Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 28, 2011

LISTEN LIVE TODAY: IEN Protecting Mother Earth July 28-31, 2011

The live broadcast concluded on July 31, 2011. During the first week of August 2011, the IEN Gathering will be broadcast on Crow Voices Radio in Montana. Check back at Censored News for times.
Sacred Fire begins IEN Gathering /Photo Brenda Norrell

Welcome to the 16th Protecting Mother Earth Gathering
Water, Energy, Climate and the Importance of Health and Culture
July 28-31, 2011, New Town, North Dakota

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

NEWTOWN, N.D. -- Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Cheyenne River Lakota, and Dr. Edwin Benson, Mandan, join Tom Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, to open the four-day Protecting Mother Earth Gathering today.
At sunrise, 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 Protecting Mother Earth 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 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 and why it is lit.
"Chet Stevens brought the Fire with him and gave the Fire to Scott Baker of the Hidatsa Nation," Goldtooth said as the morning session began.
Traditional presenters today, Thursday, include Casey Camp, Ponca traditional Drumkeeper for the Ponca Pa-tha-ta, Woman's Scalp Society and Josephine Mandamin, Anishinabe Mother Earth Water Walker, Three Fires Midewiwin Society Society. Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate is present.
Straw bale construction and alternative energy presentations are on the agenda for the first day of the four-day gathering. Tonight's highlights include a cultural program with traditional foods.
Indigenous Peoples from as far away as Gwich'in in Alaska, Dene' in Canada, Mayans in Guatemala and Huicholes in Mexico, arrived Thursday. Indigenous Peoples 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.

The land of the Three Affiliated Tribes here -- Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations -- has been hard hit by oil and gas drilling in North Dakota. 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, 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.
Goldtooth spoke on the origins of the Indigenous Environmental Network and how Indigenous Peoples have been impacted by colonization and the resulting uranium mining, oil and gas drilling, and other destruction to their lands.
Today's schedule: Thursday (Central Time Zone):
5:30 am Sunrise Ceremony: Lighting of the Sacred Fire -- The Fire coals from the previous gathering at Newe Sogobia (Western Shoshone) territories in Nevada are being brought in by the Fire Keeper of Newe Sogobia and will be given to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations. This Fire will be burning for the 4 days of the Gathering.
8 am: Live broadcast begins:
9 am: Prayer by Edwin Benson, Mandan
Opening and welcome by IEN and the hosting members of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nations Organizing Committee
History of Fort Berthold and introduction to local environmental justice struggles and resiliency for survival
10 -- 10:45 Overview of the Indigenous Environmental Network: Report from World Peoples Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
10:50 -- 11:30 am: Program Overview and Goals of the Gathering
11:30: Participants introductions to each other
12:30 -- 2 pm Demonstrations, Trainings and Activities
Straw bale housing and earth plaster demonstration
Passive solar energy demonstration
Telling your story: video training project
Creative direct action visuals; integrating art into your campaign strategy
Three Affiliated Tribes Museum Tour
Youth Activities
Listening Session: Environmental Justice Inter-agency Working Group chaired by the US EPA (to be confirmed)
2 pm -- 6 pm: Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, Original Instructions and Cultural Survival in this Time of Change
Youth and elder dialogue
Moderated by Casey Camp, Ponca traditional Drumkeeper for the Ponca Pa-tha-ta, Woman's Scalp Society
Josephine Mandamin, Anishinabe Mother Earth Water Walker, Three Fires Midewiwin Society Society
Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate
Video message from Oren Lyons, Onondaga, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Six Nations
Message from Mayan elders
Thursday evening:
7:30 Traditional Cultural Night in the Earth Lodge Village
Youth and elder talking circles
Traditional games of plum game, double ball, arrow game and hand games
Traditional foods, healthy living and food sovereignty
Hoop Dance Performance
Live broadcast and gathering continues through Sunday at 2 pm

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