Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 30, 2007

Louisiana Hurricanes, Poetic Relief

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Sometimes, even for news reporters, life can be poetic.

Last September, I returned to the hurricane-wrecked Louisiana Gulf Coast of my childhood. As a teenager, I joined my father as he rebuilt homes wrecked by other hurricanes. Now, these hurricanes had new names, Katrina and Rita, but the stories were familiar, mixed with memories of oyster poorboys in New Orleans and the sound of never-ending rain.

The Gulf Coast tribes, Biloxi-Chitimacha and Pointe au Chien, gave me a hero's welcome, wonderful laughter and stories, as if somehow they knew. I was even able to spend the night in a bunkhouse on a fisherman's pier, with the waves causing the bunkhouse to sway all night, like years coming and going.

In Raceland, I saw the filled warehouse and the outpouring of donations from all over the country to the Houma Indians, who the Red Cross had forgotten.

Those articles, written during the trip along the coast, were the last articles I would write for the Indian newspaper where I worked for most of the years since it was created in 1994. Still, my life had gone full circle. My only regret was that I was fired (after complaining of censorship) before I could write about the wonderful Coushatta Indian Museum.

There, too, I was given a wonderful welcome and spent the day learning of the Coushatta, who survived, alongside their Cajun neighbors, in a state where racism is the persistent stalker. But in this rich land of Indian, Cajun and Creole, there is the music, the food and the laughter. There's alligator on the menu and Cajun music, real Cajun music, on the radio.

So, if you're in southwest Louisiana, please visit the Coushatta Indian Museum. There's a rich history of basketry, clanship and survival in the heart of these deep Louisiana woods. (The tribe also has a great campground, lots of hotels and a beautiful golf course at the casino.)

Here's the latest news from my good friends at Montegut on the Gulf Coast:

Local Indian tribal elders get keys to their new homes

NYT Regional Newspapers


MONTEGUT – Jim Shelly stood ready to hand the key to a new house to a Pointe-aux-Chenes couple, when he realized he had made a mistake.

“I must have gave the keys to the house to Deme (Naquin) on the island,” said Shelly, a field consultant for the Mennonite Disaster Services, referring to an Isle de Jean Charles man, who a half hour earlier had unknowingly gotten two keys – one to his new house and the other to Andrew and Leonise Dardar.

“Deme owns two houses right now,” Shelly joked.

“Deme might rent one out,” replied Randy Verdun, chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Tribes Coalition.

The two houses were built as part of the Mennonite Disaster Services’ Pointe-aux-Chenes Project, which provided the labor for new houses for tribal elders in the lower bayou Indian communities. The Louisiana Coastal Tribes Coalition, along with the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha and the Pointe-aux-Chenes Indian Tribe, also contributed to the project.

Both featured the same wood exterior and three-bedroom interior and were designed, with cables, beams and concrete foundations to withstand 155-mph winds and flooding up to 14 feet.

When Naquin drove his golf cart across the rickety wooden bridge near his home Saturday, he declared his independence – freedom from anxieties caused by hurricane season and the unwanted presence of ants and roaches.

The 80-year-old, who has lived on Island Road in Isle de Jean Charles for 58 years, crossed the bridge, then crossed the street to his new three-bedroom house. There, his seven children celebrated with crawfish, cake and beer.

“This means a lot,” Naquin said. “I can’t thank the people enough. I didn’t expect this much.”

Naquin, who rarely walks and often gets around in either a wheelchair or a golf cart due to a foot condition, said his new place, which features an elevator to accommodate him, would allow him to remain independent. After Hurricane Rita, he stayed with family members for three months, before returning to his home on Island Road.

“I’m in nobody’s way here and I can do what I want,” the retired fisherman said. Naquin and his wife, Wilma, were married 60 years, before she died in 2003.

The man’s daughter-in-law, Sheena Naquin, said she was excited to see his new house, and described him as “easy going” and a person who “would give the shirt off his back.”

Deme’s son, Donnie Naquin, also expressed satisfaction that his dad had gotten a new, more flood resistant house after what he endured in the wake of Rita, which left four feet of standing water in his house.

“With what he’s been through, I couldn’t be more happy for him,” the son said. “He struggled to make ends meet. I just pray to God to give him enough time to enjoy it.”

Nearby in Pointe-aux-Chenes, Andrew and Leonise Dardar celebrated in a more subdued fashion, with only a small group of family members present.

Andrew Dardar, 81, spoke of the day’s meaning in Cajun French, then his 19-year-old grandson, Lanny Dardar, Jr., who lives with the couple, translated.

“It means a lot,” the grandson said, relaying his grandfather’s words. “We didn’t have much. I can’t put it into words how happy we are.”

Randy Verdun, chairman of the year-old Lousiana Coastal Tribes Coalition, attempted to put his elation for the Dardar family into words.

“If it weren’t for the Mennonites, we would be standing on dirt,” Verdun said. “We would be looking up at the sky. We wouldn’t be standing on this foundation.”

Mohawk Nation News: Replace 'Butcher Shop' with The Great Law

Photo: Support for Mohawk Warriros, sign posted along the Trans Canada Highway 401 by the "Unconquered" Mohawks of Tyendinagha.


Mohawk Nation News
April 29, 2007

Back in 1969 the Liberal government of Canada under Pierre Trudeau decided to do away with Indian Affairs. They weren’t going to do away with the “ Tower of Terror ”. They were going to do away with us by pretending to remove their obligations, budget and protections. They wanted to push us out onto the streets of Canada to die out.

Killing off a criminal organization like Indian Affairs is inevitable. We have to take it apart piece by piece. We have to do it ourselves every step of the way. The Indian Act was the "weapon of mass destruction" [WMD] meant to kill us off. How are we going to kill off Indian Affairs? By enforcing the Great Law of Peace and the Two Row Wampum.

Indian Affairs is currently the subject of an avalanche of criticisms and various lawsuits. The murders of our kids in residential schools, the police brutality, military attacks against us and the constant lies and deceptions by politicians has to stop. Their sudden dismantling Indian Affairs may be a ploy to remove the defendants in actions for liability for all the cruelty and larceny they've committed against us. They say, “remove Indian affairs, the Indian Act and to hell with them!” We can see right through them. They want to change our status as Indigenous people into “Canadians” so they can get out of their liability. It won’t work, Canada ! We are not and never will agree to be Canadians.

So far, our relations with our colonial visitors has been one of “breach” rather than honor. They tell us the Indian Act is the only “vehicle” for delivering Canada ’s obligations to us. Based on what we’ve been getting so far, this is an empty vehicle and it’s time to junk it.

We’ve always been struck by Indian Affairs’ similarity to organized crime organizations like the “Mafia”, except it’s “disorganized”. The head “Don” is the “prime minister”. He has cohorts and henchmen called “provinces”, “ministers”, “corporations”, “judges” and “armed forces” that are given authority over certain territories. The cohorts go out and enforce their rules. The government legitimizes its criminal activities with picturesque language that no one understands.

Originally the Mafia came in and lent money to immigrants to set them up. If somebody couldn’t pay them back, the enforcers would demonstrate their unseen power over life and death. The government’s cohorts set up this Mafia style system over us. They stole everything we have to make it look like we can’t function without them.

Indian Affairs cohorts must also take something akin to “blood oaths” to Queen Elizabeth and have to keep secrets until they die.

This Indian Affairs Mafia will control us unless that control is taken from them. Like the original Mafia, the only way to become a full “patch member” is to be from a certain ethnic background. The band councils strive to become full patch members so they can exercise the rule of terror over us to keep us in line. No matter what, they’ll never be accepted as full members of the white Mafia. The government encourages them to try anyway.

Indian Affairs was originally supposed to carry out nation-to-nation relations with us and to negotiate with us on land use. Greed lead the colonizers to “goose step” their mandate. Indian Affairs was set up to carry out the “final solution of the Indian problem”. Parliament gave itself extraordinary powers beyond its authority under the British North America Act 1867 to carry out the genocide of our people.

It’s time to close down the butcher shop and go back to the beginning. The real relationship is between us as landowners and them as “squatters”. We want our tenants to live up to the leases they made with us, to obey the laws and keep their promises. We want full accountability and a total forensic audit of Indian Affairs and its entire gangsta' apparatus.

Once the Indian Act and Indian Affairs are removed, then Indigenous sovereignty, rights to self-determination and stewardship of all of our territories will be dealt with on a proper landlord-tenant nation-to-nation basis. Canada , stop falsely claiming our land. Start planning how you are going to carry out our instructions and authority over every square inch of our land. You have to stay in your ship and not pull our canoe as the Two Row Wampum agreement provides.

