Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 30, 2007

Mayans in Guatemala: No compromise, halt gold mining

By Brenda Norrell

Sipakapa is not for sale, Mayan community turned down corporate mining cash

TUCSON, Ariz. – Gold and silver mining in the Mayan homelands in northern Guatemala, near the border with Chiapas, Mexico, is poisoning the water and explosives are destroying the homes in the rural farming community of Sipakapa, Guatemala.

“While the gold mine is there and operating, there is no solution. The only solution is to stop the mining,” said Mario Tema, Mayan from Sipakapa, during an interview at the Western Mining Action Network Conference in Tucson on Sept. 29.

Goldcorp (formerly Glamis Gold) is mining silver and gold at the open-pit Marlin Mine, between two Mayan communities, Sipakapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacan in the San Marcos highlands.

Speaking through a translator, Tema said, “There is a new mine in Guatemala. It is the first of its kind. It has created many problems in our community, especially social problems.
“The government is supporting the mine politically. It makes our organizing very difficult, because it means people are speaking out not just against the mine, but against the government.”
Tema said the mine has been in operation for two years and is causing impacts, both environmental and social impacts.
“We know there is acid mine drainage in the river. There are heavy metals in the river near one mine site. There are also social impacts from the explosives. People are living 500 meters from the explosives used at the mine and there are cracks in their houses. Now, their roofs are leaking. Seventy-two homes have been damaged. We’re talking about 72 families, with an average of six people in each family.”
“The mining company must take responsibility for helping them repair their homes.”
Tema points out there are 22 different Mayan languages in the region. The mine will not just harm the Sipakapense speaking Mayans in Sipakapa and Mam speaking Mayans in San Miguel, but will affect the entire western highlands region of Guatemala now targeted as a mining district.
MineWatch Canada reports that promoters of the mining industry -- the World Bank, Glamis Gold (now Goldcorp) and the governments of Guatemala, Canada and the United States -- promoted the Marlin mine as a "development" project. In reality, however, the mine is simply a business that enriches an international corporation at the expense of the good development of communities.
After the World Bank’s $45 million loan to Glamis, the government of Guatemala began militarization and repression. On January 11, 2005, the government sent more 1,200 soldiers and 400 police agents to Los Encuentros, Sololá, to protect the passage of a cylinder destined for the Marlin Mine. The State forces used tear gas and bullets against the Kaqchikel brothers and sisters who for weeks had been detaining the transportation of the cylinder in protest. Raúl Castro Bocel was murdered by State security forces and more than 20 were injured.
The gold mining company brought in an Israeli security company, which killed one of the people. In San Miguel Ixtahuacán, on March 23, 2005, an employee of the private Israeli security company hired by Glamis Gold, the Golan Group, shot and killed Alvaro Benigno Sánchez, leaving four children without their father.
In Tucson, Tema said the people in his community of Sipakapa have responded with consultation and an overwhelming “No” vote to mining.
“People are also in conflict with their local authorities. The opposition has taken the form of organizing community consultation. Community members were asked to respond, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on the issue of mining. The people said ‘No.’”
“But the mining companies try to divide the people. It is always generating more conflict in our community."
In Tema’s community, there are 15,000 people and 92 percent are Mayans, with 8 percent of mixed ancestry. There is no commercial industry and people survive from family farms. Some have cows, but no more than six.
In Tucson, Tema said the benefit of attending the Western Mining Action Network Conference came from sharing with other people impacted by mining and discovering how they are working to halt mining. He particularly learned a great deal from Western Shoshone Carrie Dann, leading the fight for Western Shoshone land rights as corporations seize Shoshone territory in Nevada for nuclear testing and gold mining.
Meanwhile, in Guatemala, elections have been underway. Tema said candidates from the civic committee, born out of resistance to mining, did well in municipal elections. The newly elected officials take office January 15, 2008, for a period of four years.
“We have municipal support. We can make decisions and continue to resist this mining project. We can start to make laws and regulations to protect our territories,” Tema said.
“We can engage in our strength in a legal and political way. We have public power in our hands. We have ‘people power’ to work for the benefit of the people in the community.”
Although activist Rigoberta Menchu did not receive enough votes to remain in the race for President of Guatemala, her effort was celebrated.
“For any Indigenous person to stand up and run for president, it is important. We need to pay attention to it,” Tema said.
“In the case of Rigoberta Menchu, it is an historic event. There has not been an Indigenous person running for president since the establishment of the national government in 1821. There has never been an Indigenous person running for President of Guatemala.”
Meanwhile, MiningWatch Canada reports that the Marlin silver-gold mine was discovered by Francisco Gold and developed by Glamis Gold, through its fully owned subsidiary Montana Exploradora de Guatemala. There has been serious and prolonged protest by Mayan villages in the San Miguel Ixtahuacan, which comprises 19 villages, and Sipacapa, which comprises 13 villages, in Guatemala’s highlands department of San Marcos.
Over the past two years, villages in San Miguel Ixtahuacan have been transformed into an open pit mine, which will eventually encompass five square kilometers. Eighty-five percent of the total expanse of the mine is in San Miguel Ixtahuacan and 15 percent is in Sipacapa.
The municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan has a population of 39,000, most of whom are Mam Maya farmers who depend on farming to survive. Before production at the mine began, there were numerous protests.
In 2006, Goldcorp predecessor Glamis paid for workers from its Marlin Mine to participate in pro-mining demonstrations.
Two years ago, when residents of Sipacapa heard about the mine, they organized a referendum (Consulta) using the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169, which affirms the right of Indigenous communities to be consulted in good faith before industrial activity take place on their lands. The people of Sipacapa voted overwhelming against the mine.
Montana Exploradora de Guatemala filed an unconstitutionality suit, as well as an appeal, against the Consulta in 2005. On May 8, 2007, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled that the Consulta was unconstitutional.
In early 2007, the company offered the municipality a “gift,” of $150,000 CDN. It was refused.
--Goldcorp mining in Indigenous territories in the Americas
Goldcorp has gold mining interests in Indigenous territories, including mines in Canada (Red Lake Complex in northwestern Ontario; Musslewhite in Ontario and Porcupine in northeastern Ontario.)
Goldcorp mining interests include mines in Argentina (Bajo de la Alumbrera), Australia (Peak Gold Mine), Brazil (Amapari mine in the northern state of Anapa), Chile (La Coipa gold and silver mine) Guatemala (Marlin Mine and Cerro Blanco), Dominican Republic (Pueblo Viejo) and Honduras (San Martin Mine.)
In Mexico, Goldcorp’s interest include Los Filos/Bermejal and Nukay mines, both in the state of Guerrero, El Sauzal in Chihuahua in the northern state and Penasquito in Zacatecas.
In the United States, Goldcorp has 66.7 percent interest in the Glamis Marigold Mining Company in Humboldt County, Nevada. Goldcorp owns Wharf open pit gold mine in the Bald Mountain mining district of South Dakota.
The Imperial Project is a proposed open pit gold mining operation in the Imperial Valley in southern California. The Quechan Nation is battling Goldcorp/Glamis Gold over the proposed open pit cyanide leaching gold operation, which would violate their sacred Spirit Trail and a wilderness area.

Photo: Mario Tema with Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone. Photo Brenda Norrell
Please see first in series: "Peru’s Indigenous Peoples arise in defense of Earth from mining"

September 29, 2007

Empowered: Indigenous Peoples organize to halt mining in Americas

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Indigenous Peoples from throughout the Americas fighting mining gathered to organize and support one another to halt the mining destroying their communities and the environment.
The first in the series of articles focuses on the delegation from Peru, fighting copper mining and the poisoning of water sources.

