and ammunition, and dorms and classrooms. And it will be located in the heart one of the most active regions in the United States for illegal border crossings.
Read more ...
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/10/23/blackwater_border/index.html?source=newsletterer/index.html?source=newsletterer/index.html?source=newsletter

Scooby the dog, evacuating the San Diego fires

Scooby is among the animals fleeing the San Diego fire with their human friends. Scooby and his friends evacuated and are waiting near the California/Arizona border, waiting to hear if their homes have been burned. Photo Brenda Norrell

San Diego evacuees to Schwarzenegger: Stop bragging & shut up!

Another message from evacuees to politicians: Stop comparing the fires to the aftermath of Katrina

San Diego evacuees fleeing the fires have a message for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, following appalling television news broadcasts centered on his praise: "Stop bragging and shut up!"

San Diego fire evacuees at the California/Arizona border are still waiting to hear if their loved ones are safe and if their homes have burned. The last thing they want is to watch news coverage of the governor bragging about himself and others "kissing up" to him for political reasons.

To Gov. Schwarzenegger, one evacuee said, "If you going to glorify yourselves for something you didn't do right, there's something wrong with that."

The evacuees also said it is unfair to compare the fires' disaster to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"San Diego has beautiful weather and everyone has a car. Even the teenagers have their own vehicles. It is unfair to compare the victims of Katrina to the victims in San Diego. San Diego residents have the advantage of being able to get in their cars, travel to the shelters, then go about as they please in the days.

"They don't have sewage at their feet," the evacuee said remembering the floods after Hurricane Katrina. Evacuees pointed out that some San Diego shelters are even providing yoga, massage and health food for evacuees.

"Where else would that happen except in southern California."

They said there's a great deal of wonderful humanitarian aid and charitable giving going on, like at Viejas. News reports should focus on those, and exactly what is burning now and when people can return to their homes, rather than glorifying politicians, including President Bush, evacuees said.

A careful examination of the facts is likely to show that few state officials were working on Sunday afternoon and little was done at the crucial moments to prevent widespread disaster, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday. That is the time when a few fires were first fanned by hurricane-force winds in San Diego County, signaling a pending, large scale disaster.

The leaves and grasses were extremely dry from the drought. Here's the latest from Democracy Now! on how the Bush administration censored the reports on global warming:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/24/1525214

Indigenous Border Summit responds to human rights crisis

Indigenous Peoples' Border Summit of the Americas, Nov. 7 -- 10, focuses on human rights and right of mobility

By Brenda Norrell
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

SAN XAVIER, TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION (Arizona) -- A human rights crisis for Indigenous Peoples living along borders in the Americas threatens their survival, with rapidly expanding militarization and new laws which limit their mobility in their ancestral territories.
Responding to this crisis, the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation will host the Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas II, Nov. 7- 10, with support from the International Indian Treaty Council.
Mike Flores, Tohono O'odham summit organizer, said, "It is necessary for Tohono O'odham and other Indigenous Peoples of the border regions to collectively address the adverse impacts that are increasingly occurring on tribal lands. The Border Summit of the Americas II will provide us the opportunity to do just that," Flores said.
San Xavier District Chairman Austin Nunez joins Flores in welcoming Indigenous Peoples to the Border Summit on Tohono O'odham land, located near South Tucson.
"Welcome," Nunez said, "Our community is pleased to be hosting this year's conference."
The Border Summit will host a human rights workshop by the International Indian Treaty Council. The summit will be broadcast live on the Internet at http://www.earthcycles.net/ as was done in 2006.
From the southern Andes to the northern Arctic, corporations intent on seizing natural resources have increased the oppression and displacement of Indigenous Peoples, resulting in their forced mobility across national borders. Further, free trade agreements, mining and exploitative development have forced Indigenous Peoples into exile in the Americas, displaced from their lands where they farmed, hunted or fished for survival.
In the United States, corporate profiteering for private migrant prisons, experimental spy technology, poorly trained border agents, privatized security and new laws for immigration threaten the right of mobility in ancestral territories.
The human rights crisis at the southern border of the United States and Mexico has resulted in over 4,000 migrant deaths in recent years, including deaths of women from Guatemala on Tohono O'odham tribal land in Arizona who died walking with their children in 2007.
Migrants, including Indigenous Peoples from Mexico and Central America, die of dehydration and severe temperatures while walking in search of a better life. The Border Summit speakers will include Tohono O’odham Mike Wilson, who puts out water for migrants on tribal land.
“No one should die for want of a drink of water,” Wilson said.
The privatization of prisons, including the T. Don Hutto Residential Center and Raymondville migrant tent encampment, both near Austin, Texas, reveals the sinister motivation of profiteering from the plight of migrants. Hutto imprisons migrant and refugee infants and children. Speakers will include Jay Johnson-Castro, Sr., of Texas, among those organizing protests against the prisons.
In May, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for migrants, Jorge Bustamante, was denied entrance into Hutto, and Johnson-Castro helped organize the human rights protests that followed.
The border wall and border vehicle barriers along the southern border have resulted in the removal of ancestors’ remains of the Tohono O'odham and Kumeyaay from their final resting places. Further, the barrier wall on Tohono O'odham land is a barrier interfering with an ancient annual ceremony.
Since ceremonial leaders from Mexico often lead ceremonies in the United States, new immigration laws threaten the survival of ceremonies, culture and languages. Because many Indian people are born at home, or lack funds for visas and passports, crossing the border has become a harsh ordeal.
Further, at both the northern and the southern borders of Canada and Mexico, federal border agents ransack and violate ceremonial items.
Speakers on the right of mobility at the northern border include a delegation of Mohawks, including Mohawk Women Title Holders.
With the increased militarization and surveillance at the borders, the dangers from speeding border agents, aerial vehicle crashes and abuse and harassment by border agents increase.
Women, children and elderly along the border are most often the victims of oppression and suffer most often from the lack of food, safe drinking water and medicines.
With the militarization and oppression increasing for Indigenous Peoples around the world, the Border Summit of the Americas invites Indian people to offer their testimony while receiving information and training on human rights.
The International Indian Treaty Council will present a human rights training, following the United Nations adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The US will be examined by the UN Committee for Racial Discrimination (CERD) Committee in March of 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland.
“This workshop will provide information as to how Indigenous Nations, tribes and organizations can use this historic opportunity to inform the CERD Committee on the true state of racial discrimination in this country and how it affects Indian Nations, Peoples and communities. This information will be very important to help the UN CERD experts get a more accurate picture of racial discrimination in the US and hold the US accountable to their obligations under international human rights law,” IITC said.
“An additional focus will be on strategies to defend our human rights, border rights, and protecting our sacred sites and traditional land rights using the newly-adopted UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples from the local to the international levels.”


