Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 30, 2009

Floyd Hand: 'Spiritual vampires' desecrate sweatlodge way of life

Cheyenne River
Crow Creek
Fort Peck
Lower Brule
Pine Ridge
Standing Rock
Contact: Natalie Hand @ 605-867-5762
November 24, 2009

By Natalie Hand

Censored News

On November 2, 2009, Floyd Hand, Jr., (Oglala Lakota Sioux) Oglala Delegate to the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, along with Ivan H. Lewis (Pima/Maricopa/Yavapai), filed a lawsuit (Case No.: CV-09-8196-PCT-FJM) in the U.S. District Court in Arizona against James Arthur Ray and the Angel Valley Retreat Center.
In the petition, Hand and Lewis assert that Ray caused the desecration of the sacred Lakota ceremony, “Inikaga,” commonly referred to as sweat lodge, by causing the deaths of three participants. The suit contends that Angel Valley Retreat Center is culpable for allowing individuals like Ray to rent their property which offers a sweat lodge for paying participants. Furthermore, Ray and Angel Valley Retreat Center committed fraud by impersonating Native Americans and must be held responsible for causing the deaths of the victims and serious injuries to the survivors.
In the immediate aftermath of the deaths, Ray fled the scene and Angel Valley Retreat Center staff dismantled the sweat lodge, thus tampering with a crime scene.
Hand contends that the “Inikaga” and other ancient Lakota rituals is a way of life, not a religion.
“Ray is a spiritual vampire who will use whatever means necessary to turn a profit. He and others like him that profit from our culture must be held accountable for their continual fraud and desecration. This ceremony comes from the Lakota. We maintain our cultural identity today and people like Ray are trying to mock it as a means to acquire material possessions. They cannot hide behind the Religious Freedom Act. This is NOT a religion," stated Hand.
The Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868 between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation is a legal binding agreement that is the “supreme law of the land."
Article 1 of the Treaty states that “… if bad men among the whites or other people subject to the authority of the United States shall commit any wrong upon the person or the property of the Indians, the United States will … proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States, and also reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained …”
For Ivan Lewis, this lawsuit is a long overdue. “I joined with my Lakota brothers to stop the desecration. These new-agers have been selling our native ceremonies for years here on our homeland. The non-natives are taking everything from us. Ray and the Angel Valley folks are a dime a dozen in Yavapai territory. My hope is that this lawsuit will put light on our treaties with the U.S. and will show the people of Arizona that we have sovereign rights," stated Lewis.
Importantly, Hand and Lewis want to emphasize that they are not affiliated with a group calling themselves the “Council of Indigenous Traditional Healers."
“This group claims that they will authenticate and qualify individuals, including non-Indians, to conduct our ceremonies. Our people know who is a real healer and who isn't. Yes, everyone is entitled to pray, but our ceremonies belong with us in our native tongue," noted Lewis.
To date, the plaintiffs have received notification that a judge has been assigned to the case. The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office's homicide investigation continues and hopes to submit evidence to the County Attorney's Office in December.


Alex White Plume, Lakota
"Thank you for this. The elders in a meeting at Billy Nills Hall discussed this. They said, we never say no, now they are getting out of hand with our ways. The Lakota make wopila, not to charge for personal gain. A society leader was acknowledged. This society is created to stop people from this type of outright capitalization of ceremonies. They are young, sober, and strong Lakota. We know they will defend our way. This society is sovereign, and can act any where they see our ceremonies being violated. I think the concept will grow across our country."

November 28, 2009

AIM West Concert Photos

AIM West Concert, in honor of the 40 Year Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz. Double click images to enlarge. Photos by Brenda Norrell.

November 27, 2009


Friday night's AIM West Concert of Native sounds, piano, poetry and jazz, is now available in video archives: Bob Young Project, Dr. Loco and the Rockin' Jalapenos and Native youth musicians, from the AIM West 40 Year Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz:
More info:

November 26, 2009

Return to Alcatraz: 40 Years of Resistance

Return to Alcatraz: 40 Years of Resistance

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

ALCATRAZ -- With the sounds of the Miwok singers and the calling out of the names of the original occupiers of Alcatraz, American Indians ushered in a new era of resistance, remembering how the act of holding the rock became the bedrock of a new generation.

During the Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony, commemorating the 40 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz, Clyde Bellecourt of the American Indian Movement, told thousands gathered to prepare to hold President Obama accountable.

Bellecourt said that last year everyone was excited when President Obama was elected. "I was happy too. I went to his inauguration. The whole world was excited."

"I told every one of you to be vigilant, to be watchful. We've heard promises before."

Bellecourt pointed out that President Obama has bailed out the car companies, bailed out Wall Street and bailed out the banks. The Indian people, however, have not been bailed out. Obama made campaign promises to the Indian people. So far, the missing billions in the trust funds have not been returned to the Indian people.

"We haven't seen a penny of what belongs to us. There may be a day when we have to hold his feet to the fire."

"We don't want a stimulus package. We don't want anyone to bail us out." Bellecourt said Indian people want what is justly theirs and guaranteed by treaties.

Referring to the Massacre of Wounded Knee, he said, "We'll never let this sacred hoop be broken again." Bellecourt said it is time to nourish the sacred tree and this hoop of life.

"We're still at war," he said, responding to questions of how to join the American Indian Movement. "I draft every one of you."

On Alcatraz, Doug Duncan said casinos have brought greed to Indian country and many elected tribal governments are now acting like whites. In northern California, the Pomo people are struggling to have their sacred land returned at Bloody Island, the site of the Massacre of Bloody Island in 1850.

Lenny Foster, Dine', spiritual leader for inmates in state and federal prisons, said he continues to visit Leonard Peltier in prison in Pennsylvania. Urging calls and letters to Obama to grant Peltier clemency, Foster said Peltier's health has not been good.

"He's been incarcerated for 33 years on fabricated evidence, "said Foster, adding that Peltier is one of the world's most famous political prisoners. Foster said Peltier's release would spark reconciliation between the United States and Indian people. Referring to the longstanding failure of the US to live up to its promises, he said, "We're not asking for any more than what is guaranteed to our people. Our people signed treaties."

During the weeklong events of AIM West, which began on Nov. 23, Bill Means spoke of the recent visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik, to his Oglala homeland at Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Describing some of the worst living conditions in America, Means, cofounder of the International Indian Treaty Council, said there is a need for 6,000 more homes. On the average, 14 Lakotas live in each home. Because of the lack of funding and repairs, HUD homes have mold, disrepair, broken windows and doors that don't shut.

Means said the people are asking for what was guaranteed by treaty and are not seeking the benevolence of the United States. "The United States is not living up to their legal commitments through the treaties." Housing, education and health care were assured when the US took the lands of the Indian people.

Bellecourt, Foster, Means, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Yvonne Swan and Mark Maracle were among the AIM-West speakers on issues ranging from the theft of Indian children by social services to the theft of Indian lands for energy development. During the week, the Ohlone people were honored with images shown on Coit Tower, towering above the city, from sunset to dawn, before the Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony. Still, the Shellmounds of the Ohlone people continue to be desecrated in the San Francisco region.

At the AIM-West gathering, Mark Maracle described the genocide of Indian people in the United States and Canada and how Indian children were sent to residential schools and boarding schools. "They murdered their minds."

"They continue to do it today," Maracle said. Speaking of the need for unity, Maracle said the Haudenosaunee's Great Law is for everyone.