Coal, gold, silver, copper and uranium mining in Indigenous territories has reached the level of a global crisis. Nikos Pastos of Alaska's Big Village Network said climate change and melting ice, combined with oil drilling, result in unprecedented dangers for polar bears, walruses and whales.

On the Navajo Nation and near its borders, proposals for new uranium mines, coal mining and the Desert Rock Power Plant pose threats to land and air already heavy with toxins. Manny Pino, Acoma Pueblo, said the sacred sites endangered by new proposed uranium mining include Mount Taylor in New Mexico, sacred to Pueblos, Navajos and other tribes in the region.

At the root of the problem, says Western Shoshone Carried Dann, are the IRA tribal governments who are acting in the best interest of energy companies, rather than the best interest of the people.
Louise Benally, Navajo from Big Mountains, Ariz., said the Earth is being "butchered" by mining and elected leaders at both the tribal and federal level are responsible and must be replaced.
In a story which repeats itself in every geographic region of the Americas, mining is rupturing communities and poisoning the environment, including the First Nations in Canada, Mayan in Guatemala and the Spokane Nation in Washington.

The series begins today.
Photos: Banquet at the Western Mining Action Network Conference in Tucson: Navajos Leona Morgan, Robert Tohe; Nikos Pastos and Manny Pino; Hunter Red Day and band. Photos Brenda Norrell

Hopi's 'Water is Life,' message carried by runners

"Hopi, Water is Life," is the message on the shirts of both Hunter Red Day, Navajo/Dakota and Manny Pino, Acoma Pueblo, attending the Western Mining Action Network Conference 2007 in Tucson today. During Hopi sacred runs, runners have carried the message of the sacred nature of water. Native people attending the mining action conference said the contamination of drinking water by uranium, coal, copper, gold and silver mining corporatons has created a global crisis for Indigenous Peoples. Photo Brenda Norrell

Peru's Indigenous Peoples arise in defense of Earth from mining

Andean Indigenous Peoples organize in defense of land, prepare for mobilization on 'Day of Genocide,' October 12

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON, Ariz. – Indigenous Peoples from Peru say that while their country’s leaders have endorsed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the international level, at home the federal government is preparing to forcibly claim Indigenous lands for mining.

Indigenous Peoples are now struggling to protect their territories from a proposed law that would claim the right to appropriate Indigenous territories based on the Peruvian government’s claim that it is a matter of “national interest.”

Speaking out against mining, Quechua leader Miguel Palacin of Lima, Peru, said Andean Peoples from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina have organized to protect Indigenous territories in this region. Palacin is coordinator of the Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indigenas (Andean Federation of Indigenous Organizations.)

“This group is working to protect Indigenous rights,” Palacin said, speaking through a translator during an interview at the Western Mining Action Network Conference 2007, held in Tucson on Sept. 28 – 29.

Palacin said the concept of Indigenous territories does not only refer to the lands of Indigenous Peoples, but also to Indigenous' languages, cultures, values and clothing. Indigenous territories include the right to autonomy and self-governance based on Indigenous Peoples’ own legal systems and principles.

“This is a fundamental right, a right that is being offended by the politics of globalization, the invasion of transnational corporations and the contamination that is damaging the life and culture.”

Palacin said it is essential to grow in visibility and expose the mining, energy and hydroelectric corporations seizing Indigenous territories for profit.

He said Indigenous territories are under attack by governments. “The governments are campaigning against the social movement.” This is particularly true in Colombia, where Indigenous Peoples are confronted by the federal government, FARC and the paramilitaries.

“In Colombia, there has been a lot of death and displacement.”

However, Palacin said there is also hope. In both Bolivia and Ecuador, new Constitutional reforms propose changes that respect Indigenous Peoples rights.

Further, the Andean Federation of Indigenous Organizations is now proposing the establishment of Indigenous Diplomats, to meet with governments to explain their positions. These include opposition to Free Trade agreements and militarization. Further, concerns are arising because of new visa and passport requirements.

In support of these struggles, Indigenous Peoples plan mobilizations throughout South America on the “Day of Genocide,” October 12, followed by a delegation to Europe on Oct. 13, he said.

“The Indigenous movement has power in the south. We want to be included in the transformation of our countries. Indigenous Peoples have the right to govern their countries," Palacin said.

Attorney Javier Aroca of Lima, Peru, said the government of Peru has criminalized the social movement to protect the land. “Mining is very strong. The government really supports this industry because they view it as a means of receiving a lot of revenues.

“Whoever opposes mining is seen as a terrorist and anti-patriotic,” Aroca said, during an interview in Tucson.

At issue now are the mining companies who obtain their leases from leaders without consultation of the community, including copper mines.

“The biggest concern is water,” Aroca said, pointing out that water from the mountain tops flows throughout the region. Where copper mine exploration is being carried out, there are natural protected reserves in the high mountain region.

“These mountain top areas are the source of water.”

Aroca said the Peruvian government supported the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to free, informed and prior consent and Indigenous Peoples' rights to their territories.

“But in practice, the Peruvian government is doing the opposite.”

Currently, opposition is mounting to oppose a law in the Peruvian Congress, which would allow Indigenous lands to be appropriated in the name of “national interest,” Aroca said.

“If this law is passed, it would trash eight years of work in support of Indigenous Peoples rights.”

The representatives from Peru joined Indigenous Peoples from throughout the Americas at the Western Mining Action Network conference, including Western Shoshone Carrie Dann; Navajo Louise Benally from Big Mountain, Ariz.; Manny Pino, Acoma Pueblo and member of the International Indian Treaty Council; Tom Goldtooth, Navajo/Dakota director of the Indigenous Environmental Network; Twa-le Abrahamson of the Shawl Society Spokane Nation, Wash.; Flora Natomagan, Hatchet Lake Band of First Nations from Canada who served previously as chief; Dailan Long, Navajo from Dine' CARE, Wahleah Johns, Navajo from the Black Mesa Water Coalition and other Indigenous Peoples whose communities have been devastated by uranium mining, coal mining, power plants, copper mining and other natural resource extractions and contaminating energy development.

Miguel Palacin, Quechua, is the first coordinator of the Andean Federation of Indigenous Organizations. He is originally from Vicco in the central Andes of Peru. Earlier, in 1999, he founded the National Federation of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining, CONACAMI, an organization that defends the rights of communities affected by mining.

Javier Aroca is an attorney specializing in Indigenous Peoples, rural communities and Native Rights law. He is currently the Regional Coordinator for Oxfam America’s Extractive Industries Program at the South American Regional Office.

Photo: Quechua leader Miguel Palacin in Tucson. Photo 2: Oxfam's Laura Inouye; translator Sofia Vergara; Javier Aroca, attorney from Lima, Peru; Quechua Miguel Palacin from Peru. Photos Brenda Norrell

September 28, 2007

Mining focus of Indigenous gathered in Tucson

Indigenous from the Americas are gathered in Tucson to discuss the impacts of mining. Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone, is among those here to speak out about Indigenous territories and the destruction of nuclear testing and gold mining. Coal mining and copper mining are the focus of Navajos from Arizona and Indigenous from Peru. Watch for articles in Navajo Times and the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report next week.
--Brenda Norrell

US jet full of cocaine, used for Guantanamo, crashes in Mexico

Who owned drug plane that crashed in Mexico?
By Jay Root and Kevin G. Hall McClatchy Newspapers
September 27, 2007
MEXICO CITY — U.S. authorities are assisting the Mexican government in the investigation of an American business jet that crashed in Cancun this week with four tons of cocaine on board, officials said Thursday.

