August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Protest Barrick Gold, Toronto, Wed., April 28, 2010

Protest Barrick Gold!
Rally outside Barrick's Annual Shareholder's Meeting, Wed. April 28
Once a year, the board of directors for the world's most powerful gold miner converge in downtown Toronto. Be there to Confront Barrick Gold!
WHEN: 11am Wednesday, April 28, 2010
WHAT: Barrick Gold's annual shareholders meeting
WHERE: Metro Convention Center, 255 Front St. Downtown Toronto
WHO is Barrick Gold?Barrick is the world's largest gold mining company, founded and chaired by Peter Munk. Barrick is one of the biggest forces pushing Corporate Social Responsibility as an alternative to government oversight. With a former executive on the board of the Canadian Pension Fund, and a former Prime Minister on their board of directors, Barrick enjoys public funding and diplomative support.
WHY Protest Barrick?Barrick takes advantage of inadequate and poorly enforced regulatory controls to rob indigenous people of their lands, destroy sensitive ecosystems and agricultural land, support brutal military and security operations, and sue anyone who tries to report on it. Impacted communities are coming to Toronto to share their undeniable perspectives and shed light on this criminal mining giant. Come out and support them!

Bolivia: Voices of the Raven and Caribou Peoples

Bolivia: Life lessons from Alaskan Native Women

Alaskan Native Women describe what is happening to Alaska and what must be done for the future Seven Generations

By Brenda Norrell/Censored News

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia – When the ducks first saw the vapors rising from the highway, the ducks that could not distinguish between the heat waves rising from the pavement, and the heat waves rising from the rivers and ponds, perished.

In a similar way, it is unknown what lies within each of us that someday may result in our own survival. As with the ducks, being able to distinguish between the rising vapors of the man-made world and the world of natural creation, ensures survival of the fittest.

This is one of the stories shared by Kay Wallis, Athabascan and Gwich’in elder, during the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. During an interview recorded live by Earthcycles, Wallis shares the beauty and majesty of her Yukon homeland.

Wallis said she appreciated being given the opportunity to speak for the animals and Mother Earth. She said her name “Arrow Carrier,” means, “I carry messages between people.” Her father is from Fort Yukon in Alaska and her mother from across the border in Canada at Old Crow.

Wallis described how the ground shakes and vibrates when the caribou arrive at the calving grounds in Alaska. She tells how the ocean breezes greet them across the plains. In the mountains, too, the wolves, their predators, are giving birth, in the cycle of life.

“We love the land, and the land loves us, otherwise it would not give us our nutrients." But, she said, things are changing.

“When the ducks used to come in my grandpa's day, they would block out the sun, there would be so many of them.”

Other creatures have vanished altogether. “We don’t hear swallows anymore.”

Glacier water moves fast in her homeland, where the people hunt and fish, living off the moose, caribou, birds, fish and salmon. In this land where a frozen chicken can cost $50 in a store, the people are taught to hunt, hunting in a manner where the animals give themselves to them.

It is life on a grand scale, and life that is a harbinger of things to come. “Some parts of the Yukon River you can’t see across. It is one of the largest rivers in North America.”

It is in this land, of the far north, that the people see what is coming. As temperatures rise, the salmon can not survive in high temperatures without sufficient oxygen.

“The world is going through change. We can’t go back. We are going to be called upon to make great sacrifices and great changes.”

Wallis said people have a natural tendency to go into denial mode, but humanity must act now to ensure the gifts of Mother Earth for Seven Generations.

Mary Ann Mills, Kenaitze Indian Nation, said the world needs to understand that the Arctic must remain frozen because it acts as an air conditioner for the earth. The Arctic cools the earth’s temperature. Climate change goes beyond all racial boundaries, she said, asking: "What happens to the spirit of the people when the foods they have been eating are no longer available."

What most people do not know is that 75 to 80 percent of the population of Native Alaskans was lost after first contact with those who came to their land, Mills said during the interviews.

Mills warned that 31 villages face immediate threats and 200 villages are impacted by floods and erosion. Ice is coming down the rivers.

Ice is melting now that has never melted before.

“We are the first people to be effected,” she said. The sensitive areas of the north are being compromised by emissions and oil drilling. Alaskan Native villages will have to be relocated because of the melting ice, or the people will perish, she said.

Mills said in the prophecy, it is told that there will be those who will attempt to destroy the land.
It is the Raven People who will protect the land. If others destroy the land, then the Creator will destroy these people, according to the prophecy.

“We have a chance, but we have to show respect.”

Alaska is the land of the Native people, but today there are few jobs and fuel sells from $10 to $14 a gallon. While trillions of dollars in resources have been taken out of Alaska, little has been returned to help Alaskan Natives.

While the United States and corporations have been taking with little given back, it was President Hugo Chavez and the country of Venezuela that brought heating oil to help Alaskan Natives.

Meanwhile, she said the result of the US Congress deceptively making Alaskan Natives into corporations has brought division, as it was designed to do, in this method of divide and conquer.

“The intent was to take our land,” she said of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. “It was to get the land for the big corporations.”