"We are a Nation," he said, pointing out that the Mohawks are not a "tribe." He said the United States is not 100 percent sovereign. Only Native nations are 100 percent sovereign.

"We have the greatest weapon, the truth."

Thousands gathered before first light at the Alcatraz Sunrise Gathering on Nov. 26 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz. In the 1960s, American Indians occupied Alcatraz in a series of occupations. On November 20, 1969, Indians of All Tribes -- American Indian men, women and children -- made a stand here for justice. Alcatraz, vacated by the Bureau of Prisons in 1963, became the rallying place for the people to demand that their treaties be honored and their lands be returned. Lakota, Creek, Mono, Pomo, Paiute, Navajo, Mohawk, Chippewa and others took a stand that became a pivotal point for sovereignty, justice and freedom in Indian country.

For photos, audios and videos of this week's events:

Photos of Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony by Francisco Da Costa:
LISTEN: KPFA Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony (2 hours audio archive)
To watch videos of coverage by Earthcycles and Censored News over the past month, go to Earthcycles Livestream at:
Click "ON-DEMAND" or "Menu" after the commercial, or scroll down to videos.
--Nov. 24-25: AIM West (two videos, more to be added)
--Nov. 13: O'odham Solidarity Event
--Nov. 15: US torture protest vigil and arrests at Fort Huachuca
--Oct 22-24: Acoma Pueblo uranium summit
Thanks for joining us!


Photo AIM West 2009

AIM West gathering on Wednesday. Friday night's concert includes Bob Young and Dr. Loco, at the Baha'i Center in San Francisco. Photo Brenda Norrell. (Double click on image to enlarge.)
Watch AIM West Tuesday night program:

Watch AIM West Wednesday afternoon program:
Please check back for more sessions, as others will be posted.

FRIDAY, November 27, 2009
11:00am - 2:00 pm Bay Street Mall Ohlone and Shellmound Way Emeryville, CA Annual Black Friday protest at Emeryville's Bay Street Mall. The Bay Street Mall was built on top of an ancient Ohlone burial site after years of protest actions by the local Native American community. The construction of the mall unearthed HUNDREDS of human remains, many of which were taken away to landfill in the name of consumerism. While the construction of the mall couldn't be stopped, we in the Bay Area Native American community ask the non-Native community to join us in protesting this obscene structure. On "Black Friday" every year we remind the public that this is sacred Indian land and the Bay Street Mall should be boycotted.
FRIDAY, November 27, 2009
6:00pm - 10:00 pm Bahai'i Center 170 Valencia St San Francisco, Calif: Benefit fundraiser at the Bahai’I Center, 170 Valencia Street in San Francisco! Tickets $10-20 donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. Doors open at 6 pm until 10 pm. Music by Bob Young Project, Local Artists, special guests and much more!! Please bring cans of food for Inter-Tribal Friendship House in Oakland. -- Mark Anquoe AIM-West

KPFA: Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony 2009

Sunrise Ceremony - November 26, 2009 at 6:00am

Click to listen (or download)

November 25, 2009

Outta Your Backpack Media 'Thanks Taking'

Native youth production from Flagstaff, Ariz.

The Ohlone, for all of San Francisco to see

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: Ann Marie Sayers, Ohlone, gazes at the images on Cloit Tower. Photo Brenda Norrell.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The images of the Ohlone people on Coit Tower tonight were absolutely magical. High above San Francisco, on a hilltop above the bay, Ann Marie Sayers spoke of the Ohlone people as the images were shown on this high tower for the people of San Francisco to see. This was a creative act of excellence, when art becomes true art, reflecting the original energies, as Mark Toby once said.
Mary Jean Robertson broadcast live on KPOO tonight. Coit Towers shows films and images on the tower until dawn:
Celebrating the 40th year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz.
The Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony begins at dawn on Thursday morning, from Pier 33.
LISTEN LIVE: KPFA Online San Francisco: Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony
Thursday November 26th at 6:00am

Listen to the AIM West 40 Year Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz:
(Videos of Nov. 24 and Nov. 25)

AIM West Watch Livestream Today

Earthcycles and Censored News welcome Native youth mentor Sage, livestreaming from AIM West. Sage and Govinda/Photo Brenda Norrell.

Chat is open at Livestream website. Program begins shortly after 10 a.m. Pacific time.
Watch live streaming video from earthcycles at

AIM West livestream today Wed., Nov. 25, 2009

The American Indian Movement leaders are being broadcast live today, Wednesday, Nov. 25, from the AIM West 40 Year Reunion of the Occupation of Alcatraz in San Francisco. Join Bill Means, Clyde Bellecourt, Wadona Thunder Hawk, Yvonne Swan, Tony Gonzales, Mark Anquoe and more beginning at 10 a.m. Pacific time. The Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz begins at dawn on Thursday.
Watch livestream at:
Photos: Wadona Thunder Hawk. Photo 2: Clyde Bellecourt at AIM West on Tuesday. Photo 3: Tomas Reyes and others at the feast. Photos Brenda Norrell.

November 24, 2009

LIVE from AIM West San Francisco

Join us again live Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific for AIM West speakers online or at the Baha'i Center, 170 Valencia St., San Francisco. Listen to Bill Means, Clyde Bellecourt, Mark Maracle, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Yvonne Swan, Mark Anquoe, Tony Gonzales and more.
Watch tonight's program by clicking on "ON-DEMAND" (after the commercial, it is a free site) and then select show for Nov. 24.

November 23, 2009

Video: 'Invisible Indians'

US Censorship: Editors the blood is on your hands

What the United States does best is to deceive the masses with the media

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- During the past few weeks, there's been a wave of censorship and news distortion surrounding events in Tucson. In the first case, the O'odham Solidarity Project hosted the event, "Apartheid in America: Surviving Occupation in O'odham Lands."

There were several ways that this event was censored by editors and publishers. First of all, most didn't even send reporters. Then, there are reporters who wrote articles that were not published. Here is the primary way that editors censor a reporter's article. They say, "Get the other side of the story." In the case of the O'odham event, speakers spoke and there was no opposition. Their words deserve to be quoted.

Of course the bottom line was that most newspapers did not want to risk quoting the controversial Ward Churchill, the guest speaker. They were afraid to print his words and engaged in a form of censorship. In the borderzone, the media is reluctant to point out the similarities between the militarization of the US/Mexico border and the border of Palestine. Along with the militarization and oppression, the two borders have in common the same spy industry contractor, the Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems, subcontracted in the US by Boeing. The city of Tucson is nursed by the poison milk of war manufacturers and military operations.

The O'odham Solidarity Event offered a special potency because of the presentations by Ofelia Rivas and her brother Julian Rivas, O'odham living on the border, a region militarized by US border agents, where the elected tribal government and tribal police oppress their own people. Here, O'odham have no civil rights. O'odham and migrants are murdered by US border agents who are never held accountable.

The second case of news distortion was in the coverage of the Southwest Weekend of Witness to End Torture. In one newspaper's coverage, both the peaceful protesters and the counter protesters were covered as if they stood on the same moral ground. However, to report this accurately as a journalist, the newspaper should have pointed out that the counter protesters screamed insults and slurs constantly.

Sierra Vista, home to Fort Huachuca's US Army Intelligence Center, made the news in recent years when the Ku Klux Klan joined with Minutemen. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Sierra Vista as the home of a hate organization, the anti-immigrant American Border Patrol. This climate of hate, with its rancid hate speech, was obvious during the peaceful vigil, protest and walk.