September 27, 2007

Israeli firms providing most sensitive security in US

Why are Israeli firms providing the most sensitive security in the US?

By Brenda Norrell

ARIVACA, Ariz. -- Censored Blog reported this summer that Elbit Systems, an Israeli defense contractor working on the Apartheid Wall in Palestine, was subcontracted by Boeing to provide security systems for the spy towers at the Arizona/Mexico border. Those nine spy towers located on Tohono O'odham tribal land and around the towns of Arivaca and Sasabe, still aren't functioning.
Now, Magal Security Systems, a private company which grew out of Israeli government security, is receiving contracts to secure nuclear power plants and other sensitive areas of the U.S. Also, Magal markets border security as among its specialties.
On Sept. 19, Magal received a $1.5 million contract for U.S. security, but isn't revealing for what.
Further, the buses waiting to deport migrants at the US/Mexico border are not owned by a US company either. Wackenhut Transportation, whose drivers deport migrants, is owned by G4S global security, traded on the stock exchanges in England and Denmark.
With all the jargon in Washington about "securing the nation's borders" against foreigners, you would think those corporations carrying out border security and deportation would be US companies.

Read from the news:
Sept 19, 2007
NEW YORK - Magal Security Systems Ltd., an Israeli maker of computerized security systems, said Wednesday that its U.S.-based subsidiary received a $1.5 million order from an unidentified customer to upgrade existing equipment.
"Anti-Terror, Inc."
MSN (2001 Newsweek)
While others experienced financial losses after 9/11, "Magal Security Systems, an Israeli company, saw its share price double that day. Best known for its 'smart' fences, the company was created in the 1960s in response to an Israel Defense Forces request for a method of securing the country’s borders. Founded as a unit of Israel Aircraft Industries, it was spun off and now has a market cap of $70 million and 2001 revenues estimated at $40 million.
Israel’s borders with its Arab neighbors are secured with Magal fencing—though not the West Bank, because of uncertainty about where to draw the borders. The company installed security systems at Buckingham Palace, is just completing work at Chicago’s O’Hare airport and has installed equipment at more than 400 U.S. correctional facilities. ... They can track an interloper’s movements, using such sensing systems as motion detectors, vibration detectors and microphonic cable disturbance. Magal also builds night-vision systems and offers fences that can secure waterways and sewer pipes."

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Being “Guarded” by Israel
"Magal's American outreach is expected to increase substantially, especially now that firm has set up a Washington, D.C. office which will promote its products to federal agencies and to the members of Congress who provide funding for federally-supervised security projects across the country at all levels: local, state and national.
And with current U.S. Homeland Security Chief, Michael Chertoff, not only a strong supporter of Israel but also the son of a woman who has strong Israeli ties-even including service with El Al, the national airline of Israel-Magal, owned in party by Israeli Aircraft Industries-will be a clear-cut favorite in the eyes of the power brokers in official Washington who have the power to grant lucrative security contracts.
At the moment, Magal has four U.S.-based subsidiaries: two in California, Stellar Security Products, Inc. and Perimeter Products Inc., as well as the New York-based Smart Interactive Systems, Inc., and the Virginia-based Dominion Wireless, Inc.
All told, the Israeli company holds a 40% share in the worldwide market in perimeter intrusion detection systems and is working to expand its business in the protection of oil pipelines.
Magal is also said to be quite interested in guarding water lines around the globe, particularly in the United States. In fact, Magal may have an inside shot at getting a monopoly in guarding America's water supplies.
On July 19, the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency announced a "partnership" with the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures to improve what they called "water supply system security in the United States and Israel." Since Magal is so highly respected in Israel, it's an even bet that Magal will soon be guarding the U.S. water supply. "

Magal Reports the Acquisition of a European Security Systems Integration Company
Acquisition Expected to Contribute to Improved Revenues and Income
September 05, 2007: 07:00 AM EST
YAHUD, Israel, September 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Magal Security Systems, Ltd. (TASE: MAGS), today announced the acquisition of a European company involved in the installation and integration of security systems. The consideration consists of a cash payment of 6.8 million Euros and additional consideration that will be based on performance and will be payable over the next five years. The acquired company is active in geographic areas where Magal has limited activity.
About Magal Security Systems, Ltd.:
Magal Security Systems Ltd. is engaged in the development, manufacturing and marketing of computerized security systems, which automatically detect, locate and identify the nature of unauthorized intrusions. Magal also supplies video monitoring services through Smart Interactive Systems, Inc., a subsidiary in the U.S. The Company's products are currently used in more than 70 countries worldwide to protect national borders, airports, correctional facilities, nuclear power stations and other sensitive facilities from terrorism, theft and other threats.
Magal trades under the symbol MAGS in the U.S. on the NASDAQ Global Market and in Israel on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

Censored Blog exclusive: Maps of the federal spy tower locations on Tohono O'odham tribal land
These maps are from the Boeing/US environmental impact statement for the Secure Border Initiative at the Arivaca library:

Mohawks: Haudenosaunee women are decision makers of land

Mohawk Nations News:
Six Nations Spokespersons "Suckered" by Politicians & Lawyers
The original Haudenosaunee Law is based on clear thinking and not on emotion or fear.The Six Nations Confederacy Royaner [chiefs] who follow the Handsome Lake religion are an emotional people. It’s a Christian based revitalization movement of the early 1800s that was brought into the longhouse.
Read article:

Evo Morales, Bolivian style outshines US puppet government

By Brenda Norrell

NEW YORK -- While visiting the United States, Bolivian President Evo Morales distinguished himself by exposing the US Embassy in Bolivia for fueling opposition support and stating that sovereign nations do not have the military bases of other nations in their countries.
So, Bolivia will be ridding itself of US military occupations and establishing the country of Bolivia with the principle of non-violence and non-participation in war.
Further, Morales urged the United Nations to move its headquarters out of the United States, where he felt unwelcome.
"I don't know how all of you managed to come here to the United States," Morales told the General Assembly. "At least my delegation had a great deal of visa problems."

September 26, 2007

College newspaper: 'Taser this ... F--- Bush'

Truth telling is expensive

FORT COLLINS , Colorado – Rocky Mountain Collegian Editor J. David McSwane is under fire for publishing an editorial, "Taser this... F--- Bush."
It was a costly article, with advertisers pulling $30,000 to $50,000 in ads.
But, what the heck, you're only young once.
One student referred to Texas Gov. George Bush's use of the expletive in a magazine interview. Kristopher Hite said, "I'm here to tell you that the editor of a student newspaper should not be held to a higher standard than the president of the United States of America." Applause followed by students who turned out to support McSwane.
No Collegian editor has ever been fired in its 116-year history.
... Read article ...

Censored Blog: "Taser me down or suffocate me later"

Western Shoshone Carrie Dann in Tucson

Indian Right Advocate's Talk Can be Heard by All, Thanks to UA Program
UA News

By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications UA News
Carrie Dann, one of the most prolific advocates of indigenous peoples rights, is coming to Tucson to speak about current environmental threats to Western Shoshone land and her ongoing legal actions before international human rights courts.
Her discussion, slated for 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 28, will be broadcast live on the Web by a University of Arizona program.
“I will be talking about the land and the beliefs of the Western Shoshone people and how the two are connected,” says Dann. “America doesn’t know the history – the actual history of the indigenous peoples and their situation.” Read more:
Listen to broadcast, Sept. 28, at 3:30 pm online:
Dann will be available for interviews after her presentation.
To learn more about the Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program, visit

'Blackfire' pick at Rolling Stone

Congratulations to Blackfire, and not just for their music, but for sounding out the struggles of Indigenous Peoples, and besides they're just really good people.