She said the United States does not own the land in Alaska, Alaskan Natives do.

“In my heart I am not a corporation. The truth is so powerful. Our people would like to have their freedom and like to have their land,” she said, adding that no one knows the land better than the Native people of Alaska.

Wallis and Mills thanked the people of Bolivia for their kindness during the World Climate Conference, President Evo Morales for calling for the conference and President Chavez for bringing heating oil to Alaskan Natives.

Watch the video interviews, recorded live by Earthcycles in Bolivia:
More information: Gwich'in Steering Committee

Navajo Horseback Riders arrive as Council negotiates with Peabody Coal

While Indigenous Peoples gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for the protection of Mother Earth, the Navajo Nation Council continued to negotiate with Peabody Coal to dig out the liver of Mother Earth

Photo: Riders on horseback following a three-day, 100-mile horseback ride from Black Mesa to Window Rock. The ride was intended to send a message to the Navajo Nation Spring Council session that the voice of tribal members and the future of Black Mesa should be fully considered in current coal royalty negotiations with Peabody Coal Co. Courtesy photo.
By Wahelah Johns
Navajo Hopi Observer

BLACK MESA, Ariz. - Residents from Black Mesa arrived last Saturday evening in St. Michaels following a three-day, 100-mile horseback ride from Black Mesa en route to Window Rock. The ride was intended to send a message to the Navajo Nation Spring Council session, which began April 19, that the voice of all tribal members and the future of Black Mesa should be fully considered in current coal royalty negotiations with Peabody Coal. Riders and supporters rode and marched to the Navajo Nation Council Chambers on Monday and conducted a press conference at the Window Rock Tribal Park.

Many residents have expressed increased concern over the exclusion of community input in current coal royalty negotiations (aka "The lease Re-Opener") between the Navajo Nation and Peabody Coal Company. In the past month, Black Mesa residents have hosted a series of community meetings to discuss the health of Black Mesa and the need to address the leadership of the Navajo Nation. The ride is the next step to bring those concerns to the Council.

"This horseback ride reflects a long tradition of how leaders use to travel to carry important messages from the communities that they represent to gatherings like the Navajo Nation Council meetings," stated Marshall Johnson of the Tonizhoni Ani (Beautiful Water Speaks). "If the leaders who are negotiating on behalf of our water and homelands cannot come to our communities to explain to us what they are deciding, then we will [go] to them."

According to the lease agreement, "the 1987 Amendments provide for a Re-Opener to negotiate increased royalty rates and royalty-tax caps for each successive ten-year period after 1987." The Navajo Nation coal royalty rate is currently 12.5 percent under the 8580 Lease (which covers a portion of Peabody's Kayenta Mine Operation on the Navajo Nation), and 6.25 percent under the 9910 Lease (which covers both a portion of Peabody's Kayenta Mine and the now-closed Black Mesa Mining Operation with shared ownership of coal reserves between Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe).

In 1993, the Navajo Nation initiated a lawsuit against the Federal Government for $600 million in damages from decades of below-market royalty rates. In April 2009, after years of conflicting decisions and appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Navajo Nation.

"For 14 years, the official position of the Navajo Nation was that it deserved at least a 20.5 percent royalty rate. Now, Navajo Nation leaders are trying to ram through another 10-year agreement with Peabody at the 12.5 percent rates. If the Navajo Nation is really concerned about economic prosperity, why are they negotiating at rock bottom rates?" asked Nicole Horseherder of Tonizhoni Ani.

On April 1, the Navajo Nation Council held a work session on the Peabody coal lease Re-Opener. Presenters included representatives from Peabody Coal Company, United Mine Workers, Division of Natural Resources and Black Mesa United.

"It's unfortunate that the Re-Opener work session only had one group representing the views of some Black Mesa residents, but excluded hundreds of voices of community members who are concerned about Peabody's coal mining operations and how it has impacted them," said Marie Gladue of Voices of the People. "We need to be at the table because we are the ones who have to live with these consequences."

An Environmental Education Forum was held at St. Michaels Catholic Church grounds all day on Sunday. The Environmental Education Forum aimed to educate Navajo citizens and tribal leaders about the Peabody Re-Opener, alternative energy and green jobs.

Testimonials from community members from Black Mesa and other parts of the Navajo Nation struggling with environmental issues were given.

Navajo Times: Protestors air complaints about Peabody
Black Mesa riders, supporters pepper delegate with hard questions.

By Marley Shebala
Navajo protesters met informally with delegates including George Arthur (Nenahnezad/San Juan/T'iistsoh Sikaad), the sponsor of a resolution to renew Peabody's lease.
Arthur chairs the council's Resources Committee, which is supporting the lease renewal.

"During a 30-minute talk with Arthur, Nicole Horseherder, founder of Tó Nizhóní Ání (beautiful springs speak), said elders and children are suffering from asthma and respiratory diseases related to living near the area being strip-mined by Peabody. She asked how Arthur and his committee could justify sacrificing the health of elders and children for coal royalties and mining jobs."