Of course neither AP nor the major newspapers in the US sent reporters to cover the US torture vigil. Those present at the vigil called for an end to US torture, the closure of Guantanamo and an end to drones. Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles are now carrying out "rogue assassinations," and killing civilians.

At Fort Huachuca, five people peacefully crossed over onto the army base and were voluntarily arrested to bring attention to Fort Huachuca's longstanding role in publishing torture manuals and training soldiers who carry out torture. The production of the School of Americas torture manual was here, a fact made public by the US in 1996. Major Gen. Barbara Fast, who previously served at Fort Huachuca, was the chief of interrogations at Abu Ghraib.

During the 1970s and 1980s, tens of thousands of people in the Americas were tortured, raped and assassinated as a result of US torture training by the School of the Americas. The US kidnappings and torture continues around the world, masked with the words "secret renditions." Mercenaries, such as Blackwater, now XE, murdered with impunity. Bush and Cheney have not been held accountable for violating the Geneva Conventions.

So, for those editors and publishers who censor and distort the facts of the oppression at the border, and the United States role in ongoing torture and assassinations, the blood is also on your hands.

Video coverage of the O'odhan event and torture vigil and arrests at:
Photos and articles at Censored News
Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map:

AIM West this week

Nov. 23 -- 27, 2009
By Mark Anquoe
Photo: Mark Anquoe/by Brenda Norrell

Brothers and Sisters,
Lots of things happening this week in San Francisco. If you're interested in the American Indian Movement and want to be more involved, come to one of our meeting days (monday and wednesday). If you want to see and be seen, please join us for a public feast on Tuesday or the Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony on Thursday morning. And PLEASE join us at the Emeryville Shellmound Protest on Friday. Details below. See you there! --
MONDAY, November 23, 2009
10:00am - 5:30pm
Koret Auditorium, SF Main Public Library 100 Larkin St. San Francisco, CA Opening ceremonies for anniversary week events. Speakers include Bill Means, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Mike Flores and Mark Maracle. Also special screening of AIM-West film production "El Salvador: I Want My People To Live".
TUESDAY, November 24, 2009 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Bahai'i Center 170 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA Potluck feast, speakers, singers and traditional dancers from all over Indian Country! Special program starts at 12:00pm. Speakers will include Mary Jean Robertson and Clyde Bellecourt. Bring food to share! Food prep starts at 10am WEDNESDAY, November 25, 2009 10:00am - 5:00pm
Bahai'i Center 170 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA A full day of topics led by a panel of distinguished community organizers: Sacred Sites; Immigration and Border issues; Environment and COP-15 in Copenhagen; Treaties, and Mineral Resource and Mining Extraction; Prisoner Rights and strategy campaign for Leonard Peltier’ Executive Clemency; Federally Recognized, Unrecognized and Disenrollment; Building AIM chapters and defining role of supporters, coalitions, alliances, and capacity building; Youth and International Solidarity with Liberation Movements.
THURSDAY, November 26, 2009
5:00am - 9:00am
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Annual UnThanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island. Board ships from Pier #33 - Hornblower Alcatraz Tours, purchase tickets online, $14 kids under 5 free! The sunrise program will be broadcast from THE ROCK live on radio KPFA 94.1 starting at 6am to 9am with Miguel Molina, and Co-Anchored by Tony Gonzales of AIM-WEST with Mary Jean Robertson, DJ of KPOO radio. For those of you too far away to attend, this event will be audio broadcast live at
FRIDAY, November 27, 2009 11:00am - 2:00pm
Bay Street Mall Ohlone and Shellmound Way Emeryville, CA Annual Black Friday protest at Emeryville's Bay Street Mall. The Bay Street Mall was built on top of an ancient Ohlone burial site after years of protest actions by the local Native American community. The construction of the mall unearthed HUNDREDS of human remains, many of which were taken away to landfill in the name of consumerism. While the construction of the mall couldn't be stopped, we in the Bay Area Native American community ask the non-Native community to join us in protesting this obscene structure. On "Black Friday" every year we remind the public that this is sacred Indian land and the Bay Street Mall should be boycotted.
FRIDAY, November 27, 2009
6:00pm - 10:00pm Bahai'i Center 170 Valencia St San Francisco, CA Benefit fundraiser at the Bahai’I Center, 170 Valencia Street in San Francisco! Tickets $10-20 donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. Doors open at 6 pm until 10 pm. Music by Bob Young Project, Local Artists, special guests and much more!! Please bring cans of food for Inter-Tribal Friendship House in Oakland. -- Mark Anquoe AIM-West

California Shellmounds
Footage from the 2006 Emeryville Shellmound Protest including that evening's news story. When Native American protesters decided to walk away from their secluded "protest corner", the police tried to stop and intimidate the protesters. The walkers refused to stop. Video shot by Perry Matlock end edited by Mark Anquoe.
PLEASE JOIN US THIS YEAR! 11am, Friday, November 27, 2009. Meet at Shellmound and Ohlone Way in Emeryville, CA. For more information visit :
California shellmounds are massive ancient structures built by Native Americans that were used as human burial sites. The Bay Street Mall in Emeryville, California was built on the ruins of a 3500 year old Ohlone Shellmound. The construction of the shopping mall was strongly opposed by the local Native American community, who wanted the sacred site to be left undisturbed.

Despite their opposition, the mall was built in 2001. During the mall's construction, hundreds of human remains were found and visibly removed as waste in front of protesters. Since that time, the Native American community in the San Francisco Bay Area has held annual protests on Black Friday ("The biggest shopping day of the year") to ask the non-Native community to boycott the shopping center that has permanently desecrated this unique and irreplaceable sacred Ohlone site.

The number of burials found [...] still remains a mystery.

"We did find a lot of intact burials," said Oakland archeologist Sally Salzman Morgan, who was hired by Emeryville to study the site. "Its too inflammatory to say how many there were. But most (burials) were disturbed."

Rosemary Cambra, tribal chair of the Muwekma Ohlone, calls the citys new, culturally-sensitive development the legally-permitted erasing of a culture. "Were still living in the world of politics of erasure," Cambra said. "Its just an old way of racism. Nothing has really changed for tribal groups in the Bay Area."

--Mark Anquoe

November 22, 2009

Kailey Wong's Photos: Alcatraz Occupation Reunion

Kailey Wong's photos of the 40th Anniversary of the Alcatraz Occupation, with support for college students. Thank you for sharing these photos! 40th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz at UC Berkeley.
"A gathering of old and young warriors to commemorate the occupation of Alcatraz as Native American Land. Keynote speakers, Dr. LaNada War Jack and Dr. Lehman Brightman gave moving lectures. After lunch, we marched en mass to support the student occupation of Wheeler Hall as a protest to the Board of Regents raising the student tuition 32 percent."
Read about student occupation: 'Wheeler Hall occupation ends peacefully'

November 21, 2009

40th Anniversay of Alcatraz Occupation Reunion

United Native Americans Co-Founders: Dr. LaNada War Jack, Lehman L. Brightman, Trudy Felix Brightman, Virginia Cottier, & daughter at the Official 40th Anniversary of the Take Over of Alcatraz. 11.20.09. Quanah Parker Brightman wrote, "The Cottier's & The Leach Family Were The ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS' of ALCATRAZ BACK IN 1964. RIP Belvia & Stella. SIOUX Indian Power!" Lehman Brightman wrote, "The Sun Rises Everyday For The People To Make Change Happen In This Life."
(Thanks to Quanah for sending this photo.)