Fricke's Picks at Rolling Stone

Native American Punks Blackfire are a punk-rock family — brothers Klee and Clayson Benally and their sister Jeneda, on guitar, drums and bass, respectively — with a direct line to another. CJ Ramone produced their 1994 EP, and Joey Ramone’s final recordings were his guest vocals on 2002’s One Nation Under. Blackfire are also Navajo Indians who connect their distortion-warrior originals to the traditional songs of their people on [Silence] Is a Weapon (Tacoho), produced by Ed Stasium (who did the same for the Ramones). One disc is pure Navajo, ceremonial vocal-and-drum music. The second disc is pure ire, CBGB-hardcore-matinee protest with jolts of ancient chorale. Of special note: “Alien,” written by Indian folk singer Peter LaFarge (as “I’m an Indian”) for his 1965 LP On the Warpath — a title that describes the way Blackfire raise their voices, like a painted-desert X, for anyone with a righteous fight on their hands.

Today's new articles

A Meeting of Indigenous Peoples in Caracas
By Brenda Norrell

Katrina's Flood: Apartheid and Ethnic Cleansing in New Orleans
by Brenda Norrell
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report

Navajos urged to oppose uranium mining Thursday in Gallup, NM

Navajos are urged to oppose new uranium mining in Gallup, NM, on Thursday. The targeted area is the same where the devastating U.S. uranium mill spill took place in Church Rock, N.M. in 1979, contaminating Navajo water supplies. The Bush Administration has targeted numerous American Indian communities for new uranium mining, power plants and toxic dumping.
Read article:
Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007. Beginning at 6 P.M: Best Western Inn and Suites, 3009 West Hwy 66, Gallup , NM. Phone (505) 722-2221.

Censored's Hall of Fame and Shame

By Brenda Norrell

It is a great day not to be working on staff at a newspaper where I have to hype Nike or anyone else. Thanks to Klee Benally for his article on Nike's profiteering. A special thanks to Common Ground and filmmakers in New Orleans for their videos shown at the University of Arizona last night, resulting in the article, "Katrina's Flood: Apartheid and ethnic cleansing in New Orleans."
The Hall of Shame award today goes to National Public Radio, for their excrements promoting military service and their broadcast fueling religious prejudice and racism toward Muslims in prison.
NPR's program promoted the official US notion that having religious books in prison will lead Muslims to convert innocent inmates into terrorists:

Katrina's Flood: Apartheid and ethnic cleansing in New Orleans

Why hasn't the U.S. Congress probed the Apartheid that followed Hurricane Katrina? The neutered Congress does not want to deal with the controversial issue of racism in America

By Brenda Norrell
Human Rights Editor
U.N. OBERVER & International Report

TUCSON, Ariz. -- There is a new film out about Apartheid and ethnic cleansing. No, it is not about South Africa, it is about the United States' Apartheid in New Orleans. You might not have heard of this film, unless you follow the underground railroad in America, that's truth-seekers censored by the mainstream media.
"Welcome to New Orleans," is the story of Common Ground, the grassroots organization that rose up out of Katrina's flood waters to deliver aid to neighborhoods in Algiers and New Orleans in 2005.
In some ways, the 58-minute documentary is a simple story, revealing how Common Ground cofounder Malik Rahim and volunteers served their neighbors. But it is also the story of Apartheid and ethnic cleansing in America.
Rising above all of this, it is the story of hope. When Rahim issued the call across America for help, because white mercenaries were shooting blacks, it was white people, like Scott Crow of Texas, who responded to help create a grassroots clinic. Rahim says there is no amount of money that can repay those who responded during those first days after Katrina's flood waters swept through and devoured communities. This is what gives him hope.
Read more:

Benally: Nike Opportunism: Turning Native plight into profit?

By Klee Benally (Navajo, Indigenous Action)

Nike has introduced what it is calling the "Air Native N7", a shoe designed especially for us Natives. Not only is Nike proud in producing its first shoe for a "specific" ethnic group, the company is also hoping that this product will help cure diabetes! Before we all start praising this multinational corporation for its recognition and attempt to promote wellness for our Indigenous communities, we should critically question the meaning of this gesture, look beyond their slick marketing scheme, and take a look at Nike's business practices.

Read more:

UPDATE, BACKFIRE: Nike uses Hurricane Katrina as PR tool

September 25, 2007

Denver: Resisting Columbus Oct. 6, 2007

(Double click on image to enlarge)

Mohawk 'membership,' genocide and the Great Law of Peace

Mohawk Nation News, Sept. 24, 2007 "Every community has a set of rules to conduct its affairs. One of these in Kahnawake is the Membership Law. Before the European invasion the Mohawk lived according to the Kaianereh’kowa, Great Law of Peace. Many still do. " Read more:

Zapatistas under attack, suspend southern Mexico plans

Subcomandante Marcos: Zapatistas under attack in Chiapas by police and paramilitary, plans for central and southern Chiapas supended. Zapatistas will proceed with the Intercontinental Encuentro in Vicam Pueblo Oct. 11 -- 14, 2007. Marcos said, "We will do what we have to do: resist. It does not matter if we have to do it alone. It wouldn’t be the first time; before we became coffee-shop kitsch, alone indeed we were." Read Marcos statement:
Spanish: Enlace Zapatista, register for Intercontinental Encuentro with the EZLN:

September 24, 2007

American Indians in Venezuela build solidarity in struggle

American Indians in Venezuela create bonds of solidarity and encourage spiritual values for world governments

CARACAS, Venezuela – American Indians from the north joined with Indigenous from around the world in Venezuela to unite in the struggle for Indigenous rights and opposition to colonial oppression.
The delegations included members of the International Indian Treaty Council, American Indian Movement and tribal members from the Tohono O’odham and Mohawk Nations in the United States and Canada.
Robert Free Galvan, Native activist from Seattle, said it was a rare opportunity to sit with Indigenous Venezuelan leaders as the country passed a new law recognizing Indigenous languages.
During international gatherings, both formal and informal, the delegations from the north urged their Venezuelan allies to vote “Yes” to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Read article...

Prisoners argue constitutionality of US criminal code

Prisoners argue constitutionality of U.S. criminal code

For dozens of prisoners, attorneys Barry Bachrach and James W. Parkman, III, filed a petition today with the United States Supreme Court that challenges Public Law 80-772 (including Title 18, or the U.S. Criminal Code). Tens of thousands of federal prisoners prosecuted since 1948 may be affected by the Supreme Court's response. "Public Law 80-772 is invalid," Bachrach asserted. "This is a case where numerous procedural errors occurred. The law is clear; an act of Congress cannot become a law unless it follows each and every procedural step as defined in Article I of the U.S. Constitution."
Read More:

September 23, 2007

Mohawk Nation News: Arrest of Six Nations Defenders

Mohawk Nation News Special

Sept. 20, 2007. At 2:00 pm. Wednesday September 19th twenty defenders were attacked by the combined forces of over 200 Ontario Provincial Police, Hamilton City Police and the RCMP. The defenders were objecting
to a non-native housing development on their land known as ”Stirling Street” in the colonial town of Caledonia.
They were attacked by the “Riot Squad” which wasbound and determined to create a riot. They were armedwith M-16s, tasers, shields, batons and “twisty tie handcuffs”.

