Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 31, 2008

Native radio journalists call for Bush war crimes tribunal

Native radio journalists urged a war crimes tribunal for Bush and immediate withdrawal from Iraq

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

LOS ANGELES -- On American Indian Airwaves, Native American radio hosts Kehaulani Kauanui, Kanaka Maoli/Native Hawaiian, and James Brown, Elm Pomo Nation, called for a tribunal to hold President Bush responsible for war crimes, during a panel discussion by distinguished Indigenous journalists and scholars.
“I think we need to pursue trying George Bush and company for war crimes related to this illegal and unlawful occupation in Iraq,” Kauanui said.
“We need to have a war crimes tribunal and bring all these people in,” Brown added. Both Kauanui and Brown called on President elect Obama to initiate immediate withdrawal from Iraq upon entering office.
During the panel on KPFK Radio Los Angeles/Santa Barbara today, Suzan Harjo joined James Brown, producer of “Tribal Voices Radio” on KPFZ, and Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Lakota Nation. Ghosthorse serves as host of “First Voices Indigenous Radio,”at WBAI in New York. Kehaulani Kauanui, an associate professor and producer of "Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond," on WESU, in Middletown, Conn., completed the panel.
Today's show demonstrated Indigenous programming and shared the history, girth and diversity on Pacifica since the 1960s, according to American Indian Airwaves cohosts Marcus Lopez (Chumash Nation) and Larry Smith (Lumbee Nation.)
James Brown, Pomo, spoke about Rattlesnake Island and the incompetence of the BIA. “Our so-called protectors can not be trusted with the land,” Brown said. The BIA sold off Pomo land for mercury mining in the 1940s, leaving the tribe with only 50 acres of land, located 100 miles north of San Francisco.
"We have all our Creation stories here. We were basically fishing villages," he said.
Brown said Pomo is a matriarchal society, which resulted in the strength of the culture which has lasted so long. Earlier, Pomo fought Boise Cascade and prevented Rattlesnake Island from being subdivided for condominiums. Now, a wealthy businessman, John Nady, is attempting to build a mansion on their sacred mound and burial grounds at Rattlesnake Island.
"We may end up occupying this island to help preserve it this coming summer," Brown said.
Harzo praised President elect Obama for promising to protect Native American sacred places. Harzo said Native Americans have no way of protecting their “churches,” or sacred places because of the lack of legislation. Harjo, now president of the Morning Star Institute, said she was a WBAI broadcaster for "Seeing Red" in the 60s and 70s.
“We have hundreds and hundreds of sacred places being desecrated as we speak,” Harjo said.
Native American radio hosts described the desecration of sacred places, including San Francisco Peaks, and how US courts have closed the door to Native Americans protecting their sacred places.
Kauanui pointed out that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is allowing “sewage to be turned into snow so the rich can ski” on San Francisco Peaks. However, countries in South America have made strides in Indigenous rights.
Harjo said the Bush administration has not honored federal laws regarding the protection of endangered species or of Native peoples' human remains. Harjo said this sent a signal that it was "open season" on Native remains.
Brown said Obama's appointment to head the Interior, Ken Salazar, is a disappointment. Describing Salazar as a "cowboy," Brown said a Native American should have been appointed to head the Interior. "Let's light a fire under Obama," Brown said. Brown said he supported the Green Party and Cynthia McKinney, who has a better understanding of Native Americans.
Brown also pointed out that universities, including UC Berkeley, are violating the Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Lakota Nation, said he is watching to see what Obama will do once in office. Ghosthorse said there is a “mystical” feeling that something is going to change, but he wants to wait and see. Ghosthorse said Native Americans must dictate their own sovereignty and not allow the seizure of their lands for energy development.
“We have to see past the system that depleted us of our spiritual values,” Ghosthorse said, adding that countries in South America are now stating the rights of nature within their laws. He said the treaties have not been honored in the United States. Further, the United States and New Zealand still have not signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Kauanui urged the Obama administration to honor the petition from the Lipan Apache women to halt construction on the US/Mexico border wall and stop the forced removal of Indigenous individuals and communities. Kauanui said Obama should take a stand on the state sponsored terrorism and attacks on Palestine and the issue of colonialism. She said there must be careful watch to make sure the US does not “start aggravating in Iran.”
Kauanui said US universities can lose all federal funding if they do not comply with NAGPRA laws. But the problem is the Bush administration has not gone after the violators.
“Obama needs to turn this around,” she said. She urged Obama to oppose the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, also known as the Akaka bill, which does not ensure Native Hawaiian rights.
After the show, she explained that the problem with the bill is that it is being sold as federal recognition and therefore packaged as a solution for Native Hawaiians. But it actually states that any future Native Hawaiian governing entity would be subject to both state civil and criminal law.
"We Native Hawaiians have sovereignty claims that the US government already recognizes and exceed US federal policy regarding tribal nations. This bill is about setting up a 'reorganized' Hawaiian government that would settle un-adjudicated land claims to 1.8 million acres, the same lands recognized in the Apology Resolution," she explained.
Kauanui said Obama must honor the apology resolution of 1993, US Public Law 103-150, which states "the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum."
She said the Akaka Bill undermines this resolution.
On the radio show, Ghosthorse said there must be withdrawal from Iraq and soldiers must have a way to come home, without bringing the violence with them.
“Instead of honoring the killing, they have to reinstate their relationship with the Creator," Ghosthorse said.
Harjo said there are cleansing ceremonies for soldiers returning home.
Ghosthorse said Pacifica radio and pirate radio stations have helped counter the mainstream media and more needs to be accomplished to reveal the truth from Israel and Palestine.
Ghosthorse has served as host of "First Voices Indigenous Radio,"at WBAI in New York since 2002, after beginning with KAOS in Olympia, Washington in 1992.
"Other Indigenous radio stations in South America have formed a broadcasting relationship with First Voices Indigenous Radio largely due to their participation at the United Nations' Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues," Ghosthorse said.
Today's show will be available later in archives at:

Cynthia McKinney's account of attack on Free Gaza ship

Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party candidate for President in 2008. Ms. McKinney traveled aboard the boat “Dignity”, which tried to bring doctors and medical supplies to Gaza, as a humanitarian response to the recent bombing of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli government.The Dignity is a project of Ms. McKinney writes:

December 30, 2008: Oh What a Day!
By Cynthia McKinney
I’m so glad that my father told me to buy a special notebook and to write everything down because that’s exactly what I did.
When we left from Cyprus, one reporter asked me “are you afraid?” And I had to respond that Malcolm X wasn’t afraid; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn’t afraid. But little did I know that just a few hours later, I would be recollecting my life and mentally preparing myself for death.
When we left Cyprus, the Mediterranean was beautiful. I remember the time when it might have been beautiful to look at, but it was also filthy. The Europeans have taken great strides to clean it up and yesterday, it was beautiful. And the way the sunlight hit the sea, I remember thinking to myself that’s why they call it azure. It was the most beautiful blue.
But sometimes it was rough, and we got behind on our schedule. We stayed on course, however, despite the roughness of the water and due to our exquisite captain.
There were no other ships or boats around us and night descended upon us all rather quickly. It was the darkest black and suddenly, out of nowhere, came searchlights disturbing our peace. The searchlights stayed with us for about half an hour or so. We knew they were Israeli ships. Who else would they be?
They were fast, and they would come close and then drop back. And then, they’d come close again. And then, all of a sudden there was complete blackness once again and all seemed right. The cat and mouse game went on for at least one half hour. What were they doing? And why?
Calm again. Black sky, black sea. Peace. And then, at that very moment, when all seemed right, out of nowhere we were rammed and rammed again and rammed again the last one throwing me off the couch, sending all our food up in the air; and all the plastic bags and tubs–evidence of sea sicknesses among the crew and passengers–flew all over the cabin and all over us. We’d been rammed by the Israelis. How did we know? Because they called us on the phone afterwards to tell us that we were engaging in subversive, terroristic activity. And if that if we didn’t turn around right then and return to Larnaca, Cyprus, we would be fired upon. We quickly grabbed our lifevests and put them on. Then the captain announced that the boat was taking on water. We might have to evacuate. One of my mates told me to prepare to die. And I reflected that I have lived a good and full life. I have tasted freedom and know what it is. I was right with myself and my decision to join the Free Gaza movement.I remembered my father’s parting words, “You all will be sitting ducks.” Just like the U.S.S. Liberty. We were engaged in peaceful activity, a harmless pleasure boat, carrying a load of hospital supplies for the people of Gaza, who, too are sitting ducks, currently being bombarded in aerial assault by the Israeli military.
It’s been a long day for us. The captain was outstanding. Throughout it all, he remained stoic and calm, effective in every way. I didn’t know how to put my life jacket on. One of the passengers kindly assisted me. Another of the passengers pointed out that the Israeli motors for those huge, fast boats was U.S. made–a gift to them from the U.S. And now they were using those motors to damage a pleasure boat outfitted with three tons of hospital supplies, one pediatrician, and two surgeons.
I have called for President-elect Obama to say something. The Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are seeing the worst violence in 60 years, it is being reported. To date, President-elect Obama has remained silent. The Israelis are using weapons supplied to them by the U.S. government. Strict enforcement of U.S. law would require the cessation of all weapons transfers to Israel. Adherence to international law would require the same.
As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, let us remember that he said:
1. The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and
2. Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.
I implore the President-elect to not send Congress a budget that contains more weapons for Israel. We have so much more to offer. And I implore the Congress to vote “no” on any budget and appropriation bills that provide more weapons transfers, period.
Israel is able to carry out these intense military maneuvers because taxpayers in the U.S. give their hard-earned money to our Representatives in Congress and our Congress chooses to spend that money in this way. Let’s stop it and stop it now. There’s been too much blood shed. And while we still walk among the living, let us not remain silent about the things that matter.
We really can promote peace and have it if we demand it of our leaders.

