August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, October 25, 2010

AIM Film Fest Best Doc 'Hawaii, A Voice for Sovereignty'

Best Documentary Award by AIM International Film Festival 'Hawaii, A Voice For Sovereignty' By AIM West

The long awaited efforts to bring the American Indian Movement (AIM) International Film Festival to San Francisco was finally held on Monday and Tuesday, October 11 -12, 2010. The film festival, the first hosted by AIM-WEST, an affiliate organization in the bay area, ended on a high five, or hang ten, whichever! It was also deemed an important educational alternative to the stories typically associated with Columbus Day and what it means to Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas during this period. The Best Documentary Award that was selected by the judges committee went to “Hawaii, A Voice For Sovereignty”. It was accepted by Ms. Catherine Bauknight, film maker and Director.

The intensity projected in the documentary, made in 2009, ‘What Happen to the Land Happens to the People’ is the first of its kind to feature the native Hawaiians journey to sustain their culture, spirituality, and connection to the land. This modern epic documentary, filmed over four years, contains rare interviews with Native Hawaiians in their homes, at sacred sites, in mountains and the rain forests. Along with the voices of the people of the land, Professor Haunani-Kay Trask, and other Hawaiian leaders, take us into rarely seen ancient lifestyles where spirituality, culture, and care for the land form a sacred bond between humankind and the natural world. They reveal their quest to secure their Hawaiian rights as the host culture, and their economic, social, and ecological future. By bridging their ancient knowledge with modern technologies such as wind, solar, and wave renewable energy and agricultural land systems they move towards their goal of sustainability.

The award presented by Master of Ceremony, Mr. Bill Means, to Ms. Bauknight, is a cherished photo of AIM Minister of Culture, Floyd Red Crow Westerman (1988 Dances with Wolves), in his memory of promotion of cultural rights, and the quest for sovereignty, exemplify the legacy and spiritual movement of resistance, and the fight for self-determination found among Indigenous peoples throughout the globe. Also present with the award in photo (Neil Whitelaw, photographer) is Bill “Jimbo” Simmons, movie presenter, Aleck Cheney, producer, Antonio Gonzales, AIM-WEST Director, Venezuela Consulant Martin Sanchez, and Tomas Reyes, AIM-WEST Community Volunteer Coordinator.

The AIM film committee wishes to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this event. We especially took advantage of the this year’s occasion which coincides with the United Nation’s theme of “Indigenous Peoples and film making” declared at the 2010 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples held in New York. We are optimistic this can become an annual film festival. We also wish to inform Indigenous and non-Indigenous film-makers alike, worldwide, about the great opportunity they have to educate the general public and non-governmental organizations by producing these themes and to showcase the wide spectrum of struggles on a myriad of issues they are going through on their lands. Many times these valuable films shot with perception and detail, are lost or have a difficult time in their countries exposing or revealing the burning challenges they wish to project, on a daily basis. This is their chance to reveal the truth in the search for justice.

And finally, AIM-WEST wishes to extend a cordial salute in solidarity with the 35th Anniversary next month of the American Indian Film Festival held in SF, and its director, Mr. Michael Smith, with respect for their many hard years of commitment to quality films depicting American Indians in the film industry in both Canada and the United States. Your dedication in this endeavor over the years has paved the way, and provided the necessary means to fulfill a need by bringing together all the continents, where real Indigenous peoples can see for themselves how they continue to thrive and practice their traditional and cultural way of life.

Thank you once again, ALL My Relations,

Antonio Gonzales
AIM-WEST Director


MNN: Long Ago Before Colonial Borders

Mohawk Nation News

MNN. October 10, 2010. During the French and Indian Wars in the 1750s, the invaders came up against the Mohawk “Keepers of the Eastern Door” who told them to go home. In order to occupy land the legal occupants had to be killed off. The colonists started a genocide campaign beginning with the Mohawks.

As a story goes, once upon a time in present day New York State, a French troop came across a lone Mohawk Warrior standing on top of a cliff waving at them. The troop commander told three of his men, “Go up and kill him’.

They climbed up. Behind the bushes a big fight broke out. The commander waited. They never returned. Eventually the Mohawk Warrior appeared on top of the mountain and waved to the troops below. Aghast, the commander ordered another 10 soldiers to, “Kill him once and for all”.

They went up. Another noisy fight ensued. None returned. Once again, the Mohawk Warrior stood on top and waved to them with a big smile.

Finally the commander ordered the rest of his troops to go up and “Finish him off”, to return and tell him what happened.

Another huge fight took place with lots of yelling and screaming. This time one badly wounded man came down the hill. “What happened?” asked the commander.

The soldier said, “That Warrior wasn’t alone. He had a Mohawk woman behind him!” and then passed out. The Mohawk Warrior stood at the top of the cliff and waved at them to leave.

Indigenous women continue to be the foundation of our communities. Presently 550 have disappeared without a trace. Canada refuses to investigate, callously calling us “sexual objects” and “street workers”.

Our women are not protected by police, politicians and upper levels of society for a reason. Possibly these girls have too much information on the underbelly of the ruling class and their fascination with abusing children, particularly Indigenous.

It seems the Canada Border Services Agents CBSA and law enforcement want to arrest and criminalize our men who protect our women and children.

Border guards leer at Mohawk girls and our young men. Perverted Border guards are known to put their hands in the pants of the adolescent boys and grab their genitals. Cavity searches are going to become common to intimidate and psychologically subjugate people.

A British military man once remarked: Mohawk men allow themselves to be dragged around by their women, but in no way did it emasculate them. In fact, they became great warriors.

We were the canary in the mine. The behavior that the indigenous people have withstood for centuries is now going to become mainstream for everyone.

Kahentinetha, MNN Mohawk Nation News For more news, books, to donate/legal fund and to sign up for MNN newsletters go to Other articles in category “Border”.

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