Canada, stop aiding and abetting corporate squatters who are gobbling up our assets, polluting our land and destroying the inheritance of our coming generations.

No more encroachment! Enough of our land and environment have been seriously damaged. It’s on the verge of becoming unlivable, not just for Indigenous people, but also for the colonial visitors who don’t seem to care about their own future generations or anyone else’s.

The abuse of us, our lands and possessions is the biggest scandal in history. Bringing down Indian affairs means freedom and self-determination for us.

Why do we think this is going to happen? Well, so far huge amounts of profit have gone towards the colonial machines that defraud and oppress us because of our complaints everywhere. A lot of lawyers and consultants have been getting big career boosts and piles of money out of inquiries and investigations into the criminal acts committed against us by the colonial government of Canada without resolving them.

Indian Affairs, we hope you’ve shut down your “War Room” in the Tower of Power run by the military! Stop funding racists like Gary McHale and the skinheads, KKK, Brown Shirts and rioters he’s organizing to attack us. Department of Defense, stop financing the demonizing of us in your military manual as “domestic insurgents” so that you can find an excuse to round up our “leaders” and young people. We know you want to put us in “ Guantanamo Bay ” prisons without charging us, for indefinite periods of time because you have labeled us as “terrorists”.

Hey, colonial crooks, let’s not get stuck on details. Let’s go back to square one when you landed here with nothing.

No, we’re not afraid to get rid of Indian affairs. They think they’ll shut us up by threatening to cut off all services and benefits. They can’t. They have an ongoing debt to us supported by all the human rights covenants Canada has signed and supports internationally.

We have to sit down and start talking about the terms under which you “intruders” can remain here. You know we never gave up the land. We never will. We can’t.

Europeans are Europeans, no matter what. The British are British. The French are French. And the immigrants are immigrants. For over a century colonial states have been dumping their rejects and social problems on our land. These displaced people tried to kill us off. We cannot tolerate the presence of this insane grasping culture which continues to commit genocide on us and our land.

These starving and disease ridden ragamuffins killed most of us off, stole our land and possessions and continue to try to stomp us out. Do we have to keep on being kind to them? We think we’ve given enough. We will look at the new situation pragmatically. We have to carry out our original instructions. The land has to be taken care off. The damage committed to us has to be repaired. The heritage of our future generations has to be restored. The visitors have to return Turtle Island back into the beautiful paradise they found when they arrived.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News
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Mohawk Nation News
April 30, 2007

Since the “911” hit on the Twin Towers of New York City, where are the Indigenous people of Turtle Island fitting into the political and economic shift that is taking place worldwide? We have the resources that everybody wants. Could 911 be a deliberate strategy to destroy Turtle Island as a sanctuary or safe haven not only for people but for money?

Just prior to 911 the “Euro” currency was going to be launched within days. It raises suspicion as to who did 911. Issuing the Euro could have devalued the U.S. dollar while raising the value of the Euro currency.

Someone once said that to move your agenda ahead, you have to create a crisis. After 911, the financial capital of the world was shifted from New York City to London . London was already set up to take over banking on the wings of this power shift. Regardless of how 911 happened, that was the result.

The internet constantly shows the destruction of the Twin Towers and other attacks of that day. Investors have become nervous to invest in New York City . Money will move and not take chances. Other players want to cash in on the fall of New York City such as existing megatropolises like Tokyo , Shanghai and London .

The oil sheiks have since quickly converted a desert into a modern mega city. What kind of power structure is being planned in Dubai ? Haliburton, for one, is moving its operations there.

It’s only 5 to 6 years of consolidation. If it is Dubai and companies start going there, U.S. interests will have to follow. Other interests are looking for ways to cash in. Dubai and other metropolises are getting ready to handle this shift.

The U.S. is trying to bring the focus back by using our resources as one of the enticements.

The U.S. has blacklisted Canada as a partner, which they want merely as a resource hinterland under their control. The U.S. is already entrenched in Canadian policing, military, governments, the intelligence community, communications, and whatever it takes to control the country. It’s got Canada lock, stock and barrel!

Toronto and Hamilton as the “Golden Horse Shoe” were once a worldwide economic center. They have been downgraded. Toronto is yesterday’s newspaper. The powers that think they are want to set up a new center that will be more attractive to investors and people with money. That is probably why they toyed with the idea of moving the stock exchange to Calgary . Toronto has to be destroyed so that any financial windfall that comes this way will fall on New York City .

Nonetheless Canada is a natural ally to the U.S. Without Canada ’s resources the U.S. can’t move ahead. We see the usefulness of the U.S. building up the triangle of Montreal-Cornwall-Ottawa which is closer to New York City .

The U.S. does not finance anything. Buying a company is not the same as coming in and building one. They just come in, take over and buy up companies like Bell to gain control over Canada ’s telecommunications. So the U.S. gains control over all communications with access to all private and financial records of the citizens of Canada . Soon it will be worthless to have all our conversations recorded. We might even be released from bondage and regain our freedom. This is what we're hoping for.

It is an ‘Americanism’ to give Indigenous People the right to demonstrate peacefully. Canadians are not seeing this. They want to shut us up. The U.S. actually wants us to win this war against Canada because it is against the Canadian government, which they have infiltrated. Should we get everything we can while we can? We want control of Turtle Island . The U.S. want Turtle Island . If they side with us to defeat Canada , no doubt they may turn on us. The U.S. ambassador recently said at an Indigenous conference in British Columbia that they are “keeping a close eye on all the activities of the Indigenous People of Canada ”. You can be sure they are not doing it for our benefit.

The U.S. has to shift money back to Turtle Island to get our natural resources off us. They don’t want the big money to buy up oil shares, energy and communications in other parts of the world. This will turn Turtle Island into a third world. We, the indigenous people, have the land and resources, which is what the fight is over.

There are also a lot of resources in the China-Soviet Union interior which have not been exploited. A lot of money is going there. All of these activities will decide where the next power base will be. Our land base and resources are being used as trinkets to invest over here. While they’re busy signing away our natural resources, they hope the chips will fall back on New York City . Don’t think for a moment they have any interest in enriching the owners of the land and resources, us.

People shouldn’t forget that US dominance is primarily post World War II. It might be time to shift it somewhere else. Shouldn’t the license to oppress be spread around instead of just focusing on us here? We’ve had enough of their plutocracy [rule of the wealthy for the benefit of the wealthy]. If hierarchy has to exist, it’s time for someone else to take their turn at being oppressed.

The Akwesasne Mohawks are a fly in the ointment. The Mohawks here are well set up and in somebody’s way. Make no mistake. No one will give up Akwesasne. The U.S. know they will never win against us. Indigenous from everywhere will show up and help us defend it. So the U.S. would prefer to work with us. This is something we have to be very careful of.

The colonial band council puppet system will go the way of the do-do bird. We are presently getting back all our people. This is what frightens Canada and its minions.

We need to start laying down the laws right now. The U.S. wants a beachhead they can control. We aren’t going to allow that. They know it. The Canadian politicians have already been bought out and are under U.S. control. But we are not.

We have to watch when they start to develop and implement infrastructures to support their interests. They will box us in and horde those infrastructures. As soon as they consolidate their power back in New York City , that infrastructure will be abandoned. We need to be cautious where infrastructures go and who owns them.

The push will be on. They will make it look like the second coming. We know already that the Indigenous People will not be benefiting. The drive will not come from within our communities. Canadians are asleep at the switch. Someone else is driving their train for them. They have been hypnotized into complacently accepting everything that is happening.

Another thought is that if the U.S. ever gets the idea that it was the Europeans who knocked down the Twin Towers , are we looking at retaliation against them? Will the U.S. do the same to some European infrastructures? If the U.S. is cornered financially or in any other way, if they have the ability to attack, will they do so? That doesn’t exclude London , Paris and other big cities. We don’t know what’s coming.

We have come a long way and we have not fired a single shot. We’ve just been firing our bulletins.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News &
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April 29, 2007

The News Scam: Silencing Genocide

U.S. migrant detention center on Tohono O'odham tribal land. Photo Ofelia Rivas. Below: Navajo and Apache children imprisoned at Bosque Redondo.
Photo New Mexico State Monuments.
The News Scam: Silencing Genocide

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A decade ago, journalists in Indian country wrote about the failure of the mainstream media to cover Indian issues fairly. In those days, reporters for Indian publications were seldom censored. However, today, there is censorship and a new agenda by corporate media, even in Indian country.