Censored Readers: Worst Company in the World is US

The United States was voted the Worst Company in the World, followed by Monsanto, Peabody Energy Corp. and Barrick Gold

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
PHOTOS: Barrick Gold Pascua-Lama mine protest in Chile/ Indymedia
Monsanto protest/Organic Consumers Association
Hopi and Navajo protest of Peabody Coal/Mano Cockrum

Western Shoshone protest of Barrick Gold on Mount Tenabo/Lisa Wolf
Navajos Dooda Desert Rock protest/ Dooda Desert Rock
Photo of Arizona border wall with deer halted/Daniel Patterson

Censored News readers selected the United States as the “Worst Company in the World,” in a reader poll that ended today. Readers, primarily Indigenous Peoples, voted Monsanto as the second Worst Company in the World. Peabody Energy Corp., recently granted a life-of-mine permit to expand coal mining on Navajo and Hopi lands, was voted the third Worst Company in the World.
Barrick Gold Corp., which began the destruction of the Western Shoshone’s Mount Tenabo region during Thanksgiving, was voted the fourth Worst Company in the World. Blackwater Worldwide, responsible for murders and brutality worldwide, was voted the fifth Worst Company in the World. GEO Group, Inc., formerly Wackenhut, profiteering from the misery of migrants and people of color in prisons, was voted the sixth Worst Company in the World.
Cameco uranium mining and Sithe Global/Navajo Nation, tied for the seventh Worst Company in the World. Israel’s Elbit Systems and Raytheon tied for eighth place. Boeing, constructing the US/Mexico Apartheid Border Wall, followed in ninth place. Newmont Mining was voted the 10th Worst Company in the World by the readers of Censored News blog, which focuses on the censored news of Indigenous Peoples and international human rights.
The United States emerged in truth as one of the worst violators of international human rights during the Bush regime, with torture, kidnappings and secret renditions in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The bogus war in Iraq resulted in the widespread murder and displacement of Iraqi people. Corporations seized the freefall of US democracy, with mercenaries, private prison profiteers and war manufacturers reveling in their profits. During the Bush regime, the United States ceased to be viewed as a democracy by many US citizens, who now view the United States as a company comprised of select individuals seeking corporate gain and control.
It was not just the US corporations that benefited. In the corporate get-rich schemes to construct the US/Mexico border wall, the contractor Boeing subcontracted Israel’s Apartheid border wall builder, Elbit Systems, for the multi-million dollar dysfunctional debacle of the US border spy towers. While xenophobia and racism toward migrants ruled in US television news, Wackenhut, owned by G4S in England and Denmark, seized the opportunity to profiteer from a Homeland Security contract for the transportation of migrants from the US/Mexico border.
Monsanto, in second place, continued to threaten the future of humanity with genetically altered seeds. Depleting the world of a rich diversity of seeds and crops, Monsanto continues to destroy sustainable systems of food production around the world. Monsanto was the primary supplier of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Even Prince Charles exposed Monsanto recently, revealing that thousands of farmers have committed suicide in India because of Monsanto’s promise of riches. Those promises only resulted in failed crops and a flood of debt in India’s “Suicide Belt” after switching to genetically modified seeds.
Navajos and Hopis united and protested a life of the mine permit for Peabody coal mining on Black Mesa. However, the US Office of Surface Mining approved the permit in December, continuing the US genocide on Black Mesa, where more than 14,000 Navajos have already been relocated to make way for coal mining. The so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute was orchestrated by Peabody Coal.
The Navajo Nation Council's 88 members receive their salaries and travel expenses primarily from energy leases, while many Navajos live without running water and electricity.
Klee Benally, Navajo, said the US permit was a blatant act of US genocide.
Calvin Johnson, Navajo, said, “Our local leaders, including the president of the Navajo Nation, continue to pursue this senseless plan to give Peabody a life of mine permit and continue using pristine water for coal operations without the impacted resident’s decision, which continues to be ignored. When will our leaders stand up and fight for us?”
Vernon Masayesva, Hopi, said the US permit, "The decision was announced during the Hopi Soyalung ceremonies throughout our villages. Soyalung is when Hopis plant their prayers for the coming year. It is a time the priests carry out sacred rituals to renew the earth, and pray for peace and harmony throughout the world. It is similar to the Jewish Chunaka observance, of bringing light to darkness.This is the ancient ritual the Office of Surface Mining has rudely interrupted. It is a blatant action sanctioning Peabody to exploit our natural resources for the benefit of its wealthy owners, officers and stockholders."
Barrick Gold, responsible for the deaths of Indigenous Peoples around the world, began its onslaught on the sacred lands of the Western Shoshone at Mount Tenabo during the Thanksgiving holidays. Before leaving office, President Bush Sr. made it possible for Barrick to lease lands for gold mining in Nevada. Once out of office, Bush Sr. went to work for Barrick as a senior consultant.
In Australia, DR Congo, Ghana, Tanzania and New Guinea, Indigenous Peoples are fighting Barrick’s destruction in solidarity with the Western Shoshone. They are fighting the coring out of mountains for minute particles of gold and the poisoning of water with cyanide leaching.
Carrie Dann and other Western Shoshone grandmothers said the United States is trespassing on Western Shoshone treaty land, destroying mountains, trees, food and medicine, while leaving dirty polluted water ponds for birds and animals.
“Why doesn’t the mining company go dig up the Vatican or the Mormon Tabernacle instead of Western Shoshone lands, I’m sure they will find gold there,” said Mary McCloud, Western Shoshone grandmother, mourning the bulldozing of the pines near the ceremonial grounds on Mount Tenabo in November.
Near the Porgera mine in New Guinea, Jethro Tulin of the Akali Tange Association, told Barrick Gold, “Your security guards have been shooting and killing our people and raping, even gang-raping, our women with impunity for years now."
Another Canadian gold mining corporation, Goldcorp Inc., is destroying communities in Guatemala. Antonio Morales, Maya Mam, Guatemalan indigenous leader was assassinated on August 7, 2008, as he returned to his home in Colotenango, Guatemala. Morales was a national leader in three of Guatemala's most important Indigenous organizations which have actively opposed large scale mining projects, including Montana Exploring, a subsidiary of Goldcorp.
GEO Group, formerly Wackenhut, and other private prisons continued to profiteer from the orchestrated hysteria against migrants and people of color at the southern border, gaining lucrative US and state prison and detention contracts from California to Texas. GEO was recently named in charges filed in Texas, in an attempt to prosecute Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for private prison profiteering, resulting in the death of at least one inmate.
A second private prison profiteer, Corrections Corp of America, imprisons and abuses migrant women and children at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas.
Cameco is the Canadian company which purchased the mysterious shipment of 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Iraq, transported by the US to Montreal in July of 2008. Cameco continues to push for uranium mining on Lakota lands, resulting in the poorest of the poor struggling to fight the world’s largest uranium mining company in court in Nebraska. In Australia, Aboriginals at Alice Springs continued their protests of Cameco, while research studies in Port Hope, Canada, show the people are being poisoned by Cameco’s uranium mining.
“The result of testing conducted on a small group of residents of Port Hope has found contamination by uranium of military or industrial origin. Four of nine people tested had unusual types of uranium in their bodies, including one who carried measurable quantities of depleted uranium, which is used to make armour-piercing weapons, and another who had uranium at levels about three times higher than average concentrations of the element,” according to the Globe and Mail.
Sithe Global, in a relationship with the Navajo Nation elected government, is pushing to build a coal fired power plant, Desert Rock, on Navajo lands in New Mexico. Grassroots Navajos at Dooda Desert Rock continue to fight the power plant, which would be the third power plant in the area, where the air, land and water are already poisoned by unreclaimed uranium tailings from the Cold War and widespread oil and gas wells. Sithe Global’s financier is Blackstone Group, cofounded by Steve Schwarzman of the Bush elite Skull and Bones secret society based at Yale University.
Israel’s Elbit Systems, a producer of Apartheid spy and border wall systems in Israel, continued to gain US contracts, including Boeing’s subcontract for the border wall. Raytheon Missiles continued to be protested in Tucson for its weapons production and contamination. Raytheon has a manufacturing plant on the Navajo Nation’s commercial farm of Navajo Agricultural Products Industries, where potatoes, corn and other crops are produced with Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.
Boeing continued to build the US/Mexico border wall, as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived all federal laws to build the border wall, including the laws designed to protect endangered species and the graves of Native Americans. On the Tohono O’odham Nation, Boeing dug up the graves of the Tohono O’odham ancestors in 2007. In Arizona, border wall construction endangered the jaguar, Sonoran pronghorn and other species in violation of all federal laws. Further, Indigenous Peoples traveling in their own territories on the border are harassed, threatened and treated as criminals by the US Border Patrol.
Tohono O’odham human rights activists continued to be targeted as they defined their homeland as an occupied militarized zone.
The poorest of the poor in America used their last dollars in 2008 to fight the United States construction of the US/Mexico border wall and seizure of their lands, including the Lipan Apache in Texas who are in court to protect their lands from seizure by Homeland Security for the border wall.
At the northern border, the United States pushed for more militarization of the region.
Kahentinetha Horn, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, is among the authors published in Censored News. Kahentinetha was beaten by Canadian border guards on June 14, 2008 and suffered a heart attack as border police tightened a stresshold. Mohawk Nation News editor Katenies was also beaten and jailed. Kahentinetha is recovering and the two Mohawk grandmothers have filed suit.
In recent articles, the Mohawk Nation News exposed the fact that carbon market scams seek the seizure of Indigenous Peoples forests for corporate profiteering and the fact that Canadian officers are being trained in Israel, where the border has become a militarized war zone. The carbon credit scam, profiteering for the World Bank and private corporations, is one of the most censored stories worldwide.
Throughout the United States, the poorest of the poor fought for justice during the Bush regime, often resulting in arrest or imprisonment. While the US and multi-national corporations received millions, billions and trillions in bailouts, widespread unemployment and hunger increased in the US.
While the US spy factory vaporized rights guaranteed by the US Constitution, the US media gave up the fight.
While the corporate seizures of lands was dismal during the Bush regime, Indigenous elders spoke of a time of cleansing and regeneration.
"We will outlive their ways. Our ways will outlive America's ways. It is because we regard the earth as sacred," said Floyd Red Crow Westerman said before his passing to the Spirit World.
In the Censored News poll, one-half of those voting chose the United States as the Worst Company in the World (50 percent.) The other percentages of total votes were: Monsanto (30 percent) Peabody Coal (26 percent) Barrick Gold (20 percent) Blackwater (17 percent) GEO (15 percent) Cameco and Sithe Global/Navajo Nation tied (14 percent) Raytheon and Israel’s Elbit Systems tied (12 percent) Boeing (11 percent) and Newmont Mining Corp (9 percent.)

