August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tribal Council Corruption – Thune Lawsuit

Tribal Council Corruption – Thune Lawsuit
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Navajo Nation Council Tables Water Rights Settlement

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Contact: Ron Milford Email: Phone: 928-606-0787
Navajo Nation Council Tables Water Rights Settlement
Grassroots Dine’ (Navajo) Vow to Stand Against Oppression

By Dine' Water Rights
Photos: Copyright Dine' Water Rights
More photos at:

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Due to community pressure, the Navajo Nation Council decided to put off voting on the Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement (NAIWRSA) and gave one week for public review but did not specify what that would look like. The Council is set to consider the legislation again on Friday, October 8th but the date is subject to change. Legislation No. 0422-10, also known as NAIWRSA, sponsored by Council Delegate George Arthur has faced increasing community criticism in the last few weeks.

More than 160 concerned Dine’ (Navajo) marched, rallied and packed the council chambers to send the message for the council to “VOTE NO!” on the water rights settlement. Children, elders, parents, students and others from throughout the Navajo Nation joined together in chanting, “Water is life! Save our Future!”

NAIWRSA was created by lawyers including a non-native with the Navajo Nation, Stanley Pollack, as an attempt to resolve water rights claims of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe for water from the Little Colorado River and from the lower Colorado River.

Dine’ community members have raised concerns that NAIWRSA gives the Navajo Nation only 31,000 acre-feet per year of 4th Priority Colorado River water, that would not be available in times of drought, and would require more than $500 million of new federal funding to pay for pipeline infrastructure to deliver water to communities in need. That money would have to be appropriated from U.S. Congress.

One pipeline would be built to send Colorado River water from Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border to the reservation.

During the special session Hope Macdonald, Council Delegate from Tuba City, raised concerns on the council floor regarding the document being “out of order." Specifically exhibit A not being located in the agreement and the issue of the agreement being distributed to delegates moments before the meeting. She motioned for the agenda item to be stricken but failed to gain votes.

Delegate Amos Johnson motioned to table the legislation and give one week for council delegates to take the agreement back to their communities for review, 49 voted in support, 32 against with 7 not voting.

“It is appropriate for the Navajo Nation to consider Hogan level family’s water rights and they have an obligation to do that, to take it to the communities for their input which has not been the case," stated Milton Bluehouse Sr. former Navajo Nation President. “The more informed the people are the better the decision will be made, with respect to their rights.”

"Why would we waive our rights to the water for just a promise of federal funding, when we know historically the appropriations have not come to Navajo?" said Hope Macdonald.

“Why was there no deliberate and detailed consultation with the affected Dine' communities?” said R. Begay a concerned Dine'. “Why has this process been so secret? What does Stanley Pollack have to hide? This is an extension of colonialism. We will stand against this oppression.”

“The most important thing to show our leaders is that we are watching them, we are making sure that they are accountable to their communities and what we hold sacred as Dine’ people,” stated Kim Smith, resident of St. Michaels. “Water is an essential part of our way of life, our ceremonies, our livestock and most importantly, it is our future. We are calling on all Dine’ people who value their future, their sacred water to join us when the council goes back into session and let them know we want them to VOTE NO!”

“This movement to oppose the Arizona Water Settlement is about our children, and we will not waive their water rights, not now not ever," stated Ron Milford, a concerned citizen for Dine’ Water Rights.

Concerned citizens for Dine’ Water Rights along with organizations such as Dine’ Care, To’ Nizhoni Ani, Black Mesa Water Coalition, Council Advocating an Indigenous Manifesto, ECHOES, and others are calling for another rally and march at the next council session.
The date and time have not yet been set. They are also urging the Dine’ People to contact their council delegates and urge them to vote no on the water settlement.
Visit for further details.
“Only one percent of the water in this world is water we can consume,” stated Daniel Tullie a Dine’ student from Phoenix who made the trip with a caravan of ASU students to Window Rock to voice his concerns. “Worldwide water shortages are facing us, we need to protect what we have here, because it is sacred and we need to protect it for future generations.”
Note to editors: High Resolution Pictures Available Upon Request or at
Message from Klee Benally:

Please forward far and wide!
Dine' People can take action today:
1. Call, email, or talk face to face with your Council Delegates
There is a great listing with contact info here:
2. Write letters to the editors.
Navajo Times:

Navajo-Hopi Observer (

Gallup Independent:
3. Sign the online petition to Protect Dine' Water Rights:
4. Help spread the word! Educate your friends and relatives about this issue.
Come to Window Rock for the next Council session!