The new agenda in Indian news involves censoring the voices of grassroots people and promoting the agenda of the newspaper owners. This includes using the newspaper as a lobbying tool and protecting politicians who might "grease the wheels" of legislation in Washington.

Don't take my word for it. Look through the current online editions of Indian newspapers and see who is covering the FBI probe of Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi, who cochairs the Congressional Native American Caucus. Then, look and see who has covered Renzi's copper mine deal, opposed by Yavapais and Apaches. Next, check out the earlier censored article of the Apache protest of Renzi in 2004 (see Censored blog link) which involved Renzi's attempts to dilute environmental laws.

You can also read how Renzi pushed for the Raytheon Missile factory on the Navajo farm, Navajo Agricultural Products Industries near Farmington, N.M., where Navajos grow commercial crops of potatoes and corn, alongside the production of missile parts. The Raytheon/Navajo farm article was censored in 2006. Further, read on the web about Renzi and his father's backgrounds in U.S. intelligence and protests of Fort Huachuca, where two priests were arrested in 2006 for their peaceful protest of U.S. torture. (Search for news articles under

Few Indian publications carried news coverage of Chiquita Brands International when it recently admitted that it paid paramilitaries who murdered human rights activists, union workers and farmers in Colombia.

As of today, few Indian newspapers have covered the Pueblos protest of the installation of the statue of Onate in El Paso. The Conquistador, known as "The Butcher" to Pueblos, cut off the feet of their ancestors, while carrying out genocidial terror. Now, in the state of New Mexico, Onate is being honored with a statue. (Although the El Paso Times covered the protest, the article was not available online in the days after the protest.)

One of the most profound revelations in the news recently was the exposure of Canada's draft counterinsurgency military manual. The manual named Mohawks with international terrorists and recommended ambushses and assassinations. Few Indian publications covered the story in the U.S.

So far, only one online Indian publication (Pechanga Net) has carried the news of the Zapatistas return to the U.S.-Mexico border and the announcement of the Intercontinental Indigenous Conference. There were no news reporters from American Indian publications present at the news conference on April 22, in Sonora south of the Arizona border, to interview Subcomandante Marcos and the Comandantes from Chiapas.

One of the most censored topics in the news media in America is any issue involving Leonard Peltier. This became obvious with the lack of national news coverage of the recent theater production "My Life is My Sundance."

Here is another example of censorship. Louise Benally, Navajo, is resisting forced relocation on Navajo lands at Big Mountain, Ariz., where Peabody Coal attorneys orchestrated the so-called Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute. Louise compared the Long Walk and imprisonment at Bosque Redondo, N.M., in the 1860s to the war in Iraq and the U.S. treatment of women and children in Iraq. The article was censored. Louise's ancestors were among those who witnessed the rapes, murders and starvation of Navajos on the Long Walk and during imprisonment at Fort Sumner.

Silencing the word, "Genocide," is now U.S. policy, according to Ambassador John Evans who used the word "Genocide," in reference to Armenians and his career collapsed. Unfortunately, the word "Genocide" has also been censored in American Indian media.

For the U.S., it is easier to pretend to be the world's champion of human rights than to acknowledge the facts: The colonized United States was created by immigrants who kidnapped and tortured blacks from Africa and forced them into slavery, while carrying out systematic genocide of Indigenous Peoples. In some cases, entire tribes were murdered.

There is also manipulation of the facts. Few news reporters have exposed the real agenda behind the current border-immigration hysteria. As with Iraq, the agenda involves funds for friends of the Bush administration: Halliburton's contract for migrant prisons; war contractors multi-million dollar contracts for security and surveillance systems and Homeland Security's control of sovereign Indian tribal lands along the border.

There were even funds for migrant detention centers on Tohono O'odham tribal land, with one detention center already operating and another planned. In this area, migrants, including many Indigenous Peoples from Mexico and Central America, die in need of a drink of water. In this area, it is a crime according to U.S. and Tohono O'odham tribal law, to give a dieing migrant, with their blood flowing from their body, a ride to the hospital. It is a crime, even if the dieing person is a fellow Indigenous person.

With the Internet, and blogs like this one, publishing news has become very easy. But the truth is increasingly hard to come by. Unless reporters show up in person and interview regular people, other than politicians, corporations and advertising sponsors, the news becomes a sham and a game.

No one knows all of the truth, journalists must depend on the people to tell us the truth.

Here's one of the big secrets in America: Corporations lie. They pay press officers large sums of money to make sure they get away with those lies most of the time.

To counter this, American Indian activists are now going directly to the stockholders to expose the human rights abuses. They have targeted some of the worst offenders globally: Peabody Coal and Newmont and Barrick gold mining corporations.

Further, newspaper editors operate on the assumption that readers are not on to their scams. They distract readers by printing the news that is "safe to print," covering issues that sound good, but lack revelations about real threats to survival, which leave in their aftermath real consequences and controversy.

Further, editors assume if the largest media outlets censor the truth, they can control knowledge and ultimately control the future.

So, many of us write our blogs and send out the news to listserves, hoping that maybe a little of the truth will still sneak out.

--Brenda Norrell

Related articles:
Greg Palast: "The U.S. Media have lost the Will to Dig Deep"

Congratulations to Kathy Helms, news reporter on the Navajo Nation, for her AP award:
Return to homepage:

Black Delegation Finds Human Rights Abuses at Border

Black delegation finds human rights abuses on U.S.-Mexican border

Tucson, Ariz. -- A 14-member delegation of African Americans investigated human rights abuses of immigrants, Mexican Americans and indigenous communities on the U.S.-Mexican border in fact-finding tour April 26-29 in the Tucson border region. Delegates from six states and 10 cities took part in The Braving Borders Building Bridges: A Journey for Human Rights tour of sponsored by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) in partnership with Coalicion de Derechos Humanos and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The tour began with members observing trials of migrants charged with illegal entry into the United States at federal court building in Tucson. From there delegates heard reports from Pima County Medical Examiners Office on increased migrants deaths during passage through the desert. The group then traveled to the border towns of Douglass, Ariz, and Agua Prieta and Altar in Sonora, Mexico, to hear testimonies of local people impacted by the increased border crossing and militarization of the border. The tour ended with visits with Pascua Yaqui leaders and a Tohono O'odham activist, representing Native American communities also impacted by the militarization of the border. "The increasing numbers of those who have died is a direct result of U.S. policy funneling migrants to cross through the desert," said the Rev. Phillip Lawson, interim pastor of Jones United Methodist Church in San Francisco, Calif., and member of the delegation. Migrants typically crossed into the United States through urban areas till 1994 when the U.S. adopted the "Prevention Through Deterrence" policy sealing off of urban-area borders and forcing migrants to risk life by crossing through desert and mountain areas. "The image that does not leave my head is of 12 men in orange suits and women in pink, handcuffed and with shackles on their legs," Mr. Lawson said. "They were prosecuted by a D.A., guarded by six deputies and judged by a magistrate, each saying simply, 'Presente.' Their only crime was risking their lives in search of a better life."The delegation heard first-hand accounts of racial profiling and abuses including: Harassment of Mexican-Americans drivers by border patrol agents Douglass; Mexican-American homes broken into by border patrol agents searching without warrants for undocumented persons; Physical abuse of migrants caught crossing in the desert; and Harassment of Native Americans traveling to and from religious ceremonies in Mexico."We came to investigate human rights abuses, and we found significant evidence that there are widespread violations caused by the U.S. militarization of the border and immigration control," said Gerald Lenoir, coordinator of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. "These policies are racist attacks on the most vulnerable members of society: immigrants of color."Leaders of Coalicion de Derechos Humanos concurred."The increase in the militarization of the border and cities like Chicago and Oakland as well as the expansion of private prison construction called for by the STRIVE bill will fuel even more human rights violations," said Isabel Garcia, co-chair of the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos. STRIVE is a border enforcement bill currently pending in Congress opposed by the three tour sponsors. "The criminalization of Latinos and immigrants matches what has been done to African Americans historically. Already 60 percent of the people in federal prisons are Black and Latino." The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights launched a national community dialog ueto expose the militarization of border and immigration control, explained network spokesperson Arnoldo Garcia. "The BAJI border tour is a major contribution to the dialogue breaking the silence on the thousands of migrants who have died as a result of these policies," Mr. Garcia said. "By coming to the border the BAJI tour represents an unprecedented coalition to stop the deaths and joins our demands for justice." BAJI will share its findings in reports in several cities and to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Migrants.

April 27, 2007

EPA fines Gila River Hazardous Waste Facility

Gila River tribal members protested Romic hazardous waste facility in March. Romic has now been fined by the US EPA for hazardous chemical releases.

