Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 31, 2010

Censored in 2010: Defense of Mother Earth, the racist right, US torture and collapse of the media

Censored in 2010: Defense of Mother Earth, the racist right, US torture and collapse of the media
By Brenda Norrell/Censored News/ (Photo: Dine Water Rights/march 2010)
What was censored in 2010 on the issues of Indigenous Peoples and human rights? Due to the collapse of the media and the proliferation of the racist right, there's too much to print, but here are ten of the most censored issues.

1. The United States -- the last country in the world to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples -- fooled many people when President Obama announced the US would support the Declaration. However, the US did not "endorse," "adopt," or "sign on" to the Declaration. The US only announced "support," and attached a lengthy list of limitations from the US State Dept.

2. None of the elected Native American leaders from the United States joined Bolivian President Evo Morales in his push for new global standards to protect Mother Earth at the climate summits in Cochabamba or Cancun. Carbon trading scams continued, allowing the worst global polluters to continue to pollute. Even though coal-fired power plants are a leading cause of global warming and destruction in the Arctic habitat of wildlife, the Navajo Nation continued to push for another coal fired power plant, Desert Rock. Other Indian Nations continued the push for oil and gas drilling and other polluting industries. The Navajo Nation gave away Dineh water rights in Arizona and uranium mining companies continued to target Navajo, Lakota and other Indian lands.

3. The proliferation of the racist right fueled anti-migrant hysteria in Arizona and elsewhere. Along the US Mexico border, profiteering from migrant prisons and border security contracts continued. The shooting deaths of American Indians by city and county police in Washington State, South Dakota, and elsewhere, along with the arrest in Virginia of a Mohawk film crew, exposed the malignant racism in US law enforcement. The white superiority mindset of the Ku Klux Klan continues in the US, both within white cloaks and police uniforms. It also continues in state legislatures, including Arizona, and in Indian bordertowns.

4. President Obama spent only about 30 minutes with the 12 Native American leaders invited to the White House, and only about 30 minutes with the 565 Native leaders invited to the Interior Building, during the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Dec. It was originally proclaimed as a welcome to the White House for all Indian leaders, last year. Again this year, the 565 Native leaders did not get that handshake and welcome to the White House.

5. The US State Dept. wasted a great deal of time and money of grassroots Native people by holding "Listening Conferences," on human rights issues in numerous locations in 2010. In the final US Periodic Review to the United Nations, almost all were ignored. Even the online State Dept. summaries were pathetic, lacking key names and issues.

6. The United States, George Bush and Dick Cheney, were not held responsible for US torture, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, in 201o. US drones continued to be used for rogue assassinations and the killing of civilians. The US continued the School of Americas, Guantanamo, secret black sites of torture and the training of military soldiers from other countries in torture.

7. The pathetic collapse of the news industry left the industry on life support. Many journalists became, or continued to be, armchair journalists. Some continued cheerleading for the US war in Afghanistan, urging young people toward death, for a bogus war, without examining the truth behind this war. Still others focused on divisive politics, or simply collapsed into the Internet, plagiarizing, rewriting press releases, and making a few phone calls.

8. While the US media pointed its clean white fingers at Mexico's drug war, few reporters pointed out that there would be no drug war in Mexico if it were not for the demand by US citizens for illegal drugs. Few reporters pointed out that the Zetas, the most notorious murderers in the cartels in Mexico, were originally trained as human killing machines of the US special forces.

9. US Border Patrol agents, immigration agents and the US military continue to smuggle drugs and weapons, and murder and rape, with impunity, along the US/Mexico border. The US Army Special Ops continues to post online its operating manual, showing that it provides weapons and support to guerrillas to destabilize governments, and continue war. Ultimately this means the US is responsible for killing its own citizens, along with other innocent women, children and elderly.

10: While global enforcement agencies focused on Wikileaks, rather than the perpetrators of the crimes, these agencies ignored the murdered and missing women and children in Canada, and the widespread global trafficking of women and children. Meanwhile, Wikileaks shed light on the white privilege mindset within the cables, as the US and its partner multi-national corporations continued to assassinate and make homeless Indigenous Peoples living on lands targeted for mining, dams and deforestation around the world.
Here are the most popular links on Indigenous Peoples and human rights from Censored News 2010:

This week: Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege
Past six months:
Wikileaks: Canada's unauthorized wiretaps of Mohawks (5,448 views)
Video: Virginia police attack Akwesasne film crew in 'Mississippi Burning' style attack
Tewa Women United at US Social Forum (Fighting the nuclear industry on sacred lands in northern New Mexico)
Tohono O'odham Mike Wilson responds to threat of poisoned water at migrant water stations
The Border: O'odham Ofelia Rivas to National Guard: 'We do not want you on our land'
Secret negotiations released on Navajo water rights settlement
AIM video highlights: San Francisco conference 2010, recordings by Earthcycles
Peltier family accuses US of medical neglect
Top video by Earthcycles/Censored News 2010
Southern Border Indigenous Roundtable, hosted by the Indigenous Alliance without Borders

December 30, 2010

Modoc Nation: State Dept. contradicts Obama's statement of UN Declaration

December 30: Issaquah, Washington
Analysis and Commentary by Two Eagles (Perry Chesnut)
Secretary of State, Modoc Nation

State Department White Paper Contradicts Obama’s Statements at Tribal Nations Conference – Shows U.S. Endorsement of UNDRIP Really Means Politics and Business as Usual
By Modoc Nation, Sec. of State Two Eagles (Perry Chestnut)

On December 16, 2010, President Obama met with more than 300 tribal leaders at Blair House for the second White House Tribal Nations Conference. In his opening remarks (transcript issued by the White House Office of the Press Secretary), the President surprised almost everyone by announcing that the United States is changing the position it has held since September of 2007 concerning the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – from a position of outright rejection to a position of “lending its support to this declaration.” The President’s announcement was met with tremendous applause. Camera flashes filled the room, and hundreds of participants captured the moment by video on their cell phones.

It is worthwhile to read the actual words the President spoke just following this announcement, worthwhile because they raised the hopes and aspirations of not only the conference participants but also all Native Americans who have heard or seen the media reports that the U.S. has changed its position and will now support UNDRIP. But sadly, as I shall point out below, the President’s promises and platitudes may turn out to be nothing more than just empty talk. First, the President’s words from the point at which he announced support for UNDRIP:

“And as you know, in April, we announced that we were reviewing our position on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And today I can announce that the United States is lending its support to this declaration. (Applause.)

The aspirations it affirms -- including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples -- are one we must always seek to fulfill. And we’re releasing a more detailed statement about U.S. support for the declaration and our ongoing work in Indian Country. But I want to be clear: What matters far more than words -- what matters far more than any resolution or declaration -– are actions to match those words. And that’s what this conference is about. (Applause.) That’s what this conference is about. That’s the standard I expect my administration to be held to.

So we’re making progress. We’re moving forward. And what I hope is that we are seeing a turning point in the relationship between our nations. The truth is, for a long time, Native Americans were implicitly told that they had a choice to make. By virtue of the longstanding failure to tackle wrenching problems in Indian Country, it seemed as though you had to either abandon your heritage or accept a lesser lot in life; that there was no way to be a successful part of America and a proud Native American.

But we know this is a false choice. To accept it is to believe that we can’t and won’t do better. And I don’t accept that. I know there is not a single person in this room who accepts that either. We know that, ultimately, this is not just a matter of legislation, not just a matter of policy. It’s a matter of whether we’re going to live up to our basic values. It’s a matter of upholding an ideal that has always defined who we are as Americans. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.

That’s why we’re here. That’s what we’re called to do. And I’m confident that if we keep up our efforts, that if we continue to work together, that we will live up to the simple motto and we will achieve a brighter future for the First Americans and for all Americans.”