More corporations and politicians were responsible for the deaths of Indigenous Peoples and destruction of Indigenous lands and communities worldwide than could be published in one article. Read more articles at Censored News

December 30, 2008

Free Gaza Ship rammed

Israeli vessel hits Gaza-bound boat

Onboard is Al-Jazeera reporter Sami al-Haj, former prisoner at Guantanamo Bay; Hon. Cynthia McKinney (former U.S. Congresswoman, 9/11 Truth activist) and three doctors

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
19:17 Mecca time, 16:17 GMT
News Middle East
Video of damage:

Israeli Gunboats Came out of the Darkness and Rammed us Three Times

Date : 12-30-2008

For more information, please contact:
(Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +972 598 700 497 /
(Cyprus) Lubna Masarwa +357 99 081 767 /
(Lebanon) Caoimhe Butterley +961 70 875 727 /
By Free Gaza
LEBANON (December 30) -- Today the Free Gaza ship "Dignity" carefully made its way to safe harbor in Tyre, Lebanon's southern-most port city, after receiving serious structural damage when Israeli warships rammed its bow and the port side. Waiting to greet the passengers and crew were thousands of Lebanese who came out to show their solidarity with this attempt to deliver volunteer doctors and desperately needed medical supplies to war-ravaged Gaza. The Lebanese government has pledged to provide a forensic analysis of what happened in the dark morning, when Israel rammed the civilian ship in international waters, and put the people on board in danger of losing their lives.

The Dignity, on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, was attacked by the Israeli Navy at approximately 6am (UST) in international waters, roughly 90 miles off the coast of Gaza. Several Israeli warships surrounded the small, human rights boat, firing live ammunition around it, then intentionally ramming it three times. According to ship's captain Denis Healy, the Israeli attack came, ""without any warning, or any provocation."

Caoimhe Butterly, an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement, stated that, "The gunboats gave us no warning. They came up out of the darkness firing flares and flashing huge flood lights into our faces. We were so shocked that at first we didn't react. We knew we were well within international waters and supposedly safe from attack. They rammed us three times, hitting the side of the boat hard. We began taking on water and, for a few minutes, we all feared for our lives. After they rammed us, they started screaming at us as we were frantically getting the life boats ready and putting on our life jackets. They kept yelling that if we didn't turn back they would shoot us."

Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, was traveling to Gaza aboard the Dignity in order to assess the impact of Israel's military onslaught against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

According to McKinney, "Israeli patrol boats...tracked us for about 30 minutes ... and then all of a sudden they rammed us approximately three times, twice in the front and once in the side ... the Israelis indicated that [they felt] we were involved in terrorist activities."

The Dignity departed from Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7pm (UST) on Monday 29 December with a cargo of over 3 tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated to Gaza by the people of Cyprus. Three surgeons were also aboard, traveling to Gaza to volunteer in overwhelmed hospitals and clinics. The ship was searched by Cypriot Port authorities prior to departure, and its passenger list was made public.

Israel's deplorable attack on the unarmed Dignity is a violation of both international maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that "the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes."

Delivering doctors and urgently needed medical supplies to civilians is a just such a "peaceful purpose." Deliberately ramming a mercy ship and endangering its passengers is an act of terrorism.

CALL the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking the civilian population of Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
+972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy at:
+ 972 5 781 86248
The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza in August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the port in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, taking Parliamentarians, human rights workers, and other dignitaries to witness the effects of Israel's draconian policies on the civilians of Gaza.

Atlanta Journal Constitution article

News from Al-Jazeera

A small boat, damaged as it tried to break the Israeli blockade of the
Gaza Strip, has arrived in the Lebanese port of Tyre.

