Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 30, 2010

Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham, responds to threat of poisoned water

Poisoned water threat comes as more migrants die of dehydration on Tohono O'odham land

By Brenda Norrell
© Censored News
Photo: Mike Wilson with humanitarian water tanks on Tohono O'odham Nation. Photo by Brenda Norrell.

ARIZONA -- Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham who puts out water for migrants on Tohono O'odham land as humanitarian aid, responded to an e-mail threat of poisoned water.

The anonymous e-mail said, "F you. I hope some real Americans will step up and put poison in the water. I hope you are the first to drink."

The e-mail threat, on Aug. 29, was sent in response to the article, "Tohono O'odham Nation surrendered its will to the Border Patrol."

Wilson said, "I'm not surprised by the threat, it is certainly expected and no one is immune. Humane Borders has received these threats for the last ten years, including the writing of 'veneno' (poison) on the sides of its water barrels in the desert.

"The subject government of the Tohono O'odham Nation, its elected leaders and its Imperial master, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, continue to deny and denigrate hundreds of migrant deaths in Indian Country. The B.I.A. is complicit in the decade long (2000-2010) humanitarian crisis on O'odham land. Continuing a legacy of selective neglect of American Indians, the B.I.A. feigns ignorance and silence when it comes to Latino and Indigenous People dying by hyperthermia and dehydration on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.

"This calculated silence by the B.I.A. in Washington, D.C. and in Sells (capital of the Tohono O'odham Nation) is an attempt to inoculate itself against the charge of willful complicity and to wash migrant blood from its hands.

"According to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office, of 58 migrant deaths in the month of July, 44 were on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. This B.I.A. policy of silence is a self-fulfilling prophesy in the making, in that it achieves its own intended purpose of plausible denial. This deafening B.I.A. silence now assumes the legal consent and approval of migrant deaths on Tohono O'odham tribal land by the Tohono O'odham Nation, BIA, the Department of Interior and the Federal Government of the United States. Blood runs deep.

"Brady McComb's SPECIAL REPORT: DECADE OF DEATH was published in the Arizona Daily Star (Sunday, August 22, 2010). Also, author and reporter Margaret Regan's story, D.O.A., came out in the Tucson Weekly last Thursday, August 26, 2010.

"Both compelling stories are moral indictments against the Government and elected leadership of the Tohono O'odham Nation. The Tohono O'odham Nation continues its futile defensive strategy of presumed isolation and insulation.

"However, as both stories clearly demonstrate, tribal Chairman Ned Norris, Jr., Legislative Council Chairman Verlon Jose and Baboquivari District Council Chairwoman Veronica Harvey cannot insulate themselves against the stretch and scope of a free press.

"No amount of spin from the Tohono O'odham Nation's hired PR firm in Phoenix can protect the Tohono O'odham Nation from its culpability for Latino and Indigenous migrant deaths.

"Neither can the elected tribal leadership insulate itself against the putrid stench of another hundred decomposing migrant bodies on O'odham lands. The Government of the Tohono O'odham Nation needs to purchase Biological Hazard suits for when its leaders leave the reservation, if they can't smell the stench on themselves, others can."

More water,
Mike Wilson
Tohono O'odham
August 30, 2010

Censored News

Also see:
O'odham on the border to National Guard: 'We do not want you on our land'

Watch video: Tucson police turn mom and dad over to Border Patrol 'dog catcher' truck, as kids cry in the night:

More about this video by the Three Sonorans at Phoenix New Times:

National Guardsmen eager to smuggle cocaine on Arizona border arrested in sting operation:

Michigan Asserts Sovereignty Rights in Canoe Crossing

Michigan Asserts Sovereignty Rights in Canoe Crossing
Article and photos by Brita Brookes©
Censored News
August 27, 2010

The local aboriginal community from both the United States metro Detroit area and local Windsor, Ontario area gathered at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park on Friday, August 27, 2010. With the sun shining and warm summer temperatures, the group gathered to launch the first ever USA-Canada Canoe Border Crossing as a peaceful demonstration of the rights stated and found in the Jay Treaty.

Local American Indian Movement of Michigan organizers Bryan Halfday and Helen Wolfe held the event as a way to increase public awareness about aboriginal treaty rights, create local community support and to educate people about inherent and ancestral rights. The event was planned as a part of a three day weekend of events all related to the Honoring Our Traditions Pow Wow which was held in Lincoln Park, Michigan’s Council Point Park also organized by the local Michigan American Indian Movement chapter.

Dennis Banks co-founder of the American Indian Movement participated in the canoe border crossing and stated that the ability and right to cross the river to Canada from the United States freely was “guaranteed in the Jay Treaty and it is our ancestral right to cross freely without harassment. This is our ancestral land of which we view per our history as one in the same with no borders. This is our home. We are sovereign.”

The canoe crossing started at the west end of Belle Isle Park whereupon the canoes paddled across the busy Detroit River to the Windsor, Ontario Peace Fountain. Once at the Windsor Peace Fountain, the canoe groups touched Canadian land and were greeted by a large group including singers from the Canadian American Friendship Center. A few onlookers with opposing views yelled at one canoe participant to “go home.” Andrea Pierce stated that she was surprised at seeing and hearing opposition to her implementing her aboriginal rights and responded to them respectfully that “she never crossed any borders, but that the borders had crossed her.”

Among the canoe participants were John Marcus, Andrea Pierce, Stephanie Bartley, Rob Henry, Tim Seneca, Dean Kicknosway, Julianne Horsfield, Robert Naimy and Chase Horsfield. When asked about the reason why he did the crossing, canoe participant Dean Kicknosway replied that I wanted the population to know that “we are a living people with a history, not a people from history.”

The canoes crossed just prior to having several large freighters pass through on the busy Detroit River. The Detroit River is home to one of the busiest International Ports, the Ambassador Bridge and a hub of US and Canadian Commerce.

When asked how the experience was Stephanie Bartley stated that “she will remember the day forever. It was beautiful and I am very emotional about doing this knowing my ancestors probably travelled this way a long time ago.”

The event ended at the East end of Belle Isle where people gathered to sing and celebrate a peaceful and safe crossing. It was discussed among the crowd and with Dennis Banks, Bryan Halfday and Helen Wolfe that the hope would be for this to become a yearly event. The hope is that more people may partake in the event next year. To commemorate the crossing Dennis Banks is having a custom embroidered patch made that says “Just the Beginning- Continuing Our Ancestral Past- Detroit to Windsor Jay Treaty Canoe Border Crossing.” If anybody would like to volunteer in coordinating and or promoting this event for next year please contact Bryan Halfday at

August 29, 2010

O'odham to National Guard: 'We do not want you on our lands'

O'odham to National Guard: 'We do not want you on our lands'
By Ofelia Rivas©, O'odham

Photo 1: National Guardsmen on Tohono O'odham land, south of Sells, Arizona, in 2007 aiding in the construction of the vehicle barrier at the US/Mexico border/Photo copyright Brenda Norrell. Photo 2: Ofelia Rivas on the border/Copyright Jason Jaacks
Censored News

Ofelia Rivas, traditional O'odham living on the border, released a statement to the National Guard, who are to arrive on the US/Mexico border in Arizona on Monday.

To the United States National Guard arriving in O'odham Lands,

We are not compliant people, we are people with great dignity and confidence. We are a people of endurance and have a long survival history. We are people that have lived here for thousands of years. We have our own language, we have our own culture and traditions.

You are coming to my land, you may find me walking on my land, sitting on my land and just going about my daily life. I might be sitting on the mountain top, do not disturb me, I am praying the way my ancestors did for thousands of years. I might be out collecting what may be strange to you but it might be food to me or medicine for me.

Sometimes I am going to the city to get a burger or watch a movie or just to resupply my kitchen and refrigerator. Some of us live very much like you do and some of us live very simple lives. Some of may not have computers or scanners or televisions or a vehicle but some of us do.

The other thing is that some of us are light-skinned O'odham and some of us are darker-skinned O'odham. Some of us spend a lot of time indoors or outdoors. Sometimes my mother might be of a different Nation (refers to different tribal Nation) or sometimes our father is Spanish or we may have some European grandmother or grandfather.