President Obama wants to be clear: “What matters far more than words . . . are actions to match those words,” and action is the standard to which he expects his administration to be held. He derides the “false choice” that previous administrations have given Native Americans - that “you either had to abandon your heritage or accept a lesser lot in life,” and he rejects outright the basis of that false choice – the belief “that we can’t and won’t do better.” In perhaps the finest words of all he said: “We know that, ultimately, this is not just a matter of legislation, not just a matter of policy. It’s a matter of whether we’re going to live up to our basic values. It’s a matter of upholding an ideal that has always defined who we are as Americans. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.”

The problem with the motto “Out of many, one” is that it reminds indigenous peoples of the dark and unrelenting history of eradication that has been the policy (at times stated but mostly unstated) of the United States concerning the indigenous peoples who inhabited this land for millennia before there even was a United States. The motto reminds us of genocide, at first by slaughter and, continuing even today, by assimilation. Of course, the President did not have this in mind when he said it; he meant it in the most positive sense.

However, within hours of the President’s remarks, the U.S. State Department issued its 15-page white paper titled “Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - Initiatives to Promote the Government-to-Government Relationship & Improve the Lives of Indigenous Peoples.” (see attached .pdf file if the following link does not work U.S. State Department’s statement about U.S. support for UNDRIP) This document, not the President’s fine words, reflect the real position of the United States on the extent to which it has changed its position on and is willing to support UNDRIP. And folks, it isn’t good. It is so cleverly written that one commentator (Rudolph Ryser, writing for the Fourth World Eye, a publication of the Center for World Indigenous Studies) referred to it as “verbal sleight of hand.”

Let’s take a look at how the U.S. State Department, indeed, the entire Executive Branch of government, intends to “support” UNDRIP by lip service alone.
Click for more:

Easter Island Police attack Rapanui women and children Dec. 29

December 29, 2010
Today, December 29th just before 7 PM, an contingency of 200 armed police began violently dislodging the Rapanui Parliament from their headquarters in the enter of the town of Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui. The police have beaten dozens of Rapa Nui with clubs, including children and women. They have arrested at least two dozen people.
This action was a unilateral decision made by the Regional Indendent, Raul Celis. The operation was directed by the Police Commander, Oscar Salazar who confirmed, "Celis gave the order."
Lola Tuki, who was there said that it was "unbelievable to see the degree of violence and inhuman treatment and prejudice. The police were
cursing at the women calling them, "Goddamn indian bitches", and grabbing them violently.
Many of the people taken from the Tuki and HIto clan were defending the President of the Rapa Nui Parliament, Leviante Araki.
This is a developing story.
Lola Tuki 011 569 62144264
Santi Hitorangi 845 596 5402

December 28, 2010

Hot links at Censored News 2010

Mohawks and Wikileaks capture most readers at Censored News
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo by Ben Powless, Mohawk, published with permission.

This week's most popular article at Censored News is 'Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege.'
News from the Mohawks captured the most readers during the final six months of 2010, with the number one article: 'Wikileaks: Canada's unauthorized wiretaps of Mohawks.' It was followed by the video of a Mississippi Burning style arrest of an Akwesasne film crew in Virginia, from Leadhorse Choctaw and Mohawk film crew.
The video interview of Tewa Women United, recorded by Earthcycles at the US Social Forum in Detroit, was the third most popular post in the last six months. The Pueblo women are fighting the nuclear industry and destruction of sacred lands in northern New Mexico.
A statement from Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham who puts out water for migrants, on the threat of poisoned water, follows. Wilson continues to put out water on Tohono O'odham land on the US Mexico border, although his water jugs have been slashed and his water stations vandalized.
Ofelia Rivas' statement to the National Guard is also one of the most read articles in the past six months: 'O'odham to National Guard: We do not want you on our land.'
The secret negotiations behind the Navajo water rights giveaway was also a top issue for readers. The next most viewed post was the video highlights from the AIM Conference in San Francisco 2010, with videos recorded by Earthcycles.
The top story at Censored News Special Edition was 'Peltier's family accuses US of medical neglect.'
The top video recorded by Earthcycles/Censored News this year is: Southern Border Indigenous Roundtable, hosted by the Indigenous Alliance without Borders.
Interviews with Manny Pino, Acoma Pueblo, Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, and Michelle Cook, Navajo, were the most viewed videos, from the Cochabamba, Bolivia, climate summit, recorded by Earthcycles.
Thanks for reading and contributing to Censored News.
Top story this week
Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege
Top posts, July -- Dec., 2010:
Wikileaks: Canada's unauthorized wiretaps of Mohawks (5,448 views)
Video: Virginia police attack Akwesasne film crew in 'Mississippi Burning' style attack
Tewa Women United at US Social Forum
Mike Wilson responds to threat of poisoned water
O'odham to National Guard: We do not want you on our land
Secret negotiations released on Navajo water rights settlement
AIM video highlights
Top article at Censored News Special Edition:
Peltier family accuses US of medical neglect
Top video by Earthcycles/Censored News 2010
Southern Border Indigenous Roundtable, hosted by the Indigenous Alliance without Borders
Top videos from Cochabamba, Bolivia, climate summit:
Manny Pino, Acomo Pueblo, interview, by Earthcycles
Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, and Michelle Cook, Navajo, interview by Earthcycles

Strong Heart Warrior Society: Dog Killed, Blockade on New Years

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye - Strong Heart Warrior SocietyFree & Independent Lakota Nation Box 512, Hill City, South Dakota 57745 605-454-0449 or 605-517-1547
December 27, 2010 PRESS ADVISORY CONTACT: Duane Martin Sr. at 605-517-1547 or 605-454-0449.
New Years Eve Alcohol Blockade of White Clay, Nebraska Grows
By Strong Heart Warrior Society
Strong Heart Warrior Society and United Urban Warrior Society-AIM take stand in aftermath of December 24th Pine Ridge Protest and Killing of Duane Martin Sr.’s Dog “Small Guy," Challenge Tribal Government to Do the Right Thing and Take a Stand

Strong Heart Headsman Duane Martin Sr. issues public statement, “We Must Come Together to Fight the Epidemic of Alcohol and Drugs”
WHAT: Alcohol Blockade of White Clay, Nebraska
WHO: Strong Heart Warrior Society / United Urban Warrior Society / A.I.M. with support from Lakota people, activists and others.
WHEN: December 31st from 1:00PM to 11:00PM
WHY: On December 24th the Strong Heart Warrior Society led a protest against alcohol bootlegging and drug dealing on the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation. In retalitation, bootleggers poisoned and killed “Small Guy”, the much loved dog of Strong Heart headsman Duane Martin Sr., at his home in Sharps Corner. But we refuse to be intimidated and we demand action from the Tribal Government, Public Safety and the Federal Government. Until they do the right thing, Strong Heart invites all people to come and stand with us to help stop the epidemic of drugs and alcohol on Pine Ridge by a December 31st New Year’s Eve blockade of White Clay Nebraska. On December 31st, we will unite with the Urban Warrior Society-AIM to make a stand! Lakota and non-Lakota are welcome. Come make a difference! Wear warm winter clothing.

