Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 29, 2011

Chief Looking Horse speaks at Protecting Mother Earth Gathering

Chief Arvol Looking Horse urges return to spritual ways for survival

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By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: Ponca Casey Camp and Chief Arvol Looking Horse at the IEN Gathering. Photo Brenda Norrell.
NEW TOWN, N.D. -- Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Cheyenne River Lakota, delivered a powerful address to the 16th Indigenous Environmental Network's Protecting Mother Earth Conference, as it opened its four day conference on Thursday, on the land of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations. The land of the Three Affiliated Tribes is now being destroyed by massive oil and gas wells.
Chief Looking Horse is the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate. Chief Looking Horse spoke of his own early days and the guidance he was given for spiritual leaders. Although it is now a time of ceremonies for the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate, he said he came here to speak because of the importance.
“When I was young, we had no cancer or diabetes, and people kept their word. When they said they were going to do something, they kept their word. Today, the leadership is not good. People are speaking out of hurt and pain.”
Chief Looking Horse spoke of the pain and suffering of the people and of Mother Earth. While speaking of this difficult time, he shared his vision that the people, with the help of the Canupa, Sacred Pipe, and a return to a spiritual way of life, will make it through.
“We know that Grandmother Earth is sick right now," Chief Looking Horse told those gathered from as far away as Guatemala, Mexico, Canada and Alaska. "Today is a very important day.”
Chief Looking Horse said many people, including scientists see that the people are at the point of no return.
“Our ways are about dreams and visions."
Chief Looking Horse was joined on the panel presentation at the Four Bears Campground by Casey Camp, Ponca traditional Drumkeeper for the Ponca Pa-tha-ta, Woman's Scalp Society. Mayan Spiritual Representative Tata Cecilio Tuyuc Sucuc from Guatemala spoke of the prophecies and survival in this age.
Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons joined the gathering by telephone. "The prophecies are no longer in the future, the prophecies are with us here now," he said.
"We all operate under the same laws of nature," he said, pointing out this includes the two leggeds, four leggeds, winged ones and other life forms. "All need clean air, oxygen, to breathe."
Lyons said that human beings are largely water and the need for it is great.
"There is a responsibility for having so much water, it is to protect it." Lyons also spoke of the melting ice in the Arctic and how industrialized nations are responsible, because of the burning of fossil fuels. Pointing out the lifestyles of accumulation of some, he said this accumulation has caused changes in the atmosphere and global warming.
Lyons said that all human beings are related. “We are all the same, all around the world.”
At sunrise on Thursday, Western Shoshone Chet Stevens brought the fire from the 15th Indigenous Environmental Network's Protecting Mother Earth Gathering to the land of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations.
Hidatsa Scott Baker accepted the Fire from the Western Shoshone and lit the Sacred Fire for the 16th IEN Gathering. Spiritual Representative of the Mayans Tata Cecilio Tuyuc Sucuc from Guatemala was present at the Sacred Fire. Huicholes struggling to protect sacred lands in Mexico were also present, as a caravan of Native Americans arrived from the west. Tom Goldtooth, Dine' and Dakota, IEN executive director, welcomed those gathered and provided background on the Sacred Fire.
Indigenous Peoples here are struggling to protect their lands from uranium mining, coal fired power plants, oil and gas drilling, silver mining, toxic waste dumps and other destruction. Straw bale construction and alternative energy presentations were on the agenda.
The land of the Three Affiliated Tribes here -- Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations -- has been hard hit by oil and gas drilling. Indigenous Peoples arriving at the gathering drove through highways heavily-congested with trucks and dust, with gas flaring and the air clogged with pollution, as the land was poisoned and destroyed by massive oil and gas wells.
Kandi Mossett, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, spoke of the deaths and destruction from the oil and gas mining here, where 3,000 oil and gas wells are now planned. Tearfully, Mossett spoke of the deaths, including the death of a close friend from cancer.
"We really, really appreciate you coming," Mossett told the gathering.
Marilyn Hudson, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara historian, shared the history of the peoples here. "Welcome to the banks of the river," Hudson said, echoing the words of friendship that have been spoken here for thousands and thousands of years.
Hudson said the people gathered here, who are concerned about their air, water and land, are like the original peoples here. She said if the people camping, close to the land, listen they can hear the voices of the land, and maybe the echoes of those who have gone before.
The IEN Conference is being broadcast live Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Listen live at Earthcycles More information at Photos and updates at Censored News
Topics include: Dirty oil from the Tar Sands; Shale and pipeline spider webs; Offshore oil in Alaska and Gulf Coast; Biomass, agrofuel, waste to energy incinerations; Uranium, mining and nuclear energy; Coal; Fracking for oil and natural gas development and renewable energy.

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