Photo from Lehman Brightman.
Nov. 26, 2009 is The 40th National Day of Mourning World Wide.
Join us as we dedicate the 40th national day of mourning to our brother, Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier. Create true awareness of indigenous peoples and shatter the untrue image of the Pilgrims and the unjust system of racism, sexism, homophobia and war.
Potluck social to follow rally/march.

40th National Day of Mourning
Nov. 26, 2009
12:00 noon
Coles Hill Plymouth, MA
United American Indians of New England
284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 (U.S. "thanksgiving" day) at Cole's Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 12 noon SHARP. Cole's Hill is the hill above Plymouth Rock in the Plymouth historic waterfront area.
There will be a march through the historic district of Plymouth. Plymouth has agreed, as part of the settlement of 10/19/98, that UAINE may march on Day of Mourning without the need for a permit as long as we give the town advance notice.
Although we very much welcome our non-Native supporters to stand with us, it is a day when only Native people speak about our history and the struggles that are taking place throughout the Americas. Speakers will be by invitation only. This year's NDOM is once again dedicated to our brother Leonard Peltier.
We hope there will be a pot-luck social held after the National Day of Mourning speak-out and march this year. Please check back to the website to confirm. We anticipate that the hall may not be large enough to seat everyone at once. We may have to do two seatings. Preference for the first seating will be given to Elders, young children and their mother/caretaker, pregnant women, Disabled people, and people who have traveled a long distance to join National Day of Mourning. Please respect our culture and our wish to ensure that these guests will be the first to be able to sit and eat. With this understanding in mind, please bring non-alcoholic beverages, desserts, fresh fruit & vegetables, and pre-cooked items (turkeys, hams, stuffing, vegetables, casseroles, rice & beans, etc.) that can be easily re-warmed at the social hall prior to the social. Thank you.

Limited carpool transportation may be available from Boston. Contact the Boston International Action Center at (617) 522-6626 (617) 522-6626. There is transportation from New York City via the International Action Center, for more information call 212-633-6646 212-633-6646.
Directions: National Day of Mourning is held by the statue of Massasoit at Cole's Hill. Cole's Hill is the hill rising above Plymouth Rock on the Plymouth waterfront. If you need directions, use Water Street and Leyden Street in Plymouth, MA as your destination at That will bring you to within a few hundred feet of Plymouth Rock and Cole's Hill. You can probably find a place to park down on Water Street.
Monetary donations are gratefully accepted. Please make checks payable to the Metacom Education Project and mail to Metacom Education Project/UAINE at 284 Amory Street, Boston, MA 02130.
For more information contact: United American Indians of New England/LPSG at 617-522-6626 617-522-6626 or
The group’s site can be found and viewed at There will a pot-luck social to follow.

Dooda (NO) Desert Rock to UN: Human rights abuses by energy corporations

Attorney at Law

November 21,2009
Julian Burger
Indigenous & Minorities Unit Coordinator
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva Office
Palais Wilson, Room 4-0811211 Geneva 10

Re:Elaboration of Guidelines on Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries

Dear Mr. Burger:
I take this opportunity to follow up on a recent informal communication to you to open discussionof this issue and to say how good it was to see you in Geneva in August.
I see a lot of movement on questions that are vital to Dooda Desert Rock ofthe Navajo Nation. TheUnited Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination took particular note of problems associated with mining in areas of spiritual and cultural significance to Native Americans in the United States and adverse effects of the exploitation of natural resources by transnational corporations in its consideration of periodic reports of the United State, with specific reference to discrimination against indigenous Peoples in the United States. ReportCERD/CIUSAlCO/6,29,30 (8 May 2008).
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner gave a report to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on a workshop on natural resource companies, indigenous peoples and human rights that cited the work of your office on "the elaboration of guidelines, which would serve as a framework for implementation of a human rights perspective, in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other relevant human rights standards, for extractive industries wanting to undertake activities on the land and territories of indigenous peoples." Document Paragraph 33, DocumentAlHRC/EMRIP12009/5(3July 2009).
I represent Dooda Desert Rock (Navajo for "NO" to the proposed Desert Rock power plant), an unincorporated association of grassroots Navajos, indigenous individuals and supporters, that is dedicated to not only blocking the ill-conceived Desert Rock power plant proposed by Sithe Global
Page 2
LLC, a transnational corporation engaged in extractive industries, but supporting economic development initiatives in the Indian Country of the United States that promote traditional values.
The include balance, harmony, respect and equality and the fact that Mother Earth and Father Skyare Holy Beings who live with us. The organization honors the elements of life and the teachings and wisdom of the Grandmothers and Grandfathers that we must honor the Earth and deal with itin a respectful way.
The United States is at a crossroads for energy policy. There are various proposals for energy development in Indian Country, but going to themes announced by the Expert Mechanism on theRights of Indigenous Peoples in its Report to the Human Rights Council on the Second Session heldin Geneva in August of this year (No. AlHRCI12/32, 8 September 2009) and by the Special Rapporteur in his report to the Council (No. AlHRC/12/34, 15 July 2009), participation and activeconsultation for genuine informed consent are a major problem in the United States.
That is, the federal government, and its Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in particular, areproceeding to develop energy policy for Indian Country without adequate notice to Indian Country and to individual Indians, including civil society organizations such as Dooda Desert Rock.
Indigenous civil society is being denied meaningful participation in policy development and issues that matter. We encounter problems with the desecration of our sacred mountains of the West and of the South by recreational development and threatened uranium extraction (with hate crimes associated with the latter) and the possibility that the federal government will surrender its oversight powers to companies through ill-conceived delegations of authority to Indian nation governments.
Dooda Desert Rock stresses that it is not opposed to economic development or resource extraction-it is opposed to false "economic development" that does not include or serve the people and toresource extraction without regard to the human rights of the people who live on the land.
Accordingly, I am instructed by Dooda Desert Rock, and by other grassroots groups of this region that will participate in the High Commissioner's development of guidelines to assure the observation of human rights in resource extraction, to inform you of the interest of this organization, the desire to participate in the High Commissioner's work to elaborate guidelines, and to request notice ofactivities where they can have input into her efforts.
My clients look forward to a positive and meaningful working relationship with the High Commissioner on this issue.

November 19, 2009

VIDEO: Ojibwa Grandmother recounts walk around Great Lakes

Ojibwa Grandmother recounts walk around the Great Lakes
A First Nations Grandmother, Josephine Mandamin,from Manitoulin Island,who walked around Great Lakes talks about importance of water.