More information:
bordersummt2007@yahoo.com
http://indigenousbordersummitamericas2007.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'No Border Wall' condemns violation of 20 federal laws

NO BORDER WALL CONDEMNS SECRETARY CHERTOFF’S WAIVER OF 20 FEDERAL LAWS TO BUILD ARIZONA WALL

The No Border Wall coalition is deeply disturbed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s decision to waive 20 federal laws and overturn a judge’s order to resume construction of the border wall through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. We believe that his action is highly irresponsible and will result in permanent damage to the San Pedro River and increased deaths in the desert, while the number of people who enter the U.S. illegally will be unaffected. Secretary Chertoff’s actions, and the ill-conceived Real ID Act that permits him to unilaterally waive our nation’s laws, undermine the notion that the United States is based on the rule of law. He cannot suspend the law while claiming to defend the law.

When the Border Patrol and Army Corps. of Engineers began building the border wall through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, disregarding important federal statutes such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club petitioned the court for a temporary halt to construction. On October 10th U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle found that DHS had largely ignored the relevant laws, and that the hasty Environmental Assessment that had been produced without public comment was “inadequate.”

Rather than attempt to comply with our nation’s laws, Chertoff chose to “waive in their entirety… all federal, state, or other laws, regulations and legal requirements” related to the following 20 federal statutes:
National Environmental Policy Act
Endangered Species Act
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (aka Clean Water Act)
National Historic Preservation Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Clean Air Act
Archaeological Resources Protection Act
Safe Drinking Water Act
Noise Control Act
Solid Waste Disposal Act
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
Federal Land Policy and Management Act
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act
Antiquities Act
Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act
Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
Farmland Protection Policy Act
Administrative Procedures Act
This is a clear admission that the walls being built through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and other refuges along the border will run counter to these laws. There is no reason for Chertoff to waive laws that the wall will not violate.

In response to the court order, Secretary Chertoff said, "I have to say to myself, 'Yes, I don't want to disturb the habitat of a lizard, but am I prepared to pay human lives to do that?'” This dilemma is completely false. More than just the habitat of a lizard, federally endangered species such as the jaguar have been recorded in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in recent years. And as for human lives, the border walls built to date have not saved lives; instead, they have cost lives. No terrorist has been apprehended attempting to cross our southern border, and a wall would not stop them if they tried. The Border Patrol has repeatedly stated that border walls only slow crossers down by a few minutes. In its June 5, 2007 report Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border the Congressional Research Service stated, “The primary fence, by itself, did not have a discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens coming across the border in San Diego.” The only measurable impact that the border walls have had is in the number of people who have died in the desert. In August of 2005 the General Accounting Office issued a report titled Illegal Immigration: Border Crossing Deaths have Doubled Since 1995. Walls do not stop crossers, they redirect them into ever more remote parts of the desert where hundreds die of exposure and dehydration every year. When Chertoff asks himself whether he is “prepared to pay human lives,” he has his answer in the GAO report.

No Border Wall calls on Congress to restore the rule of law by repealing section 102 of the Real ID Act. Secretary Chertoff has provided a glaring example of the danger inherent in giving an Administration appointee the power to overrule all of the laws that Congress has enacted. If this precedent is allowed to stand the rule of law may be suspended for any future “crisis” that catches the attention of politicians during an election cycle. Our nation needs to find real solutions to our immigration issues, instead of a wall that destroys vital ecosystems and costs billions of dollars and hundreds of lives, but will only provide a false sense of security.

# # #

No Border Wall is a grassroots coalition of groups and individuals united in the belief that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will do irreparable harm to our borderlands and the nation as a whole. No Border Wall is opposed to the construction of a border wall because of the devastating consequences such a wall would have on border economies, on the environment, on human rights, and on the U.S. relationship with Mexico and the rest of the world.

For more information or an interview, contact Scott Nicol at (956) 532-5983 or noborderwall@yahoo.com

Photo: Jaguar; map of jaguar territory/Arizona Game and Fish

Censored Blog hosts Earl Hutchinson on blog tour

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is on a book tour, a "blog tour," and has asked the Censored Blog to host him today. Here's some information on his new book, "The Latino Challenge to Black America," and a message from his publicist about the novel idea of "blog tours."

Chapter 1
Rising Latino Numbers, Rising Black Fears In October 2005, one month after Katrina ripped through New Orleans, a plainly agitated New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told a town hall audience, "I can plainly see in your eyes that you want to know, 'How do I take advantage of this incredible opportunity? How do I make sure New Orleans is not overrun with Mexicans?'The remark was insensitive and insulting. And within days an enraged United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce denounced Nagin: The rising tension that underlay the Chamber's protest of Nagin was probably inevitable after the Census Bureau in 2002 publicly trumpeted that Latinos were now the top minority in the U.S. The news hit black America like a thunderbolt.
Chapter 3
Warped Perceptions in Black and Brown Despite being in America for centuries, many blacks still remain trapped in a hopeless morass of poverty, crime, violence, drugs and family deterioration. The newer immigrants accuse blacks of demanding expensive and wasteful government programs, rather than emphasizing self-help and personal initiative to draw themselves out of their economic misery. Few immigrants say it publicly, but privately some believe that blacks have stagnated because of apathy, laziness, low self-esteem and poor discipline. Even Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, in his seminal address at the Million Man March in October 1995, after chastising blacks to uplift themselves and their communities pointed a glowing finger at Mexicans as an example of immigrants who are moving forward in America, even if many of them came here illegally.
Chapter 7
Black and Brown Political Coalitions: Fact or Romantic Image
The Reverend Norman S. Johnson was a lonely man in the spring of 2001. The then-executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference –West was one of only two of the city's more influential black leaders to endorse Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa. Nearly every other prominent black leader and black elected official had endorsed Villariagosa's white opponent, Los Angeles city attorney James Hahn. Villaraigosa knew that black voters were wary and suspicious of him. He was determined to try to do whatever he could to reassure them that if he won, it would not mean (as some blacks openly said) that Mexicans would now run city hall.
Chapter 9 Illegal Immigrants Versus Black Workers There were no other blacks, whites or even English-speaking native-born Latino workers in the plant or in few other shops in the area. This is not a fictional story. Anti-illegal immigration activists say that the experience of the young black job seeker has played out thousands of times at restaurants, hotels, on farms and at manufacturing plants nationally, and that this is a major reason so many young black males are unemployed, join gangs, deal drugs and pack America's jails. The job loss to blacks that they attribute to illegal immigration is as much perception as slight reality. However, when the perception becomes a widely-held public belief and is continually repeated as fact, it soon takes hold in public opinion.

Nikki Leigh writes to the Censored Blog about the idea of the blog tour:
Authors have begun to use blog tours to promote their books. The process involves finding blog owners who are willing to "host" the author. I've found its much more effective to find blogs that appeal to the "target audience" for the book. This is a way to get information in front of the people who would be most interested in the content of the book. Mr Hutchinson's tour is going well. He's had several appearances on CNN and Fox News and I was very happy to see his book mentioned on the screen while he spoke with the host of the show. His ranking on Amazon has been good through the month and The Latino Challenge is ranking well in several key book categories. It appears that we're getting the book into people's hands and that's the best way to get the conversation started to help the problems he discusses in the book.
Anyone who would like more information about tours or Mr Hutchinson are welcome to contact me at nikki_leigh22939@yahoo.com or can visit my website at www.nikkileigh.com/promo.htm.