The Dignity started taking on water after it was hit by an Israeli naval
vessel as it approached the Israeli coast with its cargo of medical aid.

The Free Gaza Movement, which organised the attempt to reach the territory
, said their boat was "rammed" and shots were fired when at least four
Israeli vessels confronted them in international waters.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, denied there had
been any shooting but said that the ships had made "physical contact".

He said that the crew of the Dignity had failed to respond to Israeli
naval radio contact.


Elize Ernshire, one of the activists onboard the boat, told Al Jazeera by
telephone that the boat was rammed twice from the front and then once from
the side.

"It has destroyed the front of the boat and the roof ... and has left the
cabin, the wheelhouse quite destroyed," she said.

" ... we were threatened directly by the Israeli navy that if we continued
on our course towards Gaza they would attack us again."

Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, said that the incident was
nothing more than a "propoganda stunt".

"Israel would never have done anything against international law, that is
inconceivable," he told Al Jazeera.

"These people just want a headline, they don't really want to help the
people of Gaza, if they wanted to help the people of Gaza they would be
asking Hamas why they initiated the violence."

Several small boats have arrived in the Gaza Strip carrying international
activists and medical aid since August in defiance of the Israeli siege.

Ernshire said that the incident would not stop the movement trying again
to take aid to the impoverished territory.

"The majority of passenger here are determined, once we reach Lebanon, to
keep continuing to organise such boats as these, to reach the people of
Gaza," she said.

Gaza's health system is struggling to cope with the casualties from four
consecutive days of aerial bombardment by Israeli warplanes and helicopter


Hospitals were already facing shortages of medicines and other medical
products due to the Israeli siege imposed after the Hamas government
seized full control of the territory in 2007.

As well as more than three tonnes of aid, the Dignity was carrying three
doctors to help treat the more than 1,600 wounded in recent days.

Avital Leibovitz, an Israeli military spokeswoman, said that humanitarian
aid was being allowed into the Gaza Strip and the medical supplies on the
boat would not have made much impact on the humanitarian situation.

"Lets not talk about a blockade because it does not exist, the
humanitarian corridor is active, alive and working," she told Al Jazeera.

"There are a numerous number of trucks enetring Gaza with food and
medicine according to the requests of the aid organisations."

Three Al Jazeera journalists were among the 15 people onboard the boat.

"Al Jazeera holds Israel responsible for the safety of the Al Jazeera
journalists and everyone on board the Dignity," Wadah Khanfar, director
general of the Al Jazeera network said in a statement.

"Al Jazeera's presence on the boat is to cover the expedition for news and
journalistic purposes. We are deeply concerned for the safety and well
being of our journalists."

'Protecting Rattlesnake Island' and Indigenous Roundtable Discussion

Update: Native radio journalists urge Bush war crime tribunal
Weekly shows can now be heard on the KPFK web site ( ) under "audio archives" located on the left. Scroll down and click on American Indian Airwaves.

Dakota 38 horseback ride to Mankato photos

Dakota 38 plus 2 Ride photos from South Dakota to Mankato. Photos by Dave Murray. Thank you!
By Dakota 38 Riders
MANKATO, Minn. -- Twenty-eight years before the Massacre at Wounded Knee, and 14 years before the Legendary Battle at Little Bighorn, was Minnesota’s Dakota Sioux Uprising of 1862.
It began on August 17, 1862 and ended with the largest mass execution ever recorded in U.S. History.
By order of Abraham Lincoln, 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota on December 26, 1862.
Unbeknownst to the masses, the very next day two more Dakota men were also executed. Four months later, in April of 1863 Congress enacted a law providing for the removal of all Dakota people from Minnesota. Three hundred families were held in a concentration camp at Fort Snelling then most of the Dakota Community was moved by river boats to a desolate prairie at Crow Creek, South Dakota.
The convicted prisoners of the war who were not executed, were then moved from Ft. Snelling, Minnesota to Camp McClellan, near Davenport, Iowa. It wasn’t until three years later, President Andrew Johnson ordered a release of the 177 surviving prisoners.
In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a descendent of the Dakota People who were displaced after 1863, courageously stepped forward and acknowledged his dream with the people. Miller dreamt of a series of horseback rides that would bring, not just the Dakota people together, but all whose hearts are affected by this tragic history.
Jim’s vision is for horseback riders from all Dakota tribes to ride in December over 330 miles from Lower Brule Sioux Reservation to the site of the mass hanging in Mankato, Minnesota. This is to commemorate the men, women, and children who were forced to march across the cold winter prairies either to the mass hanging in Mankato or to the large concentration camp at Fort Snelling, Minnesota (present day St. Paul.) The ride coincides with the anniversary of the hangings on December 26, 1862.
Four years are required to address this vision, as of 2008, the first three years have been completed. In the past three years, the riders left from the Lower Sioux Indian Community, near Morton, Minnesota and rode down to Mankato, Minnesota.
Because this is the last year and the completion of Miller’s vision, the riders began their new starting point from Lower Brule, SD to Mankato.
His overall vision is to raise awareness about how this historical grief has impacted us from the mass hanging to the surrounding events. In the end, the final outcome of his vision is to bring reconciliation among all people of the region so that we may move forward and live in a good way. Miller is a Vietnam Veteran, an enrolled member of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and a
leader in traditional spiritual practices.

Honoring Floyd Westerman and the Miwok Youths

Listen to Censored Blog Talk Radio
Honoring the land, honoring the youths

Article and photos by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Censored Blog Talk Radio offers a tribute to Floyd Red Crow Westerman, sharing his songs and words. The show is also a tribute to the Miwok youth singers, with a special message on the Longest Walk for respect for Mother Earth from the Six Nations on the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol.
Westerman speaks on the Spirit World and what is happening to Mother Earth.
"America is dying from within, because they forgot the instructions of how to live on earth," Westerman said. He said without the understanding of the spritiual reality of living on earth, "It is likely you will not make it."
"We are here on earth only a few winters, then we go to the Spirit World."
Westerman describes how the United States is creating monstrous conglomerates to facilitate energy for America, polluting sacred water and sacred mountains to do it.
America is destroying itself, but Native people will live on.
"We will outlive their ways. Our ways will outlive America's ways. It is because we regard the earth as sacred," Westerman says in the series of recordings.
"Our Mother is a sacred entity."
Westerman said it is important to educate people that the people coming across the border are Indian people. Speaking on broken treaties, Westerman said, "The United States of America is an occupation of Indian land."
With warnings for America and its spiritual state, he said, "You shouldn't let the dollar control what you are doing."
"America, you won't be here long."
Westerman said great changes are coming and when one looks at evolution, one knows, "It is time."
Censored News also honors the Native American youths on the Longest Walk, with traditional songs and conversations with the Miwok youths from Shingle Springs, California, Daniel, Junior and Vinny, with Everett, Washo. The Miwok youths sing with clapper sticks made from elderberry branches.
On the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol at Harrisburg, Mohawk and Tuscarora welcome the Longest Walk to the east with songs and prayers. Jerry McDonald, Mohawk, speaks of respecting and honoring Mother Earth and of universal peace. Longest Walk Carl Bad Bear Sampson also speaks at the gathering, where the Pennsylvania governor's representative heralds the Long Walk for honoring the earth and protecting sacred sites.
Longest Walk recordings by Earthcycles on the Longest Walk.
Listen to Floyd Westerman and Miwok youths at:
November radio show, including AIM West and Alcatraz programs:
Photos: Floyd Westerman with the International Indian Treaty Council at the Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas in San Xavier, Arizona, on the Tohono O'odham Nation in 2006. Photo Brenda Norrell.
Photo 2: Daniel and Junior on the Longest Walk in Eureka, Nevada, after singing Miwok songs for Western Shoshone Carrie Dann in the spring of 2008. Photo Brenda Norrell
Photo 3: Vinny, Miwok walker and runner, at the Indigenous Environmental Network's annual Honoring Mother Earth Conference, held this year on Western Shoshone land in Southfork, Nevada, in July 2008. Photo Brenda Norrell.

