August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Larry Kibby: Religious freedom and preservation

'A Small Viewpoint' by Larry Kibby
Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen,

On this Superbowl day, I visited my Reznews Radio Video station earlier this morning to discuss briefly my viewpoint on the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act of 1978, a dialogue that had a little to do with the Sweat Lodge incident in Sedona, Arizona back in October of 2009, a tragic incident that took the lives of three Human Beings and sent 18 other folks to the hospital with serious and maybe even critical long term health problems, an incident that should not have happened but did.

Of course that video was done around 5:30 am this morning and since then I've been thinking and asking myself, "Why do we have a federal law that grants us religious freedom?" Aren't our religious rights protected by the U.S. Constitution?

Back in 1978, so much activity was going on, so many activists proclaiming, advocating and promoting a lot. From the Treaty Right Movement, Red Power Groups and the American Indian Movement, groups and organizations staging protests, demonstrations and sit-ins, debating the Civil Rights, Freedoms and Injustices of the American Indian.

Anyway, I was wondering, how it was that there was such a demand by folks that our Religious Rights be recognized, when there was on some occasions that some of us had been told by our elders, medicine people and holy ones, that we shouldn't argue, fight or get angry over matters we have no control over, because there are some things that can be put away or will go away and sadly, somethings that can come back around in a way we may not like or understand.

I wonder if people even really care to know or understand, that when something is abused or misused, something that has a strength, power or is very sacred, what would happen to them, their family or even to their tribe? And what about the non-Indians who abuse or misuse these matters, how does that impact our respects?

In this day and age, throughout this society, there are a huge number of Religious Belief's available for people to grasp a hold of, religions that provide Faith and Hope and as well, there are a great number of New Age theories and belief's available for people to practice, yet with such a huge amount of devout groups and organizations in America, what has bought all this attention and focus on the Religious Freedoms of the American Indian?

Of course it is ever so easy to state that money is the greatest reason, get rich quick schemes for the most part, however, not everyone is looking for wealth, some folks are serious about their search for Faith and Hope. Could it be that Americans have fallen away from their own Religious Convictions? Have Americans lost their respect for their pastors, priest and preachers? Why is it that Americans have strayed from their own devout beliefs? Does politics have a lot to do with Americans losing Hope?

America grew far too fast, what with all walks of mankind coming through the doors of immigration, some searching for a New Life, while others were searching and hoping to find the Great American Dream, a Dream that was thrashed when 9/11 occurred.

The Nations of Mankind came to America, bringing with them their country's cultural and religious values and principles, with some setting up their own communities, while others slipped into mainstream society and America became the Land of Opportunity for so many.

Do you know, not one of those immigrants, none of those people coming from throughout the world made any effort to understand who the original occupants of America were or if those Native people had their own way of life, their own culture or beliefs? And when it finally came to an understanding, the multitudes had already been brainwashed, the wheels of propaganda spewed out false and misleading information about the American Indian, an American History full of untruths, a history that was incomplete.

At one point in time our people loudly proclaimed that our land was not for sell, so how was it that from such a statement that a few Indians and non-Indians decided that it was ideal to sell the ceremonies, medicines, languages and other sacred regalia?

At what point in time did the elders, medicine folks and the holy ones express that it was ideal to change, add and distort the traditional values and principles? How was it that the ceremonies, medicines and so much else became so distorted, destroyed and desecrated? And why was such political corruption, cultural and sacrilege terrorism allowed to go on and on?

I'll never understand why some of our people turned their backs, minds, souls and hearts on the culture and beliefs, but I think now, we must make some serious effort to preserve and protect what we can of that in which our ancestors handed-down to us to safe-guard for our generations.
I can only hope that my children and my grandchildren and future generations will be able to have the culture and beliefs that so many of us have respected and held close to our hearts, because anymore, so much is being changed, so much is being restructured, so much is so wrong, yet it being advocated as authentic, only it doesn't come from hearts of truth. Hopefully that in which I believe will sincerely take care of that in which has become so wrong.
Composed & Posted by:
Larry Kibby -
Reznews Radio Video

Western Shoshone ask court to enforce ruling to halt gold mining on Mount Tenabo

Western Shoshone and allies ask court to enforce ruling to halt gold mining on Mount Tenabo

Censored News

Western Shoshone and their allies have asked a federal court to enforce a ruling that would protect sacred Mount Tenabo from the destruction of Barrick Gold's open pit gold mine, which would core out the sacred mountain where ceremonies are conducted.