Press conference Indigenous Border Summit Thursday

Members of the media are invited to a press conference to announce the Indigenous Peoples' Border Summit of the Americas II
Time: Thursday, October 25, 2007, 11 a.m.
Place: San Xavier District Community Center, 2018 W. San Xavier Rd., Tohono O'odham Nation
Speakers: San Xavier District Chairman Austin Nunez and Tohono O'odham Border Summit organizer Mike Flores

The Indigenous Peoples’ Border Summit of the Americas II will be held from November 7-10, 2007 at the San Xavier Community Center, 2018 W. San Xavier Rd, Tohono O’odham Nation

The four-day Border Summit will host speakers and provide an opportunity for testimony on the militarization of US/Mexico and US/Canada borders, with a focus on Indigenous Peoples' right of mobility in their ancestral territories.
Mike Flores, Tohono O'odham summit organizer, said, "It is necessary for Tohono O'odham and other Indigenous Peoples of the border regions to collectively address the adverse impacts that are increasingly occurring on tribal lands.
"The Border Summit of the Americas II will provide us the opportunity to do just that," said Flores, member of the International Indian Treaty Council.
San Xavier District Chairman Austin Nunez joins Flores in welcoming Indigenous Peoples to the Border Summit on Tohono O'odham land.
During the Border Summit, Indigenous Peoples will discuss the impacts on Indigenous Peoples of borders throughout the world, especially for women, children and the elderly, and new visa and passport policies. Further, the impacts of border regulations on Indigenous Peoples' ceremonies and cultures will be discussed.
The International Indian Treaty Council will host a panel on human rights and the United Nations. The imprisonment of migrant children in Texas, other migrant detention centers, impacts on the environment and experimental spy technology along the US/Mexico border will be among the topics. Further, the right of mobility of Native people in Canada, along the northern border will be presented.
Following the successful Border Summit in 2006, the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation will again host the summit this year. The United Nations encouraged the Border Summit to be held for a second time.

bordersummit2007@yahoo.com
Mike Flores: email: Michaelflores_@hotmail.com
Website:
http://www.indigenousbordersummitamericas2007.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mohawks unite with Zapatistas at Intercontinental Summit in Mexico

Mohawks: Revolution begins with awakening

By Brenda Norrell
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

TUCSON, Arizona – Mohawk Warriors joined in solidarity with Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas at the Gathering of Indigenous Peoples of América. They quickly learned that one factor is the same for Indigenous Peoples all over the world: Corporations intent on seizing the land, minerals and water have no regard for the lives or rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Rarahkwisere, Mohawk Warrior, said the Zapatistas’ encuentro made it clear to him that the same thing is happening to Indigenous Peoples all over Turtle Island. “All of our stories were the same, how we are being mistreated to this day,” said Rarahkwisere, among the Mohawks from the United States and Canada attending the encuentro.

Mohawks and other members of the Iroquois Confederacy (Six Nations) were among the 570 delegates from 67 Indigenous Peoples, coming from 12 american nations at the encuentro hosted by Yaquis in Vicam Pueblo, Sonora, Mexico, Oct. 11 – 14, 2007.

“It is all about the natural resources and the big money people,” he said. In northern Quebec, the invaders go hunting for diamonds and pollute the water. What follows is sickness and displacement, as Indian people have to their homelands and search for places to live.

Remembering the encuentro, he said, “There is a revolution, at least on Turtle Island!” Rarahkwisere said he had no problem crossing the border to attend the encuentro using his Haudenosaunee passport. However, his trip to Mexico revealed the dangers for Indians in the south, including the heavily armed soldiers at military checkpoints. He said it was scary at first, until he realized that many of these young soldiers’ also had Indian ancestry, and supported Indian efforts.

Rarahkwisere said the attacks on Indian people are formulated in the urban minds with corporations. In Mexico, and elsewhere in the south, he realized how often Indian people face death for the risk of speaking out. “You will get killed. The corporations hire paramilitary groups.”

Reflecting on the struggles for Indigenous Peoples, he said, “It is hard being Indian. But we are not going to ever, ever give up. We are just getting started.”

Rarahkwiswere said that Indigenous Peoples in South America face far greater dangers than the people in the north. He said a Colombian attorney told how two groups were called to play football. Instead of a football, the chief’s head was presented. The people were told if they did not play the game, the same thing would happen to them.

Rarahkwiswere, who spoke on the Haudenosaunee, Great Law of Peace and Wampum Belts, said it was good to meet with Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas. “I want to thank them for hooking up with us. We all have to get together to fight colonialism. I hope to meet them again soon.”

The Haudenosaunee, the People of the Longhouse, live by the Great Law which was given to them by the Creator, said a Mohawk Warrior (unnamed here.)

“The Longhouse originally was all of Turtle Island, from where the sun rises to where the sun set. The sky is the roof and Mother Earth is the floor.”

“The Great Law is what the Creator gave us and what the Six Nations live by. The Great Law was made for all the Nations, not just the Iroquois Confederacy.

“When the Creator came to the people, he began with the worst of the worst. The Creator told them about uniting for peace and power and they accepted. This really formed the first union.”

The Creator held an arrow up and showed the people how easy it was to snap. Then, the Creator bound five arrows with deer hide and showed how these could not be broken, like the Five Nations bound together. However, not all of the people have lived by the Great Law.

“If they lived by the Great Law, they would not be polluting or killing each other. If they lived by the Great Law, then they would look for ways to better mankind, rather than destroy it.”

Originally, there were five Nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca. Later, the Tuscaroras asked for protection and became the Sixth Nation. The people had their own Constitution and form of government before the invaders arrived.

“The United States Constitution is derived from the Iroquois Confederacy. The invaders that came had no form of government. Benjamin Franklin studied the Iroquois Confederacy,” he said. However, the Europeans took the foundation of the Iroquois Confederacy out of context, the same way they do with the “black book.” They take it out of context and use it for fanaticism and to make rich a few people, he said.

The Iroquois Confederacy was comprised of 50 chiefs and 50 clan mothers. All decisions were reached through consensus, not through majority vote. “They had to agree because it had to reflect the decisions they made for Seven Generations.” Before making any decision, it was important to consider the impacts for Seven Generations. The United States knew this and began killing the chiefs and clan mothers. But what they did not know was that when this happens, the people have the power.

Wampum Belts held the peoples’ history. “It was our form of writing, our form of keeping records. Everything they did, they made a belt, so they could look back and see what happened.” Individuals were selected to memorize the belt so that they could tell the people what it said. “Those were our stories too.”