December 29, 2008

Zapatistas Digna Rabia video

Click to watch video:

Express outrage: Peabody coal mining on Black Mesa

Interior Approves Permit for Coal Mining on Hopi Lands
Black Mesa Trust Calls for Telephone, Letter Campaign

By Vernon Masayesva
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz., Dec. 29 -- As expected, the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation (OSM), the sole regulatory agency overseeing mining on Black Mesa, has made a formal decision approving Peabody Western Coal's application for a life-of-mine permit that would combine mining operations at Black Mesa Mine and Kayenta Mine.
The decision was announced during the Hopi Soyalung ceremonies throughout our villages. Soyalung is when Hopis plant their prayers for the coming year. It is a time the priests carry out sacred rituals to renew the earth, and pray for peace and harmony throughout the world. It is similar to the Jewish Chunaka observance, of bringing light to darkness.
This is the ancient ritual OSM has rudely interrupted. It is a blatant action sanctioning Peabody to exploit our natural resources for the benefit of its wealthy owners, officers and stockholders.
Black Mesa Trust appeals to people all over the world to express their outrage by writing or calling:

Dirk Kempthorne
Secretary of Interior
US Department of Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Phone: 202/208-3100

Al Klein
Western Regional Director
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
P. O. Box 46667
Denver, CO 80201-6667
Phone: 303/293-5001

Brent Wahlquist, Director
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
1951 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20240
Phone: 202/208-2719

Dennis Winterringer, Director
Western Region, Southwest Branch
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
P. O. Box 46667
Denver, CO 80201-6667
Phone: 303/293-5030

US protests of Israeli Massacre in Gaza

Radhika Sainath, NLG Free Gaza Committee,, 917-669-6903

The National Lawyers Guild Condemns Israeli Massacre of over 300 Gazans, Calls for Ceasefire and Urges Participation in Protests

New York. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns Israel's massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which has left over 300 dead and 1,400 wounded, with the tolls mounting. The Israeli Air Force dropped more than 100 bombs in dozens of locations throughout the Gaza Strip as children left school on Saturday. The dead include men, women and children in school uniforms.

"International law forbids the targeting of civilians," said Radhika Sainath, a civil rights attorney and member of the Free Gaza Committee of the NLG. "Israel must comply with laws of war and the Fourth Geneva Convention." Today's massacre marks an escalation of Israel's two-year blockade of the Strip which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of necessary food, medicine, fuel and other necessities. In November 2008, the United Nations stated that it had run out of food to feed over 750,000 needy Gazans.

Israel claims that the attack is in response to Palestinian rocket fire, which caused no recent Israeli deaths and few injuries. However, Israel's "rolling bombardment" and impending ground invasion is grossly disproportionate in light of the minimal damage caused by Palestinian rockets. “The law of war prohibits collective punishment and the targeting of a civilian population disproportionate to military necessity. Israel has flouted both these prohibitions, that follow its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and its sealing of Gaza, subjecting Gazans to near starvation,” said Marjorie Cohn, NLG president and a professor of international law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. “The Human Rights and Security Assistance Act mandates that the United States cease all military aid to Israel, which has engaged in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu stated that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza was "only just the beginning," showing utter contempt for international norms and the lives of innocent Palestinians. The Guild calls on the entire international community, and the United States in particular, to demand an end to Israel's blockade of the Occupied Territories and its murderous assault on the Palestinian people. We urge everyone to join in the demonstrations planned across the country in opposition to this latest attack on the rule of law by Israel and we call on both sides to immediately reinstate the cease fire.
Founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association, which did not admit people of color, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.

December 27, 2008

Happy holidays from Sonoma County

Happy holidays from Sonoma County, California,

In the world of growing vegetables and preparing good, clean and delicious food, maybe no one does it better than the good folks of Sonoma County. I won't attempt to offer any recipes, because I gave up serious cooking after shaving up my fingers for my Navajo Times cooking page, and serving up a raw turkey or two out of my woodstove in the Chuska Mountains in New Mexico. So here's an online blog with a great pumpkin pie recipe from nearby Marin County. Happy holidays, Brenda
Photo: Christmas dinner by Brenda Norrell

Censored Blog Radio: Kahentinetha, Carnes and Bahe

Listen now: Kahentinetha Horn, Mohawk, Ben Carnes, Choctaw and Bahe Katenay, Navajo

Article and photos by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

On Censored Blog Talk Radio today, Mohawk Nation News publisher Kahentinetha Horn speaks on the crimes of arrests of Indigenous Peoples at the southern border. Ben Carnes, Choctaw, tells of his own life, and the life and death of Standing Deer in relation to Leonard Peltier. Bahe Katenay of Big Mountain shares the truth of Navajo relocation and the destruction of sacred Navajo lands.
Kahentinetha, and MNN editor Katenies, were beaten by Canadian border guards in June, after this interview. Kahentinetha suffered a heart attack in a police stresshold and is now recovering. Both women, Mohawk grandmothers, have filed suit.
In the radio interview, Kahentinetha describes how Mohawks were on the Tohono O'odham Nation on the US/Mexico border, during the Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas.
Kahentinetha said Mohawks were shocked to see the Tohono O'odham Nation government officials working in complicity with Homeland Security to arrest Indigenous Peoples. She also describes how Mohawks stood in solidarity with Indigenous women and children and attempted to halt the Border Patrol from arresting them, near where the border wall was under construction on Tohono O'odham Nation lands.
Ben Carnes, Choctaw, speaks on his life.
Carnes speaks on Standing Deer's life and death in relation to Leonard Peltier.
In prison, Standing Deer was asked to be a government informant and "neutralize" Peltier. However, Carnes said after meeting Peltier in prison, Standing Deer realized what Peltier was doing for his people, maintaining the culture.
Carnes said Standing Deer told Peltier about the "assassination plot." Standing Deer told Peltier that he had planned to kill Peltier to get his own freedom. Peltier said, "Thank you for telling me my brother."
Standing Deer said, "It was at that point I came back to my people."
Standing Deer was murdered, stabbed to death, in Houston after his release from prison.
Carnes said, "My first thought was the government had fulfilled its promise of killing Standing Deer if he ever revealed the plot."
On the radio show, Bahe Katenay of Big Mountain talks of Navajo relocation, truth and resistance on Black Mesa. Katenay was a walker on the Longest Walk 1978 and joined the Longest Walk 2008 in Colorado.
Katenay describes the role of Peabody Coal and the media in the so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute. He explains that the Navajo tribal government is basically a board of directors and does not represent the Navajo people.
Bahe tells how Navajos have suffered because of relocation. Navajos were relocated from Black Mesa to New Lands, Ariz., downstream on the Rio Puerco, the land contaminated by the Church Rock, NM, nuclear spill.
On Black Mesa, coal mining and the depletion of the water continues.
"The land is still being torn up.
"A lot of our sacred springs are gone."
The relocation of Navajos, orchestrated by Arizona Congressmen and Peabody Coal thirty years ago, has generations of victims.
Bahe said the young people have been separated from the elders.
But, he said, "We are still there.
"Thirty-five elders have stood to disrupt America's progress there," Bahe said.
Bahe said Dinetah is where the Holy People emerged, in what is known as northwest New Mexico. Ancient Navajo songs originated there. Today, the area is desecrated by the oil and gas drilling of corporations, with the Navajo Nation planning a new power plant, Desert Rock, in the region.
Bahe remembers the early Navajo protests of the desecration in Burhman, NM, in 1980. Bahe tells how the Navajo warriors who challenged this destruction were all dead shortly after the protests. This fact has been censored.
Bahe said the Navajo Nation government just attempts to "show its good face" and play politics when it voices opposition now to uranium mining. He said the Navajo Nation government has not cleaned up the unreclaimed uranium mining tailings in many areas, including those contaminating Navajo land and water at Cameron, Ariz. There are 50 radioactive areas and the Navajo people have to haul their water.
The interviews were recorded in southern Colorado on the Longest Walk 2 northern route by Earthcycles in March of 2008.
Listen at:
Photo 1: A delegation of Mohawks and representatives of Derechos Humanos at the border south of Sells, Arizona, during the Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas. Photo Brenda Norrell
Photo 2: Ben Carnes with Earthcycles radio producer Govinda Dalton on the Longest Walk in the Rockies, speaking on this interview, March 2008. Photo Brenda Norrell
Photo 3: Bahe Katenay on the Longest Walk2 northern route in Pueblo, Colorado, March 2008. Photo Brenda Norrell
Return to Censored News Hompage for more articles ...