EVO MORALES: Nature, Forests and Indigenous Peoples are Not For Sale


President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia
Press Statement
Indigenous brothers of the world: I am deeply concerned because some pretend to use leaders and indigenous groups to promote the commoditization of nature and in particular of forest through the establishment of the REDD mechanism (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its versions REDD+ REED++.
Every day an extension of forests and rainforest equivalent to 36,000 football fields disappears in the world. Each year 13 million hectares of forest and rain forest are lost. At this rate, the forests will disappear by the end of the century.
The forests and rainforest are the largest source of biodiversity. If deforestation continues, thousands of species, animals and plants will be lost forever. More than three quarters of accessible fresh water zones come from uptake zones in forests, hence the worsening of water quality when the forest condition deteriorates. Forests provide protection from flooding, erosion and natural disasters. They provide non-timber goods as well as timber goods. Forests are a source of natural medicines and healing elements not yet discovered. Forests and the rainforest are the lungs of the atmosphere. 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gases occurring in the world are caused by deforestation. It is essential to stop the destruction of our Mother Earth. Currently, during climate change negotiations everyone recognizes that it is essential to avoid the deforestation and degradation of the forest. However, to achieve this, some propose to commoditize forests on the false argument that only what has a price and owner is worth taking care of.
Their proposal is to consider only one of the functions of forests, which is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and issue "certificates", "credits" or "Carbon rights" to be commercialized in a carbon market. This way, companies of the North have the choice of reducing their emissions or buy “REDD certificates" in the South according to their economic convenience. For example, if a company has to invest USD40 or USD50 to reduce the emission of one ton of C02 in a "developed country", they would prefer to buy a "REDD certificate" for USD10 or USD20 in a "developing country", so they can they say they have fulfilled to reduce the emissions of the mentioned ton of CO2.
Through this mechanism, developed countries will have handed their obligation to reduce their emissions to developing countries, and the South will once again fund the North and that same northern company will have saved a lot of money by buying "certified" carbon from the Southern forests. However, they will not only have cheated their commitments to reduce emissions, but they will have also begun the commoditization of nature, with the forests
The forests will start to be priced by the CO2 tonnage they are able to absorb. The "credit" or "carbon right" which certifies that absorptive capacity will be bought and sold like any commodity worldwide. To ensure that no one affects the ownership of “REDD certificates” buyers, a series of restrictions will be put into place, which will eventually affect the sovereign right of countries and indigenous peoples over their forests and rainforests. So begins a new stage of privatization of nature never seen before which will extend to water, biodiversity and what they call “environmental services".
While we assert that capitalism is the cause of global warming and the destruction of forests, rainforests and Mother Earth, they seek to expand capitalism to the commoditization of nature with the word “green economy". To get support for this proposal of commoditization of nature, some financial institutions, governments, NGOs, foundations, "experts" and trading companies are offering a percentage of the "benefits" of this commoditization of nature to indigenous peoples and communities living in native forests and the rainforest.
Nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.
For centuries, Indigenous peoples have lived conserving and preserving natural forests and rainforest. For us the forest and rainforest are not objects, are not things you can price and privatize. We do not accept that native forests and rainforest be reduced to a simple measurable quantity of carbon. Nor do we accept that native forests be confused with simple plantations of a single or two tree species. The forest is our home, a big house where plants, animals, water, soil, pure air and human beings coexist. It is essential that all countries of the world work together to prevent forest and rainforest deforestation and degradation. It is an obligation of developed countries, and it is part of its climate and environmental debt climate, to
contribute financially to the preservation of forests, but NOT through its commoditization. There are many ways of supporting and financing developing countries, indigenous peoples and local communities that contribute to the preservation of forests. Developed countries spend tens of times more public resources on defense, security and war than in climate change. Even during the financial crisis many have maintained and increased their military spending. It is inadmissible that by using the needs communities have and the ambitions of some leaders and indigenous "experts", indigenous peoples are expected to be involved with the commoditization of nature. All forests and rainforests protection mechanisms should guarantee indigenous rights and participation, but not because indigenous participation is achieved in REDD, we can accept that a price for forests and rainforests is set and negotiated in a global carbon market.
Indigenous brothers, let us not be confused. Some tell us that the carbon market mechanism in REDD will be voluntary. That is to say that whoever wants to sell and buy, will be able, and whoever does not want to, will be able to stand aside. We cannot accept that, with our consent, a mechanism is created where one voluntarily sells Mother Earth while others look crossed handed Faced with the reductionist views of forests and rainforest commoditization, indigenous peoples with peasants and social movements of the world must fight for the proposals that emerged of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth: 1) Integrated management of native forests and rainforest not only considering its mitigation function as CO2 sink but all its functions and potentiality, whilst avoiding confusing them with simple plantations. 2) Respect the sovereignty of developing countries in their integral management of forests. 3) Full compliance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples established by the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the ILO and other international instruments; recognition and respect to their territories; revalorization and implementation of indigenous knowledge for
the preservation of forests; indigenous peoples participation and indigenous management of forest and rainforest. 4) Funding of developed countries to developing countries and indigenous peoples for integral management of forest as part of their climate and environmental debt. No establishment of any mechanism of carbon markets or "incentives" that may lead to the commoditization of forests and rainforest. 5) Recognition of the rights of Mother Earth, which includes forests, rainforest and all its components. In order to restore harmony with Mother Earth, putting a price on nature is not the way but to recognize that not only human beings have the right to life and to reproduce, but nature also has a right to life and to regenerate, and that without Mother Earth Humans cannot live. Indigenous brothers, together with our peasant brothers and social movements of the world, we must mobilize so that the conclusions of Cochabamba are assumed in Cancun and to impulse a mechanism of RELATED ACTIONS TO THE FORESTS based on these five principles, while always maintaining high the unity of indigenous peoples and the principles of respect for Mother Earth, which for centuries we have preserved and inherited from our ancestors.
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