The Two Row Wampum Belt was white, with two dark lines running parallel. “That was the first agreement made with the Europeans.” “When the Europeans came here, we had the greatest power, we had a Constitution and this is what the Europeans violated.”

On the Two Row Wampum Belt, one line represents the Native people in their canoes and the other represents the Europeans. The Europeans were to keep whatever they brought with them, including their politics and religion, to themselves.

“The two lines on the Wampum Belt were never to cross, never to intersect.” The Creator said everyone had a choice, everyone had the power to reason right and wrong. Today, people have the ability to reason right from wrong. When Native people become members of the band councils, they step out of their canoes. When the Indian police are trained by the Canadian government, they become agents of the government.

“They became aligned with a foreign government. It is like accepting citizenship. It is impossible for a Native person to accept citizenship, because you have to give up your country to do that. How can a Native person do that?

“In 1924, citizenship was forced on Indian people in the United States and this violated the Constitution, because there was no Native Representation or consultation.”

Natives were forced to from band councils in Canada and elected governments in the United States. “All these are are ‘puppet governments’ for the United States and Canada.” In the same way, the United States is establishing a government in Iraq, one that the U.S. can control.

“They become agents of the government; they are not for the people.” When the Europeans came to Turtle Island, they emptied the prisons and insane asylums in Europe to populate this country. “That is why there are serial killers, it is genetic, hereditary.” “A lot of people from Europe didn’t really want to come here. They needed people, so they got all of this riff-raft and sent them here. They just brought them here and turned them loose. In the west, the women were either domestics or prostitutes.”

They emptied the orphanages and brought one million children to work the farms in this country. “They couldn’t force the Natives to be slaves. A Native had rather die than be a slave to the white man. Native people were not used to being treated like that. Native people would starve themselves to death or run away.” The people of Africa were kidnapped, sold, enslaved and sent to this country. Their own people helped sell them into slavery, he said. One-hundred million Indigenous Peoples were killed by Columbus and the Spaniards in what is now North and South America.

“When the treaties were written, they knew they were not going to honor them. If they are not going to keep the treaties and honor them, then they should get rid of them.” Nowhere has there been more atrocities than in the north and south of Turtle Island, known as the Americas. Still, the truth is not taught in schools.

“If you do not know your history, then you do not have a future,” he said. Europeans came here for exploitation and that is what continues today.

“It is all for exploitation. They even exploit their own people. My dad always said, ‘There’s going to be a worldwide revolution one of these days.’”

“The revolution is coming. It begins with this awakening.”

Driving into the San Diego fires

By Brenda Norrell
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

CAMPO, California -- A drive to the border to take photos on Sunday afternoon quickly turned into a near disaster. In early afternoon, there was just a puff of white smoke in the distance at Tecate, on the California/Mexico border. In sight from Campo, it looked more like a cloud than smoke on the border. (see photo)

After turning around at the roadblock on Highway 94, I headed back to San Diego. With hurricane-force winds, from 70 to 90 mph on the canyon mountain tops, motorcyclists were hovering in the rest area off Interstate 8.
A semi-truck was pulled off to the side, with the top of its solid metal trailer cut off as if by a can opener from the wind. The truck's metal roof was flapping like a tarp.

The wind was so strong it was difficult to walk outside the car. Then, it seemed like all of San Diego was suddenly on fire, grass was smoking everywhere, flames and plumes of smoke seemed to be shooting out every mountaintop by dusk. At dusk, I made a run for it. Heading out on Interstate 8, near Viejas, a gust of wind picked up my car on a high bridge over a canyon and tossed it around like a toothpick. I pulled over shaking for a while, like other people were doing, then drove on out of there. Suddenly, there were fires everywhere and very few firetrucks were responding. High profile RVs and semi trucks were being halted because of the winds.

By the time I reached the safety of El Centro, huge homes in southern California were burning to embers on television. Now, with fires all over, from Malibu to the border, and one-quarter of a million people evacuated, everything seems to be burning. The Interstates north of San Diego are clogged with cars according to the radio, but cars can still go east on I-8. However, the winds are hurricane strength and light cars will be knocked around, with mountain-top gusts up to 90 mph. Some people just came in the coffeehouse where I'm writing this, fleeing the fire, searching for open highways for their family members to evacuate. The winds are changing quickly and people are having trouble finding safe routes out. The announcements can not keep up with the changing winds.

The grass and trees are parched from drought in San Diego County and the Santa Ana winds are fueling a disaster. In the middle of all this, came a radio report today that a herd of horses were stranded and people were thinking of riding them out of the city. In another report, horses waiting transportation out of the fires were eating the shrubs in town. The radio reporter joked something like, "Tell them to eat fast, less to burn."
Monday, 5 p.m.

Tuesday night
Early Sunday afternoon, when there were only a few plumes of smoke that could be seen from near the California/Mexico border, it seemed that everyone was moving in slow motion. There were only a handful of fire trucks moving and a couple of ambulances, as sadly one man died in the fire near the border at Potrero.

There was an eerie stillness within the movement of people, even in the pace of emergency vehicles. Everyone that knew fires knew what was about to happen. With those hurricane-force winds and the parched grass and leaves, it was inevitable that all of San Diego County would soon be burning. With those conditions, there was little that could be done. At that time, just driving out through the winds on the canyon bridges, with gusts ranging from 70 to 100 mph, was terrifying.

Now, Tuesday night, nearly one million people have been evacuated and more than 1,000 homes burned.

CNN reported the winds peaked at 101 mph

Google Breaking news on California wildfires:
http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ncl=1122444127&scoring=n

Sunday, October 21, 2007

38th National Day of Mourning

38th National Day of Mourning
Thursday, November 22, 2007 @ 12 Noon
Cole's Hill
Plymouth, Massachusetts