Finding Spirit, Living Compassion, Migrant Shrine at Southside

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Finding Spirit, Living Compassion: A Memorial Shrine was dedicated at Southside Church today in Tucson, created from the shoes left behind on the migrant trails.
Written in stone: The names of hundreds, out of the thousands who have died crossing the US/Mexico border, were printed on the stones at the base of the shrine.
It was here, at Southside Church, that residents of Tucson gave sanctuary to thousands of people, most of them Indigenous Peoples, fleeing torture in Central and South America during the 1980s and 90s.
During today's service, those who leave water in the desert for migrants dying of thirst, like Tohono O'odham Mike Wilson, were referred to as "clouds" in the desert. Church members spoke of those who cross the desert in search of better lives, most seeking work to survive or attempting to join their family members. The stories shared included the most recent of the mothers who died in the desert. Her two young children led searchers to their mother's body near Bisbee.
While it is rare to see a television news crew on a story like this on Sunday morning, especially in these times of censorship, Tucson's Channel 13 was there.

Read about Valarie James and the Las Madres Project:

September 22, 2007

Zapatista bases fear violent evacuation by police

Zapatista Bases Fear a Violent Evacuation by Members of the UES and Police

It is Being Reported that People from the Town of Nuevo Gracias a Dios are Buying High-Powered Weapons; The Town of 24 de Diciembre is Surrounded by Police and Paramilitary Apprentices

By Hermann Bellinghausen
La Jornada
September 21, 2007
by way of Narco News
Autonomous Municipality of San Pedro de Michoacán, Chiapas. September 17, 2007: If what the Union of Forest Landownders (UES, in its Spanish initials) has been saying in their coming and going from Cruz del Rosario and Nuevo Momón to the settlement of Nuevo Gracias a Dios (recently built on lands that support bases of the EZLN from the town of 24 de Diciembre recently regained) is true, this coming October 8 they will start the evacuation of the Zapatista community, with support, they say, of the sector police, who has been camping on the opposite end of the Zapatista grounds.
The Good Government Council (Junta de Buen Gobierno, JBG) of Hacia La Esperanza has documented that this group of people is “buying high powered weapons.”

Mexico used rape and torture in drug war; women and children were victims:

Updated: Censorship: Only the media knows

By Brenda Norrell

No one knows better, or more clearly, than the U.S. media about the censorship that has taken place since the first bomb fell on Baghdad. At that moment, I happened to be driving passed the oil fields of Odessa in West Texas. I watched a flock of large buzzards, lined up in a row, each taking a singular turn to rip flesh from the carcass. Those of us who were censored and terminated in the years that followed the bombing of Iraq, were meant to be silenced about the War, torture, Rumsfeld profiteering from the sale of Tamiflu for bird flu, the role of Raytheon and all the other hidden agendas behind the profiteering. But we were never silenced.
Read more:

Priests face prison to expose torture -- A call to the media!

By Brenda Norrell

Two priests facing prison to expose torture, Fr. Louis Vitale and Fr. Steven Kelly, returned to federal court in Tucson on Friday. The U.S. is attempting to silence the priests and prevent them from exposing the role of the United States in torture, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Hopefully, news reporters around the world will not let this happen:

Attorney Peter Schey takes on Sanctuary case

Simi Valley, Calif., bills sanctuary church $39,000 for police services during protest

Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
Read Attorney Peter Schey's letter to City Mayor, Attorney and Police Chief:

September 20, 2007

Jena, Louisiana Sept. 20, 2007

Jena, La. AP photo Alex Brandon

Scar tissue, just down the road in Louisiana

Sept. 20, 2007
As thousands gather in central Louisiana today in support of the Jena 6, I am reminded of the summer of 1971 and what took place just down the road from Jena, Louisiana.
My friend Mary, with her bright-red hair in Natchitoches, was dating a good-looking black man. But this was central Louisiana and the Ku Klux Klan was still recording our names on their hit list of people to be killed. What we did were simple things, organizing food baskets for those without food and occasional race unity picnics. It seemed to us these were pretty small offenses to attract a place on the Ku Klux Klan hit list. But things grew worse, in the end, they chased Mary and her boyfriend out of town with rotten tomatoes and eggs. Mary, in her old convertible, fled to the sunshine state of Arizona. Would anyone have imagined then, that after 36 more years of civil rights struggles, that once again, buses would be rolling into central Louisiana today. Looking out on a world scale, it seems so odd that the U.S. is still claiming to be able to fix the world's problems, when the wound of racism in America festers beneath all this scar tissue. In America, it is always more about television and Hollywood, than about the cold facts and reality.
--Brenda Norrell

September 19, 2007

Jena exposes viral racism and new era of hope

The news came on Democracy Now! radio today from Harlem. Buses loaded with supporters were preparing to go to Jena, Louisiana, to support the Jena 6. It has been nearly 40 years since similar buses of supporters headed to Louisiana and Mississippi. Who would have thought then, that there would be a need for those buses of support 40 years later.
There was also good news from British rocker David Bowie who donated $10,000 to the legal defense fund of the Jena 6.
Of course this trial is not just about white students claiming the domain beneath a schoolyard tree, or the nooses dangling there, or the fight. It is about oppression and racism, the kind that lives like a viral infection in the deep crevices of the United States, from the skinheads, Minutemen and Border Guardians in the West, to the Ku Klux Klan and racism that lives, festers and spreads like fungi in the Deep South, signaled by the waving of Confederate flags and the prejudices passed down through generations.
It is the kind of viral infection that needs strong medicine to heal, strong universal love and understanding, to heal.
It is the type of injustice that requires bold action by all people of goodwill to make things right again.
But there is hope. Rallies are being held all over the nation. On Thursday, tens of thousands of people are expected to protest in Jena, Louisiana, the small town where I spent one summer of my childhood.
It won't just be the South rising again, but it will be hope in America rising again.

Minutemen pepper spray migrant activist at sanctuary church

Minutemen Provoke, Pepper Spray, in Simi Valley
by Marcus
Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2007 at 11:45 AM

SIMI VALLEY, California, Sunday, September 16, 2007: At 10 a.m., 40 pro-immigrant supporters and about 80 Minutemen and their supporters gathered on each side of the driveway leading to the parking lot of the United Church of Christ on Royal Avenue where Liliana took refuge from the Immigration Services. During the protest, a small group of three Minutemen came on the pro-immigrant side apparently to provoke. Pro-immigrant supporters complained to the Simi Valley PD, but to no avail. Despite the angry protests of immigrant supporters, the police didn’t force the Minutemen to move, Half an hour later at 11: 12 a.m. a Minuteman pepper sprayed Naui Hutizilopochtli, an immigrant activist, so badly that he had to be taken to the hospital by paramedics. The protests went on until 1 p.m. without further incidents.
More photos:

Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony Oct. 8, 2007

International Indian Treaty Council presents annual INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY DAY SUNRISE GATHERING in solidarity and celebration of the United Nations "Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," on Monday, October 8, 2007, 5:00am, Pier 31 San Francisco
Read more:

September 18, 2007

Taser me down or suffocate me later

By Brenda Norrell

Taser me down, or suffocate me later -- what does the tasering of a student have to do with the protested Desert Rock Power Plant on the Navajo Nation? Skull and Bones.