Petros: Christmas in the Holy Lands

A Massacre in Palestine - Responses and Developments

Christmas in the Holy Lands
By Petros Evdokas
Censored News

All of the global Empire's lies, violence and hypocrisy can not hide the
plain truth: the native people of the Holy Lands are being exterminated.
Through carefully calculated enforced starvation; by selective
assassination; by indiscriminate air-bombing and artillery strikes;
torture; denial of basic medical necessities; killing the people by any
means available.

We live in a world that is so bizarre and twisted with venomous atrocity
that our own realities are incomprehensible. One photo published by
Ha'aretz newspaper yesterday tells it all:

A thin and starving Santa walking on the edge of a mine field waving a
Peace sign is attacked by the military in a swirling cloud of tear gas:

Realities inside the world's largest prison, where a million and a half
children, elders, women and men are locked up by the occupation army
through a land, air and sea blockade that's aimed to break and destroy
them collectively:

" 'Our bakery is out of bread for days now and what we have will only
last for another 24 hours. In fact, we stopped our work yesterday as we
ran out of flour. Now, we use animal feed which will finish in a matter
of hours.'
... If you visit my house you won't find power, while my neighbor is out
of gas. Another neighbor seeks potable water as power outages have left
him without for four days. A third neighbor desperately looks for milk
for his child but does so in vain. Another friend who lives on the
corner needs medicine that can't currently be found in Gaza..."
"Hunger before the storm"
Sameh A. Habeeb writing from the occupied Gaza Strip,
Live from Palestine, 25 December 2008

" 'Father, we want to eat, we don't have bread,' my eldest daughter
"No bread in Gaza"
Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip,
Live from Palestine, 25 December 2008
Jesus in the 21st century is a Palestinian infant denied milk and
medicine. The Holy Child is a Navajo boy, an Iraqi girl, an Afghani 90
year old Grandma wrapped in the flames of napalm bombs dropped on her
village by the Empire's Crusaders to cleanse the land of its native
flesh and make the world safe for shopping.

Petros Evdokas
from the Belly of the Beast

December 26, 2008

Blog Radio: Walking the talk, Miwok, Washo and Shoshone

Listen now: Longest Walk in Miwok, Washo and Shoshone country

Article by Brenda Norrell

Christmas Special: Listen to walkers on the Longest Walk northern route in the west, beginning with the Miwok at Shingle Springs, Calif. Walkers speaking include Marie Littlemoon, Willie Lonewolf, Antonio Ruiz and Weldon Austin, with Rockstar Ray. Chet Stevens, Western Shoshone and David Smith, Yomba Shoshone, describe the nuclear testing, radiation and gold mining on Shoshone treaty lands in Nevada. Western Shoshone Corbin Harney is remembered. Janice Gardipe, Paiute Shoshone, shares a Shoshone song of a little bird leaving its nest. Washo gathered near Cave Rock, speak on prayer and honoring Mother Earth. One Washo great grandmother said earlier she questioned, "Where are the warriors?" Then, she said, "I see from you warriors that we are alive. "I am so happy to be here." Near Cave Rock, Calvin Magpie, Cheyenne Arapaho, offers a song. From South Dakota, at the site of the hogfarm protest, Yankton Dakota offer a drum song. "Starwalker" and "Universal Soldier" by Buffy Sainte Marie. "Going Back," by Floyd Westerman. Listener level: Everyone, 90 minutes Censored News Blog Talk Radio Photo: Longest Walk northern route in South Lake Tahoe in Feb. 2008. Second from left: Calvin Magpie; next Willie Lonewolf and Stella Magpie. Photo Brenda Norrell .

December 25, 2008

Colombia: Voice from the heart of the world

VOICE of the ELDER BROTHER, TAYRONA Original Peoples

Heart of the World, UMÛNÛKÛNÛ

(Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia)

We, the Wintukwa Peoples of Umûnûkûnû along with our other brothers of the Wiwa, Napeybu (Kogi) and Kankwamu who guard Umûnûkûnû, Heart of the World, demarcated under the Understanding of the Law of Origin or Linea Negra (Black Line) by Serankwa the Creator; we deliver now the clamor of Umûnûkûnû, the thundering demand of the Mountain:

We address you as our younger brothers, representing different nations who gathered in Poznan, Poland under the framework of the UN Climate Conference to negotiate climate issues. While you the younger brothers continue speaking and making decisions without recognizing the Rights of the Original Peoples and without a harmonious agreement with we the Elder Brothers who are the caretakers and translators of the knowledge of the Mother Earth of Umûnûkûnû and in defense of her, the Creator Serankwa continues and will continue to bring due to you brothers until the debt of destruction of the constitution of the Mother Earth is canceled.

Law that legislates the universe, whose constitution is made of harmony and balance by which Serankwa traverses on the ray of the sun, drawing close and piercing the sky from above to say no more marketing of the Mother Earth much less of the Sky because as the Grandmother Sea charges invoking a second tsunami or Mother Earth itself may call upon Brother Storm to bring global disaster, and so it is Brothers, representatives of different nations, especially the government of Colombia who must respect the Mandate of Serankwa because we the Tayrona Peoples are prepared to educate in the schools and with the University of Mother Earth as Emissaries of Umûnûkûnû that we are, we are ready to cooperate to halt the abyss that you the Younger Brothers are creating through economic and scientific development that is recklessly speeding the end of the world.

We are concerned about the path of destruction being invented by the scientific orientation and so we ask of the present governments: If the second tsunami or third hole appears in the sky, do your scientific advisers have the knowledge to avert this catastrophe?

We believe that your knowledge is that of an infant to respond in this regard, or is it that you understand fully one hundred percent the secrets of the land? Do you control the winds? Do you know the power of the waters? Please respond clearly and effectively to these questions, or if it is you can only present a hypotheses, then please listen, as we are not beings who over speak, much less when the subject is the caretaking of our universe. Be respectful of what you do not know and what you cannot dominate with your rational formulations.

Such is the VOICE of the MAMAS of UMÛNÛKÛNÛ.

Asdrubal Torres

Indigenous rights in a world context

Agenda item – “Analysis of the world context of the recognition of Indigenous rights”

December 2008

(Photo: Longest Walk northern route at vigil for Leonard Peltier and Native prisoners in Lewisburg, Penn.)