Gila River Tired of Being Dumped On

Statement of Gila River Alliance for a Clean Environment (GRACE) during the March Protest: "A toxic waste treatment facility called Romic Southwest sits in the Gila River Indian Community next to Chandler. The U.S. EPA refuses to fine this company despite serious and repeat violations and the people who live and work in the community have little means to do anything about it. That is why dozens of people came out to demand the toxic waste facility be shut down. People lined both sides of the street near the facility holding signs and banners. Speeches were made as the crowd rallied in an open lot, listening to the stories of ill-health, similar struggles that others are facing around the country, and encouragement. A walk to the location where the police had blocked off the road to the Romic facility was made twice during that day. ROMIC - Who are they? Romic Southwest hazardous waste facility at the Gila River Indian Community: Bringing Hazardous Wastes from Around the World to Gila River! Let's Stop This Toxic Threat To Our Health, Environment & Culture! Did You Know? · “Romic Environmental Technologies Corporation” operates a commercial hazardous waste “treatment” facility at Lone Butte Industrial Park on the Gila River Indian Community, and they are authorized to store and “treat” hundreds of highly dangerous toxic chemicals and toxic metals. · Romic accepts hazardous waste shipped from around the world! · Romic wants to expand the amount of hazardous waste they store on site by about 50%! Romic wants to add 15 new tanks to store additional hazardous waste. · This plant has existed since 1975 and has a terrible history of violations including: o hazardous waste leaks o hazardous waste barrels stored in flooded areas o missing inspection and monitoring reports o missing hazardous waste labels o incomplete inspection logs o open containers of hazardous waste · According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspection reports, the dangerous practices have continued at the facility for decades. · · U.S. EPA refuses to fine this company despite serious and repeat violations. · · U.S. EPA never told the community the truth about this hazardous waste company, its problems or risks, or the proposed big expansion. EPA has allowed this company to operate for decades without full permits or any environmental impact report. · · In December 2002 Romic applied to U.S. EPA for a permit to expand and continue operating, but the EPA has failed to hold a public hearing where tribal members could voice concerns." -- Lori (Thomas-Luna) Riddle Co-Founder of GRACE, (Gila River Alliance for a Clean Environment.) contaminatedinaz@... check out this site:

Hopi File Class Action Suit Over Black Mesa Mining

Photo: Sacred Lands Film Project

Contact: Vernon Masayesva 928/734-9255

Black Mesa Trust Supports Traditional Hopis Suing Office of Surface Mining
Class action lawsuit alleges violations of religious freedom

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz., April 27, 2007 – Black Mesa Trust is offering its support to Hopi tribal members on whose behalf a lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining.The class action lawsuit alleges that OSM violated traditional Hopis' religious freedom when the office scheduled the comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for the Black Mesa Project during January and February, a period during which Hopi religion requires that people attend primarily to their religious obligations to the exclusion of public matters. "I had to find someone to take over my responsibilities so I could go to the hearing," said Jerry Honawa, a Hopi religious practitioner and a named plaintiff in the lawsuit. "And then it was not even a hearing," he continued. Honawa referred to the hearings on the draft environmental impact statement held by OSM on Hopi and Navajo and in surrounding towns during the comment period. Honawa is particularly disturbed by OSM's selection of Alternative A, which allows unlimited use of N-aquifer water for the Black Mesa mining operation if a proposed project to bring water from the C-aquifer south of Interstate 40 to the mine falls through. And he is upset not only by OSM's refusal to respond to his concerns at the hearings, but to the size and complexity of the document on which he was trying to comment. "It is 758 pages," he said. "I don't think anyone on the Hopi Tribal Council has read the entire document. They are just going along with whatever OSM says." The lawsuit alleges that OSM violated both the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the provisions of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act by knowingly and deliberately scheduling the comment period in the middle of the Hopi religious calendar. "There is no exceptionally compelling state interest in requiring traditional Hopis…to choose between honoring their religious beliefs and practice and grappling with reading, analyzing, understanding, and being forced to comment on a massive, complex, 758-page draft environmental impact statement on the Black Mesa Project during the religious portion of the Hopi calendar," reads the papers filed with the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona on April 16.The length and complexity of the document are also issues for Black Mesa Trust Executive Director Vernon Masayesva. "The draft EIS is not written in language that lay people can understand," he said, "and that is in direct violation of the principles of the National Environmental Protection Act. Not only was the comment period scheduled at an inappropriate time, but OSM insisted that our comments be 'concise' and refer to specific sections of the EIS. But their document does not meet the 'concise; standard, and by not writing it in comprehensible language, OSM made it impossible for us to comply with their requirements." The lawsuit also alleges that OSM's actions violated the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Under Article IX of that treaty, by which Mexico ceded to the United States the traditional lands of the Hopi people, "the United States of America agreed that the people residing in the territory acquired under that Treaty would be accorded the rights of citizens of the United States, including the right to be 'secured in the free exercise of their religion without restriction,'" reads the lawsuit. Black Mesa Trust is a non-profit grassroots organization founded to protect the N-aquifer on Black Mesa for future generations of Hopis and Navajos. For more than three decades, Peabody Western Coal, the world's largest coal mining company, used water from the aquifer, the sole source of drinking water on Hopi, to slurry coal from the Black Mesa Mine to the Mohave Generating Station in Nevada. Mohave shut down at the end of 2005 because its owners failed to comply with a consent decree ordering them to install pollution control equipment. The plant remains closed and majority owner Southern California Edison has said that it has given up its attempts to reopen the facility. Nevertheless, OSM has continued with the EIS process, possibly to make the power plant more attractive to potential buyers. Without the pollution control equipment, the 1580 MW coal-fired power plant is the dirtiest in the West. -- Tanya Lee(603) 377-0267 (cell)(617) 491-6106 (tel)7270 Slayton Ranch RoadFlagstaff, AZ 860042 Chester StreetCambridge, MA 02140

Shoshone Receive 10,000 Signatures to Stop Barrick Gold

Great news from the Western Shoshone:

In the first 24 hours, the petition to stop Barrick Gold's destruction on sacred Shoshone land has received 10,000 signatures. Western Shoshone say: Keep the signatures coming. They will deliver the petition to the Barrick shareholders in Toronto. Sign the petition:
Top photo: GOLD MINING CORES OUT MOUNTAINS: Newmont gold mining on Western Shoshone land/Project Underground
(R) Western Shoshone Larson Bill video documents gold mining operations on Mount Tenabo near Elko, Nevada. Photo Brenda Norrell.
(L)Western Shoshone and friends on Mount Tenabo. Photo Brenda Norrell.
News from Ghana: "Newmont Under Pressure"
Around the world, gold mining targets Indigenous lands and cores out mountains for small amounts of gold:Strike at mine in Peru and talk of Barrick's purchase of Newmont:

Tohono O'odham Funny Lady Teresa Choyguha

Comedy night with Tohono O'Odham funny woman, Teresa Choyguha on Friday, May 11, 2007 at the Lehi Community Building, Stapley and Oak on the Salt River Indian Community, Phoenix.

April 26, 2007

Most Censored 2007

Most Censored and Under-Reported News of Indigenous Peoples 2007
--Leonard Peltier Theater, "My Life is My Sundance"
--Canada's Counterinsurgency Draft Manual Names Mohawks as Terrorists, Calls for Ambushes and Assassinations
--Marcos and Zapatistas Return to Border, Plan Intercontinental Summit
--El Paso Celebrates Onate, The Butcher of Pueblos, With Statue
--Arizona Congressman Renzi, FBI Probe and Links to Military Intelligence and Navajo, Apache and Yavapai Lands and Business Deals
--Houston Councilman Still on Air After Insulting American Indians
--Navajos' Sanostee Chapter Opposes Desert Rock Power Plant by Resolution
--Tohono O'odham Tribal Officials Knew of Mexico's Plans for Hazardous Dump in Ceremonial Communtiy of Quitovac Near Border, but Never Told O'odham in Sonora
.............Scroll down for articles and more censored news...........................