If you want to question who we are, we all have learned to carry our Tohono O'odham Nation Tribal I.D. Card. It is a federally-issued card which is recognized by the federal government which is your boss. This card identifies us and by law this is the only requirement needed to prove who we are. We do not have United States passports because most of us were born at home and do not have documents, but that does not make us "undocumented people." Your boss, the Department of Homeland Security, and the government of the Tohono O'odham Nation have negotiated an agreement which is, our tribal I.D. card is our identification card and no other document is required.

The O'odham, (the People) as we call ourselves, have been here to witness the eruption of volcanoes that formed the lands we live on. We have special places that hold our great-great-great-great-great great grandparents remains, our lands are a special and holy place to us. Some of us still make journeys to these places to pray. Some of these places hold holy objects that maintain specific parts of our beliefs. When you see us out on the land do not assume we are in the drug business or human smuggling business. Sometimes we are out on the land hunting for rabbits or deer or javelina to feed our families. We may be carrying a hunting weapon please do not harm me, my family loves me and depends on me.
When you are out on our land, be mindful that you are visitor on our lands, be respectful, be courteous and do not harm anything.

Sometimes you may see us gather all night long, dancing and sometimes we are crying loudly, do not approach us or disturb us in anyway, we are honoring a dead relative and preparing them for burial. Sometimes we are conducting a healing ceremony out on the land, do not approach us or disturb us. Sometimes we may be singing and dancing all night long, these are our ceremonies that we have conducted for thousands of years. We are not behaving in a suspicious nature, this is our way of life.

As original people of the lands we honor everything on our lands and we regard all as a part of our sacred lives, do not kill any plants and animals or people on our lands. Do not litter our lands with your trash. When we visit other peoples lands and cities and homes we do not litter or leave behind trash.

We might be driving our cars, sometimes old, sometimes very new, do not try to run us off the roads or tailgate me. I value my life and my family, I might have a newborn in my car or my grandmother or my mother and father, my brothers and sister or my aunts and uncles or my friends. These are all important people to me and I do not want to see them hurt or dead.

If I seem like I do not understand what you are saying, please call the Tohono O'odham Police and ask for an O'odham speaking officer to come and assist you. I might be laughing at you if you talk to me in English, I don't know what you are saying and I am laughing out of nervousness and fear because you are armed.

If you are afraid of us and draw your weapons on me, I am more afraid of you because I am unarmed and my family is in the vehicle with me or they are in my house when you come into my house. Sometimes my house might be in poor condition but it is my home, it is my sanctuary, be respectful. Sometime there are elders in my house that are already afraid of armed people in our communities such as the border patrol and other federal agents.

There are some people that do drug business or human smuggling business but we are not all doing that, we are not all criminals. Do not treat us like criminals.

We might call you killers and murderers as you just came from killing people. To the O'odham you are a dangerous person, to walk onto our lands bringing fresh death on your person is very destructive to us as a people. You may have diseases we do not know, illnesses of your mind that you might inflict on us. Please do not approach us if you are afflicted with fresh death.

Remember we do not want you on our lands, we did not invite you to our lands.

Do remember that we have invited allies that will be witnessing your conduct on our lands and how you treat our people.

From the the O'odham Lands
Ofelia Rivas

Please request permission before reposting:

August 28, 2010

Eyes on Border Patrol's new abuser recruits

Eyes on Border Patrol's new abuser recruits

By Brenda Norrell©
Censored News
Photo: On the border by Brenda Norrell©
Border residents are on guard, ready to spot and video tape the invading Border Patrol and National Guardsmen arriving on the Arizona border to terrorize border residents.

The Border Patrol and new National Guardsmen will begin their stints of racial profiling and abusing people of color here on Monday.

There is nothing funny about it.

However, when they take a break from abusing people, it is always interesting to document their behavior.

During a day of Border Patrol watching in the middle of summer, in the region of Sasabe, I documented that every Border Patrol agent was either eating snacks at the Three Points store; eating snacks in the desert they had just purchased at the Three Points store inside their air-conditioned vehicles, or chatting on their cell phones in their air-conditioned vehicles.

There wasn't a migrant in sight.

So, now we're all waiting for the new abuser Border Patrol and National Guardsmen recruits to arrive in town in Tucson, watching out at Burger King, where the Border Patrol has a hamburger contract, and at all the convenience stores where they sell chips and junk foods.

Psst Border Patrol: We know who is leaving the Starbucks and designer coffee cups strewn across the desert and it is not the migrants. Stop throwing your trash out the car windows.

We're watching you.

And the next time you plan to attack a brown person and think no one is looking, better think again.
Also see:
O'odham on the border to National Guard: 'We do not want you on our land'

Watch video: Tucson police turn mom and dad over to Border Patrol 'dog catcher' truck, as kids cry in the night:

More about this video by the Three Sonorans at Phoenix New Times:

National Guardsmen eager to smuggle cocaine on Arizona border arrested in sting operation:

August 27, 2010

Brita Brookes Photos: Jay Treaty Crossing

Photos copyright by Brita Brookes. Thank you!
Read about Jay Treaty Crossing at Detroit Free Press:

New Times: Tucson Police Turn Mom and Dad over to Border Patrol as Kids Cry

VIDEO: Tucson police turn dad and mom over to Border Patrol as kids cry.

Read more at New Times:

Oily Gaga: Doin' the dirty oil dance against Tar Sands

Outside the historic Royal Bank of Scotland branch at St Andrews Square in Edinburgh, Scotland, Climate Campers perform "Oily Gaga" in protest over RBS's dirty investments in TarSands projects. Indigenous Peoples in Canada are fighting the destruction of their homelands by the disease-producing TarSands.

Read more:

Indigenous Environmental Network's Shutdown the Tar Sands Campaign:

Arvol Looking Horse speaks on White Buffalo Prophecy

Chief Arvol Looking Horse speaks on the White Buffalo Prophecy, of the time of change that mankind is now experiencing. The appearance of the white buffalo is a blessing and a warning on climate change and other changes. Chief Looking Horse calls for a spiritual unity and respect for the way of life.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. The leader of the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate, the great Sioux nation, is a man with a vision.
A Great Urgency: To All World Religious and Spiritual Leaders

My Relatives,

Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

We, from the heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the sacred life of all things.

The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of spirit, mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.

I asked, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.

I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our united prayers for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth.

As we honor the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc¹I Maka), and that we may also seek to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive path we are on.

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember World Peace and Prayer Day/ Honoring Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children¹s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

Chief Arvol Looking Horse sees a great danger threatening "Grandmother Earth" and a great hope for restoring her wholeness. So he is calling all nations to prayer of any kind in an effort to return the planet to balance, the people to spirit. I asked him why this path is the right path to take. "A man or a woman without spirit is very dangerous," Looking Horse explained in a recent phone interview. According to this Sioux chief, the absence of spirit is causing suffering everywhere. "We are in a time of survival," he said. "But we don't want to believe it because we have forgotten our spirits. We have forgotten that Grandmother Earth has a spirit." Disconnected souls are hurting others without even knowing they are hurting others." Those being hurt include animals, trees and waterways. The Sioux have an inclusive worldview, but it was not shared by the transplanted Europeans who undertook genocide on Indian land, culminating in the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. That final brutality broke the "hoop" binding Indians together; however, Sioux prophecy foretold that in a hundred years the people would be reunited. Although surviving tribe members and their descendants were stripped of religious freedoms (returned to them only 32 year ago by the U.S. government), the rituals were kept and the prophecy not forgotten. So the Sioux nations set out on horseback to "mend the broken hoop" of their nation in 1986 at a sacred site known to non-Indians as Devils Tower or the Great Horn Butte; their ritual went on for four years and concluded in 1990, 100 years after Wounded Knee. During the course of that long ritual, Looking Horse was surprised by a vision that came to him of peace and unity that included not only the Indian nations but all the nations of the world, each gathering with ritual plants around sacred fires on every continent. The Sioux chief felt called to oversee a much broader mending. But who was going to listen even to the chief of a people largely ignored in the country where they lived? "It's everyday life for us that we hold Grandmother Earth sacred, we hold the trees and the plants, everything has a spirit. We need people to be really respectful for each other. The Great Spirit put us here all together. If we're going to survive, we need to have spirit and compassion. We're asking people to go to their sacred places or sacred spaces to pray." "Sioux Indian chief calls all nations to action on June 21" by Juliane Poirier
Music gifted by Tony Gerber

Schwarzenegger's slick oil 'marine life protection' deal at Shelter Cove

Arnold’s MLPA Officials to Hold Public Meeting in Shelter Cove

Article and photo by Dan Bacher©
Censored News

SHELTER COVE, Calif. -- Faced with massive opposition by Indian Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists, officials from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fast-track Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative will hold a “public information session” about the effort to create so-called Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along California’s northern coastline.