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye also known as the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota Nation is an ancient Lakota warrior society as well as a broad-based civil rights movement that works to protect, enforce and restore treaty rights, civil rights, and sovereignty of Native people and their communities across Turtle Island. In addition to activist efforts to protect the land and people such as the blockade of White Clay, Nebraska, each year Cante Tenza collects and freely distributes shoes, winter coats, school supplies, food, and other support to Oglala Lakota elders, children and families.
“We Must Come Together to Fight the Epidemic of Drugs & Alcohol”
Strong Heart Warrior Society statement by Duane Martin Sr. following the retaliatory killing of his dog “Small Guy” by alcohol bootleggers and drug dealers on Pine Ridge Reservation.
In retaliation for the December 24th Strong Heart Warrior Society protest against alcohol bootlegging and drug dealing on the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation, “Small Guy”, the much loved dog of Strong Heart headsman Duane Martin Sr., was intentionally poisoned and killed at his home in Sharps Corner.
The loss of our four-legged brother is a key indication of how corruption still exists on Pine Ridge Reservation. The U.S. Federal Government, the Tribal Government, and Oglala Tribal Police do nothing to enforce residential policies and procedures that could have prevented this death, and the deaths of many Lakota people. This is why Strong Heart must continue our fight against alcohol bootlegging and drug dealing.
As many of our supporters on Facebook and around the globe understand, this escalation began last Sunday December 19th, when an anonymous caller gave bogus information to Pine Ridge Tribal Police about a so-called house party being conducted by Strong Heart leader Duane Martin Sr., when he hasn’t touched alcohol in 22 years. Nine police raided a quiet house to find nothing!
It’s time for White America’s real people to take notice of what is happening in Pine Ridge. In addition to the illegal import and sale of drugs and alcohol, we have so many unsolved murders on Pine Ridge.
While the much publicized killing of former AIM member Annie Mae Aquash resulted in two convictions– we wonder why does one Canadian girl’s death 34 years ago get so much attention compared to dozens of unsolved murders on Pine Ridge? Why should one woman’s breath be so important that it costs thousands more justice?
It is time for the Tribal Government and tribal officials to really wake up and take a stronger look at what is going on in the very reservation they were elected from.
Scores of our young girls are being victimized and raped, not just at the hands of bootleggers and drug dealers, but also tribal police! And the only ones to make a question about this corrupted behavior? Not tribal officials. Only the Strong Heart Warrior Society.
We need people to understand that we must come together to fight this epidemic. By giving illustration to these points of view, we are calling for a serious stand in bringing the awareness of alcohol and drug addiction on Pine Ridge Reservation that we all must be intoned too – that is needed to kill this problem.
And we have to ask ourselves, and be honest with ourselves – this is not only an Indian problem, but it also a White problem. Responsibility exists on both sides to make a change. Enough already.
We can no longer accept when people say to us, “But we sent financial support!” What we truly need is to stand together in numbers to combat this problem. We need people to act not only with their wallets but with their hearts and bodies, with their participation!
So when Pine Ridge Reservation welcomes the New Year in three days with monthly checks that will be spent in White Clay and exchanged for drugs and alcohol– this celebration doesn’t act in retaliation by victimizing its own people. In order for us to have a healthy reservation, we have to make it healthy by eliminating the alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and sexual abuse caused by the dealers, bootleggers, and by law enforcement.
If the Christian people in this world claim to honor the meaning of the birth of the baby who was born on Dec 25, then consider this - that baby doesn’t exist in our country. Instead, there are scores of Lakota babies being born but nobody honors them. When these infants and children are abused, raped, and given drugs, no one is there to honor them.
So rather than sinning in a six day cycle then giving money on the seventh day as a token for forgiveness, remember our Great Spirit does not accept money. If the Christian God believed in money we would all be rich with wealth by greed and decades of killing Mother Earth and Native people.
But we all have a responsibility to do on this earth. And the only way that can be recognized is by the doing. The Great Spirit made the Strong Heart Warrior Society – the warriors of the 22nd century that have lived according to the test of time – and that it has to be alcohol and drug free. We are leading the way.
Strong Heart believes if you have a thousand Red men, a thousand Black men, a thousand White men and then a thousand Yellow men – you have 4000 men of these four sacred colors. These men can be warriors to combat the problem that keeps us in poverty and keeps our people addicted to alcohol and drugs. These 4000 warriors will make the rest of us understand there is a problem that can be fixed.
But it shouldn’t take 4000 people, or even four people, to make you understand the problem that is right before your eyes. If you can’t see it, then you must be blind. You are not seeing the creation the Great Spirit has given you. This creation is a life of freedom -a value system called love, and that love demands action.
This is the message the Strong Heart Warrior Society is giving those who believe in true freedom rather than the fake belief called social order. There are many mountains to climb- but the smallest mountain to climb is the hardest to get on –it’s called the alter of freedom. It takes people with love to get on that mountain. It never was a perfect mountain, but it is a mountain that understands love because it frees you from dependence on alcohol and drugs.
Last but not least, if we believe we are creations of what the Great Mystery has given us as two-legged beings – then let’s start acting like real human beings! Instead of just talking about it, let’s do something about the alcohol and drug abuse so poverty will kill itself because it has no one else to prey upon.
Let’s ask ourselves what great warriors we believe in – Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Rain in-the Face! In their times none of these four warriors were drunks when they went into battle. None of these four warriors were on cocaine when they loved their people. They left their marks on Mother Earth by leaving us a path of a traditional lifeway that can still be successful if we believe in it. Hoka Hey!
Cante Tenza Okolakiciye
Strong Heart Warrior Society
December 27, 2010
Pine Ridge Reservation

December 26, 2010

Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege

By Brenda Norrell

Censored News

The Wikileaks cables released about Indigenous Peoples so far have focused on Chile’s Mapuche and Bolivian President Evo Morales. The cables are proof that the global Indigenous movement to halt the corporate rape of Mother Earth, and unite Indigenous Peoples around the earth, has had an impact.

The most disturbing aspect of the US State Department cables on Indigenous Peoples is the haughtiness and white privilege that bleeds through the print.

The cables make it clear that to the United States, Indigenous Peoples are annoying, even potential terrorists, and must be dealt with.

Along with the Mapuches defense of their land and environment, the Wikileaks cables released so far show the United States’ obsession with Bolivian President Evo Morales and his growing popularity. In the Bolivian cables, the incorrect facts, poor content and unreliable sources are the most glaring aspect.

If the US spy in Bolivia was so wrong about President Morales’ tumor that did not exist, what can be said of the rest of the information. Much of the information is based on public news reports and rambling gossip.

The Bolivian cables make clear the intent of the United States: It is to create mistrust and division between individual Bolivian leaders and executive staff.

One can only ponder what the US spy meant when he referred to a possible unexpected exit by President Morales. The US cable is supposed to be an assessment of Indigenous political leaders in Bolivia. The US spy said, “If Morales were to exit unexpectedly, an indigenous or strong regional leader would be the most likely candidate to fill his position.”

Reading the Wikileaks spy cables concerning Indigenous Peoples is like reading a foreign language, it is very difficult to decipher what is being said. The thinking is so foreign it takes a while to ponder the intent of the both the writer (the US spy) and the message.

The impact of the global Indigenous Peoples is obvious in the cables from Santiago, Chile, written in January 2008 and just released.

The US spy in Santiago said, “Secretariat General of the Presidency Minister Viera Gallo told the Ambassador January 30 that the GOC – and Chilean society - are only belatedly taking seriously a growing problem with Chile's indigenous (largely Mapuche) population, which has never been fully integrated and is becoming increasingly radicalized. Mapuche alienation and protest activity could impact on issues such as terrorism, energy, and development in environmentally sensitive regions.”

This cable, and other cables, show the growing concern by the United States of the rising collective power of Indigenous Peoples, it terms of uniting with other groups and stopping the development of enormous development projects such as dams that destroy Indigenous lands. With the Mapuches, the US is concerned about connections to the Basque and NGOs (non-governmental organizations.)

The US spy in Santiago said, “Viera-Gallo agreed with E/Pol Counselor that the issue cut across several lines, including terrorism, energy, and development. The Minister noted that several Mapuche had ties to the Basques, including possibly to the ETA. They are involved in protests against construction of dams that would produce hydro-electric power, impacting Chile's energy needs. Mapuche are linked to NGO's opposed to development in lands both claimed by the Mapuche and which are also environmentally sensitive.”