Chilean Troops Flown in to Suppress Rapanui -- On the Verge of Extinction


- September 29, 2010 Contact: Kihi Tuki-Hito 011 56 9 88190047
Levanate Araki 011 56 9 81506843
Santi Hitorangi 1 845 596 5402

This morning a C-47 military plane arrived on Rapanui (aka Easter Isalnd) with a contingency of SWAT teams to augment the already in-place armed forces set to remove indigenous Rapanui people from their ancestral lands.. Since July 31, the Rapanui have been non-violently re-occupied the land illegally taken from their grandparents and have been , asking for their legal title to be restored.

Tonight the Rapanui people are on high alert – expecting what may come in the wee hours of the morning.

This afternoon Marisol Hito, spokeswomen of the Hitorangi clan, presented the Rapanui case to the Human Rights Commission of the Chilean House of Representatives. The Commission unanimously voted to stay any order to harm or remove Rapanui people from their claims.

Marisol Hito stated that, “We have been asking to negotiate for 60 days with the Chilean government, but they have refused to negotiate and instead sent in armed troops to cause psychological and physical duress . From day one we have been expressing that our claim is for recognition of title to our lands, and the ability to manage our sovereignty. Under Chilean law only Rapanui people can legally hold title to land on the island.”

The Human Rights Commission filed a protective order for the 18 children that are in occupation at the Hanga Roa Hotel, reclaiming their land title and future. The Hanga Roa property was illegally sold during the Pinochet regime to a non-Rapanui person, and was subsequently transferred to a non-Rapanui corporation, in violation of Chilean law.

Kihi Tuki-Hito showed the Rapanui flag on the back of his jacket and spoke to press after the 8 hour meeting with the Human Rights Commission. He said, “ We want to peacefully restore our rights to our land and self government”.

Chile has refused to conduct serious and meaningful peaceful negotiations and has criminalize all the Rapanui claimants in violation of human rights and of the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Rights, to which Chile is a signatory.

Ironically Chile uses the Rapanui moai, the well-known monolithic stone statutes, on its currency and passports as a symbol colonial supremacy over Rapanui people.

Only 5,000 Rapanui people exist today . Any violence against them is an act of extinction to these legendary people who are a heritage and treasure of humanity. In 1994 UNSECO declared Rapanui as a “heritage of humanity.”

If we as humans can save the smallest inhabited place on the planet earth, Rapanui, then when we can learn how to heal and save our entire human existence on this planet.

This is a an S.O.S. for the world to save itself.

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