The meeting will be held on Sunday, Aug. 29, from 3 to 4 p.m., at the Shelter Cove Fire Station Meeting Hall, 9126 Shelter Cove Road in Shelter Cove, California.

“Adopted into California state law in 1999, the MLPA requires all existing state marine protected areas to be reevaluated, and a statewide system to be created to protect marine life, habitat and ecosystems,” according to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). “The MLPA Initiative is currently in the planning stages for the north coast study region, which includes state waters from the California-Oregon border to Alder Creek near Point Arena.”

“Staffed by members of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, the meeting will provide interested members of the public with information about the scope and process of the effort,” the release stated. “Questions and public input are welcome.”

I have challenged MLPA proponents to answer the following questions that cut to the core of the current MLPA process - and I encourage attendees to challenge MLPA officials with these questions. None have responded yet to my specific questions, but only continue to repeat their unsubstantiated claims that the Initiative is “open, transparent and inclusive” and that anybody who criticizes the initiative is an opponent of “ocean protection.”

Here are the questions:

Why did the Governor and MLPA officials install an oil industry lobbyist, a marina developer, a real estate executive and other corporate interests as “marine guardians” to remove Indian Tribes, fishermen and seaweed harvesters from the water by creating so-called "marine protected areas" (MPAS)? Isn’t this very bad

Why is Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, allowed to make decisions as the chair of the BRTF for the South Coast and as a member of the BRTF for the North Coast, panels that are supposedly designed to “protect” the ocean, when she has called for new oil drilling off the California coast? Do we want to see oil rigs off Point Arena, Fort Bragg and other areas of some of the most beautiful coastline of North America?

Why is a private corporation, the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, being allowed to privatize ocean resource management in California through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DFG?

Why do the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) and Science Advisory Team continue to violate the California Public Records Act by refusing to respond to numerous requests by Bob Fletcher, former DFG Deputy Director, for key documents and records pertaining to the MLPA implementation process?

Why do MLPA staff and the California Fish and Game Commission refuse to hear the pleas of the representatives of the California Fish and Game Wardens Association, who oppose the creation of any new MPAs until they have enough funding for wardens to patrol existing reserves?

Why did MLPA staff until recently violate the Bagley-Keene Act and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by banning video and audio coverage of the initiative’s work sessions?

Why has the Initiative shown no respect for tribal subsistence and ceremonial rights?

This is an overt violation of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Article 32, Section 2, of the Declaration mandates “free prior and informed consent” in consultation with the indigenous population affected by a state action (

The MLPA also violates Article 26, Section 3, that declares, “States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.”

Why are there no Tribal scientists on the MLPA Science Advisory Team and why were there no Tribal representatives on the Blue Ribbon Task Forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast or South Coast MLPA Study Regions?

Why does the initiative discard the results of any scientists who disagree with the MLPA’s pre-ordained conclusions? These include the peer reviewed study by Dr. Ray Hilbert, Dr. Boris Worm and 18 other scientists, featured in Science magazine in July 2009, that concluded that the California current had the lowest rate of fishery exploitation of any place studied on the planet.

Why does the MLPA Initiative refuse to acknowledge California Indian Tribes as sovereign nations?

Finally, why did 300 Tribal members, fishermen, immigrant workers and environmentalists on July 21 feel so left out of the MLPA process that they had to organize a march and direct action to take over a MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting so their voices would be finally heard?

I urge you to sign a petition to support Assemblymen Wesley Chesbro’s call for a six-month delay in the North Coast MLPA process at:

Second, please sign this petition to the State of California to acknowledge and include Tribal traditional uses within state regulations for marine protected areas of the MLPA nitiative. Go to the Inter-Tribal Water Commission of California website: There is a link at the bottom of the posting that goes to: For more information about the MLPA, visit

August 26, 2010

Kawaiisu Indians: Developer does not own remains of families

Kawaiisu protecting burial grounds from developer in California
News release
As California develops its Open Space, Native American Sacred Sites are being destroyed. The State’s environmental law, CEQA, is cited in a Federal Court case brought by a Tribe to protect their Ancestors burial grounds. The Kawaiisu Tribe of Tejon objects to a phrase in a Kern County EIR, where it states that the corporate developer “owns the remains” of their families.
This case also seeks to resolve a problem long cited by California Tribes, the proper designation of Most Likely Descendants, Consultants and Monitors, by the California Native American Heritage Commission. Tejon Mountain Village (TMV) is a 26 thousand acre resort development
on land owned by the Tejon Ranch Corporation, a publicly traded entity. The project proposes three hotels, 750 resort lodging units, 3400 homes and 160,000 sq. ft. of commercial development. The acreage falls within the Indian Country of the Kawaiisu people and has over 50 documented pre-historic village sites. The Kawaiisu are one of the ancient Great Basin Shoshone Paiute Tribes, whose pre-European territory extended from Utah to the Pacific Ocean.
This case also cites the federal acknowledgement process, the Administrative Procedure Act and Repatriation of Native American remains. The Tribe’s case is litigated by Christopher K. King, of
Washington, DC. To read the August 15, 2010 Amended Complaint, visit the Eastern District Court of California case number 1:09 CV 01977 OWW SMS or view the pleading at the Tribes blog:
For more information contact:

Quit kicking Wikileaks

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

While the US is kicking and screaming about Wikileaks posting data, no one pays attention to the documents already posted by the US Army itself, including the Special Operations manual that describes the extensive support to guerrillas (terrorists) by US military special operations to carry out violence. Among the US goals is to destabilize governments and keep wars going.

Wikileaks exposed the fact that the US has been paying the Taliban and resistance forces.

Already online, posted by the US Army itself, is: "A Leader's Handbook to Unconventional Warfare." It describes in detail how the US military supports guerrilla movements (terrorists):

Among the legal and moral questions this raises: Where did the weapons and ammunition come from that were recently used to murder volunteer doctors in Afghanistan?

How many US, British and others have been killed because of the US support given to the Taliban and others?

Under the guise of the drug war in the south, how many Americans have been killed and tortured as a result of the training at the US School of the Americas and the US weapons provided?

Why isn't the media asking the questions.

Murdered Migrants near the Border: Incovenient Truth for the US

By Brenda Norrell
Photo: California border by Brenda Norrell.

The 72 people murdered at a ranch in Tamaulipas State, about 100 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, were migrants. A survivor from Ecuador, shot in the neck, said those murdered were migrants from Ecuador, Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador. The bodies of 58 men and 14 women were found in a one room.

Most migrants are Indigenous Peoples from Central and South America. They have nothing and are walking north through Mexico trying to survive. They are often kidnapped and help for ransom. Those who have no way of paying the kidnappers are shot, one by one, or tortured in front of the others. They are asked to give a phone number of a person in the US that can pay the ransom, if they have no one, they are killed. This is revealed in the new documentary "The Invisibles," which just premiered in Tucson.

The US news media fails to point out that the most vicious killers in Mexico, the Zetas running the drug trafficking, were trained by the United States as Special Forces at the US School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Ga. The US Army Rangers Special Forces were part of this training. It was after this training that they became the Zetas and began their torturing and murdering rampage through Mexico.

The other fact that the US fails to admit is this: It is the US appetite for drugs that creates the drug war in Mexico.

No one tells this part of the story.