Join us as we dedicate the 38th National Day of Mourning to our brother, Native prisoner of war Leonard Peltier.
Add your voice to the millions worldwide who demand his freedom. Help us struggle to create a true awareness of Indigenous people and demonstrate unity.
For bus tickets from NYC: 212-633-6646
History of the National Day of Mourning:
In 1970, United American Indians of New England declared US Thanksgiving Day a National Day of Mourning. This came about as a result of the suppression of the truth. Wamsutta, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man, had been asked to speak at a fancy Commonwealth of Massachusetts banquet celebrating the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims. He agreed. The organizers of the dinner, using as a pretext the need to prepare a press release, asked for a copy of the speech he planned to deliver. He agreed. Within days Wamsutta was told by a representative of the Department of Commerce and Development that he would not be allowed to give the speech. The reason given was due to the fact that, "… the theme of the anniversary celebration is brotherhood and anything inflammatory would have been out of place." What they were really saying was that in this society, the truth is out of place.What was it about the speech that got those officials so upset? Wamsutta used as a basis for his remarks one of their own history books - a Pilgrim’s account of their first year on Indian land. The book tells of the opening of my ancestor’s graves, taking our wheat and bean supplies, and of the selling of my ancestors as slaves for 220 shillings each. Wamsutta was going to tell the truth, but the truth was out of place.Here is the truth: The reason they talk about the pilgrims and not an earlier English-speaking colony, Jamestown, is that in Jamestown the circumstances were way too ugly to hold up as an effective national myth.For example, the white settlers in Jamestown turned to cannibalism to survive. Not a very nice story to tell the kids in school. The pilgrims did not find an empty land any more than Columbus "discovered" anything. Every inch of this land is Indian land. The pilgrims (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here seeking religious freedom; they already had that in Holland. They came here as part of a commercial venture.They introduced sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and gay bigotry, jails, and the class system to these shores. One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod - before they even made it to Plymouth - was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry. They were no better than any other group of Europeans when it came to their treatment of the Indigenous peoples here. And no, they did not even land at that sacred shrine down the hill called Plymouth Rock, a monument to racism and oppression which we are proud to say we buried in 1995.The first official "Day of Thanksgiving" was proclaimed in 1637 by Governor Winthrop. He did so to celebrate the safe return of men from Massachusetts who had gone to Mystic, Connecticut to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot women, children, and men.About the only true thing in the whole mythology is that these pitiful European strangers would not have survived their first several years in "New England" were it not for the aid of Wampanoag people. What Native people got in return for this help was genocide, theft of our lands, and never-ending repression.But back in 1970, the organizers of the fancy state dinner told Wamsutta he could not speak that truth. They would let him speak only if he agreed to deliver a speech that they would provide. Wamsutta refused to have words put into his mouth. Instead of speaking at the dinner, he and many hundreds of other Native people and our supporters from throughout the Americas gathered in Plymouth and observed the first National Day of Mourning. United American Indians of New England have returned to Plymouth every year since to demonstrate against the Pilgrim mythology.On that first Day of Mourning back in 1970, Plymouth Rock was buried not once, but twice. The Mayflower was boarded and the Union Jack was torn from the mast and replaced with the flag that had flown over liberated Alcatraz Island. The roots of National Day of Mourning have always been firmly embedded in the soil of militant protest.

–Free All Political Prisoners!email: nycjericho@riseup.net www.jerichony.org~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~+=+=+=+[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.]Due to (U.S.) Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email, post, blog or message without warning, warrant, or notice, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
=+=+=+=+=+=LPDC WEBSITE:www.leonardpeltier.net

Priests protesting US torture in Florence prison


Dear friends,
On Saturday morning, October 20, we visited Steve and Louie. They are well, and send thanks for your prayers and support.
They are being held together at the Central Arizona Detention Center, a privately owned prison in Florence, Arizona. There is no telling if they will be there for a short time before being moved, or for the entire five months. They will remain in federal custody for the duration of their sentence.
Below is a revised message about what people can do to support them. And below that is a statement of the Franciscan Friars, Province of Saint Barbara in support of Louie. We'll also attach a wonderful photo taken by Lee Stanley before Steve and Louie went into court on the morning of October 17.
Peace,
Felice and Jack
(Photo credit: Lee Stanley)
SUPPORT FR. STEVE KELLY AND FR. LOUIE VITALE
On October 17, 2007, the first anniversary of the signing of the Military Commissions Act, Fr. Steve Kelly and Fr. Louie Vitale were sentenced to 5 months in prison for their nonviolent witness against torture at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona in November of 2006. They were taken into custody immediately. (More information at http://tortureontrial.org/)
Please support them -
* Write a note of support to:
Stephen Kelly #00816111
CCA
P. O. Box 6300
Florence, AZ 85232
Louis Vitale #25803048
CCA
P. O. Box 6300
Florence, AZ 85232
They were taken to a privately run detention center in Florence, Arizona the day of their sentencing. It is not known if, when or where they may be transferred. If the priests are moved, your letters addressed to Florence will be returned to you. You may then send letters to them c/o The Nuclear Resister, PO Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733 and their mail will be forwarded to them.
If you are mailing something to them at this prison, please know:
- All books and magazines must be sent by the publisher or directly from a book store.
- Non-copyrighted documents in manilla envelopes are fine, but to expedite it, print on the manilla envelope "paperwork enclosed".
* Fr. Kelly and Fr. Vitale ask that every woman and man of conscience do all that they can to protest the injustice of torture and to end U.S. policy that sanctions torture.
- They encourage people to participate in the protests at Ft. Benning, Georgia and Ft. Huachuca, Arizona on November 17 and 18, or consider having a protest in your community. For more information, visit http://www.soaw.org/ (protest at Ft. Benning) and http://southwestwitness.org/ (protest at Ft. Huachuca)
- Visit http://torturelaw.org/ and sign the petition to repeal the Military Commissions Act and use the handy form to customize a letter that will be emailed to your Senators.
* Their commissary needs are taken care of but contributions for prison support expenses are welcome. Checks can be made payable to the Nuclear Resister (please put Torture on Trial on the memo line) and mailed to the Nuclear Resister, PO Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733. Donations can also be made securely online at the Torture On Trial website at http://tortureontrial.org/donate.html
* Prison visits are being coordinated by Br. David Buer. Visiting hours at the detention center in Florence are limited, and occur very early in the morning. It is very important to contact David if you are interested in visiting either of the men, so he can make sure that no one travels all that way only to be turned away because there is already a visitor there. You can contact David at or call (314)803-6735.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Statement of the Franciscan Friars, Province of Saint Barbara
Regarding the sentencing of Father Louis Vitale, OFMFather Louis Vitale, OFM, is a member of the Province of Saint Barbara (western U.S.) of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscan Friars).
Striving to be a true follower of Saint Francis of Assisi throughout his 48 years as a Franciscan friar, Father Louie has been dedicated to peace, justice and the well-being of creation. In a world that suffers from violence and war, Father Louie has often engaged in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to promote these causes.
Father Louie's nonviolent actions are motivated by the deep spiritual conviction that peace, justice and mercy are mandates of Christ, and such actions have a long and respected history in Christianity and many other religious traditions.
On November 19, 2006, Father Louie was among others protesting military "interrogation training" at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. This was in conjunction with a larger protest at Fort Benning, Georgia, calling for the closure of the school there that has supported Latin American military regimes that committed heinous violence against their own citizens.It is our understanding that Father Louie was arrested at Fort Huachuca when he attempted to speak with enlisted personnel and deliver a letter to the commander denouncing the immoral teaching of torture there, and that he has now been sentenced for a total term of five months.Father Louie's religious superior, Father Melvin Jurisich, OFM, Provincial Minister of the Province of Saint Barbara, commented on the sentencing:"Father Louie's Franciscan brothers fully support his actions at Fort Huachuca because we know they are consistent with his life-long dedication to work for good and oppose evil. He does so in the spirit of prayer and nonviolence. He is doing what he believes Saint Francis of Assisi would do if he were at Fort Huachuca. We stand by Father Louie during his time of incarceration, and we know that even in jail he will continue to work and pray for peace."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Treaty Council: Pesticides workshop in Sinaloa, Mexico

