By Brenda Norrell
ALCATRAZ ISLAND -- Speaking at the Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony, the American Indian Movement called on the Obama administration to make real changes for Indian country. The challenge is voiced on today's Censored Blog Radio show, "AIM on Alcatraz," by Bill Means, with Pat Bellanger and Mike Flores.
Bill Means, cofounder of the International Indian Treaty Council, said the new administration in the U.S. offers hope. Means said the American Indian Movement is calling on the Obama administration to establish a new Presidential Treaty Commission; abolish the BIA and for passage of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
On Alcatraz, Mike Flores, Tohono O'odham, described the assault by Homeland Security and the US Border Patrol on Tohono O'odham lands. Flores called for worldwide support to halt construction of the US/Mexico border wall and stop the militarization of the Tohono O'odham Nation and all Indigenous borderlands. Flores said the US is destroying endangered species, their habitat and migration routes.
On the broadcast, KPFA/Alcatraz Free Radio cohost Tony Gonzales points out that the people of Palestine are also suffering from the isolation, militarization and horrors of a border wall. Gonzales said while walls are coming down in Europe, the US is building a wall.
Bellanger, Anishinabe from Minnesota, shares a memory of Phillip Deer and the imaginary border. Bellanger said she has been with AIM since the beginning and it has been an incredible journey. She said the gathering at Alcatraz was a time to celebrate what has been accomplished and a time for giving thanks.
"We beat daddy Bush and we beat baby Bush," Bellanger says of the fight against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
Means also points out the rise in power of the Maori in New Zealand, a rising world voice empowering Indigenous Peoples.
Means said what happened on Alcatraz and at Wounded Knee, along with the fishing rights struggle, the struggle of Pitt River and the struggles elsewhere, led to sovereignty and self-determination.
Listen to today's show and three others in this week's series:
--The first show, "American Indian Resistance," includes interviews with Morning Star Gali about the Shellmound Walkers. Long Walker Harry talks about service with the Black Mesa Caravan. Mohawk Mark Maracle speaks about Tyendinaga, at the AIM-West 40-Year Reunion in San Francisco. The show includes a segment from Alcatraz Island, with Clyde Bellecourt and Lenny Foster, Dine' speaking on Native religious freedom rights (30 minutes.)
--The second show, "Emergence of the American Indian Movement," includes Bill Means remembering Raymond Yellow Thunder, a Lakota whose murder in Gordon, Nebraska, changed the course of history for the American Indian Movement. Award-winning Anishinabe singer Keith Secola sings Fry Bread and NDN Cars. Clyde Bellecourt speaks on the importance and early years of AIM, during the AIM West 40-Year Reunion in San Francisco (90 minutes.)
--The third show, "Indigenous Voices of Resistance," includes Western Shoshone call in guests describing how Barrick Gold is currently bulldozing the Shoshone's sacred Mount Tenabo. During the first days of December, Barrick cut off Western Shoshone access to their ceremonial grounds. The show includes news and music. The All Nation Singers in California and the Longest Walk Northern Route at Cahokia Mounds, recorded by Earthcycles, sing the AIM song. (90 minutes.)