The US media fails to tell another story. It is the truth of the displacement of Indigenous Peoples, primarily corn farmers in Central and South America, from their homelands by NAFTA and other trade agreements. The corporate takeovers of their lands for dams, energy development and corporate enterprises, using military and paramilitary units, have created homelessness for masses of Indigenous Peoples.

US corporations, including Chiquita Bananas in Colombia, have admitted in US court that they use hired assassins to eliminate Indigenous Peoples and poor farmers from their land.

Those who walk north are desperate people trying to survive.
UPDATE: On Friday, the lead investigator and a police officer were missing following the ranch massacre of 72 migrants. Two car bombs exploded, one at a police station and another at a television station.

August 25, 2010

Support Indigenous Independent Media in Flagstaff, Arizona

Support Indigenous Independent Media in Flagstaff!

Taala Hooghan Infoshop
A benefit open mike for Taala Hooghan!
Join us Sunday, August 29th at 6:30PM
$3 donation – performers free.
At Taala Hooghan Infoshop
1704 N. 2nd St. East Flagstaff, AZ
Benefit Open Mike!

We have a few more events before we wrap up our August calendar.
We are also putting together September's calendar so if you have any events you want hosted and posted, let us know!
Some news:
- We updated our website: Check it out & leave us some comment love!
- We have a new Free Box! Its packed full of great stuffs right now, there's always room for more.
- We have a little article in the Navajo-Hopi Observer:
- We've also partnered with the Impact Center, a fitness/boxing group that offers classes for youth empowerment and substance abuse prevention. They are operating in the garage space, come by and check it out!

As always we are in need of donations for next months rent/bills. Either stop by and help us out or send us an email if you'd like to help keep this community space alive.

Check out these upcoming August events:

Fri. 27th – Volunteer Meeting/Anartea – 6:30PM
Come learn more about the community space and what you can do to be part of it! All while sharing some good tea. :)

SUNDAY: A benefit open mike for Taala Hooghan!
Join us Sunday, August 29th at 6:30PM
$3 donation – performers free.

On August 30th Flagstaff City Council will decide whether or not to sell Flagstaff's precious drinking water to a single private business for recreation.

As City water prices go up and Flagstaff is threatened to run out of water by 2050, Arizona Snowbowl Ski Business has been offered $11 million tax payer dollars by the USDA to subsidize their plan to make fake snow. This amounts to a corporate bailout for a business located outside of city limits. Visit for more info.

We have a chance to stand for our future and respect.

When: August 30th at 5:30PM
Where: Sinagua High School
Located at 3950 East Butler Avenue Flagstaff, AZ.

4PM at Fox Glenn Park (4200 E. Butler Ave)


Contact members of the City Council:

To email all:
Leave an audio comment: (928) 779-7600

Mayor Sara Presler
Vice Mayor Celia Barotz
Councilmember Art Babbott
Councilmember Karla Brewster
Councilmember Coral Evans
Councilmember Scott Overton

Councilmember Al White

To make an appointment with the Mayor or a Councilmember call (928) 779-7600.

Send Letters to the Editor of the Arizona Daily Sun:
Randy Wilson
Taala Hooghan - Infoshop & Youth Media Arts Center
Klee Benally - Independent Indigenous Media - Indigenous Youth Empowerment! - Protect Sacred Places - Flagstaff Infoshop
Skype: indigenousaction

August 24, 2010

Grassroots Indigenous Delegation seeks sponsors to Cancun Climate Summit

Grassroots Indigenous Delegate seeks sponsor to Cancun Climate Summit
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Bolivia Declarations at:
Ofelia Rivas, founder of the O'odham Voice Against the Wall, served as cochair of the important Working Group on Indigenous Peoples at the Bolivia Climate Summit in Cochabamba in April. Ofelia lives on Tohono O'odham land near the US/Mexico border and is a constant voice of human rights as a traditional, ceremonial O'odham. She is one of two women receiving the 2010 Borderlinks Women on the Border Award and advocates for the right of Indigenous Peoples to travel in their own territories without harassment. She is a supporter of the Zapatistas and the struggle for autonomy and dignity in Mexico. (Photo Ofelia Rivas, center, at Bolivia Climate Summit by Ben Powless, Mohawk.)
Censored news publisher Brenda Norrell, also seeks a sponsor, in order to provide independent online radio and print media coverage of the Cancun Climate Summit. (Photo: Govinda in his solar-powered radio bus, at the end of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America in 2008. Photo by Lenny Foster in DC.)
UPDATE: Govinda/Earthcycles is now in Cancun, and has funding for his stay there! Govinda will be webcasting live for the Indigenous Environmental Network's Red Road Cancun.
To become a sponsor please contact:

August 23, 2010

US releases watered-down, generic report to UN on human rights

Native American testimony at 'Listening Conferences,' ignored in final report of US Periodic Review to UN

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: Church Rock NM uranium spill, poisoning Navajoland and the region since 1979.

The United States has sent its report card for itself on human rights to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The US Periodic Review on Human Rights released Monday shows the Obama Administration giving itself a glossy, positive review on the issue of Native Americans and human rights.
However, it appears that no one was actually listening at the US State Department's Listening Conferences, held to gather testimony for the report from Native Americans.
In the US sanitized report, the US report fails to describe the ongoing environmental genocide, where corporations in collusion with the US government target Indian country with power plants, coal mines, oil and gas wells and experimental technology.
The United States does not address the specific issues of the uranium mining that now threatens water supplies of Navajos or Lakotas, nor of the proposed Desert Rock power plant that threatens the health of Navajos.
There is no mention of the so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute that resulted in the relocation of 14,000 Navajos on Black Mesa. It was manufactured by attorneys, Congressmen and Peabody Coal to make way for Peabody Coal mining. The report does does not mention the Forgotten Navajos of the Bennett Freeze zone, where development was frozen by federal legislation.
The US report does not address the poisoned groundwater of the Tohono O'odham from mining, nor the conditions on South Dakota Indian lands. It does not address the violations of the rights of the Western Shoshone as gold mining targets sacred Mount Tenabo. There is no mention of how the use of recycled sewage water on sacred San Francisco Peaks will affect American Indian Nations.
The final report ignores the testimony revealing the legacy of cancer and death from uranium mining on Acoma and Laguna Pueblos. It fails to state the need to protect Zuni Pueblo sacred places.
There is no mention of the remains of radioactive spills, radioactive tailings and scattered bombs strewn across Indian country from the Navajo Nation to the Badlands on Lakotas' Pine Ridge.
The US report fails to address the widespread abuses by the US Border Patrol of Indigenous Peoples traveling in their own territories, or the violations of NAGPRA and other federal laws during construction of the US/Mexico border wall. This included Boeing digging up the ancestors of the O'odham.
There is no mention of the abuse of Haudenosaunee and others on the northern border by border agents. The US fails to describe the racial profiling that has become acceptable for police and border agents in the US.
The US does not address the violations of fishing and hunting rights of Native Americans in violations of Treaties.
The report fails to describe the targeting of American Indians by police during traffic stops, the longer prison sentences issued by courts for American Indians or the ongoing hate crimes in Indian country bordertowns. It fails to reveal the extent of the denial of rights for American Indian religious freedom in US prisons.
While giving a sweeping rosy report of the United States in regards to Native Americans and human rights, the US says it is considering passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The US fails to point out that it is trailing all the other countries in the world in adoption of the Declaration.
While applauding freedom of expression in America, the US fails to point out that spying on private citizens is nearing the Cold War spying level. There is no mention of US war crimes.
The ACLU, in its review of the Periodic Report, stressed the US abuse of the rights of prisoners and migrants in its response to the report (see below.)
Although the Navajo Nation was one site of the testimony, there are no specifics of Navajo testimony in the final report.
Although written testimony was presented on behalf of Leonard Peltier, there is no mention of Peltier in the final report.
The glossy nature of the report brings to mind the description by Russell Means of the US hearings for testimony. Means called it a "Smokescreen."
It appears that most of the testimony given by Native Americans was ignored.

The report states, "Nearly a thousand people, representing a diversity of communities and viewpoints, and voicing a wide range of concerns, attended these gatherings in New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; El Paso, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Window Rock, Arizona; the San Francisco Bay Area; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Birmingham, Alabama; and Washington, D.C."