.Special thanks to Victor Rocha at Pechanga Net for links to the stories on the Censored blog covering the Zapatistas in Sonora and to staff at for sharing the story on Racist Radio Talk in Houston. (Native News category)
Special thanks to Chris Spotted Eagle at KFAI in Minneapolis for sharing Censored News on the web and on air at "Indian Uprising," a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Listen: "Programs & Schedule" or by program “Archives.”
Many thanks to Mohawk Nation News for sharing news:
Kahentinetha Horn - MNN Mohawk Nation News
E-mail: Website:
A special thanks to the publishers of Narco News and the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague for continuing to publish uncensored news:
Many thanks to IRC Americas and Counterpunch for publishing uncensored articles on the Indigenous Border Summit and Indigenous World Uranium Summit:


April 23, 2007

Zapatistas Announce Intercontinental Summit

Zapatistas select Yaqui to host Intercontinental Summit
By Brenda Norrell

RANCHO EL PENASCO, Sonora, Mexico – Indigenous Peoples from Mexico and the United States met with Subcomandante Marcos and Zapatista Comandantes to establish the Indigenous Intercontinental Conference for 2007.
The Intercontinental gathering will be held in the Yaqui community of Vicam in Rio Yaqui, Sonora, on the northwest coast, Oct. 11 – 14, 2007.
Comandante David, Mayan from Chiapas, welcomed the world’s Indigenous Peoples to the intercontinental gathering.
“At this moment, we want to let the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, Canada, the United States, Central America, South America and the whole world know what we are planning,” Comandante David said in an interview here, speaking in Spanish.
“The object of this meeting is to meet one another and to come to know one another’s pains and sufferings. It is to share our experiences, because each tribe is different.”
Juan Chavez, Purepecha elder from Michoacan, said the conference would expose the treatment of Indigenous Peoples, organize resistance in defense of Mother Earth and ask the question, “What are we, as Indigenous Peoples, struggling for?”
“The answers will come in the gathering as we talk with one mind and one heart. Our brothers and sisters will be together, speaking to one another with one heart,” Chavez said in an interview.
The declaration for the Indigenous Intercontinental Conference, signed April 22, states that it has been 515 years since the invasion of ancient Indigenous territories and the onslaught of the war of conquest, spoils and capitalist exploitation.
Now, there is a new war of neoliberal extermination, which continues the destruction of Indigenous communities. Despite the long history of domination, Indigenous resistance has kept Indigenous communities alive and fighting for survival.
The Indigenous struggle was uplifted by the emergence of the EZLN, Zapatista Army of National Liberation, in the year of 1994.
The national governments of the Americas have always sought to divide Indigenous communities through the establishment of borders, reservations and legislation to fragment and neutralize Native efforts of autonomy.
However, with unity and knowledge, the struggle for liberation will be strengthened. This struggle must be known to the world, so that all people who are honest in the fight for democracy and freedom will become companions in the struggle, the declaration states.
Marcos, speaking of the need to arise in defense of Mother Earth, told Indigenous gathered here of his recent trip to support the fishing rights of the Cucapa and Kiliwa Peoples in Baja California, Mexico.
Marcos spoke of the assault on Indigenous Peoples in the Americas by corporations and governments. Holding an eagle feather given to him by the Kiliwa, Marcos said the eagle, like the Kiliwa, are at risk of becoming extinct.
Marcos held private meetings with Indigenous to organize the intercontinental conference and listen to concerns of Indigenous Peoples from different regions of Mexico and the United States.
Sharing concerns over environmental damage, hazardous dumps and the loss of languages, lands, traditions and culture were O’odham from Sonora, Yaqui from Rio Yaqui, Sonora, Mayo from Sinoloa and Raramuri from Chihuahua in Mexico. Coming from the United States were O’odham, O’otham, Navajo, Apache and Hopi.
At the heart of this gathering was the outdoor kitchen with two roaring fires, where Yaqui, O’odham and Mayo women prepared Sonoran tortillas and huge pots of soups, beef and beans. O’otham from Salt River in Arizona brought buffalo meat. Zapatista youths from Tucson, Ariz., brought chocolate cakes and others brought watermelons, papayas and pineapples.
The American Indian Movement provided security at the planning session, with AIM security guards around the clock at the entrance gate. Closer to the highway, there were up to a dozen vehicles of local and federal Mexican police and undercover officers.
Although Mexican police attempted to intimidate Indigenous Peoples by questioning them when they arrived, AIM security demanded the police halt the intimidation, which they did. While traveling in northwest Mexico, undercover police continuously followed Marcos and the Comandantes.
Marcos first came to Rancho el Penasco, south of Magdalena, in October of 2006, for the listening session with O’odham during the Other Campaign. Marcos and 10 Comandantes returned on April 8 enroute to the Cucapa Peace Camp to uphold fishing rights. Marcos and members of the Zapatista delegation returned for the Intercontinental summit planning session here April 21 –22.
With its flock of sheep and historical memorabilia, the biodiversity ranch, with a hotel/hostel and campground, has been made available to the Zapatistas by the owner.

En Espanol, Narco News:

Reporter’s Notebook, the Zapatista Highway

Free language translation online:

Reporter's Notebook, The Zapatista Highway

Zapatistas in Sonora. Photo Brenda Norrell
Reporter's Notebook, The Zapatista Highway
By Brenda Norrell
April 23, 2007
RANCHO EL PENASCO, SONORA, Mexico -- The last thing you want to happen when you are returning from a Zapatista meeting with Subcomandante Marcos in Mexico, is for the van to die on the Mexican side of the border, and to have to push it back into the United States.
But that is what happened on our way back. With a great deal of laughter, Jose and Gregorio, joined by some good-hearted volunteers, pushed the van through U.S. immigration and we coasted into Nogales, Ariz.
It was the unexpected end to a wonderful weekend of the unexpected. It began in Tucson, Ariz., with the arrival of American Indian Movement security, O'otham from Salt River Pima and Gila River, Hopi-Zia Pueblo and Tohono O'odham. With the car packed with buffalo meat from Salt River Pima, we headed down, stopping in Sonora to buy watermelons.
At the Rancho Penasco biodiversity ranch south of Magdalena, there was a larger than usual buildup of undercover Mexican police, intelligence officers driving white and grey compact cars, at the entrance gate.
Arriving from the north and south were Indigenous from many tribes for the consultation with Subcomandante Marcos and Comandantes, to plan for the Indigenous Intercontinental Conference.
Cautious, I decided to spend the first night in a nearby hotel, so I could be in touch with the international press if there were problems with the Mexican police building up at the gate. As a news reporter staying alone at a hotel in Mexico, the worst thing that can happen is to look behind you in the hotel lobby and see a dozen cars of undercover Mexican police ready to check in at the same hotel. But that is what happened. I took an Extra Strength Tylenol and went to sleep on the mattress, which was actually a slab of granite.
Then, Saturday morning, something magical happened. Indigenous arrived from all over Arizona and northern and southern Mexico. Over the fire making tortillas, working 16 hours a day, were Yaqui women from Potam Pueblo, along with Tohono O'odham, Mayo and their friends from Sonora and Arizona. They cut buffalo meat, scrambled eggs, cut papayas and of course made large pots of coffee, washed enormous amounts of dishes and laughed.
At the gate, AIM security checked the identification of everyone who entered and halted the undercover Mexican police along the highway from intimidating people arriving.
Raramuri came from north central Mexico, Purepecha from Michoacan, Yaqui from Rio Yaqui Pueblos, Mayo from Sinoloa, O'odham from Sonora and Mayans from Chiapas. They were joined by San Carlos Apache, Navajo, Hopi, Salt River Pima, Gila River Pima and Tohono O'odham from Arizona.
From this gathering came a powerful force of love and joy. Crossing the border, the old van blew steam like a tired dragon as it limped back.
There was no surrender.
--Brenda Norrell
(Spanish) Declaration for the Indigenous Intercontinental Conference to be held in Vicam Pueblo in October, 2007:
Zapatistas uphold Cucapa fishing rights on Colorado River Delta:
Return to homepage:

April 19, 2007

Censorship of Indigenous Issues Increases

Censorship of Indigenous Issues Increases
Brenda Norrell
Human Rights Editor
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report

Senecas Vote to Take Back NYS Thruway Land

For Immediate Release
Seneca Nation Takes On State of New York
Spring, 515 a.c. (after columbus; a.k.a. “April 19, 2007”)

Unlike most “federally recognized Indian tribes” throughout the “United States”, the Seneca nation never acknowledged, accepted – and in fact rejected the illegal “1934 Indian Reorganization (IRA) Act.” The Seneca and other “Six Nations” Confederacy Nations and peoples claim the illegal act violates their Treaties (protected by Article VI of the United States Constitution which states “Treaties made with Indian Nations shall be the supreme law of the land, with the judges in every state bound thereby”).

The Seneca and Six Nations also expose Article 1, Section 2, Part 3 of the Constitution which prevents any “Indian” from paying taxes – a fact even most Americans fail to realize.

The Seneca believe the illegal 1934 act was an attempt to remove the female balance and representation they have always had within their nation governing and to place their nation and peoples under the authority of the president of the United States against their will.