Alcatraz Sunrise Gathering and 40th Anniversary Occupation Events

Friday, November 20, 11 am - 3 pm, A new Native American Mural Dedication and Unveiling, Cesar Chavez Student Center ~ West Plaza, SFSU, 1650 Holloway Ave.
The Mural depicts community activism, self determination, resistance and survivance of Native American peoples. 1:00 pm - City of SF Proclamation presented by Andrew Jolivette to Annie Oakes and Fawn Oakes
Friday, November 20th, Free of charge. 40th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz Program hosted by Richie Richards, Native American Education Specialist for the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley Hearst Museum patio, 103 Kroeber Hall, Berkeley.
The event will honor and commemorate the original efforts and intentions of the student-based occupation that took place in 1969; which was to protest the social conditions Native Americans were being subjected to in both urban areas and on reservations. Please RSVP by sending contact information to Richie Richards at *Healthy lunch will be provided to occupation speakers and elders who attend.. Lunch will be provided by Friendly Natives Catering:
Saturday, November 21st, 8 am. 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Takeover of Alcatraz by Indians of All Tribes. Meeting at Pier 33 at 8 am. Tell the ticketing office you're with the 'Occupation ceremony'.
We're holding a commemoration on the island and trying to locate as many people as possible that inhabited or even just visited the island during the occupation from Nov. 1969 to June of 1971. This was a monumental event in Indian Country with international attention drawn to the plight of the American Indian. It helped shape reforms in policy that impact Native Americans to this day. Come join us!
Saturday, November 21st- Film Screening of Alcatraz is Not an Island. Artist Television Access,992 Valencia Street (at 21st) San Francisco (415)824-3890
Filmmaker James Fortier will be in attendance as well as members of the Oaks family.
Wednesday, November 25th from 6pm till sunrise- KPOO 89.5 FM live broadcast interview with film makers and film projection on Coit ower.
The themes are honoring the occupation and also raising the presence of Ohlone leaders.
Thursday, November 26th, $14 Indigenous People's Annual Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz. Boats depart 4:45-6:00am Pier 33, San Francisco.
Purchase advance tickets at ( or call (415) 981 7625. For more information contact Morning Star Gali at (415) 641 4482. Sponsored by International Indian Treaty Council and American Indian Contemporary arts.

Please check out this incredible archive of news coverage and footage from the 1969 occupation from the SF State archive project:
Morning Star Gali
Community Liaison Coordinator
International Indian Treaty Council
Tel. + 415.641.4482 Fax + 415.641.1298

Special thanks to the UN OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague for sharing this:

November 18, 2009

O'odham: Surviving apartheid on the illegal border

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON – Tohono O’odham living on the border joined with activist Ward Churchill to speak out on “Apartheid in America, Surviving Occupation in O’odham Lands,” on Nov. 13. Ofelia Rivas and her brother Julian Rivas, O’odham living on the US/Mexico border, spoke of the impact and desecration of colonization and border militarization.
Ofelia Rivas said O’odham were never included in the dialogue determining the delineation of the US/Mexico border in the 1800s or the construction of the border wall.
“We were not at that table when they made that international border. We were not considered human,” she told the crowd of several hundred people.
Responding to questions from supporters seeking ways to help, Ofelia said, “Can you take that border down for us? Can you restore our way of life? Can you give the language back to our young people who have gone though the boarding school experience or those who went through relocation? Can you give those back to us?” she asked.
“In the beginning, when the world was made, we were here. We were made from this earth.”
She said when O’odham elders, the ancestors passed away, they became part of this earth since the beginning of time. “Our ancestors are every part of this land, not just our ancestors, but all the Indigenous Peoples of this world.”
Ofelia said she was inspired by the young people who came to learn because they care.
Describing the ongoing struggle of O’odham she said, “We are considered not human today. They can kill us, they can abuse us.” Now, the sacred routes have been closed that O’odham have followed since the beginning of time for ceremonies and to make offerings to the land.
“That is the way we live, that is our balance here as human beings.”
O’odham continue to struggle every single day because border policies make lives so difficult. Each day O’odham are confronted with the choice to compromise in order to survive and become part of the system. It is a system that makes O’odham “unhuman,” she said.
Ofelia said many look at the desert and speak only of the heat. But here, she said there is the beauty of the cactus, beauty of animals, beauty of the water that once flowed and the beauty of the original people of this land. She told those who want to make social change, the place to begin is to view O’odham as human beings. She said O’odham who happen to be born at home, in what is now another country, now need permission to travel.
When O’odham cross the border to visit their families and for ceremonies, O’odham undergo demeaning treatment on a daily basis from border agents because of this illegal border.
“They didn’t ask us to put that international border there," said Ofelia, founder of the O'odham VOICE Against the Wall.
When confronted by US Border Patrol agents, she said she uses her O’odham language to establish her right of passage. Still, the US Border Patrol has held a gun to her head and to the heads of O’odham elders. Her brother Julian was shot at crossing the border.
Ofelia said she tells young people to say prayers that the hearts of the human race will be changed. She said people need to remember their songs to give back the blessings to Mother Earth and live in harmony with the water, land and people.
Ofelia said the Tohono O’odham chairman held a ceremony recently in Washington for a card that gives permission for O’odham to travel on their own lands.
“I have a problem with that,” she said of the O’odham border card.
“As original people, we’ve always had permission from the Creator to travel on our own lands and that is the only permission we need.”
Ofelia asked for help in monitoring laws being passed in Washington. Currently, the lands of Indigenous Peoples have been contaminated by many forms of pollution, including atom bomb testing.
She pointed out that the US waived 37 laws to build the vehicle barrier on O’odham lands. The US dug up O’odham ancestors to build this vehicle barrier.
Julian Rivas said O’odham are continuing in the path of resistance fighters like Leonard Peltier. “Indigenous Peoples have a tie to the land, a tie to their beliefs. Their comfort zone is the earth. As non indigenous people, you create your own comfort zone.”
Speaking on Indigenous resistance, Julian said “We do it, we don’t just talk about it.”
Julian said he continues to cross the border even though his pickup truck has been shot at and has bullet holes in it.
“That’s our way of life in resistance.”
Julian said after 9/11 there were many changes at the border which affected the O’odham way of life. “They blocked off some of our traditional routes and it instilled a lot of fear in the people.” O’odham became fearful of crossing the border, which they have done since time immemorial, going back and forth in their homelands. Now, the militarization of the border involves at least seven enforcement agencies.
Still, traditional O’odham leaders in Mexico have been at the bargaining table with the Zapatistas in Mexico in order to bring further recognition to Indigenous Peoples in Mexico.
“We have no means of funding.”
Julian said O’odham along the border have applied to the Tohono O’odham Nation government in Sells, Arizona, for funds, but have received none.
“There is nothing coming out for that. We have to do our own fund raisers for the work we are doing.”
“We do follow a traditional order,” he said of the O’odham leadership in Mexico. He said that neither the Tohono O’odham Nation nor the Mexico government can dictate to the O’odham in Mexico. The O’odham traditional form of government is not written down, but it is known to the O’odham.
Julian said O’odham in Mexico have fought a toxic waste dump planned for their ceremonial community of Quitovac in Sonora, Mexico. O’odham in Mexico first learned about the toxic dump from people in Mexico. Although the Tohono O’odham Nation government knew about it earlier, the nation was not concerned with it, he said.
Activist groups across the Southwest helped traditional O’odham in Sonora fight this toxic dump, he said.
Julian said when 9/11 occurred Homeland Security brought in expensive vehicles to run over everything in the O’odham homeland, desecrating the land and sacred area. “They build roads wherever they want to.”
“Because of 9/11, everyone with brown skin is labeled a terrorist.”
Julian said the Tohono O’odham Nation government speaks of sovereignty, but it is not demonstrating sovereignty.
“It is always strings being pulled from somewhere else.”
“We survived 500 plus years of that. With this resistance, we’re going to last another 500 plus years,” he said.
Welcoming guest speaker Ward Churchill, Ofelia Rivas said Churchill has proven to be sympathetic and compassionate about what is happening on the border to Native lands.
During questions, Churchill said it should be the O’odham people who determine an action plan for the border. Churchill said video cameras could be used to curb the level of violence by vigilantes at the border. He said people can follow the Minutemen and other civilian border patrols around with video cameras, as the Black Panthers once did in Oakland. After the Panthers followed Oakland police around with video cameras, police brutality dropped more than 50 percent in six months.
Churchill encouraged Tucson area residents to establish “neighborly” relationships with O’odham to work toward change. He said there is no script for instant social change.
“The process is called ‘a struggle’ for a reason.”
During his talk, Churchill spoke of Leonard Peltier and Indigenous land rights. He described apartheid formulated in South Africa, which was strict segregation and flagrantly racist. He said people were outraged in the United States about apartheid, but it was adapted from Jim Crow. Jim Crow in the deep south was an antecedent to apartheid in South Africa.
For Native people, colonizers brought mainstreaming.
“Mainstreaming means assimilation.”
Churchill spoke of different forms of colonialism in South Africa, US, Poland and Germany. He spoke of how colonialism affected Native people, pointing out the short life expectancy for Native men as living conditions deteriorated and colonization increased.
Churchill described settler state colonizers and the struggle for decolonization which began in the 1940s.
Speaking of boundaries and walls, Churchill described the wall in Palestine and on O’odham land. Today in the US, O’odham have to go through “checkpoints,” just like Palestinians. Churchill compared the lethal actions of Israel toward Palestinians to the US Border Patrol’s lethal actions toward O’odham.
He said the dehumanizing of Palestinians is manifest in a similar fashion in the US. This dehumanizing of Indians is apparent in movies like the Oscar winning western “Unforgiven.”
Further, he spoke of racial profiling in the US, the popularity of Rush Limbaugh and vigilantes at borders.
Angie Ramon spoke of her son, Bennett Patricio, Jr., who was run over and killed by the US Border Patrol. Bennett was walking home through the desert at 3 a.m. when he was run over. Ramon believes, based on the evidence, that her son was intentionally run over and killed after he walked upon Border Patrol agents involved in a drug transfer. Ramon described her struggle for justice and asked why the US Border Patrol left her son crushed on the highway for so long without transporting him to a hospital.
"I know he must have still been alive," she said, describing how his fingers were still twitching as he lay dying on the highway.
She said both the US Border Patrol and the Tohono O'odham police know what really happened.
Ramon said the Tohono O'odham Nation government has not helped her financially with the case, which she took alone to the Ninth Circuit. She said the tribal government receives funds from the US Border Patrol.
During the event, the crowd enjoyed traditional O'odham tepary beans, baked squash and fry bread, cooked by Ramon and her family.
The event was a fundraiser for the O'odham Solidarity Project.

