Saturday, September 22, 2018
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Native Water Ceremony Shuts Down Enbridge Line 3 Construction at Mississippi River Headwaters
BEMIDJI, Minnesota -- A tipi blockade and water ceremony, protecting Anishinaabe territory from Enbridge's tar sands Line 3 project, was cleared by police on Tuesday, as Native people were protecting their water and burial places from destruction.
One member of Ginew declared this defense is in solidarity with water protectors on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.
“We’re here today protecting our water, our burial sites and standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters down south who are fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline."
"The Mississippi River begins here in the headwaters, where we are standing right now, and it ends in the Gulf of Mexico, in the bayous, where folks have been fighting against Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) for months, putting their bodies on the line for clean water and safer communities."
"We’re fighting Enbridge here, a different company that is also invested in ETP. Enbridge wants to cross over 200 water ways and drill under the Mississippi River multiple times to construct Line 3. Enbridge wants to put this new poisonous black snake where the river begins and turn this area into an industrial corridor. They want to poison our seed of hope for clean water and turn us into another alley of cancer.”
(Video below) Indigenous water ceremony shuts down line 3 construction on the Mississippi River. This morning the Ginew Collective raised a tipi and blocked a bridge south of Bemidji, Minnesota at the Mississippi River headwaters, where road upgrades are in progress for Line 3 construction. We are here to protect Anishinaabe territory from the destruction of Enbridge's Line 3 tar sands project.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Ho-Chunk Nation General Council in Wisconsin Approves Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment
First Tribal Nation to Advance Rights-Based Constitutional Framework to Protect Nature
Sep 17, 2018
Mari Margil, Associate Director
On Saturday, the General Council of the Ho-Chunk Nation voted overwhelmingly – 86.9% in favor – to amend their tribal constitution to enshrine the Rights of Nature. The Ho-Chunk Nation is the first tribal nation in the United States to take this critical step. A vote of the full membership will follow.
The amendment establishes that “Ecosystems, natural communities, and species within the Ho-Chunk Nation territory possess inherent, fundamental, and inalienable rights to naturally exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve.” Further it prohibits frac sand mining, fossil fuel extraction, and genetic engineering as violations of the Rights of Nature.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), with its International Center for the Rights of Nature, assisted members of the Ho-Chunk Nation in drafting the amendment.
Rekumani (Bill Greendeer), a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Deer clan, proposed the amendment. He explained, “Everything here is sacred. We are all related. We are related to the trees, the birds, the animals, nature herself. We all have a right to exist and thrive. Mother Earth is a sacred soul, and has rights not to be exploited for someone’s profits.”
Mari Margil, CELDF’s Associate Director stated, “We are honored to assist the Ho-Chunk Nation to become the first tribal nation to advance the Rights of Nature into its constitution.”
Margil added, “With this vote, the Ho-Chunk Nation has taken a critical step to prohibit fossil fuel extraction as a violation of the Rights of Nature. This comes as the Ho-Chunk see their traditional living lands stripped of trees and plant life, driving away the deer and birds, in order to dig sand mines. Those sands will be shipped elsewhere for use in fracturing Mother Earth.”
Rights of Nature – CELDF
CELDF, and its International Center for the Rights of Nature, has assisted the first places in the world to secure the Rights of Nature in law – including in Ecuador’s Constitution and more than three dozen communities in the United States. Today, CELDF is working in Nepal, India, and other countries, as well as with tribal nations and indigenous peoples, to advance Rights of Nature laws. This includes work in Australia to secure legal rights of the Great Barrier Reef.
In a time of accelerating climate change, species extinction, and ecosystem collapse, it is increasingly understood that fulfilling a human right to a healthy environment is dependent on the health of the natural environment. Thus, the human right to a healthy environment can only be achieved if we place the highest protections on the natural environment – by recognizing in law the right of the environment itself to be healthy and thrive.
To learn more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, September 17, 2018
HWÉELDI, 1864-68, THE NAVAJO's LONG WALK AND DEPORTATION
By Christine Prat
Original in French at:
In the second half of the 19th century, the conquest of 'The West' intensified. In 1846, the United States attacked the recently independent Mexico and acquired a huge portion of territory through the Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty of 1848. For a long time, settlers mainly wanted to acquire agricultural lands and were not interested in the rocky desert lands of the Southwest. However, in the second half of the 19th century, people started looking for gold and other resources.
In the 1860's, the American Army had military posts in the Southwest, on the ground that Navajos and Apaches often raided the area. In the region corresponding to present day Arizona and New-Mexico, settlers captured Native women and children as slaves, rather than buy African slaves from traders. Native warriors tried to free the captives and raided the area. However, in the 1860's a rumor spread among white people that there would be gold in the Navajo Territory. One who is said to have believed in the rumor was Colonel Kit Carson. He managed to convince General Carleton that it was necessary to get rid of the Navajos.
The Army attacked the Navajo Territory, while Fort Sumner – named after General Edwin Vose Sumner - was being built, on a site called Bosque Redondo by the Spanish. In the winter 1863-1864, Carson's Army killed, destroyed crops, and rounded up all the Navajos they could. In the Canyon de Chelly, where people hid in caves, the Army destroyed everything that grew, like the peach trees Navajos were so proud of. Some warriors managed to hide in the many caves and canyons of the region. But the thousands of Navajos taken prisoners were forcibly marched for some 400 miles, in the winter, to Bosque Redondo. Many died underway. Especially children and old people died of hunger and exhaustion or drowned while crossing rivers.
At the site where they were to be detained – called 'reservation' but in fact the first concentration camp, with extermination intentions – they were supposed to care for their own needs. They were supposed to plant crops. However, the place was particularly unhospitable, wood was scarce, and the water of the River Pecos was alkaline, thus not suitable to drink, making them sick, and not suitable for irrigation either. A few hundred Mescalero Apaches were also detained in the camp.
Although the soldiers in the Fort were supposed to guard the camp, and certainly to prevent the prisoners to run away, they hardly interfered when Comanches, then enemies of the Navajos and the Apaches, attacked them.
After a few years of bad crops, in which the Army had to provide minimal food rations to the prisoners, which still cost money to the Army, it was decided that it would be cheaper to let the survivors go back home, to a reservation drawn as a rectangle on a map, in the Treaty of June 1st 1868. The survivors were probably 'lucky' that their ordeal mainly took place during the Civil War. It made the Army's budget even tighter, and many militaries of the region had gone over to the Confederates.
The survivors just went back home, where they came from, as they had not learned to recognize an arbitrarily drawn rectangle in the landscape. Since then, the Navajo Reservation has been enlarged several times, but they are not yet back to their whole territory between the Four Mountains.
The story of Hwééldi has been told through the generations. In 2009, Camille Manybeads Tso has been telling the story of her great-grandmother, who managed to hide with her baby and escape the Long Walk, in a movie, "In The Footsteps of Yellow Woman", which has been shown in France, during the Festival AlterNatif in Nantes. In Klee Benally's movie "Power Lines", first shown in the US in 2015 and in Paris in 2016, allusions to Hwééldi run all along the movie.
The pictures below have all been taken on the site of the camp. It has been declared a New Mexico State Monument in 1968. A memorial housing a museum, designed by Navajo architect David N. Sloan was opened on the site in June 2005. The place being now managed by the New Mexico Historic Sites division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the story is probably softened and you can be sure that in reality, it was worse. The site is situated close to Billy the Kid's grave, on Billy The Kid road, and in tourist guides and signs on the roads you will find only "Billy the Kid's Grave". Racists will always prefer a white thief than murdered Natives.