“Chile will face ‘serious restrictions’ in the upcoming winter months. Construction of dams (hydro) is critical but faces obstacles from indigenous and environmental groups. The potential for developing geothermal power in Chile's north ("we are talking to the Italians") is also hostage to indigenous groups in that region, who are concerned about associated water rights and shortages,” the US spy said.

The United States, the last country in the world to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a country settled by colonizers who carried out slaughter and genocide of Indians here, prevailed in its haughtiness, criticizing other countries for their treatment of Indigenous Peoples.

The US spy in Chile said, "On the other hand, successive Concertacion governments have bungled indigenous policy, perpetually making it a low priority and failing to set and meet realistic expectations."

While spying on Chile, the US had this to say: "Meanwhile, another indigenous group --Easter Islanders -- seem to have been inspired by Mapuche activism, recently occupying the island's only airport for 24 hours in a successful effort to gain government attention to their demands."

Wikileaks Santiago cable:
Wikileaks La Paz cable on Indigenous leaders:
Wikilkeaks cable referring to Easter Islanders:
Listen to First Voices Indigenous Radio, WBAI New York with Lakota Tiokasin Ghosthorse, for more on the Easter Islanders:SANTI HITORANGI www.saverapanui New Evictions By Chilean Forces Of Rapanui The Chilean government is now moving to evict all Rapanui from their lands in a move to grab and privatize the Moai. NICKOLAS KOZLOFF Wikileaks: FBI Now Keeping Tabs on Native Americans --- in South America?
Listen at:

December 23, 2010

UN approves Bolivia resolutions: Harmony with Nature, World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

Plurinational State of Bolivia, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Comunicado de Prensa, 23 de diciembre 2010
United Nations Approves Two More Resolutions by Bolivia:
Harmony With Nature and World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
By Plurinational State of Bolivia
Photo by Michelle Cook, Navajo: Cochabamba 2010

Earlier this week, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved by consensus two resolutions presented by Bolivia. The first, entitled “Harmony with Nature,” asks to convene an interactive dialogue on International Mother Earth Day on April 22nd, 2011. Topics will include methods for promoting a holistic approach to harmony with nature, and an exchange of national experiences regarding criteria and indicators to measure sustainable development in harmony with nature.

This resolution recognizes that “human beings are an inseparable part of nature, and that they cannot damage it without severely damaging themselves.” It also seeks to contribute to the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012.

The second resolution convenes in 2014 a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples with the objective of contributing to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Both resolutions make reference to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which took place this year in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

In the last two years, the UN General Assembly has approved five resolutions initiated by the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Four were approved by consensus, and one in a vote with no country opposed (the resolution on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation). Never before in the history of Bolivian diplomacy has has the country had such an impact in the UN.

Censored News: Thank you readers and supporters!

Thank you to Censored News readers
Photo by Robert Free Galvan: Huicholes at Cancun climate summit 2010

Dear Censored Readers,
Thank you for all your support during 2010. Thanks to readers and supporters, Censored News was able to provide original coverage of the climate summits in both Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, this year. This included the efforts of Bolivian President Evo Morales and the Indigenous Peoples who gathered from around the world.
Censored News was also able to locate sponsors to Cochabamba for Yaqui ceremonial leader Jose Matus, Navajo youth Michelle Cook arriving from New Zealand, Navajo director of Dooda Desert Rock Elouise Brown, and Mohawk youth Chibon Everstz of Canada. A scholarship was also located for Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, for the Cancun climate summit.
Thanks to a sponsor, Censored News provided special coverage in Cancun of the Huicholes in Mexico and Gwich'in in Alaska, and their struggle to protect sacred lands, and the constant events of the grassroots movement La Via Campesina!
Thank you to each and every sponsor and contributor to Censored News in 2010.
A special thank you to Jose Matus and the Indigenous Alliance without Borders for making it possible for Censored News and Earthcycles to provide online video coverage of the Southern Border Indigenous Roundtable.
A very special thank you to each author, photographer and videographer who provided articles, photos and videos to Censored News in 2010.
Thank you to Native youth photographers Ben Powless, Mohawk, and Michelle Cook, Navajo, and photographer Brita Brookes for sharing so many photos.
Thank you to our regular contributors of columns, Kahentinetha Horn of Mohawk Nation News, Ofelia Rivas, O'odham on the border, the American Indian Movement, AIM-West, Western Shoshone Defense Project and other Shoshones, Lakotas' Owe Aku: Bring Back the Way, Navajos on Black Mesa, Dooda Desert Rock, Navajos Forgotten People and other Navajos, Lakotah Republic, Save the Peaks, Roberto Rodriguez, and all the others. Thank you to Leadhorse Choctaw, and Mohawk film crew, for the video of your 'Mississippi Burning' style arrest in Virginia. Thanks to Lakotas for their coverage of chasing away the US helicopter at Wounded Knee, S.D.
Thank you to Victor Rocha of Pechanga Net, the only news source to consistently publish Censored News articles. Thank you to the Indigenous Environmental Network for tireless struggle for Mother Earth.
Thanks to those who resist at Big Mountain on Black Mesa and elsewhere, to expose and halt the corporate beasts, including coal-fired power plants, oil and gas drilling, uranium mining and mineral extraction.
In remembrance, we express gratitude for the Indigenous Peoples who were assassinated and assaulted as they opposed mining and destruction, and stood up for autonomy and dignity, in Chiapas, Guatemala, Easter Island, South America, Australia, Africa, and elsewhere.
Most of all, thank you to all of our readers around the world, from activists in Italy to the families of stolen children in Australia; from Arctic Circle Gwich'in struggling to save the caribou birthing grounds and Indigenous struggling to save the Amazon rainforest, to families of the disappeared children in Argentina and Canada.
Thank you to the Mohawk Warrior Society, Zapatistas, the Nahautl of Guerrero, and all others who act with selfless courage for autonomy, dignity and self-governance.
Thank you to those who fight and expose the profiteering behind war, the civilian deaths from drones, US torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions, US covert drug running, US assassinations, US torture training by the military, and those of you who go to prison to expose these.
Thank you to each of you who sacrifice your time, your energy, your talents and your well-being for the good of mankind.
Wikileaks has given us an idea of how much is really being censored, manipulated and distorted by the mainstream media, who have been bought out and coopted by self-interest, corrupt politicians and decaying governments.
In the pursuit of the individual investigation of truth, Censored News looks forward to another year, our fifth year, of sharing your truths.
Brenda Norrell, publisher
Censored News

News Years Eve: Blackfire at Shiprock and Dooda Desert Rock!

New Years Eve Concert: Blackfire, My Deadly Dears and special guests
Dec. 31, 2010
7p.m.-12:30a.m. - $5.00
At Chieftan Track Records
Shiprock, New Mexico (491 East of bridge)
All Ages! No Drugs or Alcohol Allowed
Join us after the show at:
Annual Dooda Desert Rock New Years Eve Celebration!
Dec. 31st, 2010
Navajo Winter Stories - 12:00 PM
SHOE GAME, Potluck, and Camp-out! - 7:00 PM
At Dooda Desert Rock Camp; Chaco Rio, NM; Directions: From Shiprock: Go south to Littlewater on Hwy 491, go East on Rd 5092 for 10 miles to DDR Camp. For more information: 505-947-6159

Russell Means: Opening of Indigenous Bank, I Bank, National Bank of the Republic

Republic of Lakotah
For Immediate Release
Chief facilitator: Russell Means 605-867-1025

December 21, 2010
The Republic of Lakotah announces the opening of the Indigenous Bank or I Bank as the first National Bank of the Republic.
The I Bank has operated for over seven years as an independent sovereign American Indian Bank and now comes under the protection of the Republic of Lakotah.
The Chairman/President and CEO of the I Bank is Mr. Ben Cummings.
The I Bank assets are in silver and gold bullion and are valued at just under $100,000.00 USD. The bank presently has over two hundred depositors.
For further information, please contact Mr. Ben Cummings at 605-867-2036 or cell 605-381-2028

December 22, 2010

Police Raid on Lakota Strong Heart Warrior Society activist

Cante Tenza: Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota People, December 22, 2010, Sharp's Corner, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD, Lakota Nation

By Strong Heart Warrior Society
Censored News
Sunday Night Police Raid on Strong Heart Activist and White Clay Blockade Leader Duane Martin Sr. Ignites Firestorm
Press Conference and Protest Planned for Friday

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota - The Strong Heart Warrior Society continues to ask both Native and non-native supporters to call, fax and email Oglala Sioux Tribal Government officials and Police Chief Everett Little Whiteman to get accountability for the Sunday night police raid on activist Duane Martin Sr.'s home in Sharp's Corner following a "set-up" false call from an area drug dealer.