Andrew Meyer, 21, was questioning John Kerry about his brotherhood with George Bush in the Skull and Bones society, when he was tasered, wrestled down by police and arrested Monday. In more than 1,000 articles online now, there are many spins. The bottom line is this student was asking the questions that the Bush Administration, Kerry and the corporate powers do not want asked about the 2004 election and the relationship of Bush and Kerry to their secret society at Yale University and the powers that rule the world. In the 2004 election, there were two Bonesmen: Bush and Kerry. This dark power is also on the Navajo Nation, in the form of Sithe Global, the corporate power behind the Desert Rock Power Plant. Sithe's primary owner is Blackstone. Blackstone's cofounder is Stephen Schwarzman, a member of Skull and Bones. Read more:

Native Movement Alaska attracts youth leadership

The Arctic Institute for Indigenous Leadership, hosted by Native Movement Alaska, successfully completes the first of two week-long gatherings

Anchorage, AK – Twenty-eight young Alaska Native leaders (18-35 years old) from around the state of Alaska were selected and completed the first week-long gathering of the Arctic Institute for Indigenous Leadership (AIIL), held in Fairbanks. The goal of the AIIL is to support the personal and professional growth of young leaders while providing an opportunity to build a statewide network. The Institute was effective in building trust, common understanding, and mutual support among the community.
According to Karlin Itchoak, AIIL participant and owner of Itchoak Tribal Services,“(The) AIIL is amazing! What an important group of young and inspiring leaders. The group is well balanced, intuitive, intelligent, and rooted in the retaining and maintaining of Native cultures, and traditions all with a passion and commitment toward leadership. These young leaders are free-thinking visionaries with creative and unique ideas for problem-solving and consensus building.”

Winslow, Ariz., Native American Music Celebration Sept. 28 - 29, 207

Navajo and Hopi bands at the Native American Music Festival Sept. 28 - 29, 2007, east of Flagstaff. (Double click on poster to enlarge)

September 16, 2007

International Indian Treaty Council celebrates passage of UN Declaration

Honoring Treaties, IITC celebrates the passage and honors the long struggle, in the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

History is made for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations!

Treaty Rights, Land Rights and Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples are recognized internationally with the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly on September 13th 2007. On September 13, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

One hundred forty-four states ("countries") voted in support (Montenegro registered their vote after the fact). 4 voted against and 11 abstained. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand voted against the adoption, stating that in their view it "goes too far" in recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples. A burst of spontaneous applause from states, Indigenous Peoples and United Nations officials broke out when the final vote was posted on a huge electronic tally sheet at the front of the General Assembly hall.

This vote is of special significance for the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), which was founded in 1974 with a mandate to bring Treaty rights and Treaty violations to the United Nations (UN). With the adoption of the Declaration, for the first time, the UN officially recognizes that the rights affirmed in Treaties are "matters of international concern, interest, responsibility and character" and that states are obligated to uphold and honor them.

The vote marks a historic day for the world's Indigenous Peoples. This is the first time that Indigenous Peoples have been recognized as "Peoples" without qualification in an international instrument. The Declaration also recognizes Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights to self-determination, traditional lands, territories and natural resources, cultures and sacred sites, means of subsistence, languages, identities as well as their traditional life ways and concepts of development based on free, prior and informed consent, among others.

Photo: Roberta Blackgoat of Cactus Valley, Ariz. on the Navajo Nation before her flight to the Spirit World/Photo Brenda Norrell
Photo: IITC Board 2005

Australia: UN vote reveals 'racist, redneck nations' aligned with South Africa Apartheid

Australia's Aboriginal land grab wears sinister face

Quote of the day

Sam Watson, Indigenous activist from Australia:

“Globally, in the last 24 hours the United Nations has passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, with Australia, New Zealand and Canada amongst the racist, redneck nations that opposed the declaration. These countries will be judged by history to stand alongside the racist Apartheid regime of South Africa. "
Read more:

September 15, 2007

Indigenous respond to adoption of Declaration of Rights

Indigenous world celebrates passage of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Statements of Indian leaders from around the world

US has gall to call Venezuela a dictatorship?

Latin America Indigenous leaders take serious look:

"The 12-page Declaration states that indigenous peoples have the right 'to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs.' It also says native peoples have the right to maintain their cultures and to not be displaced from their land, and urges states to indemnify them when their land or resources are used or damaged without their consent.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is himself an Aymara Indian, said he was pleased with the approval of the Declaration, and added that 'These standards will help ensure that everyone has the same rights and that we will stop being marginalised.'"
Read story:

Canada's 'slap in the face'

Hawaii Star Bulletin: Dream Declaration won't help Indigenous issues
Issues: Non-indigenous fear losing land and US failure to recognize true sovereignty and self-governance

Australia: UN vote reveals racist, redneck nations aligned with South Africa's Apartheid
Australia's Aboriginal land grab wears sinister face

Maori: New Zealand considers Maori 'sub-human with sub-human ' rights
Maori Party ashamed of New Zealand government

Indigenous in Guyana laud support

Botswana: Government can no longer treat us like second-class citizens

Photo: An indigenous woman in Bolivia. Photo: Tom Weller/UNFPA

Navajo uranium miners: US human radiation experiments

Here's a scientific study showing that Navajos were secretly used as human uranium experiments by the US during the Cold war. A large number died.

"Uranium miners were unwilling and unaware victims of human experimentation to evaluate the health effects of radiation."

NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy; Baywood Publishing Company; Issue: Volume 9, Number 2 / 1999; Pages: 163 - 178

Observational Studies as Human Experimentation: The Uranium Mining Experience in the Navajo Nation (1947-66)
Rafael Moure-Eraso

This article evaluates how an observational epidemiologic study of federal agencies in uranium miners became an experiment of opportunity for radiation effects. Navajo miners and communities suffered environmental exposures caused by the practices of uranium mining and milling in the Navajo reservation during the 1947 to 1966 period. A historical review of the state-of-the-art knowledge of the health effects of uranium mining and milling during the years prior to 1947 was conducted. Contemporary prevention and remediation practices also were assessed. An appraisal of the summary of findings of a comprehensive evaluation of radiation human experimentation conducted by the U.S. federal government in 1995-96 (ACHRE) demonstrates that uranium miners, including Navajo miners, were the single group that was put more seriously at risk of harm from radiation exposures, with inadequate disclosure and often with fatal consequences. Uranium miners were unwilling and unaware victims of human experimentation to evaluate the health effects of radiation. The failure of the State and U.S. Governments to issue regulations or demand installation of known mine-dust exposure control measures caused widespread environmental damage in the Navajo Nation.
PHOTO -- BURNED BY THE ORE: Gilbert Badoni, Navajo, with photo of his family when he was young, all family members developed cancer after father worked in the uranium mines. After his father's death, Badoni became outspoken about uranium mining effects. "We were used as guinea pigs," Badoni said. Badoni's home in Cudei, NM, near Shiprock on the Navajo Nation, still has radioactive rocks in his back yard. Photo Brenda Norrell

Indigenous: Struggle for rights is just beginning

Indigenous say United States offers little hope
By Brenda Norrell
Human Rights Editor
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report

Indigenous Peoples around the world are celebrating the United Nations' adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Still, Indigenous are outraged that four of the countries with the largest Indigenous populations voted against it: Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand.
While there is a loud outpouring of outrage coming from Canada, people in the United States have been quiet about the U.S. vote of 'No' to Indigenous rights.
Why the lack of outrage in the US?
Patricia from Canada writes that there is little hope in America.
"There is a lack of outrage in the United States, however what happened was wh
at was going to happen from day one. The US quit supporting or honouring any good-will gestures a long time ago. The people didn’t expect it, therefore they are not disappointed it didn’t happen.
However, there is also a lack of avenues to express it; there is a lack of attention from the settler people, despite 40 years since 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee' or 'Touch the Earth' came out; there is a lack of a single voice speaking for The People there.
There is little hope and less expectation of the indigenous having any avenue of respect, any sense of value among the majority of people and any recourse to anything the US has done or will do to them or anyone else.
I believe that while ‘merika' is willing to support a war such as that in Iraq, the people there can hope for very very little. And I believe they know it."
--Please scroll down for the latest from Canada and Venezuela, and the words of victory and celebration from Indigenous warriors from around the world who struggled for decades for passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
--Photo: Tohono O'odham Angie Ramon, whose son Bennett Patricio, Jr., 18, was ran over and killed by the Border Patrol, in the crowd after the Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony in Nov. 2006. The occupation of Alcatraz ignited a new era of Indian rights in the United States in 1969. Photo from Alcatraz in 1960s.