Here's the praise the US gave itself on the issue of human rights for Native Americans in the Periodic Review:
Report of the United States of America
Submitted to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
In Conjunction with the Universal Periodic Review
Fairness, equality, and Native Americans
38. The U.S. took the UPR process to “Indian Country”. One of our UPR consultations was hosted on tribal land in Arizona, the New Mexico consultation addressed American Indian and Alaska Native issues, and other consultations included tribal representatives. The United States has a unique legal relationship with federally recognized tribes. By virtue of their status as sovereigns that pre-date the federal Union, as well as subsequent treaties, statutes, executive orders, and judicial decisions, Indian tribes are recognized as political entities with inherent powers of self-government. The U.S. government therefore has a government-to-government relationship with 564 federally recognized Indian tribes and promotes tribal self-governance over a broad range of internal and local affairs. The United States also recognizes past wrongs and broken promises in the federal government’s relationship with American Indians and Alaska Natives, and recognizes the need for urgent change. Some reservations currently face unemployment rates of up to 80 percent; nearly a quarter of Native Americans live in poverty; American Indians and Alaska Natives face significant health care disparities; and some reservations have crime rates up to 10 times the national average. Today we are helping tribes address the many issues facing their communities.
39. In November of last year, President Obama hosted a historic summit with nearly 400 tribal leaders to develop a policy agenda for Native Americans where he emphasized his commitment to regular and meaningful consultation with tribal officials regarding federal policy decisions that have tribal implications. In March, the President signed into law important health provisions for American Indians and Alaska Natives. In addition, President Obama recognizes the importance of enhancing the role of tribes in Indian education and supports Native language immersion and Native language restoration programs.
40. Addressing crimes involving violence against women and children on tribal lands is a priority. After extensive consultations with tribal leaders, Attorney General Eric Holder announced significant reform to increase prosecution of crimes committed on tribal lands. He hired more Assistant U.S. Attorneys and more victim-witness specialists. He created a new position, the National Indian Country Training Coordinator, who will work with prosecutors and law enforcement officers in tribal communities. The Attorney General is establishing a Tribal Nations Leadership Council to provide ongoing advice on issues critical to tribal communities.
41. On July 29, 2010, President Obama signed the Tribal Law and Order Act, requiring the Justice Department to disclose data on cases in Indian Country that it declines to prosecute and
granting tribes greater authority to prosecute and punish criminals. The Act also expands support for Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tribal officers. It includes new provisions to prevent counterfeiting of Indian-produced crafts and new guidelines and training for domestic violence and sex crimes, and it strengthens tribal courts and police departments and enhances programs to combat drug and alcohol abuse and help at-risk youth. These are significant measures that will empower tribal governments and make a difference in people's lives.
42. In April 2010, at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice announced that the United States would undertake a review of its position on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That multi-agency review is currently underway in consultation with tribal leaders and with outreach to other stakeholders.
Read full report at:

Russell Means: UN Listening Session is US Smokescreen

Statement by Russell Means, Republic of Lakotah
on the Occasion of the United States State Department “Listening Session” in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 16 March 2010

Once again, the occupation government of the United States of America has trotted out its dogs and ponies to provide a smokescreen and diversion from its continuing crimes against the indigenous peoples and nations of the Western Hemisphere. The reason for today’s media spectacle is supposedly for the US State Department to “listen” to input from indigenous peoples and nations for inclusion in the U.S.’s report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, universal periodic review process.

As we can see, many indigenous people have been duped to participate, yet again, in a lying and duplicitous process of the United States. The United States has absolutely no interest or intention of admitting to the world its human rights record that is neither justifiable nor defensible. In particular, the record of the United States with regard to historical, and ongoing, violations of over 370 treaties that were negotiated and signed with indigenous nations must be, but will not be, addressed by the United States. Instead, as is its ongoing practice, the United States will use this session, and the one tomorrow on the territory of the Diné (Navajo) Nation, as its justification that indigenous peoples were “consulted,” and “listened to,” while the U.S. simultaneously lies to the world about its disgraceful human rights record.

The Republic of Lakotah will not legitimize this embarrassing process. Instead, we will submit our report directly to the UN Human Rights Council, not to be filtered or sanitized by the State Department. Let us be clear, our report will be scathing. The United States continues, on a daily basis to violate the terms of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties with the Lakotah. Our report will indicate that the United States never intended to abide by the terms of the treaties, and has violated them consistently from the time of their signing to the present.

Our report will also cite the United States’ own language in acknowledging that “the treaties retain their full force and effect even today because they are the legal equivalent of treaties with foreign governments and have the force of federal law.” Periodic Report of the United States of America to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, April 23, 2007, paragraph 335. In light of the United States’ own admissions, in addition to reporting to the Human Rights Council on the egregious human rights record of the US towards indigenous peoples, the Republic of Lakotah will report to the Council and to the world, the exercise of its own rights under principles of international law. The United States has continually breached the treaties with the Lakotah, and international law allows the Lakotah to return to our status quo ante position prior to the signing of the treaties.

On March 30, 2010, the Republic of Lakotah will repeat its position to the United States, and will transmit its communication to the President of the United States and to the Secretary of State, demanding that the United States cease and desist it activities in Lakotah territory, and insisting that the United States withdraw its presence from our homeland.

The ACLU has listed the shortcomings of the US Periodic Review, stressing US abuses of prisoners and migrants, and made these recommendations:
In order to comply with international human rights obligations and commitments to guarantee access to
justice and effective remedy, the United States should take the following measures:
Habeas review in death penalty cases: Congress should amend the habeas-related provisions of the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) so that federal courts are more accessible
to prisoners asserting claims of constitutional violations.
Indigent defense for capital cases: Create and adequately fund state defender organizations that are
independent of the judiciary and that have sufficient resources to provide quality representation to indigent
capital defendants at the trial, appeal and post-conviction levels. Require states to ensure that capital
defense lawyers have adequate time, compensation and resources for their work.
Prisoners’ right to remedy: Congress should act immediately to ensure the Prison Abuse Remedies Act
of 2009, H.R. 4335 (PARA) becomes law, and the Obama Administration should support its passage, to
reinstate the ability of prisoners to challenge conditions of confinement that violate their rights by repealing
the “physical injury” requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA); exempting juveniles under
age 18 from the burdens created by the PLRA; and amending the “exhaustion requirement.”
State secrets: Congress should pass legislation that creates procedures to prevent the abuse of the state
secrets privilege and protect the rights of those seeking redress through our court system.
Remedies for domestic violence victims: Congress should amend the Violence Against Women Act to
ensure better oversight and training of police and provide effective remedies for victims of violence.
Diplomatic immunity for abuse of domestic workers: The Obama Administration should fully
implement the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to ensure that diplomat employers are held accountable
for abuse of domestic workers, including establishing a standard contract for domestic workers and a
mechanism for providing adequate compensation for domestic workers who are subject to abuse and
exploitation by diplomat employers.
Stipulated removal orders: The Department of Homeland Security should not issue stipulated removal orders without an in-person hearing before an immigration judge to determine that the non citizen’s waiver of the right to a removal hearing was knowing and voluntary.
Diplomatic assurances: The Obama Administration should prohibit the reliance on “diplomatic
assurances” to deport (pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 208.18(c)) or otherwise transfer persons from the United States. At a minimum, ensure that no such assurances are used without an opportunity for meaningful judicial review of whether they are sufficient to comply with U.S. obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture.
Erosion of remedies for victims of racial discrimination: Congress should introduce and pass legislation
addressing the Sandoval decision by providing a private right of action against entities receiving federal
funding based on evidence of disparate impact under Title VI. In addition, Congress should pass
legislation101 to restore the historic construction of the rule governing motions to dismiss and the Judicial
Conference should adopt changes to the rule itself to help make that change permanent and protect it from
further judicial meddling.
Violations of undocumented workers’ employment rights: Congress should introduce and pass the
Civil Rights Act of 2009, which would address the Hoffman Plastics decision and ensure employment
protections for non-citizens regardless of their immigration status. State legislatures should strengthen
protections in state anti-discrimination and workers’ compensation laws for undocumented persons.

