Wednesday, June 23, 2010

North American Indigenous Peoples Developing Solutions at US Social Forum



Contact: IEN NPR (Native People Reporting) Media Team Cell: (507) 210-4679 indigenous.environmental.network@gmail.com

North American Indigenous Peoples Developing Solutions at USSF

By Indigenous Environmental Network
Photo by Orin Langelle

DETROIT – A multi-generational delegation of Indigenous Peoples from North America have arrived in Detroit, Michigan this week to join other social justice movements at the United States Social Forum (USSF), a large gathering of diverse leaders developing powerful solutions to the economic and ecological crises we face. The delegation is comprised of Native American, Alaskan Native, and First Nation activists and leaders from the communities most affected by climate change and fossil fuel development in North America. They represent many Nations including Cree, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Ojibwe, Kachiquel Mayan, Pasqua, Dakota, Navajo, Yup’ik, Swinomish, Mohawk, Oneida, Spokane, Colville, Couer d’Alene, Zuni, and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

The delegation, co-coordinated by the Indigenous Peoples’ Working Group of the USSF, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Black Mesa Water Coalition, Alaska Big Village Network, and others, is attending the United States Social Forum to network and strengthen the various U.S. movements working on energy and climate change, immigration, poverty, treaty rights, sacred sites, cultural preservation, and de-militarization issues.

Yesterday, Indigenous leaders led the opening march and ceremony for the USSF, which had over ten thousand people in attendance. Hosted by the local Detroit native community, the Indigenous delegation has already established a strong presence at the forum. Sharon George, Onieda, local leader said, “The Detroit Indian community is proud to host the United States Social Forum and also the visiting Native representatives from throughout Indian Country. This event provides us the opportunity to get our issues as Indigenous people heard on a much larger national level. As an urban Indian community, our local issues are often swept underneath the table, and with the increasing pollution of our great lakes region, now is the time to make ourselves heard.”

Throughout these five days Indigenous Peoples will host a variety of workshops, participate in a series of assemblies geared towards developing resolutions for action, and ensuring an Indigenous voice is included in the USSF’s concluding vision of a just and sustainable United States. And later this week, while the USSF is developing solutions to address the destructive policies of the US political system, thousands including an indigenous delegation will be converging four hours away in Toronto, Canada to protest the G20 summit, a gathering of the worlds industrial powers.

“The USSF movement provides an alternative vision for the people, one that is counter to the destructive neo-liberal agenda being discussed by the world’s so-called leaders at the G20 summit in Toronto, who are talking about the destruction and commodification of every aspect of life. But another world is possible, one that is about the proliferation and health of this land we call Mother Earth, and we are manifesting that here, in the birthplace of the automobile. Detroit, US.” says Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network.

INDIGENOUS EVENTS: Wednesday through Saturday:

DETRIOT NATIVE COMMUNITY MEETS INDIGENOUS PARTICIPANTS
Dinner at the American Indian Health & Family Services (AIHFS) 6-9pm: Wednesday at 4880 Lawndale St in Detroit.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ASSEMBLY
Thursday, June 24, 2010; 1:00 – 5:30 p.m. at Cobo Hall: DO-03C.
INDIGENOUS NATIONS POW-WOW – Public Invited, 6-9 pm, Thursday – Children’s Art Village (next to Cobo Center, outdoors.)
E-BLAST DANCE PARTY – FUN-draiser Indigenous Environmental Network/East Michigan Environmental Action Council – E-Blast Party Celebrate IEN’s 20th Year Anniversary – Hip Hop, DJ’s, Live Performances: John Trudell, Bill Riley, Anna Humphrey and Detroit’s own Monica Blair, Jessica Care Moore, DJ Pirana Head, & MORE! 9 pm – 2 am, Thursday at 4120-4140 Woodward Ave in Detroit
DETROIT HEALING WALK, 9:30-4:00, Saturday. Meet at Cobo Hall lower level. Rides provided to Fort Wayne, a burial site of Indigenous Peoples. Ceremony and 5-mile walk for healing and sharing. Refreshments provided along walk. Closing ceremony back at Fort Wayne at 4pm. Transportation provided back to Cobo Hall.

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