Canada's 'slap in the face'

A Great Day for the World's Aboriginal Peoples, but a not so Special Day for the Government of Canada

Sept. 13 /CNW Telbec -- Today, in New York, at the United Nations General Assembly, the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted. Among the 4 States which voted against the Declaration, is Canada.
"After so many years of efforts, the AFNQL applauds the adoption of the Declaration. It is a very important inheritance that we just bequeathed to our Aboriginal youth", stated the Chief of the AFNQL (Assembly of First Nations in Quebec and Labrador), Mr. Ghislain Picard.
However, the attitude of the Canadian Government casts a shadow over this special day: "It's a slap in our face on the part of the Canadian Government. It is irresponsible for a government that lauds itself throughout the world as a protector of human rights to vote against the basic rights of certain members of its country. It is high time for Canada to do a self-examination which will lead the way to an in-depth analysis of its relation with the Aboriginal peoples", stated Mr. Picard.
The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional organization which represents the Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.
For further information: Alain Garon, Information and Communication Officer, AFNQL, (418) 842-5020, Cell.: (418) 956-5720

Harper government insults Canada's native people at United Nations
OTTAWA, Sept. 14 /CNW Telbec
"The government of Stephen Harper has insulted and shamed both Canada's native people, and non-native people at the United Nations yesterday in New York," said Paul Moist national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Read more ...(CUPE).
"UN vote 'stain' on Canada's image"
Toronto Star
Statements from Indian leaders/Censored Blog
Indigenous world celebrates passage of UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

US has gall to call Venezuela a dictatorship?

Published: Saturday, September 15, 2007
Bylined to: Kenneth T. Tellis

The United States of America has the gall to call Venezuela a dictatorship? guest commentarist Kenneth T. Tellis writes:

A recent vote at the United Nations on aboriginal rights was approved by 143 to 4. The four countries being Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, voted against the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Chief, Phil Fontaine, First Nations National Chief, called it a slap in the face for all indigenous peoples.
Just compare the attitude of Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand towards aboriginal peoples in their own lands, and note the difference.
Look at Venezuela, where strides have been made by aboriginal peoples, because of Hugo Chavez Frias’ programs to take them out of their poverty and let them also enjoy what the Venezuela has to offer all its citizens.
Then go to Bolivia, Evo Morales the first indigenous president in its history has made sure that the indigenous peoples of Bolivia are given every opportunity to take part in the benefits of democracy and take part in government, rights that were denied them for centuries, by the Spanish and others.
Just consider that since May 31, 1961, when the Republic of South Africa became a pariah, because of its apartheid laws that restricted the rights of its indigenous peoples. The country that was in the forefront to have sanctions placed on South Africa was Canada, which today has become part of a group of nations that want indigenous peoples to be treated in the same way that South Africa treated its indigenous peoples by its apartheid laws.
There is clearly no difference in their thinking to those of the Afrikaners who brought in apartheid yesterday, is there?
Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US, now want the indigenous peoples to be considered chattel.
But just consider the statement made by Canadian Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl: that the declaration “unfortunately” was too broad and could be in conflict with existing Canadian statutes.
Did Canada and the other countries ever consider that the Republic of South Africa also had statutes that might come in conflict with the removal of the apartheid laws?
If so, then why not?
Unless, as should be noted that the above nations part of the colonial hegemony of yesterday.
Today, as odd as it might seem, both Bolivia and Venezuela have indigenous people as Heads of State.
In the case of Venezuela the sifrinos were responsible for the indigenous peoples not having any rights.
Yet in Canada, it is the Canadien/Canadienne who is similar to the sifrinos of Venezuela that do not want the indigenous peoples to have equal rights with themselves. Canada’s Laws have created too many privileges for the Canadiens/Canadiennes by amending the Constitution yet is quite unwilling to do the same for its First Nations (indigenous peoples).
If amending the Constitution for the Canadien did not come into conflict with Canada’s existing laws, why should amending the Constitution to include changes for the Indigenous Peoples make any difference either?
There is something here which is quite glaring. That the First Nations of Canada do not have their rights protected, while the Canadien minority does. It’s all a question of discrimination being passed off as the law of the land, like apartheid.
Now, we can see that it is Venezuela and Bolivia that are democracies, while Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand certainly are not.
Then of course the United States has the gall to call Venezuela a dictatorship?
Perhaps, that is the moot point ... there is no contest here, to which nations constitute democracies, and which are lacking it altogether.
Kenneth T. Tellis
Message from the author:
Thank you for publishing my article from VHeadline in Venezuela. I think a lot of us have more in common than we dare to believe. All I can say, is, keep up the pressure and the good work, because time we tell if we will succeed in our struggle.
To read more comments:
If you are scrolling down the Censored Blog homepage, click on "comments" below. If you are reading from the individual link, the comments will appear.
Censored Blog, official statements from Indigenous on Declaration:

September 14, 2007

Indigenous Peoples, a new dawn

Tauli-Corpuz: Indigenous Declaration is living document for the future


Through the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations marks a major victory in its long history towards developing and establishing international human rights standards. It marks a major victory for Indigenous Peoples who actively took part in crafting this Declaration.

The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as an international human rights day for the Indigenous Peoples of the world, a day that the United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights. Read more ..

September 13, 2007

Indigenous world celebrates passage of UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

From around the world, Indigenous respond to the passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

International Indian Treaty Council celebrates passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
History is made for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations!

Treaty Rights, Land Rights and Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples are recognized internationally with the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly on September 13th 2007. On September 13, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Read more:

Statements from Canadian Grand Chief Edward John:

Grand Chief Edward John, Executive member of the First Nations Summit, Representative of the Assembly of First Nations on international issues, and Co-Coordinator of the North American Regional Indigenous Peoples Caucus:

"What a tremendous day. It's all over now and we have in our hands a Declaration we helped construct and one on which we can proudly stand. Notwithstanding Canada's 'NO' vote they will have to be accountable against the Declaration's standards. It cannot pick and choose the human rights it wants. We should all be proud in our collective achievement. I was proud to be a part of our tremendous effort and achievement!" Grand Chief Edward John

Les Malezer: Indigenous declaration framework for the future, tool for justice


By Les Malezer
The adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations marks a momentous and historic occasion for both Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations.One quarter of a century ago the United Nations agreed that the situation of indigenous peoples around the world was so desperate and consistently exploited, that it warranted international attention.
Within a few years of brief examination and assessment, the United Nations decided that a human rights standard on the rights of indigenous peoples was required.
Simultaneously, the indigenous peoples of the world were uniting, because of our increasing capacity to communicate to each other, but also out of necessity to achieve an international voice.
Together we found out that Indigenous Peoples around the world shared a common situation of loss of control of our lands, territories and resources and a history of colonisation.The Declaration, as a deposition, represents a meeting of authorities, i.e. the United Nations and the indigenous peoples.Today's adoption of the Declaration occurs because the United Nations and the Indigenous Peoples have found the common will to achieve this outcome. Read more ...