August 21, 2010

Longest Walk 2011, Reversing Diabetes

Longest Walk Northern Route 2011, Reversing DiabetesLatest map and route for northern route:

The Longest Walk northern route 2011 organizer is Chris Francisco, Navajo from Shiprock, N.M., living in Portland.

Mohawk artist Tracy Thomas designed the Longest Walk, Reversing Diabetes 2011 poster and the Longest Walk 2008 poster. Thank you!"I'm Tracy Thomas, a fullblood Mohawk from the Onondaga Nation in upstate N.Y. I was born with 2 partial fingers to my left hand and none on my right hand, but I see my art, as gift from the Creator. To be the messenger for the Creator, through my art, and to share my creations of art.

This is why I asked to do the 'Longest Walk 3' poster, because we have diabetes in my family and I changed my diet recently, so I hoped I don't get it. Hopefully this walk, will get the message across to our sisters and brothers from the 4 directions, its time to change, get healthy.

So my poster has a message, to return to the diet of our ancestors, corn, beans and squash, the ghost walkers is to honor, the ancestors who walked before us, in order for us to survive. It is a universal statement, time to change. We need to get back to one mind, one body, one spirit, as my people, the Haudenosaunee say, 'The good mind. We need to do this, so our children will be healthy."
Tracy Thomas
Photo right:‎ "1978 Longest Walk, Leon Shenandoah leading the Haudenosaunee with the Chiefs from the Confederacy, yours truly near the front." Tracy Thomas
THE LONGEST WALK 3 (Reversing Diabetes) Feb 14 - July 8, 2011In less than 6 months we will embark on another historic journey -- an event so great and much needed for all of America! This is a 5,000+ mile Walk Across America to bring awareness of the devastating effects of diabetes and how it can be reversed by changing our entire diet and lifestyle! This disease is at epidemic levels across America, and throughout Indian Country.
We will hold community talks along the way about reversing diabetes, and heart disease. We will be advocating for major changes in our eating habits, while promoting beneficial exercise programs. Our goal will be to REVERSE DIABETES AND RAISE THE CONSCIOUS OF AMERICA THAT WE MUST HALT THE WORST DIET IN THE WORLD! Along both routes we will be launching a CLEAN UP MOTHER EARTH campaign, picking up trash along both routes!
We will be leaving La Jolla (San Diego County), California on February 14, 2011 (Valentine's Day - Heart Day) following a pipe ceremony, and other events, and entering Washington DC on July 8th, 2011.
Southern Route:California- Feb 14 - Feb 24
Arizona - Feb 24 - Mar 16
New Mexico - Mar 16 - Apr 6
Texas(panhandle) - April 6 - Apr 8
Oklahoma - Apr 8 - Apr28
Arkansas - Apr 28 - May 1
Louisiana - May 1 - May 17
Mississippi - May 17 - May 20
Alabama - May 20 - May 22
Florida - May 22 - June 12
Georgia - June 12 - June 19
South Carolina - June 19 - June 25
North Carolina - June 25 - July 2
Virginia - July 2 - July 8
The Longest Walk 3 is welcoming a NORTHERN ROUTE from Portland, Oregon to Washington DC!! Chris Fransisco will be leading this route. Please help support both routes. We Need Your Help!CONTACTS: Goodie Cloud, National Coordinator The Longest Walk 3/Reversing Diabetes 2011, (218) 209-0232
Tatanka Banks, President, Dennis Banks Co. , (952) 220-9046
Northern Route: Chris Francisco, (503) 515-6239

Dennis J. Banks, Ojibwa Warrior,

August 20, 2010

Mailbox: Censored News

Mailbox: Censored News
Photo: Bolivian President Evo Morales enjoys a traditional feast, after playing soccer in the mountains of Bolivia, during the climate summit in April. Photo Brenda Norrell.

Dear readers,

Many readers write to ask about blogging. Here's a few things to consider if you're thinking about it. To keep a blog up to date, you need Internet access, and to post photos and videos you need high speed Internet access.

If you live in a remote area, this means a great deal of expense just getting to the Internet (besides all that expensive coffee.)

The Blogger is free, but if you do original reporting as I do at Censored News, the travel expenses can be thousands of dollars each year, which you'll likely be paying for yourself.

Unfortunately, even though Censored News has about 1,000 readers each day, people seldom donate to Censored News. (The donations each year don't even cover the cost of basic cell phone service.)

I've published Censored News nearly four years as a service to Indigenous writers who find it difficult to find a voice in the mainstream media. I know most of the writers personally. I choose to publish Censored News without advertising for ethical reasons.

The articles and photos at Censored News are copyrighted by the authors and photographers. Permission should be gained from each author or photographer before reposting.

There are new developments in the Internet news that everyone should be aware of, including recent lawsuits filed by mainstream newspapers against website owners and bloggers who publish their articles without permission.

More than 90 lawsuits were filed against bloggers, without giving bloggers a chance to remove the mainstream news articles. One newspaper says no amount of content may be reposted, even a small amount. They're even filing lawsuit against their sources (the people interviewed in the articles) if they repost the articles without permission. Yes, they're filing lawsuits against non-profits as well.

As for posting photos on the Internet, due to the possibility of theft and copyright violations, photos should always be posted with the photographer's permission and include the photo credit/copyright alongside each photo.

So, if you're thinking about blogging, be prepared for much more unpaid work than you're anticipating.

When it comes to posting on your blog, always get permission. Otherwise, you might find yourself with a trip to court and the need for an attorney.

As for the good news, Censored News won a Project Censored Award in 2009, was successful in finding sponsors for four Native Americans to attend the Bolivia Climate Summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in April, and has an international family of readers like you.

Thanks for reading Censored News, Brenda Norrell

About Censored News: Publisher Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 28 years, serving as a writer for Navajo Times, Lakota Times and others.
During the 18 years she lived on the Navajo Nation, Brenda Norrell served as a correspondent for Associated Press and USA Today, covering federal court and the Navajo Nation. After serving as a longtime staff writer for Indian Country Today, she was first censored, then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006.
Censored News was created as a result of this censorship.
During the past decades as a journalist, she traveled with the Zapatistas through Mexico and cohosted the five-month Longest Walk Northern Route Talk Radio across America in 2008 on Earthcycles grassroots web radio. She cohosted anti-uranium mining forums on Havasupai and Acoma Pueblo, and Indigenous Peoples Border Summits, on Earthcycles.
In April, she attended the Bolivia Climate Summit and reported on the visionary declarations -- including the Peoples Agreement, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.
Photo: Earthcycles bus at the end of the Longest Walk in DC 2008. Earthcycles Photo by Brenda Norrell

Santa Fe: Native Cinema Showcase, Aug. 19--22, 2010

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Center for Contemporary Arts Southwestern Association for Indian Arts present
The Tenth Annual
Native Cinema Showcase, August 19-22, 2010

(Photos: Top: Fillm 'Samson and Delilah' Photo 2 art: Film shorts. Photo 3: Reel Injun director Neil Diamond with singer Robbie Robertson; Photo 4: Reel Injun: Russell Means at Wounded Knee. Photo 5: CBQM)
Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail
Cathedral Park, Indian Market, downtown Santa Fe
Santa Fe, NM, 505-982-1338,
Visit our YouTube page:
Festival Info
Festival passes : $50/$40 NMAI and CCA members, includes priority admission to all screenings and events; Tickets to Cinematheque screenings: $9.50 general admission, $8.50 students/
seniors, $8 NMAI, CCA, SWAIA members
All screenings and programs at the Cinema at Cathedral Park are free.
Passholders are seated first and all others on a first-come, first-served basis.
Further information: The Center for Contemporary Arts / 505-982-1338 /

Center for Contemporary Arts · 1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe · 505-982-1338
Cinema at Cathedral Park · two blocks from the Plaza · 213 Cathedral Place,
Santa Fe
Festival trailers:
Opening Night Showcase
Reel Injun
Opening Night Film, Toronto Film Festival
7:30p Thursday & 3:30 pm Saturday
Special screening: 7pm Wednesday, Taos Center for the Arts
This entertaining and insightful documentary explores the Hollywood Indian
through a century of cinema. Travelling through the heartland of America, director
Neil Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the worldʼs
(mis)understanding of Native peoples. Diamond combines clips from hundreds of
classic and recent films with candid interviews (Clint Eastwood, Chris Eyre, Robbie
Robertson, Sacheen Littlefeather, John Trudell, and Russell Means, among others)
to trace the evolution of cinemaʼs depiction of Native people from the silent film era
to today.(Canada, 2009, 86 min.)
In person: Neil Diamond, Chris Eyre
Preceded by White Fawnʼs Devotion (d. James Young Deer, U.S., 1910, 10 min.).
The earliest surviving film by a Native director, this action-drama was added to the
National Film Registry in 2008.
Neil Diamond (Cree) is a leading aboriginal filmmaker, journalist, and
photographer who hails from Waskaganish, on the coast of James Bay, and is a
founder of Rezolution Pictures in Montreal. Recent credits include The Last
Explorer (2009), screening in this yearʼs Showcase, and One More River (2004),
winner for Best Documentary, Rendez-vous du cinéma québecois.

