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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mohawk Photographer Ben Powless Arrested in Toronto

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photos by Ben Powless in Toronto

TORONTO -- Mohawk photographer Ben Powless, arrested and released, was among 900 arrested in mass by police in Toronto, who attacked journalists and peaceful demonstrators trapped behind police lines. Journalists were beaten by police, including London Guardian correspondent Jesse Rosenfeld. Inside the G20 Summit, the world's powerbrokers and elitists, including President Obama, wanted nothing less than to hear the voices of the world's poor and the defenders of the land.

Naomi Klein said the real crime scene was inside the G20. "What actually happened at the summit is that the global elites just stuck the bill for their drunken binge with the world’s poor, with the people that are most vulnerable," Klein told Democracy Now.

Ben Powless, 23, provided photos from both the Bolivia Climate Summit in April and Indigenous Day of Action in Toronto last week, on the eve of the G20 Summit, to Censored News. Powless also provided photos from one of the most censored stories in 2007, from UN Climate talks in Bali, to Censored News.

Powless describes his arrest in interviews now available:
(Photo right: Ben Powless: G20 Toxic Tour in Toronto.)

Powless also shares his experience in Cochabamba in the article, "Canadian Reflections on the Cochabamba Climate Summit."

"I was invited to sit as Secretary of the Indigenous Peoples Working Group, one of 17 distinct working groups. In all of the working groups, we built upon an online discussion process that had started weeks before, and involved people who couldn’t make it to the conference. In all the working groups, Indigenous peoples from South America were prominent, which gave a particular flavour to the documents and discussions.

This was evident in the discussions that pushed for a return to principles of 'living well,' granting rights to nature, and building upon long-ranging debates about interculturalism—beyond laissez-faire liberal multiculturalism—while ensuring that these ideas found a receptive audience in the global climate justice community.

Indigenous peoples called for transnational corporations to be banned from Indigenous lands, while calling for the universal application of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, not only as a protective measure for the climate, but also against the negative impacts of any climate 'mitigation' projects, such as biofuels or mega-dams, which have already devastated many Indigenous communities. Indigenous groups also made a call for people to 'live well' instead of seeking unimpeded economic growth."
Read the article at:

Last week, Powless photographed the Indigenous Day of Action, prior to the G20 Summit, and the G20 Toxic Tour.

Thank you to Ben Powless for your dedication and courage. Thank you also for sharing your photos with Censored News and the world.

(TORONTO: 5:30 PM Eatern Time, Monday)
Hundreds of people from all walks of life have congregated in front of Toronto Police headquarters for a jail solidarity rally. The Toronto Community Mobilization Network organized the protest, which began around 5:30 p.m. and is intended to be a peaceful one. Police officers in full riot gear are in the vicinity of the station at 40 College St., near Bay Street, should the situation get out of hand. Speakers slated to speak during the demonstration include Naomi Klein, Ben Powless, Judy Rebick, David McNally, and Abeer Majeed. People allegedly brutalized by the police during this past weekend's G20 Summit are also planning to share their stories during the demonstration.

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