--Watch videos of this gathering, with additional O’odham interviews by Earthcycles and Censored News:

Wikipedia: "The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages.

Some examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools, public places and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms and restaurants for whites and blacks. The U.S. military was also segregated. These Jim Crow Laws were separate from the 1800-66 Black Codes, which had also restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans. State-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Generally, the remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964[1] and the Voting Rights Act of 1965."--Wikipedia

November 17, 2009

'Our Spirits Don't Speak English: Indian Boarding School'

Indian boarding school documentary discusses education, assimilation into American culture

Article by Sherri Keaton November 17,
Central Michigan Life
Photo: Carlisle Cemetery: The children who never came home/Photo by Brenda Norrell
(Michigan) Imagine someone being stripped of their culture, heritage and language and beaten for committing the “crime” of using their native tongue.
That is what happened to more than 100,000 American Indian children who attended roughly 500 boarding schools by force sometimes that focused on assimilating them into European culture.
Monday evening in the Bovee University Center Auditorium, “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School,” was shown to about 60 Central Michigan University students and several community members, who learned about these schools.
Director of Native American Programs Colleen Green said the most valuable part of this event was the background knowledge.
“This is especially helpful to have those voices be heard,” Green said. “A lot of people don’t have the background information on what’s going on with the Indian boarding schools. This is gained information that helps,” she said.
Afterward there was a discussion that focused on the topics of Native American education and how it relates to other cultural histories in America.
The Indian Boarding School documentary told a story through interviews, historical data and old photographs of how the school was both a negative and positive aspect on the children who went there.
In early November 1878, American Indian children began their education in the first off-reservation boarding schools at a deserted military post in Pennsylvania.
This Carlisle Indian Industrial School was opened by Captain Richard H. Pratt whose motto and goal was to “kill the Indian, not the man.”
Later on, hundreds of schools in the West were created after his style and many American Indian children ranged from as young as 4 years old to the late teens. Many of the methods used to “civilize” the children were actually brainwashing, according the video. Read article:

NAGPRA: The 'fox' is in control

Pawnee professor James Riding In, speaking in Michigan:
(Photo James Riding In)

"NAGPRA is flawed," James Riding In, Pawnee professor, said. "It leaves the determination of cultural affiliation with museums and federal agencies. It's like leaving the chicken coop under the control of the fox." Read article:

In the news: Obama nominates pesticide head (Monsanto and Dow Chemical) as US trade chief:

Alcatraz Occupation

Click to watch three minute excerpt from "Alcatraz is Not an Island"

40th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz Program

Host: Richie Richards
Type: Education - Workshop
Network: Global
Date: Friday, November 20, 2009
Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Bancroft Hotel - across the street from Hearst Museum
Street: 2680 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 549-1000
City/Town: Berkeley, CA
Phone: 5106437649
Email: ....


On Friday, November 20th 2009, Richie Richards the Native American Education Specialist for the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley proudly hosts the 40th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz Program. The event will honor and commemorate the original efforts and intentions of the student-based occupation that took place in 1969; which was to protest the social conditions Native Americans were being subjected to in both urban areas and on reservations. Alcatraz provided a national forum for their voices to be heard and we want to continue that conversation with this event.

*Opening: Richie Richards will discuss the agenda and speakers.

*Keynote Speaker, Dr. LaNada War Jack (formerly LaNada Means), was a student leader here at UC Berkeley and organized the Third World Strike- which ultimately led to the development of the Ethnic Studies Program at Cal. Dr. War Jack along with Richard Oakes, co- organized the take-over of Alcatraz in November, 1969. LaNada will discuss motivating factors of the Occupation during her presentation.

*Honored Guest Speaker, Dr. Lehman Brightman (President of the United Native Americans, Inc.), who will discuss the founding of UNA Inc., his role as First Director of Ethnic Studies here at UC Berkeley, and his participation in the Occupation. Dr. Brightman presented at the 40th anniversary of Ethnic Studies at SFSU and may speak about this presentation as well.

* Ilka Hartmann (German photographer from the occupation), will present a slide show of her photographs and her experiences as a non-Native participant on Alcatraz. Ilka Hartmann has taken some of the more famous photos of the Occupation as well as photos from past demonstrations of human rights and equality.

* Students from local universities will present contemporary research and statistics in regards to the current situation of Native Americans in education. Students from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and DQ-University have agreed to come present.

*Healthy lunch will be provided to occupation speakers and elders who attend, free of charge at Hearst Museum patio. Lunch will be provided by Friendly Natives Catering:
Please RSVP by sending contact information to Richie Richards at This event is meant to bring together old friends and create new networks.
*Time and Agenda are currently in development and is subject to change- due to growing interest.