8p Saturday & Sunday
In 1984, on the rural east coast of New Zealand, "Thriller" is changing kidsʼ lives,
and two brothers spin fantasies about their absent father. Taika Waititi expands his
Oscar-nominated Two Cars, One Night (NCS 2004) into a hilarious and heartfelt
coming-of-age tale about heroes, magic, and Michael Jackson that follows three
characters: the brothers Boy and Rocky and their dad Alamein (played by Waititi),
whom Boy imagines to be a deep-sea diver and friend of the King of Pop.
Alameinʼs return, however, forces Boy to confront his fantasies and enter the real
world. (New Zealand, 2010, 87 min.)
Invited: Taika Waititi
Preceded by Powerball (d. Gary Farmer, 2009, 5 min.). A day in the life of two
down-on-their-luck Santa Feans.
Taika Waititi (Maori) is a visual artist, actor, writer, and director. His short film Two
Cars, One Night (NCS 2004) was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 and
Tama Tu (NCS 2006) won five festival awards. His first feature Eagle vs. Shark,
starring Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), was released internationally in
2007. Waititi has won New Zealandʼs top comedy award, the Billy T, and
Edinburghʼs Spirit of the Fringe Award. He is featured in the upcoming Hollywood
film Green Lantern.

U.S. PremiereWinner, Alanis Obomsawin
Best Documentary Award, 2009
5:30 Friday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
CBQMʼs far-flung listeners include Gwichʼin ladies busy with their beadwork,
solitary trappers in their cabins, and truckers heading north on the Dempster
Highway. To them, CBQM-located 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle-is more
than a radio station. It is a dependable pal, a beacon in the storm of life, a resilient
expression of identity and pride. Filmmaker and long-time listener Dennis Allen
celebrates this treasure with his nuanced, big-hearted portrait of a station and the
community that sustains it.
(Canada, 2009, 66 min.)
Dennis Allen (Gwichʼin/Inuvialuit), who hails from Inuvik in the Northwest
Territories, has worked on the popular TV series North of 60. His feature film
Someplace Better played at the Sundance Film Festival.

Finding Our Talk
U.S. Premiere
Presented in cooperation with the Indigenous Language Institute
2:30p Friday and Sunday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
By the year 2100, scientists believe more than half of the world's languages will
have disappeared. Against these tough odds, indigenous people around the globe
are fighting to rescue and restore their native languages, in often innovative ways.
This phenomenal series, produced by Paul Rickard for Aboriginal Peoples
Television Network in Canada and directed by an all-star group of indigenous
filmmakers, celebrates the work and ingenuity of educators, activists, communities,
and inventors who are racing the clock to save an enormous container of
knowledge and wisdom.
Paul Rickard (Cree) has worked as a producer, director, and cameraman in
collaboration with independent production companies and organizations, such as
Nutaaq Media Inc., Wildheart Productions, Wawatay, CBC North, and the National
Film Board of Canada. His company, Mushkeg Media, creates documentary series
for international broadcast. He was given a tribute at NCS 2006.

Jim Thorpe: The World's Greatest Athlete
6:15 pm Saturday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
From the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, where he became a national icon, to the
1912 Olympics, where he won two gold medals, and through outstanding careers
in both professional baseball and football, Jim Thorpe was one of the most
successful athletes the world has known. Tom Weidlingerʼs film, co-written by
Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), uses interviews and astonishing archival elements to
celebrate Thorpeʼs achievements, as an athlete and as an icon for Native
Americans, during a period of tragedy and transition.
(U.S., 2009, 60 min.)
Tom Weidlinger has written, directed, and produced nineteen documentary films
that have been broadcast on national public television. His works explore themes
of social justice and human relations. He was awarded a William Benton
Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism and has received writing fellowships and
residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Ossabaw Island Foundation, and the
McDowell Colony.

Kissed by Lightning
Milagro Award, 2009 Santa Fe Film Festival
6 mp Friday & 5:30p Sunday
Inspired by an ancient Iroquois tale, Shelley Niroʼs smart, moving, funny, and
wholly contemporary story follows the Mohawk artist Mavis (played by Kateri
Walker), who is emerging from a long period of grieving for her lost husband Jesse
(Michael Greyeyes). To help herself heal, she begins painting the stories she
remembers him telling her. Embarking with Bug, a suitor (Eric Schweig), across the
Mohawk territories from her reserve in Canada to New York City, Mavis begins to
rediscover the depth and joy of the world of the here and now.
(Canada, 2009, 90 min.)
In person: Shelley Niro
Preceded by Santa Fe (d. Sterlin Harjo, 2010, 4 min.), the latest music video from
2009 NCS opening night performer Samantha Crain.
Shelley Niro (Mohawk), a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, received her MFA
from the University of Western Ontario. Her installations, photography, painting,
and films (including It Starts With a Whisper and Honey Moccasin [NCS 2001])
have been exhibited in festivals and galleries throughout Canada, and at the
National Museum of the American Indian and the Venice Biennale.

The Last Explorer
12:45 pm Saturday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
Neil Diamond and Ernie Webbʼs film weaves documentary and reenactment to tell
the story of Diamondʼs great-uncle George Elson, who guided a team that mapped
Labrador in the early 20th century. Elsonʼs story is rich with drama, including an
earlier fatal expedition, and the filmmakersʼ discovery of possible revenge, lost
diaries, and forbidden love.
(Canada, 2009, 48 min.)
Ernie Webb (Cree), born in Moose Factory and raised in Chisasibi, has devoted his
life to telling the stories of Canadaʼs aboriginal peoples across all media. His
directing and producing credits include widely broadcast films, such as the six-part
documentary series Down the Mighty River, the cultural series Dab Iyiyuu/
Absolutely Cree and Reel Injun.
Neil Diamond (Cree) is a leading aboriginal filmmaker, journalist, and
photographer who hails from Waskaganish, on the coast of James Bay, and is a
founder of Rezolution Pictures in Montreal. Recent credits include The Last
Explorer (2009), screening in this yearʼs Showcase, and One More River (2004),
winner for Best Documentary, Rendez-vous du cinéma québecois.

Miss Navajo
Sundance Film Festival, NMAI At the Movies program
12:30 pm Sunday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
For more than a half-century, the Miss Navajo Nation competition has showcased
aspiring women leaders who can butcher a sheep, discuss the intricacies of
Navajo history, and cope with the myriad challenges of the modern world. Luther
intersperses one shy contemporary contestant with past winners (including his
mom, Miss Navajo 1966) to build a powerful portrait of the continuum that goes
back to the first Diné life-giving ancestor, Changing Woman. Luther will also show
a segment from his work-in-progress Grab, a documentary about the Thanksgiving
celebration at Laguna Pueblo.
(U.S., 2006, 60 min.)
In person: Billy Luther
Billy Luther (Navajo/Hopi/Laguna Pueblo) became the first Native American
filmmaker to receive the prestigious Creative Capital artist grant. Among his other
awards are a 2008 Media Arts Fellowship from the Tribeca Film Institute and a
Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Fellowship. A graduate of Hampshire College,
he currently lives in Los Angeles.