Pesticides, human rights and food workshop in Yoreme (Mayo) community in Sinaloa, Mexico

“AGROQUIMICOS: LA AMENAZA A NUESTRA SALUD COMUNITARIA Y AL MEDIO AMBIENTE; CONOCIENDO NUESTROS DERECHOS, EXPLORANDO LAS ALETRNATIVAS Y TRABAJANDO JUNTOS CON UN FUTURO SALUDABLE”
Una Tarea anfitrionada por la Red Indigena Norte y Sur Contra los Plaguicidas, un proyecto del Consejo Internacional de Tratatos Indios (CITI), con la Organización de Yoremes Unidos del Municipio de Ahome, A.C.
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"Pesticides: The Threat to our Community Health and the Environment, Knowing our Rights, Exploring Alternatives and Working Together for a Healthy Future."
A workshop hosted by North-South Indigenous Network Against Pesticides, a project of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) in coordination with the United Municipality of Organizaciones Yoremes of Ahome, A.C.
EJIDO GABRIEL LEYVA SOLANO, AHOME, SINALOA.

Octubre 26, 27, 28 2007
Agenda Provisional
Provisional Agenda
Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2007
The agenda will start each day from 9 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
The afternoon agenda will restart at 2:00 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.
The evening agenda will continue form 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (Tentative)
El registro para la Tarea se realizara en el sitio a partir de 8 de manana el dia 26.

Programa Diario:
Programa de la manana: 9:00 am – 12:00pm
Programa de la tarde: 2:00 pm – 5: 30 pm
Programa de la noche (no confirmado): 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Horario de la comidas del 26-28
de 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm – ALMUERZO
de 6:00 TO 7:30 PM: CENA (el 29 y 30)

Lunch will be served at 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
And 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. for Dinner

VIERNES 26 DE OCTUBRE DE 2007.

PROGRAMA DE LA MAÑANA:

Inaguracion del Evento

Bienvenida
Lic. Bulmaro Bacasegua Campos
Secretario
Yoremes Unidos de la Municipalidad de Ahome

Honores a la Bandera

Ceremonia Tradicional
Fiesteros de Los 8 Centros Ceremoniales del Municipio de Ahome.

Introducción del CITI- Consejo Internacional del Consejo Internacional del Tratado Indios
Saul Vicente
Representanta Nacional deL citi- Mexico

Alberto Saldamando
CONSEJERO JURIDICO
consejo INTERNACIONAL de tratados indios (CITI)

INTRODUCCION de la RED NORTE Y SUR CONTRA LOS PLAGUICIDAS
Sara Mendoza, Coordinadora de Proyecto
Presentación de la Organización “Yoremes Unidos del Municipio de Ahome, A.C.”


PROGRAMA POR LA TARDE

Presentacion: Soberania Alimentaria, Derechos Culturales y los Pueblos Indígenas
Saul Vicente, Representatnte Nacional Mexico

Taller: Indicadores Culturales
Saul Vicente, Representatnte Nacional Mexico


Programa por la Noche

Programa Cultural por los Fieseros del Municipio de Ahome, El Fuerte, Choix, Guasave, Sinaloa de Leyva y Angostura.

Ballet Folklorico a Cargo de la Maestra Alejandra Cervantes Ayala.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Morning Program:

Event Inauguration

Welcome
Lic. Bulmaro Bulmaro Bacasegua Campos
Board Member, Secretary
United Yoremes of the Municipality of Ahome

Flag Honoring

Traditional Ceremony
Fiesteros of the 8 Ceremonial Centers of the Municipio of Ahome.

Introduction of the International Indian Treaty Council- IITC
Saul Vicente,
National IITC Representative Mexico
Alberto Saldamando,
General Counsel
International Indian Treaty Council

Introduction of the North South Indigenous Network Against Pesticides.
Sara Mendoza
Program Coordinator
International Indian Treaty Council

Introduction of the “Organización Yoremes Unidos del Municipio de Ahome, A.C.” (United Yoremes of the Municipality of Ahome)


Afternoon Program:

Presentation: Food Soverignty, Cultural Rights, and Indigenous Peoples
Saul Vicente, IITC Mexico Representative

Workshop: Cultural Indicators
Saul Vicente, IITC Mexico Representative

Evening Program

Cultural Program by the Fiesteros of the Municipality of Ahome, El Fuerte, Choix, Guasave, Sinaloa de Leyva y Angostura.

Ballet Folklorico directed by Ms. Alejandra Cervantes Ayala.

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SABADO 27 DE OCTUBRE DE 2007.

PROGRAMA POR LA MAÑANA

PANEL: QUE SON LOS PLAGUICIDAS? LOS EFECTOS Y DAÑOS A LA SALUD DEL SER HUMANO Y AL MEDIO AMBIENTE

ING. REYNALDO CERVANTES LEYVA, COORDINADOR DEL PROGRAMA ZONA PACIFICO
CONSERVEMOS UN CAMPO LIMPIO

DR. GABRIEL DIAZ YZETA, DIRECTOR DE TOXICOLOGIA, DEL GOBIERNO MEXICANO

PAM MILLER, BIOLOGA Y DIRECTORA EJECUTIVA ACCION COMUNITARIA SOBRE LOS TOXICOS EN ALASKA.

PATRICIA DIAZ ROMO, ASESORA DE LOS INDIGENAS HUICHOLES.

MARGARET REEVE, CIENTIFCA Y COORDINADORA DEL PROGRAMA SOBRE LA COMUNIDAD Y LA SALUD AMBIENTAL (PANNA).

DRA. ELIZABEHT GUILLETT, UNIVERSIDAD DE FLORIDA, ESTUDIOS EN NIÑOS INDIGENAS DEL RIO YAQUI.


PROGRAMA POR LA TARDE

PRESENTACION: DERECHOS HUMANOS, EL DERECHO DEL CONSENTIMIENTO PREVIO, LIBRE E INFORMADO, LA DECLARACION DE LOS DERECHOS DE LOS PUEBLOS INDIGENAS; Actualización sobre el trabajo del Relator de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Productos Toxicos

ALBERTO SALDAMANDO,
CONSEJERO JURIDICO
CONSEJO INTERNACIONAL DE TRATADOS INDIOS

DERECHOS HUMANOS Y LOS EFECTOS DE PLAGUESIDAS
TESTIMONIOS DE PERSONAS AFECTADAS POR LO AGROQUIMICOS:


ING. FRANCISCO VILLEGAS PAREDES, COORDINADOR DE LA ORGANIZACIÓN COMUNITARIA POR LA MADRE TIERRA.

MIEMBROS AFECTADOS DE LA COMUNIDAD YOREME.