Indigenous Peoples Caucus Regional Steering Committee
Contact: Rainy Blue Cloud
United Nations General assembly adopts the UNITED NATIONS Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples
NEW YORK -- Today, the United Nations General Assembly, the highest body of the United Nations system, in an historic session adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, after more than 20 years of intensive negotiations between nation-states and Indigenous Peoples. The vote won with an overwhelming majority in favour, 143 with only 4 negative votes cast (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa, Ukraine).
Indigenous peoples from around the world, many of whom have worked tirelessly for the adoption of the Declaration since its inception, were present to witness its passage at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
As Les Malezer, Chair of the Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus states: “The Declaration does not represent solely the viewpoint of the United Nations, nor does it represent solely the viewpoint of the Indigenous Peoples. It is a Declaration which combines our views and interests and which sets the framework for the future. It is a tool for peace and justice, based upon mutual recognition and mutual respect.”

North American Regional Statement:
Indigenous Representatives from the North American Region share the following statement with the world community:
We bring you respectful greetings from our Leaders, Elders, men, women and children of all the Indigenous Peoples of North America. It is a great day when Indigenous Peoples can be counted among all the other Peoples on Mother Earth. Today at the United Nations, States have finally recognized what we have always known – We are Peoples, equal in all ways to all other Peoples, with inherent and inalienable rights to our survival, our way of life, lands and self-determination. We, Indigenous Peoples of this land, are part of Creation, in the homelands we inherited from our ancestors. We understand from our original teachings that we are meant to live in harmony with all Creation and with other Peoples, including with those who came to our homelands seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Our Nations entered into sacred Treaties with them. Sadly, these treaties have been violated time and time again. The tragic and brutal story of what happened to us, especially at the hands of the governments, is well known. But today, with the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly, we see the opportunity for a new beginning, for another kind of relationship with States in North America and indeed throughout the world.
We celebrate that the fundamental human rights which we have all worked so hard to uphold in this Declaration are still intact in the final text now adopted by the UN General Assembly. Read more ...

Inuit Circumpolar Council and Saami Council
The Indigenous peoples of the Arctic today celebrate the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples! The Inuit Circumpolar Council and Saami Council welcome this momentous occasion. For the first time, the world community has proclaimed a universally applicable human rights instrument in order to end centuries of marginalisation and discrimination, and to affirm that Indigenous peoples are peoples, equal in dignity and rights with all other peoples. (Photo Jens Dahl) Read more ...

Pacific Regional Caucus Statement on the Adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific region were appraised of the text of the modified United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in early September 2007. They communicated their overwhelming support for its passage from 11 different countries spanning the vast reaches of Oceania, which is the largest geographical region of the world and the home of many diverse cultures who are Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian. Pacific leaders and Indigenous Peoples have been consistent and unwavering in their support for the human rights for the world's Indigenous Peoples since the inception of this effort 21 years ago in Geneva. We recognize and thank the Government of Fiji - the first State in the world to adopt the Sub-Commission draft of the Declaration - for their efforts to bring agreement among all States and for their leadership in this monumental task. (Photo: Child in Tahiti, Photographer: Palle Kjærulff-Schmidt) Read more ...


Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Regional co-coordinator for Asia for the Steering Committee of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus The Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus celebrates the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
This as a historic milestone in the struggle of Indigenous Peoples for their human rights and fundamental freedoms. This Declaration affirms our collective rights to self-determination, to our lands, territories and resources, our cultures and intellectual property rights, our right to free, prior and informed consent and our right to determine what development should be in our communities, among others. We celebrate this as a major victory for Indigenous Peoples of the world, in general, and Asia, in particular. Read more ...

AFN National Chief applauds today’s passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Recognizing 20 years of work in the making
The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations said today is an important day in Canada’s history. It’s a day to celebrate, and a day to act.
“This recognition was a long time coming,” said National Chief Phil Fontaine. “The declaration recognizes our collective histories, traditions, cultures, languages, and spirituality. It is a call for First Nations in Canada and Indigenous peoples around the world to act on their rights, to implement them wherever and however they are able, to give them meaning in their lives, and in the lives of their children and their communities.” Read more ...

Africa -- A l’occasion de l’adoption de la déclaration des Nations Unies sur les Droits des Peuples Autochtones par l’Assemblée Générale
13 septembre 2007
Nous coordination des organisations autochtones d’Afrique présentent à NY lors de l’adoption de la déclaration des Nations Unies sur les Droits des Peuples Autochtones, saluons la sage décision de la majorité des Etats membres des nations Unies qui adopte cette déclaration le 13 septembre 2007. (Photo: Congo Twa Peoples/Photographer: Dorothy Jackson) Read more ...

Saami celebrate passage of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Saami Council and the Saami parliaments in Finland, Norway and Sweden celebrate the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The adoption of the Declaration constitutes a historical milestone in the struggle for the recognition of indigenous peoples’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, ending Centuries of marginalisation and discrimination, and confirming that indigenous peoples are peoples, equal in dignity and rights with all other peoples. Read more ...

Venezuelan Indigenous leader welcomes Declaration

Venezuelan National Assembly (AN) deputy and president of the indigenous peoples permanent committee, Wayuu indian, Noehli Pocaterra has welcomed the decision, saying that it reflects some of the consecrated rites in Venezuela's Bolivarian constitution.
"We are a country that defends its ethnic groups, respects their identity and spaces. While the declaration places a moral obligation on governments, it doesn't in our case because there is political will to attend to the needs of our brothers in other parts of the world." Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States opposed and voted against the non-binding declaration.

Historic UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted today

NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 13 /CNW Telbec/NEW YORK -- The United Nations has adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at a meeting of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York by an overwhelming majority of 143 votes in favor, four opposed and 11 abstentions.The Métis Nation, represented by Métis Nation of Ontario President Tony Belcourt joined leaders of Indigenous Peoples from around the world at this momentous occasion to applaud the Nation States which voted to approve the Declaration and to express its profound disappointment in Canada and the small number of other countries (Australia, New Zealand, USA) which voted in opposition to its adoption.Mr. Belcourt stated: "This is a truly remarkable milestone in the history of the struggle by Indigenous Peoples for the recognition of their rights by the global community of Nation States. It is the result of debate and negotiation between Indigenous peoples and Nation States for more than two decades since it was first drafted in 1985. The Declaration is an aspirational affirmation of our rights consistent with international law and as such provides a framework for the protection Indigenous peoples and the promotion of harmonious relations within the States where they live. We call on Canada to work with the Métis Nation and other Aboriginal peoples to develop policies and actions which are consistent with the provisions of the Declaration despite its opposition to its adoption. Now that we have achieved this great moment in history, it is incumbent on all States, including Canada, to work in a spirit of cooperation with Indigenous peoples within their borders towards the implementation of the provisions of this historic Declaration."For further information: Chelsey Quirk, Communications Assistant, (613) 798-1488, Ext. 104, Cell: (613) 299-6085,; For the text of the Declaration and other statements see the MNO website at:

NGOs: Indigenous Declaration affirms self-determination

Australia Labor vows to ratify: Australia's Labor vows to ratify Indigenous Declaration: 'LABOR last night broke ranks with the federal Government on Aboriginal affairs with a vow to ratify a UN declaration on indigenous rights rejected by the Howard Government as legitimising customary law, including practices "not acceptable in the modern world". Read article:,25197,22421223-5013172,00.html