On Sunday night December 19, nine Oglala Tribal Police officers raided Duane Martin's house in Sharps Corner following a tip call alleging a "house party" where drugs and alcohol were present. Duane, 22 years sober, is a well known activist and is widely recognized for leading Strong Heart and the Lakota people in stands against drug dealing, bootlegging, and the scourge of alcohol sales in White Clay, Nebraska. Police officials have since admitted they did not follow up on the false call and did not have plans to investigate.

This raid is one insult in a larger series of actions that has targeted Duane and Strong Heart for their stand against drugs and alcohol. Officials in the Oglala Tribal Government and Tribal Police with ties to these illegal activities have made a concerted effort to intimidate, discredit, and deny the efforts of Duane and Strong Heart to protect the Lakota People.

In November, Duane led Strong Heart in a show-down with Tribal Police when thirteen traditional Grandmothers were arrested for "inciting a riot" because they protested then Tribal Council President Theresa Two Bulls. Following a threatened take-over of the Tribal Government offices by Strong Heart, the Grandmothers were released without charges. Within the last two weeks, Duane's use of his residence in Sharp's Corner has been threatened by Oglala Tribal Housing and custody of his son was awarded to a known drug dealer and sex-offender by a retiring Oglala Court Judge Patrick Lee.

Strong Heart is planning a protest in the Sharp's Corner community on Pine Ridge, Friday December 24. A press conference kicks-off at 10:00am. Protest march begins at 1pm.
For more information or news interviews, contact Duane Martin Sr. at 605) 517-1547 or (605) 454-5552.

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye is the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota Nation, an ancient warrior society as well as a grassroots civil rights movement that works to protect, enforce and restore treaty rights, civil rights, and sovereignty of Native people and their communities across Turtle Island. In addition to activist efforts such as the annual Blockade of White Clay Nebraska, each year Cante Tenza collects and freely distributes shoes, winter coats, school supplies, food, and other support to Oglala Lakota elders, children and families.

Why Bolivia Stood Alone in Opposing the Cancun Climate Agreement

Published on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
Why Bolivia Stood Alone in Opposing the Cancún Climate Agreement

by Pablo Solon

Diplomacy is traditionally a game of alliance and compromise. Yet in the early hours of Saturday 11 December, Bolivia found itself alone against the world: the only nation to oppose the outcome of the United Nations climate change summit in Cancún. We were accused of being obstructionist, obstinate and unrealistic. Yet in truth we did not feel alone, nor are we offended by the attacks. Instead, we feel an enormous obligation to set aside diplomacy and tell the truth.

The "Cancún accord" was presented late Friday afternoon, and we were given two hours to read it. Despite pressure to sign something – anything – immediately, Bolivia requested further deliberations. This text, we said, would be a sad conclusion to the negotiations. After we were denied any opportunity to discuss the text, despite a lack of consensus, the president banged her gavel to approve the document.

Many commentators have called the Cancún accord a "step in the right direction." We disagree: it is a giant step backward. The text replaces binding mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions with voluntary pledges that are wholly insufficient. These pledges contradict the stated goal of capping the rise in temperature at 2C, instead guiding us to 4C or more. The text is full of loopholes for polluters, opportunities for expanding carbon markets and similar mechanisms – like the forestry scheme Redd – that reduce the obligation of developed countries to act.

Bolivia may have been the only country to speak out against these failures, but several negotiators told us privately that they support us. Anyone who has seen the science on climate change knows that the Cancún agreement was irresponsible.

In addition to having science on our side, another reason we did not feel alone in opposing an unbalanced text at Cancún is that we received thousands of messages of support from the women, men, and young people of the social movements that have stood by us and have helped inform our position. It is out of respect for them, and humanity as a whole, that we feel a deep responsibility not to sign off on any paper that threatens millions of lives.

Some claim the best thing is to be realistic and recognise that at the very least the agreement saved the UN process from collapse.

Unfortunately, a convenient realism has become all that powerful nations are willing to offer, while they ignore scientists' exhortations to act radically now. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that in order to have a 50% chance of keeping the rise in temperature below 1.5C, emissions must peak by 2015. The attempt in Cancún to delay critical decisions until next year could have catastrophic consequences.

Bolivia is a small country. This means we are among the nations most vulnerable to climate change, but with the least responsibility for causing the problem. Studies indicate that our capital city of La Paz could become a desert within 30 years. What we do have is the privilege of being able to stand by our ideals, of not letting partisan agendas obscure our principal aim: defending life and Earth. We are not desperate for money. Last year, after we rejected the Copenhagen accord, the US cut our climate funding. We are not beholden to the World Bank, as so many of us in the south once were. We can act freely and do what is right.

Bolivia may have acted unusually by upsetting the established way of dealing with things. But we face an unprecedented crisis, and false victories won't save the planet. False agreements will not guarantee a future for our children. We all must stand up and demand a climate agreement strong enough to match the crisis we confront.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
Pablo Solon is the ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations.

December 20, 2010

VIDEO: Lenny Foster update on Leonard Peltier, Dec. 2010

From Tony Gonzales, AIM West
The video includes the most recent interview recorded by Mary Ellen Churchill and I with Len Foster while he was in the Bay Area last week. Len is still recovering from a serious stroke he suffered in early last October. I am glad to see him stronger and more determined than ever calling on everyone else to seek freedom for Leonard Peltier! Call President Obama at 202-456-1111!
Although the interview is more extensive, this is only six minutes about Leonard Peltier, it is the latest information to the public. Soon we will have additional portions of this interview available and linked to the website.
Thanks for your help, and to everyone good holy days ahead, and in the coming new year!
Tony Gonzales AIM-WEST

Listen: Jose Matus: Indigenous Rights of Passage

Struggling for justice for human rights and migrants rights
Listen to Jose Matus, director of Indigenous Alliance without Borders, on Censored News Blogtalk Radio
Jose Matus, Yaqui, director, of the Indigenous Alliance without Borders, joined Jason Aragon of Migrant Patrol Copwatch, James Jordan of the Alliance for Global Justice and Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos to celebrate the International Day of Human Rights and the International Day of Migrants on Saturday, Dec. 18, in Tucson.
During the panel, Matus spoke on the Indigenous right of passage in their border territories. Aragon spoke on how Tucson has become a militarized borderzone and how Tucson police have the US Border Patol on their speed dials during routine stops. Jordan described the ongoing criminalization and imprisonment of human rights activists in Colombia and US spying on activists in the US.
While speaking on human rights and the deaths of migrants at the border, Garcia pointed out that the United States has no intention of stopping the violence or the drug war south of the border, which justifies the US budget, militarization and other US agendas.
The powerhouse of the area's peace and justice community was visible.
The workshps during the day included: Structural Violence of Criminalization, Derechos Humanos; Legal Immigration Simulation, BorderLinks; Labor and Immigration, Tucson Jobs with Justice/Salt of the Earth Labor College; Indigenous Issues, Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras; Palestine/Israel Solidarity, Jewish Voices for Peace and White Skin Privilege, Alliance for Global Justice.
The plenary session was Defining Security, with moderator Leilani Clark
The panelists were Moyheddin Abdulaziz, Middle East Justice Now; Dan Millis, Sierra Club Borderlands Campaign; Jon Miles, Tucson Veterans for Peace and Nikoletl Gomez, Tierra y Libertad.
The afternoon workshps were Know Your Rights/Prepárate, Promotoras de Derechos Humanos; Know Your Media Rights, Pan Left Productions; Environmental Impacts of Militarization, Sierra Club Borderlands Campaign; The Struggle for Ethnic Studies, Social Justice Education Project; Human Rights Implications of Foreign Policy, Alliance for Global Justice/AZ Peace Council and Nonviolence in Defense of Human Rights, Nonviolence Legacy Project Youth Team.
The Plenary session of Building Arizona Solidarity, with moderator: Alison Harrington, included Chuck Kaufman, Alliance for Global Justice; Steve Valencia, Jobs with Justice; Kim Dominguez, Social Justice Education Project and Southside Day Laborer.