LUZ IRENE BACASEGUA CAMPOS, PRESIDENTA ESTATAL DE LOS MEDICOS INDIGENAS DEL ESTADO DE SINALOA.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Morning Program:

Panel: What are Pesticides? The Harmful Effects of Pesticides on Human Health and the Environment.

Reynaldo Cervantes,
Pacific Zone Program Coordinator
Conservemos un Campo Limpio

Dr. Garbriel Diaz Yzeta,
Director of Toxicology
Mexican Government

Pam Miller
Biologist and Executive Director
Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Patricia Romo
Filmaker and Organizar

Margaret Reeves, PhD.
Senior Scientist/Program Coordinator (Community and Environmental Health)Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)

Dr. Elizabeth Guillete,
Associate Research Scientist
University of Florida

Afternoon Program:

Presentation: Human Rights, Free, Prior and Informed Consent, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and update on the work on the U.N Rapporteur on Toxics

Alberto Saldamando
IITC General Counsel
International Indian Treaty Council

Panel: Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Effects of Pesticides

Francisco Villegas Paredes
Program Coordinator
Yaquis Unidos Por la Madre Tierra
Rio Yaqui, Sonora

Local Community Yoreme Members Affected by Pesticides
Various Participants

Luz Irene Bacasegua Campos
Statewide President
Unites Medical Doctors of the State of Sinaloa

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DOMINGO 28 DE OCTUBRE DE 2007

PROGRAMA POR LA MAÑANA


Panel: RESTORACION DE CONOCIMIENTO Y DIVERSIDAD, PERSPECTIVAS Y ALTERNATIVAS

ING. REYNALDO CERVANTES LEYVA
COORDINADOR DEL PROGRAMA ZONA PACIFICO
CONSERVEMOS UN CAMPO LIMPIO.

SANTOS VALENZUELA RAMIREZ
EMETERIO VALENZUELA AGUILAR
EXPERIENCIA EN CULTIVOS TRADICIONALES DE AUTOCONSUMO SIN AGROQUIMICOS


PROGRAMA POR LA TARDE

TALLER: A TRAVES DEL LIBRO “LOS PLAGUICIDAS SON VENENOSOS”

SARA MENDOZA
MESAS DE TRABAJO

PLENARIA: ELABORACION DE UN PLAN DE ACCION Y EL FORTALECIMIENTO DE NUESTRAS ALIANZAS

Lino Buitimea Sauceda
ADelina Bacasegua Alvarez
Rita Amarillas Anguamea
SARA MENDOZA
SANTOS VALENZUELA

CLAUSURA DEL EVENTO
SANTOS VALENZUELA RAMIREZ, PRESIDENTE DE LA ORGANIZACIÓN “YOREM UTTIA”
LIC. BULMARO BACASEGUA CAMPOS, SRIO. DE LA ORGANIZACIÓN “YOREMES UNIDOS DEL MUNICIPIO DE AHOME, A.C.


CONDUCCION DEL PROGRAMA
PROFR. LINO BUITIMEA SAUCEDA
ADELINA BACASEGUA ALVAREZ
RITA AMARILLAS ANGUAMEA

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Morning Program:


Panel: Restoring Tradicional Knowledge and Biodiversity: Perspectives and Alternatives

Yernaldo Cervantes Leyva
Pacific Zone Program Coordinator
Conservamos un Campo Limpio

Santos Valenzuela
Presidente
Yorem Uttia Organization

Emerito Valenzuela Aguilar
Presentation: Tradition Farming Methods without Pesticides.

Afternoon Program:

Workshop: “ Pesticides are Toxic”
Sara Mendoza
Program Coordinator
North South Indigenous Network Against Pesticides
International Indian Treaty Council

Panel: Rights, Solutions, and Future Plans.

Alberto Saldamando
Legal Counsel
International Indian Treaty Council

Elaboration of the Action Plan and the Strengthening of our Alliances

Profesor Lino Buitimea Sauceda
Adelina Bacasegua Alvarez
Rita Amarillas Anguamea
Sara Mendoza
Santos Valenzuela

Closing Ceremony for the Event

Santos Valenzuela
Presidente
Yorem Uttia Organization

Bulmaro Bacasegua Campos
Secretary
United Yoremes of the Municipality of Ahome


Agenda Coordiantors are:
Profesor Lino Buitimea Sauceda
Adelina Bacasegua Alvarez
Rita Amarillas Anguamea

Friday, October 19, 2007

Michael Lacey jailed for exposing Arpaio's spying

By Brenda Norrell
http://www.blogspot.com/

Michael Lacey, who created Phoenix New Times and is now executive editor of Village Voice Media, spent the night in jail last night for exposing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's snooping, a big secret of a Grand Jury.
Lacey was always destined for grand things. Lacey shared an audience bench with me in the federal courtroom of the infamous Earth First! Trial in Prescott, Arizona, when I was a stringer for Associated Press. (The trial was the one where the FBI agent drove the so-called saboteurs to do their supposed monkey-wrenching and Peg Millet outran the Swat Team.)
Anyway, I'll always remember Lacey for his description of the tense federal prosecutor.
Lacey wrote something like this in New Times: She came into the courtroom, grabbed her balls and shot the judge a high-five.

Village Voice Media Executive Editor Released From Jail and Vows to Fight
posted: 11:08 AM, October 19, 2007 by Michael Clancy
Two top executives of Village Voice Media, the parent company of the Voice, were arrested Thursday night and released from jail early Friday morning for revealing information about a secret grand jury proceeding in a story in the Phoenix New Times.
The story—headlined "Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution", and written by Michael Lacey, Village Voice Media executive editor, and Jim Larkin, VVM chief executive— detailed how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio used a wide-ranging subpoena "in an attempt to research the identity, purchasing habits, and browsing proclivities of our online readership."
http://www.villagevoice.com/blogs/runninscared/archives/2007/10/village_voice_m.php

O'odham: Awakening at the Zapatistas' Encuentro

O’odham Return from Gathering with Mexico’s Indigenous and Subcomandante Marcos
“I Felt a Sense That This Is an Awakening of the People”

By Brenda Norrell
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
October 18, 2007
http://www.narconews.com/

TUCSON -- When more than 500 Indian delegates gathered in Vicam Pueblo in Rio Yaqui, Mexico, at the Gathering of Indigenous Peoples of América, the power of a global spiritual force was present and released, said Ofelia Rivas, an O’odham woman living on the border of the United States and Mexico.

“It is not a local movement, it is not just the Zapatistas. It is the Indigenous People of the world creating this movement,” Rivas said during an interview.

“I felt a sense that this is an awakening of the people.

“There was a sense of unity, of continuing the struggle, although people still have problems. We were in unity talking about them together. I really felt it was a grassroots effort.”

Rivas said among the powerful cultural presentations was that of the Indigenous Peoples from Michoacan. “That was really moving to me,” she said, recalling a Tzotzil friend from Chiapas telling her, “When things get serious, we dance.”