The Seneca also reject the illegal 1924 “Indian Citizenship Act” which violates the Constitution, Seneca/u.s. Treaties, and attempts to make Seneca’s into “americans” as a means by u.s.government officials to steal and exploit Seneca resources and homelands.

The recently adopted 1988 “Genocide Convention Proclamation Act” by congress would also make violation of Seneca Treaties a violation of the crime of genocide – punishable by life in prison and a one million dollar fine, should a government or state official be charged and found guilty of the charges.

The unilateral act of congress in 1934 was an attempt to deny nationhood rights and prevents all Indigenous Red “Indian” Nations from the United Nations and international recognition by the community of world’s nations.

We demand the United States and their “state of New York” cease and desist from genocidal actions (forced taxation, illegal 1924 and 1934 acts against Seneca Nationhood, occupation of Indigenous lands, etc.) against the Seneca Nation and begin to once and for all honor each and every Treaty they made with the Seneca, thereby abiding by their own Constitution and laws.

We also demand the Seneca be recognized as an Indigenous Red Nation of Peoples and be allowed representation in the United Nations (UN) in New York City so that world peace can begin and the corrupt UN can be taken out of u.s. and corporation control and placed with the nations of the world – its supposed intention.
Scott C. Barta

7 GENERATIONS, Native Perspectives On Caring For The Earth
"Sustaining Communities that Care for the Earth"
A lecture by Dr. Joseph Suina, Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of New Mexico and the former Governor of Cochiti Pueblo, NM.Saturday, April 21st, 7:00 p.m. University of Arizona Campus, CESL Auditorium (Center for English As A Second Language)1100 E James E. Rogers Way,Adjacent to and NE of AZ State MuseumFree and Open to the Public, sponsored by:Amerind FoundationTucson Audubon SocietySky Island AllianceUniversity of Arizona Department of AnthropologyFor more information please contact the Amerind Foundation at 520.586.3666 or

Honor the Earth Concert with Indigo Girls in Flagstaff Calls for Safe Energy on Native Lands

On Tuesday night, May 22nd, the Grammy Award winning folk-rock duo, Indigo Girls (Amy Ray and Emily Saliers), will take the stage at the Pine Mountain Amphitheater in Flag staff for a special night of music with a message. The concert, entitled Honor the Earth, is a benefit designed to lend support to the Just Transition Coalition and their work to herald in a new, safe energy economy, one based on the vast renewable energy potential of Native lands. “We are excited to come and play in the Southwest - it's been too long. The grassroots organizing in this region is compelling and inspiring. In the midst of such a destructive energy paradigm, Native communities are working to affect positive change and provide an alternative,” said Indigo Girl Amy Ray.

“We understand that it will take all of us to fix the bind we are in. Not only do we want to do away with dirty forms of energy that exploit the land and its peoples, but also more than anything, we want to support a new plan that creates a vital economy for this region based on clean, renewable energy.”

“The tremendous work of the Just Transition Coalition to change the dynamics of energy development away from a reliance on fossil fuels and towards a renewable future offers a vital and positive vision for all of Indian country, and all of America,” said Winona LaDuke, Director of the Native environmental group Honor the Earth, which is sponsoring the concert.

The Just Transition Coalition emerged as a response to the closure of the Laughlin, Nevada Mohave Generating Station, dubbed the dirtiest coal plant in the west. In 1999, the Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club and other groups filed a lawsuit against Mohave’s primary owner, Southern California Edison (SCE), for Clean Air Act violations. That lawsuit resulted in a decree for SCE to retrofit Mohave or shut down by the end of 2005. The plant closed.

Navajo and Hopi communities have been hit hard economically by Mohave’s closure due to lost coal and water royalties, and lost jobs. The Just Transition Coalition’s plan is to replace lost revenues and employment by developing reservation-based renewable energy financed by pollution credits from Mohave’s closure.

When Mohave shut down, the plant stopped emitting over 40,000 tons of sulfur dioxide a year. Mohave owners can sell these allowances as pollution credits to other utilities that need them. Last year, because of the Just Transition Coalition’s work, the California Public Utility Commission required Southern California Edison to establish a separate account to track revenues from the sale of Mohave sulfur credits, which are estimated to be $20 million a year.

The Just Transition Coalition’s plan gives the California Public Utilities Commission an opportunity to restore some justice to the Navajo and Hopi communities and, at the same time, help California meet its renewable energy portfolio through the purchase of clean, tribally-produced energy.

For decades, cheap electricity for Californians came at the expense of Navajo and Hopi people, water and land. Mohave sourced all of its coal from the Peabody mine at Black Mesa. Peabody drew over 3 million gallons of water a day from the Navajo aquifer, which runs below Black Mesa, in order to pump coal through a 273-mile slurry that fed Mohave. As a result, wells and ancient springs have run dry, and cracks and fissures have appeared across Black Mesa, threatening the millennium old cultures of the Hopi and Dine that depend so heavily upon the aquifer for religious, cultural and day-to-day use.

“Energy does not have to come at the expense of a people’s ecosystem and culture,” LaDuke said, referring to the adverse impacts of energy exploitation on Navajo and Hopi communities. “We have a choice. We can either combust ourselves into oblivion or invest in renewable technologies that are culturally-based and sustainable.”

Funding from the Indigo Girls benefit concert will specifically support grassroots Native groups in the Just Transition Coalition, such as the Black Mesa Water Coalition, a group of young Navajo and Hopi activists. Enei Begaye, Executive Director of Black Mesa Water Coalition, states, “We have been a part of the Just Transition Campaign from the beginning because we believe this is a real plan for building wind and solar energy projects that will benefit Navajo and Hopi people as well as all other people around us. With this plan, our local tribal communities are leading the nation in developing a sustainable future!”

Outside of Black Mesa Water Coalition, other Just Transition members include Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Native Movement, Indigenous Environmental Network, To-Nizhoni Ani, Apollo Alliance, and Honor the Earth.

Indigo Girls will perform a show Monday night, May 21, at the Phil L. Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock to benefit Navajo groups working to stop the Desert Rock coal plant.

For More Information:
Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth, 612-879-7529 or
Andy Bessler
Sierra Club's Environmental Partnership Program
P.O. Box 38
Flagstaff , AZ 86002
fax 774-6138
cell 928-380-7808

April 18, 2007

Natives Challenge Oil Drilling in Arctic

April 17, 2007

Native and Conservation Groups Challenge Oil Drilling in Arctic Ocean

FAIRBANKS , AK -A Native group and five conservation organizations filed challenges to the Bush administration's recent decision to allow Shell Offshore Inc. to drill several oil and gas exploration wells in the Beaufort Sea beginning in June 2007. Despite the threat oil drilling poses to the sensitive Arctic ecosystem, the federal Mineral Management Service (MMS) approved the plan through a rushed process without fully analyzing the potential impacts, and without conducting a public process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). MMS flat out refused, for example, to consider the previously acknowledged potential for an accidental spill of crude oil.

”Given the resources at stake and the potentially devastating effects this drilling could have on bowhead whales, seals, birds and fish, it is unacceptable for the government to rush this through without a thorough public review of the impacts. The subsistence rights of the communities are being ignored and Shell's plans will violate their rights,” said Faith Gemmill of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands). REDOIL members living in the villages of Nuiqsut, Kaktovik, and Barrow depend on the Beaufort Sea for their livelihood. “Why did MMS disregard this?”

"As a mother and a grandmother, I am concerned that the Arctic Inupiat whaling culture is at risk because the MMS insists rushing ahead with offshore oil plans. The government of the people, in helping the industry drill for oil at all costs, is disregarding the future of the Arctic people. They are doing this with an outdated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and without proper input from the public. The Arctic community revolves around the whaling way of life; there is not one facet of time in the Arctic that does not concern the catching of the whale. Considering the spills, its rushed process did not include a full analysis of the significant harms that can be caused by routine drilling operations in the Arctic environment. The drilling involves two massive drill ships accompanied by ice breakers, support vessels, and air support. This level of industrial activity in the Beaufort threatens the endangered bowhead whale. Considering the movement of the ocean ice, there is too big of a risk that an oil spill will occur, therefore creating a risk of destroying the Inupiat culture" states Doreen Simmonds, Inupiat resident of Barrow and REDOIL member.

Not only did MMS completely fail to analyze potentially devastating effects of Shell’s activities on polar bears and birds, including threatened stellers and spectacled eiders. Additionally, the constant air traffic associated with drilling can disturb caribou and interfere with the subsistence hunt.