December 17, 2010

Voices of Amazon Indigenous at COP 16

Dine' Shoe Game: Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Join the Native youth media team!

A shout out from Lenny Foster

Censored News
Lenny Foster, Navajo who has spent his life battling for the rights of Native American inmates, is on his road to recovery from a stroke.
Lenny Foster was interviewed at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley by AIM-WEST director Tony Gonzales, and filmmaker ME Churchill.
Gonzales said, "During the interview with Len Foster, Dine/Navajo, who suffered a stroke in October and is on his way to recovery, stressed the importance of strategies on how to keep our friend, a brother, and Elder, Leonard Peltier in our prayers, and seek his freedom from prison after already serving 35 years!"
Update: Video interview posted Monday, Dec. 20, 2010:

Cancun: The victory was in the streets

Cancun: The victory was in the streets
Wikileaks and Evo Morales: Revelations in Cancun
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photos: La Via Campesina Peoples March Photo 1: Ofelia Rivas, O'odham/Photos copyright Brenda Norrell
CANCUN – Cancun was the perfect city, with its dreamy climate, for the Conference on Climate Change, COP 16. With its Las Vegas style strip, it was also the perfect city to expose the haves and have-nots of the world and the machinations of rich countries who seek to sell the air, water and forests as commodities. It provided the perfect backdrop for Bolivian President Evo Morales’ to expose revelations on US spies and Wikileaks.
Beneath an outdoor canopy on a basketball court in downtown Cancun, there was a hero's welcome for President Morales when he met with thousands of people at La Via Campesina. With jubilant Mariachi and Andean music -- farmers, laborers, workers, Indigenous Peoples, mothers and migrants -- welcomed their hero, a hero of the people.
Flanked by rows of television cameras, musicians and climate marchers, President Morales was honored by thousands who were barred from attending the official UN Conference on Climate Change at the Moon Palace. They arrived by caravan, in buses, from Chiapas, Guatemala and the borders.
President Morales is the only Indian leader in the world to press for protection of Mother Earth, reduction in greenhouse gases and the establishment of a climate court of justice.
When Morales arrived at La Via Campesina, a double rainbow graced the sky.
Surrounded by a delegation of dignitaries, President Morales spoke of the challenge of bringing about change in the official climate negotiations. Morales said the official negotiators are unwilling to address the real causes of the climate crisis: Capitalism.
"They don't want to change the causes of climate change," Morales said. "They want to privatize nature," Morales said, describing the carbon market schemes that offer dollars to small countries. "They are bringing more problems with their solutions."
Morales said capitalism is the cause of the climate crisis and the other crises: The financial, food and energy crises. Without water, he said, there is no solution to the food crisis. Water, he said, can not be produced from the World Bank's dollars and neither can the food which depends on water.
Morales also described the United States' efforts to spy on, and destabilize the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador and Honduras.
Ultimately, Morales called for a new movement for the protection of Mother Earth and a new form of socialism.
Speaking to waving flags, cheers and applause, Morales spoke to the heart of the people, as some Indigenous Peoples sat silently or tears fell from their faces.
"The leaders of the world do not suffer what we suffer, they do not feel the pain we feel," Morales told the people.
Before Morales spoke, the Declaration of Via Campesina was read, denouncing the predatory system of capitalist countries. Calling for a halt to the destruction of Mother Earth, Bolivia was recognized for the courage of its resistance.
"We were continuing our solidarity with President Morales to continue on, to continue for our survival and the future of Mother Earth," said Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, who served as cochair of the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples at the Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in April.
"We needed to hear his strength. As grassroots people, we needed to hear that strength in his voice. The strength of the people was confirmed by the double full rainbow when President Morales arrived."
Sarah James, one spokesperson for the Gwich'in Nation, from Arctic Village, Alaska, appreciated President Morales' focus on sovereign rights to protect Mother Earth.
"As a sovereign nation, we have sovereign rights with our Earth. President Morales spoke on sovereign rights. Sovereign rights are our very own given to us by the Creator," James said in an interview.
"Climate change and global warming are very real and rapid in the Arctic. We have a right to speak, to stop climate change, because of our human rights, birthrights and sovereign rights," she said, pointing out the threat of oil drilling to the caribou calving grounds in the Arctic.
In Cancun, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman asked Bolivian President Evo Morales about a Wikileaks cable which states Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries need to be neutralized, co-opted or marginalized. Wikileaks leaked cable, see no. 16:
Morales responded that the US intelligence lacks intelligence. Morales said the people of Bolivia are not children and the leaked cable confirms the reasons Bolivia expelled the US diplomats, as the US continues its attempt to destabilize governments. Meanwhile, Bolivia announced it is now a mirror site for Wikileaks.
During the two week climate conference, the Indigenous Environmental Network was webstreaming live, with Earthcycles, on Red Road Cancun. IEN focused its efforts on halting REDDs and exposing the scam of carbon credits and the carbon market.
Casey Camp, Ponca from Oklahoma, speaking at the International Climate Dialogue, Dialogo Climatico, at Casa Cultural on Monday, Dec. 6, told the people, "I come from occupied territory." Camp said she was honored to bring the voices of the Ponca people to Cancun from their sacred lands. She spoke of the genocide and false promises of the United States, and how the US promised it would help the Ponca to keep their land sacred.
Camp described the traditional way of life, fishing and hunting, and how the Ponca breathe the same breath of all in nature. She said the Ponca have treaties with the United States, but these were never honored by the US. She spoke of their history and the displacement of the Ponca people. From the beginning, the Ponca were pressured to be apart of the colonizers, the oppressors, she said.
"They didn't understand the water is not for sale, the land is not for sale," she said of the US colonizers. "They took our lands, they chopped down our trees," she said, while describing how their lands were sold to white farmers who poisoned their land.
Now, she said the water is too polluted to fish, the land is too polluted to grow food.
Today, major corporations around the world are selling the world false solutions, which will lead to the loss of lands and loss of forests for Indigenous Peoples. The false solutions of global carbon trading -- carbon credits and REDDs -- are the same trickery which the United States used to steal the land and forests of the Ponca people, she said.
In the evenings in downtown Cancun, far from the machine guns and tanks surrounding the official negotiations at the Moon Palace, La Via Campesina featured panels of speakers. Leonardo Boff, human rights activist from Brazil, pointed out that three people in the world have more money than 45 countries in the world.
Boff said there are now 60 million climate refugees because of the loss of water, land and crops. This number is expected to soon increase to 100 to 150 million climate refugees due to water scarcity. He said there must be solidarity from the most vulnerable. He said to bring about change there must be solidarity from the grassroots, combined with pressure and articulation, along with the people’s claims and declarations.
Civil society’s face must be shown on the global scale, he said.
“The People of the earth, not the rich, the tribes of the earth, must come together, and insist on another world where all can fit,” Boff said in Spanish, which was translated.
Boff said the world must not continue where some have so much and others have nothing. He stressed the hope of light and life.
“Life is stronger than death. We have the seed, we have to believe in the power of this seed. We are the carriers of this seed.”
Boff said sustainability must be brought to our production systems.
“We need to live in a way that all can move forward and survive. That is the meaning of a human being.”
But, he said, consumers have deviated from this, developing a systematic war to exploit the earth, to accumulate with no sense of justice and with no perspective of solidarity with the generations that come later.
“We have to come from the earth. We have to unite. We have to join forces, hold hands to complete this mission to rescue the health of the earth. We have to do this.”
Then at the official negotiations, with nauseating self-congratulations webstreaming throughout the night, a climate deal was adopted by UN negotiations, without consensus.
Still, the victory was in the streets, and with the people. At La Via Campesina, as the chairs were folded up and the last caravan buses headed for home, the people proclaimed: “La lucha siege! The struggle continues!”