Samson & Delilah
Winner, Caméra dʼOr, Cannes Film Festival
8:15p Friday & 5:30p Sunday
Samson and Delilahʼs world is small-an isolated community in the Central
Australian desert. When tragedy strikes, they turn their backs on home and embark
on a journey of survival. Lost, unwanted, and alone, they discover that life isnʼt
always fair, but love never judges. In lesser hands, this story could have been a
sociological study; instead, Warwick Thornton has created a startling, deeply
moving, and richly cinematic masterpiece about love, ethnicity, and redemption.
The unforgettable Samson & Delilah is a must-see for everyone interested in the
cutting edge of filmmaking and indigenous storytelling.
(Australia, 2009, 100 min.)
Warwick Thornton (Kaytetye) has directed short dramas, including Nana (NCS
2010) and Green Bush (NCS 2005) that have played internationally and won
awards at Berlin, Melbourne, and other festivals, and has worked as a
cinematographer with award-winning Australian directors Beck Cole (Lurita/
Warrumunga) and Rachel Perkins (Arrernte/Kalkadoon).

Six Miles Deep
U.S. Premiere
4p Friday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
On February 28, 2006, hoping to prevent an unwanted housing development on
their land, members of the Iroquois Confederacy blockaded a highway near
Caledonia, Ontario. Though the confrontation generated Canadian headlines for
months, one central element of the story was ignored. Sara Roqueʼs compelling
film tells how the Iroquois clan mothers served as the voice of conscience and
source of power. As they rally their neighbors, set the rules of conduct, and
fearlessly guide the resistance movement, these women begin tapping into the
communityʼs hidden strengths and sense of pride.
(Canada, 2009, 43 min.)
Sara Roque (Ojibwe/Métis) is a media artist, writer, administrator, activist, and cofounder
of O'Kaadenigan Wiingashk, an aboriginal women's multi-disciplinary arts
collective. Her short films have played at imagineNATIVE and Splice This Super 8
Film Festival and have been broadcast on Muchmusic.

Short film programs
Indian Marketʼs Classification X winners
2:15 pm Saturday, Cinema at Cathedral Park
Classification X-the new "moving images" category of Indian Market-expands its
support to Native artists working in film and video. Like all Indian Market artwork,
these films are Native-made. This program showcases the winners from each of
four divisions: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animation Short, and
Experimental. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the
winners moderated by John Torres-Nez.

Showcase Shorts
4:30 pm Saturday and 5:30 pm Sunday, Cinematheque
This diverse selection of works from Indian Country begins with Nana (d. Warwick
Thornton, Kaytetye, Australia, 2007, 5 min.): In a little girlʼs eyes, her grandmother
is a superhero. Poi Dogs (d. Joel Moffett, U.S./Hawaiʻi, 2010, 12 min.) tells the story
of two Hawaiian teenagers-a tough-acting football lineman and a guarded tuba
player-and their awkward attempts at expressing a budding romantic interest in
one another. In Tsi tkahéhtayen/The Garden (d. Zoe Leigh Hopkins, Heiltsuk/
Mohawk, Canada, 2009, 11 min.), a mystical gardener harvests fruits from the earth
that defy everyoneʼs expectations. In The Rocket Boy (d. Donavan Seschillie,
Navajo, US, 2010, 15 min.) Calvin is determined to find his father in space, against
his motherʼs advice. Stones (d. Ty Sanga, U.S., 2009, 20 min.) tells the Hawaiian
legend of Naʻiwa and Nihipali, the last of the First People to remain on the island
after the arrival of humans. And Windigo (d. Kris Happyjack-McKenzie, Algonquin,
Canada, 2009, 11 min.) asks: Do we know what we are living through? Do we
know when we are dying?
Total run time: 74 min.
Curated and introduced by Reaghan Tarbell (Mohawk), NMAI
Family Showcase
Made possible by a generous donation from Pueblo de Niños Dental.

The Best of Animation Celebration!
1 pm Friday and 11 am Sunday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
A program of highlights from the National Museum of the American Indianʼs everpopular
annual series starts with Popol Vuh: The Quiché Maya Creation Myth (d.
Ana María Pávez, Chile, 2006, 11 min.), the story of the heroes who defeat the
gods of the underworld and transform into the sun and the moon. The Turtle and
the Shark (d. Ryan Woodward, U.S., 2008, 4 min.) tells the Samoan legend of a
man and a woman who vow to stay together. In Wesakechak and the First Spring
Flood (d. Gregory Coyes, Métis Cree, and George Johnson, Canada, 2002, 13
min.), the Creator puts Trickster on earth to care for all creatures, and in a crisis
they come to his rescue. Mayan Reign (d. José Olmos, U.S., 2008, 5 min.) uses
vivid imagery to introduce the Mayan rain god Chac. The Oneida tale Raccoon and
Crawfish (d. Four Directions Productions, Oneida, U.S., 2007, 8 min.) tells of a
fateful meeting between a scheming crawfish and a hungry raccoon. Čurte-Nillas:
The (Short) Movie (d. Per Josef Idivuoma, Sámi, Sweden, 2010, 4 min.) celebrates
an ill-fated superhero determined to right all wrongs against the Sámi people. In
How People Got Fire (d. Daniel Janke, Canada, 2009, 16 min.), the 12-year-old
Tish is captivated by her grandmotherʼs story. And in The Missing Child (d.
Tshiuetin Vollant, Innu, Canada, 2008, 6 min.), a young boy makes it his mission to
find and bring his missing friend home.
Total run time: 67 minutes

Raven Tales
11 am Saturday
Cinema at Cathedral Park
This remarkable Emmy-nominated series-the first Native-produced series to be
internationally broadcast-transforms aboriginal folktales into entertaining, funny,
and well-crafted computer-animated works. Each follows Raven, the powerful and
mischievous Trickster common to many cultures. We will screen two of the 25-
minute segments: the creation story How Raven Stole the Sun and Raven and the
First People, a story of how humans arrived on earth.
Total run time: 50 minutes
In person: Executive producer/writer Chris Kientz (Cherokee)

Exhibits and Special Events
Seven Cities of Trash
Opening 5-7 pm Thursday / Open 12-8 pm daily during festival
Though their traditional lifeways are based in the natural world, many Native
communities today find themselves deluged by trash. This exhibit features objects
-steel cans, automobile parts, scrap wood, glass bottles, used tires, and loose
paper-drawn from heaps on southwestern Pueblos and reservations and reintegrated
into various contexts as public art. These works from the ongoing project
of artist Jake Fragua (Jemez/San Felipe Pueblo) are designed to provoke dialogue
about the exploitation of Native lands and encourage environmental conservation.
In addition to the exhibition in the Munoz-Waxman Gallery, site-specific
installations will be created in areas throughout Santa Fe. A video documenting the
process will be projected at the CCA.

This Show Is Called Vagabond
Opening 5-7 pm Thursday / Open 12-8 pm daily during festival
The Humble Collective, a group of students from the Institute of American Indian
Arts, gives thanks to vagabond artists: our detectives of truth. This show includes
found objects that Humble arranged and painted on. It explores our homes, our
relation to our lands and more importantly, our tongues.

SWAIA Classification Filmmakers Panel
Immediately following the Class X screening, 2:15 pm Saturday, Cathedral Park
The ancient art of storytelling enters Santa Fe Indian Market in a new form:
filmmaking. Join a discussion with SWAIA's freshman Class X winners, learn about
Native grassroots filmmaking and hear about the future for SWAIA and Native

Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers
10-11:30 pm Saturday
Indian Countryʼs favorite blues band, this tireless touring group returns home for its
annual NCS show. In addition to Farmer on harmonica and vocals, the band
consists of John Longbow on bass, Denton McCabe on lead guitar, Nick Mendoza
on rhythm guitar and vocals, Arne Bey on drums, and Neon Napalm on vocals.
Their CDs include Love Songs and Other Issues and Lovesick Blues.

Humble Music Show
5-9 pm Friday
by donation
The Wakesingers headline this collection of local musical groups, showcasing the
range of talent in a variety of styles and genres. Presented by the Humble