Rivas said the traditional authorities of Vicam Pueblo offered the ultimate respect. “It was amazing to see the traditional Yaqui leaders attentively and patiently listening to the stories.”

Rivas said it was important for the people from the United States and Canada to share their sufferings. She said often, people in other countries think Indians here have it easy.

“Yes, there are human rights violations in Canada and the United states. People on the outside believe we have it made. They don’t know we live in poverty and we have serious conditions for our women and children.”

In some way, conditions are worse in the United States than elsewhere.

“It is worse. The people are controlled by the government. Your own people are assimilated as well and they abuse the system. The system is controlling us and controlling the people.”

Rivas said the money that flows into Indian Nations, and the conditions and restrictions attached to the money, result in that control.

“With the federal money, state money, gaming money, there is control. Everyone is under control.”

Among the tearful stories shared at the gathering, she said, were those of a Lakota woman, who spoke of the abuses in boarding schools and the conditions that the Lakota still live under. Indian children were seized by the governments of the United States and Canada during much of the Twentieth Century and forced into government-operated boarding schools. Here, they were often abused sexually abused and beaten. Indian children were forbidden to speak their own languages and were forced to assimilate the dominant culture. Those who ran away were placed in solitary confinement and some died. The abuses resulted in generations of traumatized Indian people in the United States and Canada.

As Nation after Nation told their stories at the encuentro, or gathering, Rivas said, “Everyone was so attentive. They heard it straight from the people.”

Meanwhile at home on the US/Mexico border where O’odham ancestral lands are bisected by the international border, the construction of a border vehicle barrier has blocked the ceremonial route of the O’odham people.

“This ceremony has been going on since the creation of the world,” Rivas said.

Before the recent construction of a federal vehicle barrier on tribal land on the border at Ali Jegk in the Gu-Vo District in Arizona, 12 miles east of Sonoyta, Mexico, local O’odham were able to cross in their traditional territory here.

Now, instead of taking less than an hour to go to town for shopping, O’odham have to travel six hours roundtrip to shop in Tucson. For those with diabetes and medical emergencies, the new border barrier means a life-threatening crisis.

“A lot of traditional people do not have passports, because they were born at home.”

For O’odham attending the ceremony during July, the new border barrier violated the spiritual journey.

“It was a real hardship,” Rivas said. “When you are on a pilgrimage to a sacred place, you are in a sacred mode. Then you are stopped by immigration and your papers are checked, that is a disruption. People have prepared spiritually and then they have to go through this ordeal of crossing the border.

Rivas said the Tohono O’odham Nation’s elected government in Sells, Arizona, is not assisting the traditional O’odham people to maintain their right to cross their ancestral territories and carry out their traditional ceremonies. Further, many O’odham lack passports because they were born at home and this makes border crossing difficult.

“This ceremony,” she said, “is hanging on by a thread.”

Rivas said the power, unity and awareness shared at the Intercontinental Encuentro should now be shared with those who were unable to attend.

“So many people who should have been there were not there. They were home guarding their people or their land. Some had problems crossing the border.”

Rivas said she hopes the Vicam Pueblo gathering will continue with regional gatherings in Canada, the United States and South America, so others will be able to participate.

Rivas, bilingual in English and O’odham, delivered her presentation to the Intercontinental Encuento in the O’odham language.

“Speaking my language is my personal form of resistance,” said Rivas, whose presentation was translated from O’odham into English and Spanish.

Rivas shared a statement from the traditional O’odham leaders from the Cu:Wi I-gersk and the ceremonial leaders from the O’odham lands of Mexico and the United States.

“The O’odham resistance began when the prophets told of the invasion of the foreigners and the many changes that would happen to the people and the world. The O’odham defense was to bend to the surge of this coming wind so as not to break. My friends, my people are at the breaking point,” Rivas said, reading from the statement at the encuentro.

The O’odham Nation consists of four bands in the Sonoran Desert. To the north, there is the On’k Ake’mel O’odham (Salt River people) and the Ake’mel O’odham (Gila River people.) In the west, there is the band of Hia’ced O’odham (Sands people) and the southern band is the Tohono O’odham (Desert people.)

The O’odham ancestral territory is bordered by the Yaqui territory to the south and the Apache territory to the east. To the southwest, along the inland waters of the Pacific Ocean at Ka’ch’k (the Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California in Mexico), O’odham land borders the Seri territory.

The United States and Mexico claimed O’odham lands when the International Boundary was created in 1853. The boundary bisected O’odham lands. The Tohono O’odham elected government, which chose to work with the U.S. federal government, receive federal dollars and develop a tribal government based on the U.S. system, was not recognized by the traditional authorities of the O’odham.

“Our peoples’ history begins at the creation of the world. We also have knowledge of former worlds that existed.”

The people were given the Him’dag, the O’odham way of life. They were taught how to live in the desert and given the responsibility and honor of being Indigenous Peoples.

“We are the keepers of the universe; we keep the universe in balance through our teachings from the Creator, through our songs and ceremonies maintain the balance of the universe.”

The first attack on O’odham came by way of foreign diseases, which altered the peoples’ genetic makeup. Then outsiders came to steal and market O’odham knowledge of healing medicine plants.

The second attack came from foreign religion.

“The very Churches that catholic O’odham pray in were constructed with O’odham slaves controlled by the missionaries.”

Today, O’odham ceremonial places are seen as tourist sightseeing places, from the great lava fields along the border to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

“The ceremony sites and sacred places are under constant threat by archeologists, mining companies and Mexicans claiming O’odham lands and communities, such as a recent threat of a proposed chemical waste dump proposed location, just eight miles from our ceremony site.”

With the agenda of assimilating O’odham, the United States placed O’odham children in boarding schools and relocated O’odham to cities.

“The destruction of the social structures of the people is evident today; the people are dependent on the system to exist. Our language that was forbidden in boarding school is today surviving, but by a small degree.”

Now, the militarization at the border prevents O’odham from crossing on traditional routes.

In Mexico, ranchers, farmers and corporations are seizing O’odham lands. In 1845, there were 45 villages south of what is now the border. Today, there are nine surviving villages.

The restriction of mobility, exploitation of land and destruction of cultures through genocide and ethnocide means this is a critical moment in the universe.

“Today here in Vicam we gather not as governments and organizations, but as people of the earth. We are here to stand in solidarity, for our survival, to protect the world, our territories and our future generations.”

“A delegation of all Nations must continue to strengthen this message of solidarity and continued education on Universal Indigenous Rights.

“Today we continue to demand access to our lands, including access to our ancestral routes, to conduct our Him’dag and make offering to sacred places. We demand protection of our cultures and sacred places. We demand fair elections and our own representation in the government systems that ignore us.”

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 25 years. She is currently based in Tucson and covers Mexico, the U.S. borders and the West. She is the author of The Censored Blog and frequent contributor to The Narcosphere.

Photo: Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, with Marcos in Sonora, Mexico in 2007/Photo Brenda Norrell

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