Brenda Norrell is publisher of Censored News, . Now blacklisted by all mainstream media, she served as a news reporter in Indian country covering the Navajo Nation and the west for 28 years.

December 16, 2010

Ben Carnes: Is Obama's support of Declaration a good thing?

By Ben Carnes
Censored News
While government recognized tribal leaders convened for the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior Department, supporters for imprisoned activist, Leonard Peltier, stood outside in the snow and cold to remind these leaders to ask Obama to pardon Peltier. Peltier's conviction has been deemed unfair, unjust and an outrage by legal scholars, world spiritual and political leaders. At the opening, Obama announced the US would be endorsing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, belatedly.
I understand there will be those who will greet this action with long awaited joy, while others will view it with heavily guarded suspicion. It must also be understood that as Indigenous Peoples, we are not all the same, some consider themselves American Indians or Native Americans, while others do not subscribe to that notion. What makes a notable difference is that the President and Congress will consult with those it only recognizes as tribal leaders through its laws. The Chiefs, Headsmen, Clan Mothers and Spiritual leaders of the First Nations will not be.
The underlying issue is protecting the integrity of our sovereignty, through upholding treaties and honoring our culture and traditions that forms our worldview.
Last July, I wrote a statement to the State Department concerning the implementation of the Declaration, I got a form response thanking me for my input. Lip service is what it amounted to, however, that is probably more than the people standing outside of this conference will get from Obama. If Obama was truly serious about recognizing Indigenous rights, then he would sign a pardon freeing Peltier from his years of wrongful imprisonment.
My statement is below, and to read more, go to:

Obama: US will support Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Obama the Rock Star
Obama said the US will 'support' the UN Declaration -- he did not say the US will 'endorse' or 'adopt'

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
White House photo

Enthusiastic fans of President Obama didn't pay attention to his words when Obama announced the US would "support" the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Obama did not say the US would "endorse" or "adopt" the Declaration.

Canada supported the Declaration recently, then essentially nullified it by stating that all Canadian laws have precedent.

During the second White House Tribal Nations Conference, Native Americans leaders continued their photo ops and celebrating Obama as a rock star on Thursday.

When Obama announced that the US would support the UN Declaration, few people reported his words exactly.

The support by the US has no force of law.

The United States is the last country in the world to support the Declaration, adopted by the UN in 2007. Canada was second from the bottom to support it, then only conditionally.

Although Obama calls the gathering 'the White House Tribal Nations Conference,' once again this year, Native American leaders were not allowed in the White House. Initially in 2009, it was promoted as: "Welcome to the White House."

This year, about a dozen hand-picked Native leaders (see list below) were allowed in the White House on Wednesday to meet with Obama. There are more than 560 federally-recognized Indian Nations. There was no explanation of how the selection process was carried out for the dozen leaders who were singled out.

Once again this year, Native American leaders were told to meet in the Interior Building. In the morning, Obama gave a short address to the leaders, which was primarily self-congratulations, spending less time this year than last with Native leaders.

Obama's schedule shows that he scheduled only 30 minutes on Thursday for the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

In closing, Obama spoke of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"And as you know, in April, we announced that we were reviewing our position on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And today I can announce that the United States is lending its support to this declaration.

"The aspirations it affirms -- including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples -- are one we must always seek to fulfill. And we’re releasing a more detailed statement about U.S. support for the declaration and our ongoing work in Indian Country. But I want to be clear: What matters far more than words -- what matters far more than any resolution or declaration -– are actions to match those words. And that’s what this conference is about. That’s what this conference is about. That’s the standard I expect my administration to be held to."

Native American leaders met with other US government officials following Obama's short address, in break out sessions, to express concerns, including those about the loss of hunting and fishing rights and the destruction of sacred places.

The United States made it clear in its statement that the Declaration is not legally binding.

Among the issues of concern for Native Americans are the issues of rights to ancestral territories and free, informed and prior consent, as stated in the Declaration.

Obama said, "The United States supports the Declaration, which -- while not legally binding or a statement of current international law -- has both moral and political force. It expresses both the aspirations of indigenous peoples around the world and those of States in seeking to improve their relations with indigenous peoples. Most importantly, it expresses aspirations of the United States, aspirations that this country seeks to achieve within the structure of the U.S. Constitution, laws, and international obligations, while also seeking, where appropriate, to improve our laws and policies."

The US statement is similar to that of Canada.

In its statement of support of the UN Declaration, Canada said, "Although the Declaration is a non-legally binding document that does not reflect customary international law nor change Canadian laws, our endorsement gives us the opportunity to reiterate our commitment to continue working in partnership with Aboriginal peoples in creating a better Canada."
Native leaders meeting with Obama on Wednesday at the White House:
• Earl J. Barbry, Sr., Chairman, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana
• Cedric Black Eagle, Chairman, Crow Nation
• Brian Cladoosby, Chairman, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
• Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
• Brenda Edwards, Chairperson, Caddo Nation
• Tex G. Hall, Chairman, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation: Three Affiliated Tribes
• Gary Hayes, Chairman, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
• John Red Eagle, Principal Chief, Osage Nation
• Joe Shirley, Jr. , President, Navajo Nation
• Robert H. Smith, Chairman, Pala Band of Mission Indians
• Edward K. Thomas, President, Tlingit Haida Central Council
• Mervin Wright, Jr., Chairman, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Nevada
New York Times blog: Has Obama kept his promises to American Indians

Watch video to Obama's address on Thursday morning to conference:

December 14, 2010

Democracy Now: Groups Protest UN Climate Summit for Shutting out Civil Society

GONZALO ZAPATA: [translated] We were covering a peaceful march of some young people, and suddenly U.N. security asked for a truck to come to take the kids away, who weren’t doing anything to deserve that. Then they grabbed a companion. They put him on the bus and started to take him away while beating him.