A motion was filed Friday, February 5, in U.S. District Court in Reno for enforcement of an injunctive order recently issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is part of the 14-month long lawsuit brought against the BLM and Barrick Gold of Canada to stop expanded gold mining on Mount Tenabo.

The lawsuit was filed by the South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone, the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone, the Timbisha Tribe of Western Shoshone, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Great Basin Resource Watch. BLM approved Barrick’s proposal in November of 2008 and the Indian Nations immediately filed a request that the project not be allowed to continue until BLM complied with federal law.

The District Court in Reno denied the Indian Nations' injunction request at which point the Indian Nations appealed to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After considering the evidence and conducting a hearing in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit, on December 3, 2009, in a unanimous 3-judge ruling, published its decision agreeing with the Indian Nations. The Ninth Circuit ordered the District Court to issue the injunction.

The Ninth Circuit agreed with the Indian Nations that BLM had likely violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), finding that BLM failed to adequately consider the significant impacts from the Cortez Hills Project on Mount Tenabo on air and water quality.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision took effect January 25, 2010. On that date, Barrick filed a motion with the District Court in Reno to limit the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, asking the court to instead enjoin only a very limited subset of activities at the mine site.

Discussing the Indian Nations' Motion, John Hadder, director of Great Basin Resource Watch stated, “Barrick’s hollow offer in their motion was too vague and incomplete to assure that the irreparable harm to the Tribes and the environment will not occur while the deficiencies in the EIS are addressed. The law is very clear that the purpose of an EIS is to develop a full picture of all the impacts enabling a balanced evaluation of the mine and whether impact mitigation plans are adequate. The Ninth Circuit clearly found that BLM violated these fundamental legal requirements.”

In requesting the district court to limit the Ninth Circuit’s ruling by issuing only an extremely limited injunction, Barrick stresses the economic benefits from the project and potential temporary layoffs that might occur if the project is enjoined.

Hadder said, “Barrick chose to proceed with the project while the injunction request was being litigated and nonetheless hired workers. Thus, the potential economic losses stated by Barrick are losses of Barrick’s own making.” Hadder added, “Had Barrick decided to be cautious in light of the litigation, there would not be this economic situation, but a manageable trajectory of employment and economy.”

“Barrick knew very well that there was a risk in proceeding with the development of the Cortez Hills mine in the shadow of litigation. Unfortunately, Barrick’s gamble is played out on the backs of the workers and contractors. We hope that Barrick will behave as a better employer at this point and seek to relocate those employees slated to be laid off,” said Larson Bill, Council Member for the South Fork Band. Bill is also the Te-Moak Tribe and community planner for the plaintiff Western Shoshone Defense Project.

Construction of the mine is nearly complete with large-scale impact to the lands and some removal of water from Mount Tenabo. Barrick proposed to reduce some groundwater pumping and some other minor changes to the project, but declined halting full-scale blasting and excavation of the 2,000 foot deep mine pit, as well as beginning the cyanide-leach processing of the gold ore.

Julie Cavanaugh-Bill, legal counsel for the Western Shoshone Defense Project, said, “It is surprising that given the contentions surrounding mining at Mount Tenabo that more care was not taken in developing the EIS. This is especially poignant in terms of the enormous impacts of the Mine, which desecrates Mount Tenabo, a place held sacred by many Western Shoshone for countless generations.”

The Tribes’ Motion was filed by Roger Flynn, attorney with the Western Mining Action Project, a non-profit law firm which represents the Indian Nations in the case.