Indigenous peoples face a wide range of urgent human rights issues in all regions of the world, including in the Americas. They continue to suffer serious violations, if not atrocities, that sorely need to be addressed.
We, in the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, hear of some of the issues both at the Organization of American States (OAS) and at the United Nations. However, the violations that are described to us in Caucus meetings reflect only a minute fraction of the suffering that is occurring in different parts of the globe. Most Indigenous voices are never heard.
Global support for UN Declaration
In light of this urgent situation, it is important to consider the world context of the recognition of Indigenous rights. A resounding achievement has been the historic adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As a result, there is a strong feeling of hope among Indigenous peoples from the various regions of the globe. In the Indigenous context, the Declaration is the most comprehensive, universal human rights instrument in the world. It establishes a principled framework for addressing a wide range of human rights issues internationally and within States.
On 13 September 2007, the UN Declaration was overwhelmingly adopted by the General Assembly. Only four States voted against it – Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. No Latin American State, including those in the Caribbean, opposed the adoption of the Declaration.
Two weeks later, the Human Rights Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people. This mandate now includes the promotion of the Declaration in carrying out the Special Rapporteur’s work.
Throughout the world, there is widespread support for the Declaration. The UN Secretary-General has urged that the Declaration must be a “living instrument”. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has repeatedly expressed her support for this “universal” instrument. The African Group of States has indicated its support for implementation of the Declaration. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has highlighted that the Declaration will “strengthen the international human rights system … and will support the vital work that the … Commission … is undertaking for the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples rights” in Africa. Similarly, the European Union has emphasized its support.
It is important to note here the role of the Latin American States in realizing the adoption of the Declaration. In particular, the role of Mexico, Peru and Guatemala is acknowledged and deeply appreciated. They took the lead in reaching agreement with the African Group of States and others.
There are 31 UN specialized agencies in the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues that have expressed their favourable response to the Declaration. They are in the process of examining how each of them might implement the Declaration within their respective mandates. These specialized agencies represent a very diverse group that includes, among others: the International Labour Organization, World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNESCO, World Bank, UN Development Programme, World Intellectual Property Organization and UN Environment Programme.
In particular, UNICEF is supporting the translation of the Declaration into 15 indigenous languages. It is also involved in the preparation of “child-friendly” translated versions. This is consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 29), which calls for the education of children to be “directed to the development of respect for human rights”.
In its May 2008 report, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues decided that it would use the Declaration as a “legal framework” for all its work – and the Permanent Forum covers a wide range of subject areas. In October 2008, at its inaugural meeting in Geneva, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples indicated that it “has an important role in promoting the rights affirmed in the Declaration, and in mainstreaming them into the Human Rights Council's overall efforts to promote and protect all human rights”.
Human rights education and other initiatives
In regard to human rights education, Indigenous peoples and human rights organizations have arranged the publishing of 100,000 pocket-sized copies of the English version of the Declaration. Similarly, 10,000 copies of the French version have been made available. These copies are being distributed in different regions of the world. Mexico and Bolivia have prepared Spanish versions of this human rights instrument.
The United Nations has also published small booklets of the Declaration in all of the UN official languages. Further, symposiums and workshops are being organized in Canada and other parts of the world to further the implementation of the UN Declaration.
This positive momentum globally is highly relevant to the regional context in the Americas. At the previous OAS Special Session for Reflection in November 2007, it was determined that the UN Declaration would be used as “the baseline for negotiations and … a minimum standard” for the draft American Declaration. As both the Chair of this current Special Session and the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus have emphasized, the draft American Declaration – as a regional instrument – must complement the universal UN Declaration and not undermine it.
Despite all of these positive initiatives to implement the UN Declaration, we must bring to your attention recent regressive actions – especially since two of the States concerned are also OAS member States. Yesterday, at the world meeting on climate change in Poland, the States of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States refused to include any references either to the term “rights” in referring to Indigenous peoples[5] or to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. [6] Indigenous peoples suffer some of the worst impacts as a result of climate change and yet these States continue to act in this substandard manner. Climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing humanity and merits a principled response.
In regard to the UN Declaration, it is worth noting that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is already making reference to this human rights instrument. The same is true in a recent judgment in Belize by the Chief Justice of its Supreme Court. To date, Bolivia is the only State that has implemented the whole text of the Declaration through its incorporation in domestic legislation.
It is important to remember that, without the collaborative actions of supportive States, we would not have realized the adoption of the UN Declaration. As repeatedly reflected in our Caucus meetings, Indigenous representatives are determined to work closely with OAS States in order to achieve a strong and effective American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

[1] Adaptado de la presentación oral.

[2] Posterior a la presentación oral en la Sesión Especial de la OEA, se obtuvo información que estos mismos cuatro Estados utilizaron la frase “pueblo indígena” en vez de “pueblos indígenas” con la “s” el cual es un lenguaje aceptado internacionalmente. Ver Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Directora Ejecutiva de TEBTEBBA y Presidenta del Foro Permanente sobre las Cuestiones Indígenas), Boletín de Prensa “Día Internacional sobre los Derechos Humanos 2008: Un Día Triste para los Pueblos Indígenas”. Polonia, 10 de Diciembre del 2008.

[3] Ver Documento (FCCC/SBSTA/2008/L.23), el cual es la versión final del Borrador de Conlusiones del Item. 5 de la Agenda “reducción de emisiones por deforestación y degradación de los bosques (REDD). Acciones para estimular la acción, de la 29va Sesión del SBSTA (Órgano Subsidiario para Asesoría Científica y Tecnológica).
[4] Adapted from oral presentation.
[5] Subsequent to this presentation at the OAS Special Session, it was learned that these same four States used the phrase “indigenous people” instead of “indigenous peoples” with an “s” which is the internationally accepted language. See Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Executive Director, TEBTEBBA and Chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues), “International Human Rights Day 2008: A Sad Day for Indigenous Peoples”, Press Statement, Poland, 10 December 2008.
[6] See Document (FCCC/SBSTA/2008/L.23), which is the final version of the Draft Conclusions on Agenda Item 5: Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action, of the 29th Session of Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

December 24, 2008

Censored News holiday gift, best free software

ree and really cheap: Software and equipment for virus protection and online audio production

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

This holiday season, I'm sending all Censored News readers a special gift, a list of the best free software on the web. After crossing America on the Longest Walk and the Earthcycles radio bus headed home, I began to search out free software for audios.
Before getting started with the free audio software, I want to recommend AVG free anti-virus software. It can save you a great deal of money each year and is recommended by PC magazine. If you're not always online, you will need to make sure you regularly update it, as there are constantly new attacks and new protections released. Free AVG download:
All the software tips here are for beginners, PC users.
To edit audio, I've been using the free Audacity and it is great for beginners. I use it just to pick out clips and sections of long recordings. It is also a top recommendation of PC magazine. Audacity:
One of the great finds, thanks to radio host Robin Carneen at NAMAPAHH radio, was the free Blog Talk Radio. It takes a little practice for beginners, but the switchboard if fairly easy. You will need a talk show host and to upload your own original recordings, but it is a great free source to broadcast a radio show. (The host telephone number to call in to do the show is not an 800 number. There's no 800 number for callin guests either, so regular phone charges apply.)
At Earthcycles radio, produced by Govinda Dalton, we use tiny digital voice recorders for interviews, purchased at Radio Shack (Olympus brand for about $85.) The sound quality is excellent and we never ran out of space. Sony also makes a superb digital voice recorder (about $100 at Target) which produces mp3 files. It is good to get the type voice recorder that plugs right into your computer's USB port to transfer the files. You also have to save each audio file individually on most computers.
The sound quality of these tiny recorders is superior to more expensive radio equipment that we tried out during our lengthy broadcasts in 2008.
If you are using a recorder that produces a wav format, you can use Free Rip free software,
to transform the heavy wav to the lighter mp3 (necessary to upload large files at Blog Talk Radio.)
Now for online calls, there's Skype. I downloaded this many times and removed it before I actually started using it. It was a real lifesaver this week and allowed me to record the Lipan Apache 'No Border Wall' press conference for $1.80. Skype is free for computer to computer calls, but there is a small charge when your computer dials a regular phone (2 cents a minute or unlimited US for $2.95 a month.) Skype is another recommendation of PC magazine.
For recording the press conference, I used the 30-day free trial of Callburner, which works great and produces the much needed mp3.
Callburner is pricey to purchase, so now I'm now searching for a high quality free recorder for phone interviews. Any suggestions?
When I first started out, I needed a place just to "park" huge audio files, so I went to the free Driveway. I discovered it makes widgets also, so those same recordings can play on the web by placing the code on a website. Widgets are just a bunch of code you can stick in the html box of your blog. (It is best to use mp3s for the Firefox brower's playback.)
If you receive pdf files for your website, and you can't post those, there's free software to switch those to jpegs at Soft Interface:
If you are new to computers, it is best to have a friend explain downloads and the danger of viruses, because not all free downloads are safe for your computer. You can open the door to viruses if you are not aware of the dangers.
Also, if you are new to computers, have a friend show you how to clean your computer, by using the delete option under tools (Tools/Internet) to remove cookies and temporary files. If you're a new user, have a friend show you how to run the virus scanner to remove viruses, cookies and spyware.
If your computer is running slow, also run the "defragmenter" on your computer which puts everything back in place. You can usually find it by searching your own computer for "defragmenter."
Finally, if you want to buy a digital camera for about $150, but don't know where to begin, the Canon digital cameras in this price range score high on all consumer reports. (I use the Canon A570, but the Canons in the 900 and 1000 series are said to be even better.) Here's more great cameras recomended at CNET:
If you take a large number of digital photos, high quality rechargeable batteries will save you hundreds of dollars each year. To prevent hassles, get a one hour charger and a couple of sets of batteries (about $20 to $30 at discount stores.) I found the Kodak rechargeable excellent, but couldn't find those this time, so now I'm trying out Duracell rechargeables.
After Christmas the big computer chains usually run sales. I bought a great laptop computer, a Compaq Presario, the one I smashed after the Longest Walk, for $399 last December. So check the sales in the local newspaper. Here's five cheap laptops recomended by PC World:
For all the best free software recommended by PC magazine, go to:,2817,2260070,,2817,2260070,00.asp
Finally, if you have tips about free or really cheap software or equipment, please e-mail me,
Happy holidays! Brenda
PHOTO TOP: November 1940. Tehama County, California. John Frost and his daughter listening to the radio in their home. View full size. Medium format safety negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