Photo: No to US torture coverup

Walking in vigil to Fort Huachuca Army Intelligence Center, Arizona, New Mexico and California residents, and others from the Southwest, protest US torture at Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib. Photo 2: Torture resisters on Fort Huachuca shortly before their arrests to expose US torture and drones carrying out "rogue assassinations." Photos Brenda Norrell.
Listen to Mariah Klusmire tell why she crossed the line to the army base to expose torture on Censored Blogtalk Radio:
Read article on Southwest Weekend to End Torture:
Watch video of torture vigil and arrests on Nov. 15:

Photos: 'NO' to US Torture, Fort Huachuca

Torture protesters walk to the main gate of Fort Huachuca Army Intelligence Center, where five were arrested to bring attention to US torture, kidnappings and drones, unmanned aircraft described as carrying out "rogue assassinations." Photos copyright Brenda Norrell.
Listen to Mariah Klusmire tell why she crossed the line to the army base to expose torture on Censored Blogtalk Radio:
Read article on Southwest Weekend to End Torture:
Watch video of torture vigil and arrests on Nov. 15:

MNN: Quebec Bridge Disaster at Kahnawake?


Mohawk Nation News

MNN. Nov. 15, 2009. The Mercier Bridge is 1.4 kilometers long, spans the St. Lawrence River and Seaway between Montreal and Kahnawake on the south shore. It was built in 1932 beside the CPR Bridge which was built in 1885.

Mohawk Nation, Quebec and Canada contracted the Mohawks to strengthen the steel structure and replace the reinforced concrete bridge deck of three access ramps on Mohawk Territory. It is the largest bridge repair project in Canadian history. Canada is paying $57 million and Quebec $9 million. Over 1000 direct and indirect jobs are being created per year. Work started on April 25, 2008.

The Montreal Iron Workers Union Local 711 is trying to kick the Mohawks out because they don’t have the CCQ cards. Commission de la construction du Quebec cards are issued by the government which controls the union.

CCQ rules and regulations violate the Union’s international charter. Quebec is the only place on Great Turtle Island where a union card is worthless.

Local 711 gives Mohawks union books but tells them to work in the US or other provinces. Retired ironworkers say 711 doesn’t let those who have books from locals 40 or 361 from NY City work in Quebec or Kahnawake, even though they are considered to be highly skilled ironworkers.

Wayne Rice, is head of the local Mohawk Bridge Consortium, a group of contractors in Kahnawake. He had a meeting in August 2009 with Pierre Desroche, the 711 business agent.

711 is trying to invade our sovereignty by disqualifying the Mohawks that don’t have CCQ cards. Desroche urged Rice to send his workers without cards home and hire non-natives. This would put 80 Mohawks out of work.

Jacques Dubois, President of the union’s District Council of Eastern Canada, sent letters to certain men threatening loss of their union books and never working again if they work on the Mercier Bridge project. 9 men quit. 8 had cards and one was promised one. None have been provided jobs or a card.

Rice is trying to protect the men, women and the community now and in the future from jurisdictional encroachment by foreigners. Rice sees other trades in the community being forced under Quebec’s control so that jobs will go to non-natives and taxes can be extorted from us.

Quebec is getting caught in a web of lawlessness. Rice is apparently writing to Joseph Hunt, General President, of the AFL-CIO Iron Workers International Union in Washington DC about these racist practices. He is looking into setting up a local in Kahnawake.

MBC continues to put Mohawk workers on the bridge. Union members elsewhere say it is highly unusual to improperly deny jobs and should be investigated at the highest level.

The Mohawk Nation is inherently sovereign. Kahnawake is on unsurrendered Haudenosaunee land. In 1974 Jean Chretien, the Minister of Indian Affairs, illegally signed an Order in Council declaring it a reserve. He violated internationally recognized standards for respecting political, economic and human rights as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international legal instruments. UN General Assembly Resolution 1541 [XV] requires the informed consent of the people before they are included in another state. We have never legally or voluntarily become part of Canada.

The Mohawks’ position supported by international law is that when anyone comes into our sovereign territory, they must abide by our laws and can’t force their authority on us.

711 recently filed an injunction in Montreal Superior Court to enforce their laws in Kahnawake. As we are a nation, this issue belongs in the International Court.

Supporting this position is the recent ruling in 2008 by the FCC Federal Court of Canada. A Mohawk woman was beaten by Canada Border Services Agents at Akwesasne. She requested an investigation. FCC ruled that the victim must pay for the Crown’s costs because she lives in Kahnwake and is not a resident of Canada. FCC declared that Kahnawake is sovereign and not in Canada.

Based on this ruling, in June 2009 the Maliseet of Tobique in New Brunswick took over and kept the dam and electric generating plant that was built in the middle of their territory.

Dubois tried to unfairly tarnish the reputation of the Mohawks. He prejudiced the Mohawk Bridge Consortium and the workers on the Mercier Bridge Project by stating they are not qualified to do the work and it is a catastrophe.

On August 29, 1907, we lost most of our ironworkers when the Quebec [City] Bridge collapsed into the St. Lawrence River. We later learned this was due to deficiencies in material and construction by the contractors. We don’t want another bridge disaster, especially since we cross it every day. We are a nation and must be legally dealt with as such.

Contact: Wayne Rice, Mohawk Bridge Consortium tel. 450-635-6063

Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News, Note: Your financial help is needed and appreciated. Please send your donations by check or money order to “MNN Mohawk Nation News”, Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0. Or go to PayPal on MNN website. Nia:wen thank you very much. Go to MNN KAHNAWAKE category for more stories; New MNN Books Available now!

FCC Federal Court of Canada Prothonotary Mireille Tabib order, October 23, 2008, Mohawks residing in Akwesasne and Kahnawake are not residents of Canada. Two supporting FCC orders: Judge Francois Lemieux, January 29, 2009; and Claude Morissette, March 16, 2009. [FCA t-1309 and T-288-09].

Iron Workers International Union, % Joseph Hunt, General President, AFL-CIO,400 – 1750 NY Ave. NW, Washington DC 202-383-4810. PRESSURE SHOULD BE PUT ON LOCAL 711 AND QUEBEC TO STAY OUT OF KAHNAWAKE AND LET THE MEN WORK UNMOLESTED ON OUR TERRITORY.

Local 711 Montreal, Ville d’Anjou, QC. H1J 2Y7 514-328-2808 Tollfree 1-800-461-0711; District Council of Eastern Canada, President Jacques Dubois 514-328-1482.

Mercier Bridge Deck Replacement Project, 1111 St. Charles St. W, West Tower, Suite 600, Longueuil, Quebec J4K 5G4 450-651-8771, managed by Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridge Inc., Andre Girard, Federal Bridge Corporation Ltd. 450-468-5775; Serge Valliers Cell 514-892-7205, Communications 514-849-7000 [230]

John Baird, Minister, Transport Canada 613-990-2309 Media 613-993-0055; Karine White 613-643-3804, Daniel Desharnois 613-418-643-6980, Natalie Sarafin 613-991-0700 & Danny Kingberry 613-993-0055.

Michael M. Fortier, Public Works, Federick Baril 613-868-1128; Jean Marc Fournier, Quebec Minister of Monteregie Region; Harold Fortin, Revenue Canada 418-643-3804.

November 16, 2009

'Barking Water' best film at American Indian Film Festival

Media Inquiries Contact:
November 16, 2009


SAN FRANCISCO - The American Indian Film Institute (AIFI) announces award show winners for the 34th annual American Indian Film Festival. The awards were presented at the American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show on Saturday Nov. 14 at 6:00p.m at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

The American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show, has recognized excellence in American Indian cinematic achievement, making the annual awards show one of the most prominent Indian Country and Native Cinema showcases.