"I am an Inupiat hunter and whaler. Due to the fact that there is potential for catastrophic results from Shell's activities on our subsistence livelihood, my people are very concerned about the plans that MMS agreed to without any public input, the Environmental Assessment (EA) was inadequate, and by law under NEPA-an EIS is required. There is a great lack of adequate spill response strategies in Shell's proposed plans, as well as the fact that no tests have been done in Arctic ice to provide data about toxic spills in our ocean and no answers provided when we ask how long would the toxins remain if spilled? All of our subsistence resources will be impacted from land to sea- from the caribou to the whale. Why are we given less voice than other peoples in the lower 48-where offshore plans have been cancelled due to the public outcry?," states Robert Thompson, Inupiat Resident of Kaktovik and REDOIL member.
"Clearly some folks in Washington fail to realize that what happens in the Beaufort Sea - where the government says Shell can drill - is 100 percent interdependent with what happens in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. If oil gets into the Beaufort Sea - animals in the Refuge will suffer. That's not acceptable, and it defeats the purpose of having a Wildlife Refuge at all, frankly," Chuck Clusen, Senior Policy Analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

The groups are also concerned about impacts of the drilling plan on sensitive areas like the nearby Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "Off-shore oil and gas activity creates a huge web of impacts not only limited to open-water. With daily helicopter flights, increased infrastructure on and off-land, stress to marine and terrestrial life from harmful seismic and other damaging exploration methods, and no proven methods for safe and effective clean up of an oil-spill disaster in arctic conditions, off-shore oil and gas activity in the Arctic Ocean is a serious threat to America's entire arctic coast line, and critical areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," said Betsy Goll, Arctic Environmental Justice Program Director of Alaska Wilderness League.

This ill-conceived drilling plan is just another illustration of this administration's rush to develop oil throughout the Arctic without regard to the needs of sensitive wildlife species and indigenous subsistence users. "Unfortunately, disregard for the significant impacts of oil development to endangered whales, critical habitats, and cultural sovereignty are standard protocol in the oil industry these days," said Whit Sheard, Alaska Program Director for Pacific Environment. "Shell's Sakhalin II in the Russian North Pacific has become one of the most controversial offshore drilling projects in the world and is a painful preview of what's coming to our Arctic coastline."

"In its rush to approve operations this year, MMS failed to meet its obligations under the law to take a hard look at all the impacts of oil drilling in this sensitive environment and on the people who depend on it," said Deirdre McDonnell, Staff Attorney at Earthjustice. "We filed these challenges to force the agency follow the law and involve the public in its decisions."The challenges were filed by the non-profit law firm Earthjustice with the Interior Board of Land Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of REDOIL, Sierra
Club, Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC, Alaska Wilderness League, and Pacific Environment.
Contacts:Faith Gemmill, REDOIL (907) 750-0188Robert Thompson, Inupiat (907) 640-6119Doreen Simmonds, Inupiat (907) 852-2554Betsy Goll, Alaska Wilderness League (907) 830-0184
Whit Sheard, Pacific Environment (907) 277-1029
Deirdre McDonnell, Earthjustice (907) 586-2751
Julia Bovey, NRDC (202) 289-2420

April 17, 2007

Indigenous Without Borders Conference April 28--29

Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras Gathering
Saturday, April 28, 2007 & Sunday, April 29, 2007
Santa Rosa Learning Center, 1075 South 10th Avenue (10th & 22nd) Tucson, Arizona, 520-879-8019, 9:00AM - 5:00PM

"We are slowly losing the informal, special status that we have enjoyed at the U.S. - Mexico border prior to 9/11 tragedy. The U.S. Government officials are preparing to implement a new immigration and border enforcement policies that does not include or resolve Indigenous immigration and border rights issues and concerns.

The Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, calls together all Indigenous people of conscience, relatives, friends, elders, youth and people interested in promoting Indigenous Rights, preservation of Indigenous ways/traditions and language and environmental protection of Mother Earth.

In the Spirit of Our Grandfather, Our Elders, Keepers of Our Traditional Ways, Warriors for Social Justice and Change and all Indigenous Pueblos must come together to protect, promote Indigenous rights and continue the fight for what we've got!

Our Elders started the fight many, many moons ago that is why we have what we've got. 'THINK INDIGENOUS - We are HUMAN BEINGs with RIGHTS!'"

JOIN US ....
Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras
P.O. Box 826
Tucson, Arizona 85701

contact: Christina Leza, Organizer at 520-5912637
Jose Matus, director at 520-979-2125
Directions: Headed south on Interstate 10 through Tucson: take the Star Pass/22nd Street exit; off the exit ramp, take a left on 22nd; go up a few blocks to 10th Avenue and take a left. The center is on the right.

Blackfire: Silence is a Weapon

The Navajo family band, Blackfire, tireless fighters for Indigenous rights, will release their new CD, "Silence is a Weapon," on May 1st, 2007. Blackfire is also preparing for a summer tour that will take them to Europe, Mongolia, Russia, Mexico & the throughout the U.S. Disk one features 12 new songs of Blackfire's unique brand of label defying high energy-social political music which has been called, "Fireball Punk-Rock" by the late godfather of punk Joey Ramone. Disk two comprises a special selection of 12 traditional Dine' (Navajo) songs. About Blackfire: Blackfire is a Dine’ (Navajo) trio of sublings Jeneda, Klee & Clayson Benally. The have been awarded the Native American Music Awards “Group of the Year” for their 2003 “Woody Guthrie Singles” recording, and “Best Pop/Rock Album for their 2001 full length release, “One Nation Under.” Since 1989 the group has been composing songs filled with passion and awareness of environmental & social justice issues. Blackfire has toured the world sharing their music and traditional culture. This year’s [Silence] is a Weapon 2007 tour will take Blackfire to France, Germany, Italy, The Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Switzerland, Mongolia, Siberia, Norway, Mexico, and throughout the U.S.
Current U.S. dates are:
April 22 in Flagstaff, AZ at Heritage Square
April 23 at NAU
April 27 at the Kayenta Community Center
May 5 in Flagstaff at Wheeler Park
July 22 and 23 Grassroots festival Ithaca NY
August 4-5 at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff
August 17th and 18th at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.
August 19th at the Kennedy Center Millennium stage in Washington D.C.
More info available at:
Photo credit: Julaire Scott

Okiijida Society: Alert to Warrior Societies

Okiijida Society

Box 75, Ginew, Manitoba, Canada ROA 2RO
From (Mush-ko-dah-be-shik-eese) Terrance Nelson, Okiijida Society Spokesman and Representative from Canada; National (US) Board of Directors: American Indian Movement

Be on Guard
April 14, 2007

I am first degree Midewiwin, most of our people are very spiritually connected people. Normally, I am very cautious in sending out warnings to warrior societies. The last time I send out a yellow alert was in March 2006 and it was on behalf of the Mohawks at Six Nations on the escalating tensions in Caledonia. Today I am sending out a caution to all of our people to be on guard. Three separate spiritually connected people have told me that the police and army will carry out a massive raid similar to the FLQ War Measures act response that happened in October 1970.

As I said, normally I would dismiss this as simple jitters and people who worry too much but I have experience in dealing with the Conservative Members of Parliament who today run the government of Canada. On January 19th 1993, Roseau River suffered an R.C.M.P. raid, snipers in our fields, Canadian army on standby in Winnipeg and the whole bit. Yes, there was anger and demonstrations but little or no consequences for the white man. Today the Canadian spy agency is run by former Premier Gary Filmon who ordered the raid on Roseau River in 1993 and he is not the only one in the Conservative government who think they can get away with using the Army against Indians.

The First Nations in Canada are organizing a June 29th National Day of Protest that includes some railway blockades and other actions. The Canadian Army in on maneuvers in northern Alberta and the Yukon, a fact that angers a lot of Dene people in those areas. The newly drafted Canadian Army Manual was recently big news because it would have placed Indians in Canada alongside terrorist organizations and the Manual had policies about killing Indians. Even today, every year, over 50% of the people in Canada who are killed by police are First Nation people. That has been our history for a long time.

Since the Oka Crisis of 1990, warrior societies met regularly to plan out action if ever the Canadian army was used to kill Indian people. Our response would be to shut down the Canadian economy. Clearly, that means shutting down every rail line in the country until the government comes to their senses. Although I hope that our spiritual people are wrong on their warning, I do want to remind everyone that Ipperwash, Gustavusen Lake, Burnt Church and many other incidents in Canada since Oka have involved special forces being used against our people. Just be on guard, don’t be naïve, it can happen.

