August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Music Video: Floyd Westerman and Trevy Felix

While searching for videos to stream on Earthcycles in advance of the Bolivia Climate Summit, I found this wonderful video of our champion Floyd Westerman. --Brenda

Floyd Red Crow Westerman and Trevy Felix - "Missionary" from Hen House Studios on Vimeo.


Decolonization Gathering: Marty, South Dakota

Join the Yankton Sioux, and the sounds of Elk Soldier, for the Decolonization Gathering, with special guest speakers Philip Lane, Jr., Chris Matonumpa, Mary Louise Defender Wilson, Simon Sedillo and more, with songs by the Braveheart Youths and Native Hip Hop Activist Chris Ross and Carlos Cariago. April 13--15, 2010 in Marty, South Dakota.

Chief Mankiller Takes Flight to Spirit World

BREAKING NEWS: Former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller dies

Former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller died in the morning hours of April 6 at her home in rural Adair County.
(Courtesy photo)
By Christina Good Voice
Staff Writer
Cherokee Phoenix

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller died in the morning hours of April 6 at her home in rural Adair County, Cherokee Nation officials confirmed to the Cherokee Phoenix.

Mankiller, who was one of the few women ever to lead a major American Indian tribe, was 64.

Her passing came a little more than a month after her husband, CN Community Services Group Leader Charlie Soap, announced that she was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

“Our personal and national hearts are heavy with sorrow and sadness with the passing this morning of Wilma Mankiller,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in a statement released by the tribe. “We feel overwhelmed and lost when we realize she has left us but we should reflect on what legacy she leaves us. We are better people and a stronger tribal nation because her example of Cherokee leadership, statesmanship, humility, grace, determination and decisiveness."

“When we become disheartened, we will be inspired by remembering how Wilma proceeded undaunted through so many trials and tribulations," Smith said. "Years ago, she and her husband Charlie Soap showed the world what Cherokee people can do when given the chance, when they organized the self-help water line in the Bell community. She said Cherokees in that community learned that it was their choice, their lives, their community and their future. Her gift to us is the lesson that our lives and future are for us to decide. We can carry on that Cherokee legacy by teaching our children that lesson. Please keep Wilma’s family, especially her husband Charlie and her daughters, Gina and Felicia, in your prayers.”

In a March 2 news release, Soap said Mankiller had stage 4 metastatic pancreatic cancer but gave no other details.

In the release, Mankiller wrote she was prepared for the journey.

“I decided to issue this statement because I want my family and friends to know that I am mentally and spiritually prepared for this journey, a journey that all human beings will take at one time or another,” she wrote. “It’s been my privilege to meet and be touched by thousands of people in my life, and I regret not being able to deliver this message personally to so many of you.”

Mankiller served as principal chief from 1985 until retiring in 1995. Prior to becoming principal chief, she served as deputy chief under Ross Swimmer. She assumed the principal chief position and served out the remainder of the 1983-87 term after Swimmer resigned to take a Bureau of Indian Affairs job in Washington, D.C. She was elected principal chief in 1987 and 1991.

Mankiller was born on Nov. 18, 1945, at W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital in Tahlequah, according to a CN press release.

Mankiller requested that any gifts in her honor be made as donations to One Fire Development Corporation, a non-profit dedicated to advancing Native American communities though economic development, and to valuing the wisdom that exists within each of the diverse tribal communities around the world. Tax deductible donations can be made at as well as The mailing address for One Fire Development Corporation is 1220 Southmore Houston, TX 77004.

Memorial services will be March 10 at 11 a.m. at the Cherokee Nation Cultural Grounds in Tahlequah.

Staff and wire reports contributed to this story.
Reach Staff Writer Christina Good Voice at (918) 207-3825 or

In Memory
By Arlene Bowman
"This is very sad news to hear about Wilma Mankiller. I heard her speak at the Native American Journalist Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma - 2006, which I was a participant. I am Dine' filmmaker. I had heard about her from the news as she was chief of the Cherokee Nation. Not many female Native American women hold positions as leaders/chiefs of their Nations these days such as her, but there should be more women leading such positions. She was this kind of Native American woman and person who seemed very open minded and had a lot of insight about the world and people. I was very inspired by her speech. After the speech, I walked up to her at the podium and expressed how she inspired to me. I was very impressed. Believe me it takes a lot to impress me.
Lately been feeling very sad and frustrated because of the death up above and other peoples' deaths and then my own thing. Why must all the good people die? To fight to correct and inform people with information about positive examples versus the stereotypes makes a person weary because there's so much to repair.

Bolivia Climate Summit: Climate Migrants

The Working Group "Climate Migrants" is at work online, as part of the World's People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, April 19--23, 2010


Photo: Arizona Indymedia

Climate change, caused by predatory actions of capitalist model, has become one of the main causes of migration globally: 50 million in 2010 and the estimate for 2050 is that 200 million people could eventually be at risk of being displaced, although other estimates consider more than one million climate migrants for the future.

In addition to causing infrastructure saturation and urban services, undermining economic growth and increasing the risks of conflicts; forced migration due to weather conditions would have a detrimental effect on health education and social indicators, and also due to humans groups affected, it would have a negative impact on food sovereignty and the ethnic map, promoting global depeasantization phenomenon.

Likewise, as climate change has turn into an influential gravitating factor on migration, massive human displacement (especially to cities) have also influenced on climate change.

The experience of our region has always been based on renewable and non-renewable raw material extraction economy, which has caused and is still causing land degradation, deforestation and global warming.

Bolivia is one of the countries that currently suffers the consequences of climate change and has transformed a growing percentage of its residents in climate migrants; lack of water, soil erosion and natural disasters have disrupted families, leaving hundreds of jobless farmers who have been forced to leave the country to other regions where their rights or obligations are not recognized.

Regarding fauna and flora, the disappearance of hundreds of native species leaving regions devoid of natural resources, represents another cause of climate migration.

One of the strongest effects is overpopulation of cities that are facing lack of basic services, jobs, health, education, intercultural and social conflicts.

It is a new definition proposed by social organizations, from their own experience as climate migrants.

The concept of climate Migrant involves those human groups who abandon their place of origin as a result of climate change effects: floods, pests, climate cycle disorder, global warming, as well as the implementation of the capitalist economic model that deforests, degrades, and uncontrollably extracts non-renewable resources and encourages monoculture.


The dictionary defines the concept of refugee as a person who forcefully abandons his place of origin and is conditionally accepted and limited in the full exercise of citizenship.

1. To demand that international agreements consider the definition of climate migrant and that all states of the world comply with its determinations.

2. To design global policies from the peoples, addressing climate change for governments to structure their local policies and internal regulations, respecting the systematic participation of peoples and territories involved.

3. To develop a declaration of human rights for climate migrants, valid and recognized globally.

4. To create an international peoples’ organism that promotes a permanent investigation on political, social, cultural and economic situation of climate migrants, and controls as well the implementation of the policies proposed in this document.

5. To demand the creation of an economic fund exclusively integrated by developed countries classified by the UN as the ones primarily responsible for climate change, in order to seek attention to internal and external climate migrants.

6. To create mechanisms that regulate migration due to climate causes towards our countries, in order to prevent the occupation of our territories within a policy of migration control.

7. As an international policy, technology transfer must be formulated from developed countries as payment of climate debt, which also origins migration due to climate causes.

8. Recovering ancient technology to set up a development model, under the view of living well that overrides the facts to “developmental” practice.