Outstanding performances varied across the talent venue, on awards night including: Grammy award–winner Joanne Shenandoah; recording artist Jana Mashonee; hoop dancers, The Sampson Boys; rock group The Plateros; violinist’s Swil Kanim and Laura Ortman; and singer Star Nayea.

Award Winners: Best Film- Barking Water, Director: Sterlin Harjo, USA: Best Director - Kevin Wilmott, The Only Good Indian, USA: Best Actor- Wes Studi, The Only Good Indian, USA: Best Actress - Casey Camp-Horinek, Barking Water, USA; Best Supporting Actor- Winter Fox Frank, The Only Good Indian, USA: Best Supporting Actress - Michelle Thrush, Blackstone, Canada: Best Documentary Feature - Lost Sparrow, Director: Chris Billing, USA: Best Documentary Short - Pipestone- An Unbroken Legacy, Director: Ron E. Scott, USA: Best Live Short Subject - Given to Walk, Director: Robert Guthrie, USA: Best Animated Short- How People Got Fire, Director: Daniel Janke, Canada: Best Music Video - A Change is Gonna Come, Director: Stephan Galfas, USA: Best Public Service - Sweet Blood, Director: Shirley Cheechoo, Canada.

Special Achievement awards, the Eagle Spirit, were presented to personages that exemplified outstanding character, fortitude, career accomplishments in the arts, media, cultural and governmental affairs. The recipients were: Marshall McKay, Chairman of Yocha- Dehe Wintun Nation, owners of Cache Creek Resort and Casino, Hattie Kauffman, National News correspondent for CBS The Early Show, and William Osceola, Tribal Liaison for Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of The Hard Rock CafĂ© and Casino’s worldwide.

Indigenous: UK bank funding Tar Sands

Indigenous Canadians deliver message to RBS and the Treasury: “Stop funding bloody oil!”

New research shows that publicly-owned RBS is the UK bank most heavily involved in financing the Tar Sands

By Indigenous Environmental Network
Censored News

Photo, filming and interview opportunities:
- Tuesday 17th November, 2.30 pm, RBS London Headquarters, 280 Bishopsgate
- contact Clayton Thomas-Muller, Indigenous Environmental Network 218 760 6632 218 760 6632 or in the UK Jess Worth, UK Tar Sands Network, 07946645726 or Adam Ramsay, People & Planet, 011 44 1865245678 or 011 44 7841578283

Three Indigenous Canadian women will visit the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) London headquarters tomorrow to demand that they stop financing one of the world’s most polluting projects – the Tar Sands. This highly destructive form of oil extraction is having a devastating effect on the health of Indigenous communities and fuelling global climate change. They will be joined outside RBS by student activists who will stage a ‘die-in’ on the ground, to demonstrate that ‘Tar Sands oil is blood oil’.

Earlier in the day the three women will brief MPs on the role of UK banks and oil companies in the Tar Sands in a UK Parliamentary meeting hosted by the Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Energy and Climate Change, Simon Hughes. They will also deliver an open letter to the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, questioning why the Treasury is allowing a state-owned bank to finance companies that are doing such damage to their communities.

The extraction of oil from Tar Sands is responsible for three to five times the carbon emissions of conventional oil. [2] According to new research by Rainforest Action Network, RBS – which is now 84% publicly-owned – has been responsible for $2.7 billion of finance to companies that own, or are building, Tar Sands infrastructure in Alberta, Canada, since the first banking bail-out took place. [3] RBS is also revealed as the UK bank most heavily involved in financing Tar Sands since 2007, providing almost $14 billion of finance. [4]

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, one of the Indigenous women, explains:

“The Tar Sands is the world’s largest and most destructive industrial development. It is destroying an area of ancient forest larger than England. Millions of litres a day of toxic waste are seeping into our groundwater and we are seeing terrifyingly high levels of cancer in our communities. It is shocking that a bank effectively owned by the British Government is financing a project which is killing Indigenous people."

Heather Milton Lightening, adds:

"Just when the world is focusing its attention on attempts to cut carbon emissions at December’s Copenhagen summit, the Canadian government is championing the extraction of billions of barrels of this dirty oil – and the UK taxpayer, through RBS, is financing it! We have come to the UK to get support in our struggle to leave Tar Sands in the ground, for the sake of our communities and for the climate.”

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Energy and Climate Change, is hosting the group’s visit to Parliament. He is critical of the Government’s approach:

“Tar Sands are one of the most destructive fossil fuels on earth. They cause much more carbon pollution than any other oil, and are also responsible for massive damage to nature, wildlife and local communities. Now that the Government has used our taxes to prop up the banks, it must stop using our money to support companies in their extraction of high-polluting fuels like Tar Sands."

The visit to RBS is part of a 10-day nationwide speaker tour organised by the UK Tar Sands Network [5], and north-America-based Indigenous Environmental Network. People & Planet, the UK's largest student campaigning network, are co-organising the RBS protest. Along with PLATFORM and World Development Movement, they are currently taking legal action to force the Treasury to properly assess the consequences of RBS investing public money in Tar Sands and similar projects [6]. Alex Fountain, a People & Planet activist and student at Manchester Metropolitan University, says:

"RBS is Europe's dirtiest bank. It specialises in financing projects that trample over communities and trash the climate. We are here today, in solidarity with the Indigenous communities who are being killed by Tar Sands pollution, to tell RBS: stop funding this bloody oil."


For more information and to arrange interviews, contact:
Jess Worth, UK Tar Sands Network, 07946645726
Adam Ramsay, People & Planet, 01865245678 or 07841578283

[1] The delegation consists of:

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, a Dene woman belonging to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta. She has been working to uphold and protect Indigenous Rights for the last 10 years. Eriel is the Freedom from Oil Campaigner for the Rainforest Action Network (

Heather Milton Lightening,from the Pasqua First Nation in Saskatchewan. She has been organizing with the Native Youth Movement since 1995. She is now the Tar Sands organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network (

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She has been working as an advocate for Indigenous rights for the past 9 years, and is currently a Tar Sands campaigner with Greenpeace Canada (

[2] See Environment Canada, 2007, National Inventory Report Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada 1990–2005,

[3] Research from the Rainforest Action Network indicates that since Oct. 13, 2008 – when HM Treasury announced its recapitalization of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group – RBS has extended at least $2.7 billion in debt/equity issuance underwritings to companies that own and/or are actively building tar sands extraction infrastructure and/or tar sands oil pipelines in Alberta, Canada. Companies financed by RBS since this date include ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, StatoilHydro, and Total.

[4] Research from the Rainforest Action Network indicates that since the start of 2007, RBS has extended $13.9 billion in debt/equity issuance underwritings to companies that own and/or are actively building tar sands extraction infrastructure and/or tar sands oil pipelines in Alberta, Canada, while Barclays Bank was responsible for $13.7 billion and HSBC for $9.1 billion.

[5] The UK Tar Sands Network has organised a ten-day speaker tour, visiting Bristol, Oxford, London, Rossport (Ireland), Machynlleth, and Manchester. The Network includes New Internationalist, People & Planet, Platform, and Ethical Consumer. See for details.

[6] On 20 October 2009, a High Court denied a request for a Judicial Review, but an appeal is underway. For more info on the legal action see

For more information on Tar Sands, see:

Indigenous Environmental Network:

Oil Sands Truth website:
Rainforest Action Network:

Greenpeace Canada:
Dirty Oil Sands:
People & Planet:

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Clayton Thomas-Muller
Indigenous Environmental Network
Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
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