Chief Terrance Nelson

Blackwater author Scahill in Tucson April 25

Jeremy Scahill, author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" will be at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church for a speaking engagement on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m, at 3809 E. 3rd Street in Tucson.
Local author Quynn Elizabeth ("Accepting the Ashes: A Daughter's Look at PTSD") will open the show.
About Jeremy Scahill: Scahill has reported extensively from Iraq, the former Yugoslavia and Nigeria. "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" is his first book.About "Blackwater": They are highly trained private soldiers sent to Iraq by a secretive mercenary company based in the wilderness of North Carolina.Meet Blackwater USA, the powerful private army that the U.S. government has quietly hired. Blackwater is the elite Praetorian Guard for the “global war on terror,” with its own military base, a fleet of twenty aircraft, and 20,000 private contractors at the ready. Run by a multimillionaire Christian conservative who bankrolls President Bush and his allies, its forces are capable of overthrowing governments, and yet most people have never heard of Blackwater. This book is the unauthorized story of the epic rise of one of the most powerful and secretive forces to emerge from the U.S. military-industrial complex. It traces Blackwater’s beginnings in 1996, with visionary executives opening a private military training camp “to fulfill the anticipated demand for government outsourcing”; to its secret deployment in Afghanistan following 9/11; to the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah and a fierce gun battle in Muqtada al-Sadr’s stronghold of Najaf. The story races from Blackwater’s expedition to the oil-rich Caspian Sea to set up a military base miles from Iran; to New Orleans, where its forces patrolled the hurricane-ravaged streets; to the chambers of power in Washington, D.C., where Blackwater executives are welcomed as new heroes in the war on terror. The administration hails Blackwater as a revolution in military affairs; others see its rise as nothing less than a dire threat to American democracy.

Protest statue of Onate, the butcher, in El Paso

From: Southwest Indigenous Alliance
Subject: Onate statue El Paso, TexasTo: Maurus Chino
The Tricentennial Truth Alliance and the Southwest Indigenous Alliance are organizing a protest of the unveiling of the Juan de Onate equestrian statue on:
Saturday, April 21, 10:00 am, El Paso Airport, El Paso, Texas
We will meet at the Peace and Justice Center, 202 Harvard SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, 4:00 am to leave promptly at 4:30 am to caravan down to El Paso. Phone number at Peace and Justice Center: 505-268-9557
As we all know Onate and the Spanish conquistador committed unspeakable crimes against humanity in the slaughter and butchery of Indigenous People of the southwest. Onate a man convicted of Crimes Against Humanity by the Spanish Crown of the 1500's and Perpetually Banned from New Mexico has been brought back for all to honor, by these racist supporters of these statues.
Juan de Onate, the conquistador so revered here in New Mexico is responsible for the murder and butchery of over 800 men, women, and children of the Acoma Tribe. For defending the Land and the People, Onate and the Spanish conquistador hacked off the right foot of all Acoma males over the age of 25. Precious Lands were stolen under the guise of the Spanish Land system. At Grand Quivara 800 more were murdered; Grand Quivara is now gone forever.
Historical revisionists are painting a false picture of romantic Spanish conquest, never accepting responsibility for the human suffering caused by the occupation of the Spanish conquistador. We see statues In Taos, Alclade, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Truth or Consequences (all in New Mexico), and now the largest equestrian statue in the history of mankind in El Paso, Texas. Indeed we have here in Albuquerque, an Onate High School. What are we teaching our children? You may contact
Blue Cruz at: 505-275-0016

Dine' Medicine Men and Women oppose Uranium Mining on Mount Taylor

Saturday, April 14, '07
The Dine' Hataalii Association (medicine men and women) passed a resolution opposing uranium exploration, mining, and processing on and around TsooDzil (Mt.Taylor). Further the resolution is requesting consultation from federal, state offices.
The resolution supports funding for cleanup of abandoned uranium sites.The resolution cites others that have passed similar resolutions includingthe Pueblo of Acoma, All Indian Pueblo Council, including Navajo NationChapter of Lupton and the Eastern Navajo Agency Council.
If there are other resolutions, and for more information, please contact:
Robert Tohe:

April 16, 2007

Racist Radio

Monday, April 16, 2007 – Racism on the Radio: Racist and sexist remarks made by radio talk show host Don Imus about the Rutgers women’s basketball team have led to his firing. He admitted he made a “stupid mistake” but the comment has sparked uproar and set off new national debate about racism. But a Houston-based shock jock recently made derogatory comments about Native Americans with little fanfare. Where do Native Americans stand on the issue of racism on the radio? And does the racial double standard apply to Natives as well? Guests include Alabama-Coushatta radio host Jacquelyn Battise.

Mainstream press ignores racist talk in Houston:
Like most mainstream newspapers covering the issue of racist radio, the Christian Science Monitor, in today's article, isn't even aware of Berry's comments:

April 15, 2007

Coming home, Simon Ortiz and Demetria Martinez

Coming home, Simon Ortiz and Demetria Martinez

At the Tucson Poetry Festival, finding home and the power of words and voice

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, April 14, 2007

TUCSON, Arizona – Within both of them, they have found their home. Simon Ortiz has always written intimately of his people and his community, Acoma Pueblo. Demetria Martinez has always used words to pierce the enemy: the displacers, the violators.
Now, their words go beyond what they were, what they have been. Simon reads from his new works, the memory of his father dieing, with his father’s older brother by his side. It is Uncle Frank who went off to fight World War I, leaving his nine-year-old brother behind.
Simon remembers the Lukachukai mountains on Navajoland, colonization and taking the sheep out at Acoma, Wounded Knee and Sand Creek.
In the spring, Simon says, flowers bloom at Sand Creek.
Demetria remembers Marcos and the Zapatistas, breakfast with salsa at Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, lost clans whose genes are Indigenous, Chicano and Mestizo. Demetria has gone home to Albuquerque, but here in Tucson, where she once lived, the city and the people have clasped their hands around her one more time, claimed her one more time as their own.
Simon, too, has lived here, marched in protest after the massacre in Acteal, Chiapas, carrying tiny white crosses bearing the names, names of pregnant women hacked to death with machetes.
Demetria has bore a different cross. Arrested and accused of smuggling El Salvadoran women across the border, she penned “Mother Tongue,” weaving together love, life, death and sanctuary. Her words told of torture for Indigenous in Central America. While facing a 25-year prison sentence in the 1980s, the government attempted to use one of Demetria's poems, "Nativity, for Two Salvadoran Women," against her in court. However, Martinez was acquitted on First Amendment grounds.
Through their sufferings and their struggles, the words of Simon and Demetria have grown richer, more intimate, and more real. No doubt in time both will be known as two of the greatest poets of our time.
More than mirrors of events, more than masters of the tool of language, they have reached into the bone and pulled out the raw marrow that is life itself.
To have known them is to have known myself.
At the Tucson Poetry Festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary, this year's theme is home. "Poems always come from home," Simon says, remembering the way of respect he was taught for his family, the land, others and himself.
"Indians always tell a story," he continues, giving voice to the words of the human condition: "loss, mourning, abandonment."
Simon remembers the 600 Arapaho and Cheyenne, many women and children, massacred at Sand Creek. Black Kettle, he remembers, had already said the people wanted peace.
"The dream shall have a name after all," Simon says, remembering Sand Creek.
Demetria, a poet above all, says her novels, journalism and essays are the masks she wears. She remembers the empty water bottles, tubes of toothpaste and love letters, mementos left behind by those dieing along the border, each one a human being. She speaks of bones and roots, knows the intensity of the shortness of our time.
"We are all Marcos," she says.
Ephemeral and ever-vigilant, they bear their crosses, their destinies.
Remembering Uncle Frank, Wounded Knee and Sand Creek, Simon concludes with these words, "We are alive now because history is undeniably ours."
Simon Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo, is the recipient of dozens of national and international awards. Now, on the faculty at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., his university teaching and writing career has carried him across the nation, from Navajo and Lakota lands into Canada, and for readings in Europe. His books include "Men on the Moon," "Woven Stone," "After and Before the Lightning" and "From Sand Creek." In 2001, Ortiz' book, "Questions and swords : Folktales of the Zapatista Revolution," was published.

Demetria Martinez' autobiographical essays, "Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana" is the winner of the 2006 International Latino Book Award in the category of Best Biography. Her books include the widely translated novel, "Mother Tongue," winner of a Western States Book Award for Fiction, and two books of poetry, "Breathing Between the Lines" and "The Devil’s Workshop." The Tucson Poetry Festival, finding home and the power of words and voice.

Copyright Brenda Norrell