Patrick Bond: 'Climate Capitalism' won at Cancun -- Everyone else loses

‘Climate Capitalism’ Won At Cancun - Everyone Else Loses
By Patrick Bond/ZNet
Photo copyright Ben Powlesss, Mohawk (Via Campesina's Carlos Marentas on far left with IEN's Tom Goldtooth second from right at Peoples March in Cancun.)
Excerpt ...
REDD as wedge
Besides Bolivian leadership, the world’s best hope for contestation of these power relationships rests with civil society. Along with La Via Campesina network of peasant organizations, which attracted a Mexico-wide caravan and staged a militant march that nearly reached the airport access road on the morning of December 7 as heads of state flew into Cancun, the most visible poor peoples’ representatives were from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). On December 8, IEN spokesperson Tom Goldtooth was denied entry to the UN forum due to his high-profile role in non-violent protests.
According to Goldtooth, Cancun’s ‘betrayal’ is “the consequence of an ongoing US diplomatic offensive of backroom deals, arm-twisting and bribery that targeted nations in opposition to the Copenhagen Accord.” For Goldtooth, an ardent opponent of REDD, “Such strategies have already proved fruitless and have been shown to violate human and Indigenous rights. The agreements implicitly promote carbon markets, offsets, unproven technologies, and land grabs – anything but a commitment to real emissions reductions. Language ‘noting’ rights is exclusively in the context of market mechanisms, while failing to guarantee safeguards for the rights
of peoples and communities, women and youth.”
In the same way, the Green Fund was promoted by World Bank president Robert Zoellick, whose highest-profile speech to a side conference promised to extend the REDD commodification principle to broader sectors of agriculture and even charismatic animals like tigers, in alliance with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. On December 8, protests demanded that the World Bank be evicted from climate financing, in part because under Zoellick the institution’s annual fossil fuel investments rose from $1.6 billion to $6.3 billion, and in part because the Bank promotes export-led growth, resource extraction, energy privatisation and carbon markets with unshaken neoliberal dogma.
According to Grace Garcia from Friends of the Earth Costa Rica, “Only a gang of lunatics would think it is a good idea to invite the World Bank to receive climate funds, with their long-standing track-record of financing the world’s dirtiest projects and imposition of death-sentencing conditionalities on our peoples.”
Unfortunately, however, some indigenous people’s groups and Third World NGOs do buy into REDD, and well-funded Northern allies such as the market-oriented Environmental Defense Fund have been using divide-and-conquer tactics to widen the gaps. The danger this presents is extreme, because the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) strategy set in place by Al Gore in 1997 – when he mistakenly (and self-interestedly) promised that the US would endorse the Kyoto Protocol if carbon trading was central to the deal – may well continue to fracture climate advocacy.
REDD is one of several blackmail tactics from the North, by which small sums are paid for projects such as tree-planting or forest conservation management.
Read more on Climate debt and command-and-control at:

December 13, 2010

Postcards from Cancun

Postcards from Cancun: Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, and Sarah James, Gwich'in, meet with Huicholes to support protection of Huicholes' sacred places in Mexico; Brad Garness, executive director of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, at the gathering at Via Campesina with Bolivian President Evo Morales, during the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP 16; Amy Goodman passes out info on Democracy Now as the crowd waits for the arrival of President Morales at Via Campesina on Thursday.
Photos copyright Brenda Norrell/Censored News

December 11, 2010

Indigenous Environmental Network: Betrayal in Cancun

Cancún Betrayal: Cancun Climate Summit Unmasked as WTO of the Sky

Real Solutions to the Climate Crisis Will Come From Grassroots Movements
By Indigenous Environmental Network
Photo 1: Sarah James, Gwich'in, in peoples march on Tuesday. Copyright by Ben Powless, Mohawk. Photo 2: Casey Camp, Ponca, at ceremony for carvan arrival. Copyright Allan Lissner.
Censored News
CANCUN, Mexico — As representatives of Indigenous peoples and communities already suffering the immediate impacts of climate change, we express our outrage and disgust at the agreements that have emerged from the COP16 talks. As was exposed in the Wikileaks climate scandal, the Cancun Agreements are not the result of an informed and open consensus process, but the consequence of an ongoing US diplomatic offensive of backroom deals, arm-twisting and bribery that targeted nations in opposition to the Copenhagen Accord during the months leading up to the COP-16 talks.

We are not fooled by this diplomatic shell game. The Cancun Agreements have no substance. They are yet more hot air. Their only substance is to promote continued talks about climate mitigation strategies motivated by profit. Such strategies have already proved fruitless and have been shown to violate human and Indigenous rights. The agreements implictly promote carbon markets, offsets, unproven technologies, and land grabs—anything but a commitment to real emissions reductions.

The Voices of the People Must be Respected
Indigenous Peoples from North to South cannot afford these unjust and false ‘solutions’, because climate change is killing our peoples, cultures and ecosystems. We need real commitments to reduce emissions at the source and to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Because we are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change, we came to COP-16 with an urgent call to address the root causes of the climate crisis, to demand respect for the Rights of Mother Earth, and to fundamentally redefine industrial society’s relationship with the planet. Instead, the Climate COP has shut the doors on our participation and that of other impacted communities, while welcoming business, industry, and speculators with open arms. The U.S., Industrialized nations, big business and unethical companies like Goldman Sachs will profit handsomely from these agreements while our people die.

Women and youth in our communities are disproportionately burdened by climate impacts and rights violations. Real solutions would strengthen our collective rights and land rights while ensuring the protection of women, youth and vulnerable communities. While the Cancun Agreements do contain some language “noting” rights, it is exclusively in the context of market mechanisms, while failing to guarantee safeguards for the rights of peoples and communities.

The failures of the UN talks in Copenhagen have been compounded in Cancun. From the opening day to the closing moments of the talks, our voices were censored, dissenting opinions silenced and dozens ejected from the conference grounds. The thousands who rallied outside to reject market mechanisms and demand recognition of human and Indigenous rights were ignored.

The Market Will Not Protect Our Rights
Market-based approaches have failed to stop climate change. They are designed to commodify and profit from the last remaining elements of our Mother Earth and the air. Through its focus on market approaches like carbon trading, the UNFCCC has become the WTO of the Sky.

We are deeply concerned that the Cancun Agreements betray both our future and the rights of peoples, women, youth, and vulnerable populations. While the preamble to the Cancun Agreements note a call for “studies on human rights and climate change,” this is in effect an empty reference, with no content and no standards, that will not protect the collective rights of peoples. The market mechanisms that implicitly dominate both the spirit and the letter of the Cancun Agreements will neither avert climate change nor guarantee human rights, much less the Rights of Mother Earth. Approaches based on carbon offsetting, like REDD, will permit polluters to continue poisoning land, water, air, and our bodies, while doing nothing to stop the climate crisis. Indeed, approaches based on the commodification of biodiversity, CO2, forests, water, and other sacred elements will only encourage the buying and selling of our human and environmental rights.

The Cochabamba People’s Agreement Points the Way Forward
There is another way forward: the Cochabamba People’s Agreement represents the vision of everyday people from all corners of the globe who are creating the solutions to climate change from the ground up, and calling for a global framework that respects human rights and the Rights of Mother Earth.

If any hope emerges from Cancun, it comes from the dramatic demonstrations we saw in the streets and from the deep and powerful alliances that were built among indigenous and social movements. The Indigenous Environmental Network joined thousands of our brothers and sisters to demand real climate solutions based in the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the rights of Mother Earth, and a just transition away from fossil fuels. We will continue to stand with our allies to demand climate justice. The communities on the frontlines of the problem––those who face the daily impacts of the climate crisis––are also on the frontlines of the solutions. Community-based solutions can cool the planet!

The fight for climate justice continues. We are committed to deepening our alliances with indigenous and social movements around the world as we build in our communities and mobilize toward COP-17 in Durban, South Africa. Social movements in South Africa mobilized the world to overthrow Apartheid and create powerful, transformative change. The same mass-based movement building is our only hope to overturn the climate apartheid we now face. We look forward to working with our African brothers and sisters and tribal communities in Durban.

We only have one Mother Earth. As Indigenous Peoples, we will continue our struggle to defend all our Relations and future generations.

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is a network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions. IEN brought 17 indigenous leaders to Cancun as part of the Grassroots Solutions for Climate Justice — North America Delegation uniting representatives from fossil fuel impacted communities who are on the frontlines of solving the climate crisis. A complete archive of the delegations statements and activities can be found at and
More videos:
The End of Negotiations – Youth Delegations Ejected from COP16
Soham Baba, Lessons in Manipulating the Indigenous – COP16
World Bank President @ COP16
Jane Goodall Endorses REDD at COP 16
COP16: Perspective from The Streets
Media Contacts: IEN media hotline in Cancun: +52 998 108 0748 (available through Dec 11) Tom Goldtooth in Cancun +52 998 108 0751 (available through Dec 11) Tom Goldtooth (after Dec 12) +1 218-760-0442

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