December 23, 2008

Hopi Chairman Ben Nuvamsa Resigns

Hopi Chairman who fought against Peabody expansion, and for true sovereignty, resigns

By Bill Havens,
Public Information Officer, Office of the Chairman
Photo: Chairman Ben Nuvamsa in a Hopi and Navajo delegaton at Peabody protest in Denver/Photo Mano Cockrum

Kykotsmovi, Arizona – December 22, 2008 – Chairman Benjamin H. Nuvamsa Submits Resignation. After nearly two years of turmoil, conflict, in-fighting, and dysfunctional tribal government, the elected Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, Benjamin H. Nuvamsa, following a regular session of the Hopi Tribal Council, submitted his resignation to be effective December 31, 2008.
Stunned tribal members were in tears.
In the memorandum announcing his resignation, Chairman Nuvamsa cited among the reasons the affect the turmoil of the last two years has had on every member of the Tribe and the impact it has had on his family. He also expressed concern that it has “affected the very meaning of what ‘Hopi’ stands for.”
Collectively the Hopi people have just entered Soyal Muya, a time for a new beginning and the rejuvenation of life, in the annual Hopi ceremonial cycle. “Let us look at this decision as a new beginning,” said Chairman Nuvamsa, “and an opportunity where we can all begin a reconciliation process – a healing process – and work together for a new and healthy year and a brighter future.”
Continued Chairman Nuvamsa, “It was necessary to take this step for the sake of the people – to hopefully end the vicious series of events that have been consuming the Tribe and interfering in the work we are supposed to be doing for the people. They, Todd Honyaoma, Sr., Ivan Sidney and their supporters, would have never stopped until the end of my term. Their entire agenda has revolved around blocking everything I have tried to accomplish and, ultimately, getting me out of office.”
“Our government has been broken for nearly two years,” said Chairman Nuvamsa. “We have been prohibited from making any positive progress with regard to economic development or government reform and we are losing the fight to protect our natural resources. We have not been allowed to do anything for our people for two years. We have not been allowed to work on important issues like the Black Mesa Project Environmental Impact Study, water rights, land issues, increasing revenue, and important social and health issues.”
“Over the last two years we have seen a systematic dismantling of our government,” said Chairman Nuvamsa. “They have destroyed the Hopi Court system by ‘suspending’ the Appellate Court Justices to protect themselves from rulings unfavorable to their agenda. They have defied the Hopi Constitution and have interfered in the peoples’ right to have their votes count, and they have transferred the authorities of the Chairman over to the Office of the Vice Chairman.”
“In spite of their obstructionist tactics,” said Nuvamsa, “we have made some accomplishments. We were able to secure funding for an elderly facility and helped with the funding for Moencopi Development Corporation’s projects. We were also able to restructure our investments so we were making money instead of losing it.”
“We also stood up for the preservation of the Hopi and Tewa people’s right to control the exploitation of our natural resources,” said Chairman Nuvamsa. “By fighting against the Office of Surface Mining’s last minute efforts to push through the Peabody life-of-mine permit before the end of the Bush administration, even though it appears on the surface that we lost, we fought for the sovereignty of the Hopi Nation and for the principle of the right of all sovereign Indian nations to control their own resources and to determine how and when they are sold. We will continue this fight even after we leave office.”
Chairman Nuvamsa continued, “Since my election in the special election that followed the removal of Chairman Ivan Sidney after his widely publicized intoxication incident in Winslow, I have been the target of a small majority of the Tribal Council who have been determined to make my removal the only item on their agenda. Most recently I have been accused of disrespecting our traditional leaders. Nothing can be farther from the truth.”
“In fact,” continued Nuvamsa, “the real disrespect for our traditional religious leaders comes from dragging them into the political arena. Our religious practitioners walk a thin line. It is said they walk on a razor’s edge and they must maintain their focus on their religious duties or they will fall. Bringing them into the political battles is a serious distraction from their spiritual responsibilities that threatens the balance and harmony they are responsible for maintaining for the good of all mankind.”
The spearhead of the attacks on Chairman Nuvamsa has been Todd Honyaoma, Sr., the Vice Chairman that publicly “stepped down” from office in February 2008 but has since refused to vacate his office. Faced with rulings by the Hopi Appellate Court that those opposed to Chairman Nuvamsa’s leadership didn’t like, Honyaoma recently “suspended” the entire panel of Appellate Court Justices. Honyaoma recently promised the people that he would resign, also effective December 31, 2008.
Said Chairman Nuvamsa in his resignation memorandum, “I now challenge Todd Honyaoma, Sr., to do the honorable thing and honor his word and promise he made to the people on two separate occasions to ‘step down’ on December 31, 2008…To the members of the tribal council and other key officials of the tribe, I also challenge you to look within yourselves and ask yourselves why you sit on the tribal council and why you work for the Hopi Tribe. As leaders, we must honor our word to our people and be accountable…because it is the people we serve. We are their servants.”
“We will see if he keeps his promise,” said Chairman Nuvamsa about Honyaoma’s promise to resign.”
“Without an appellate court,” said Nuvamsa, “there is no justice. There is no right to appeal. Corruption goes unquestioned. What results is a dictatorship.”
Chairman Nuvamsa has also been under almost constant attack from the current “acting” Chief Prosecutor, Jeffrey Porturica, who has been maliciously issuing arrest warrants, seemingly as fast as he can prepare them, based on questionable charges in an apparent attempt to harass Chairman Nuvamsa and to keep him from presiding over Tribal Council meetings. Porturica assumed the position of “acting” Chief Prosecutor when the real Chief Prosecutor, Dorma Sahneyah, was fired from her position allegedly for sharing confidential information with the press. Porturica does not have a law degree. Sahneyah, a licensed attorney, had prepared a simple statement for the press in a high-profile case that Sahneyah says did not reveal any privileged or confidential information. It is common practice for prosecutors’ offices to prepare such statements when they anticipate a high volume of calls from the press on a particular case.
If Honyaoma follows through on his promise to resign, there will be no Chairman and no Vice Chairman. Though the Hopi Constitution mandates an election when vacancies occur in these offices, the same individuals that have been targeting Chairman Nuvamsa for removal are preparing to place the Tribe’s Secretary, Mary Felter, in the top position. Felter is very unpopular among many Hopi and Tewa people and is seen by many as a behind-the-scenes manipulative force with aspirations for power.
More recently emerging forces in the efforts to remove Chairman Nuvamsa are First Mesa Representative Dale Sinquah and Ivan Sidney, the former Chairman who’s removal prompted the special election that put Chairman Nuvamsa into office. Sidney was hired by Honyaoma a few months ago as his top staff member.
“It appears that their main goal is to get rid of me. The result has been a collapse of our government, the destruction of our court system and, thus, the violation of our citizens’ civil rights, and the tearing apart of our community and families. By taking myself out of the equation,” said Nuvamsa, “I’m hoping that we can begin the long healing process and the stabilization of our government.”
Concluded Chairman Nuvamsa, “I pray that the people will understand that this appears to be the only way to stop the pain and tears that our people have been experiencing for the last two years. I want to thank you, the people, for your faith in me. Now I must have faith in you to take back your government and rebuild it as a government that truly works for you, the Hopi and Tewa people, a truly representative form of government.”