August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Notes from the Fifth World: Protecting Mother Earth

Censored News
Photo: Havasupai gathering to halt uranium mining in Grand Canyon/copyright Brenda Norrell

--US theft of Navajo water rights hits snag in Congress
--Zapatistas march in silence San Cristobal, May 7
--Wounded Knee, SD, Environmental Film Forum May 7
--Protect Glen Cove, Day 18
--'Lets Rape Mother Earth' American Indian leaders testify in DC
--Elderly activists use wire cutters to break into Navajo base to protest nuclear industry
--Protect Grand Canyon from uranium mining
--Haiti farmers burn Monsanto genetically modified seeds, Navajo Nation farm keeps using them
--UN OBSERVER & International Report seeks to begin publishing again

US theft of Navajo water rights hits snag in Congress
The plan to dupe Navajos out of their Arizona water rights, and their future, has hit a snag. Non-Indian attorneys were recently able to convince the Navajo Nation Council to approve the theft of Navajo water rights in Arizona. The US is using water rights settlements with Indian Nations to steal American Indian water rights all across the west. As former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald points out, the Winters Doctrine assures Navajos and other Native Americans of expansive water rights. It is a fact that the US doesn't want American Indian Nations to pursue in federal court. Meanwhile, the US wants the rights to Colorado River water in Arizona, and rivers throughout the west, for cities, power plants and corporate profits. The US has non-Indian attorneys working for Indian Nations to secure the theft of their water rights.
  Kathy Helms reports in the Gallup Independent, "The proposed $800 million Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement approved by the Navajo Nation last November is 'too expensive' and will not be introduced to Congress in its current form, according to court documents."
  Helms quotes a report dated April 19 from Arizona Superior Court Special Master George A. Schade Jr., stating that parties to the settlement were informed March 24, by U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., that the proposed settlement is too expensive. "Navajo Nation water rights attorney Stanley Pollack stated in the report that Kyl is unwilling to introduce legislation to authorize the settlement in its current form given the current political and fiscal climate in Washington." (Read more in the May 2, 2011 Gallup Independent)

Zapatistas march in silence in San Cristobal May 7, 2011
Subcomandante Marcos: The indigenous Zapatistas will march in silence in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas on May 7 to exercise our constitutional rights. After ending the march in silence, we will speak our words in Spanish and in our native languages, and after that we will return to our communities, villages and homes. In our silent march we will bring banners and signs with messages saying “Stop Calderón’s war,” “No more blood,” and “We have had it up to here.” We ask that you convey these words to the family members of the 49 boys and girls who died and the 70 others who were injured in the tragedy at the ABC daycare center in Hermosillo, Sonora, to the dignified Madres de Ciudad Juárez, to the Baron and Reyes Salazar families from Chihuahua, to the family members and friends of the victims in this arrogant war, to the human rights defenders of citizens and immigrants, to all of those who come together for the National March for Justice and against Impunity. Read statement in English/Espanol:
Also see:
Frontera NorteSur News: Zapatistas join Drug War Protest:

Wounded Knee Environmental Film Forum May 7, 2011
An Environmental Awareness Film Forum will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 1pm at the Wounded Knee District School in Manderson, SD. Three films will be screened, followed by Guest Speakers to present updates on the environmental protection work they are involved in. The films include Water Is Life by Art Is Action, which is an 8 minute show that chronicles the impacts of uranium mining to the drinking water and health conditions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and that examines the dwindling drinking water supply in this area; the 28 minute film Poison Wind by 220 Productions, which shares the voice of the Navajo Nation and other tribal peoples in the southwestern United States who are impacted by uranium mining; and a work in progress by Prairie Dust Films which documents support for and opposition against uranium mining in Nebraska and in the Black Hills of South Dakota. More: and

Protect Glen Clove, Day 18, May 1, 2011
It was a very social Sunday. Internationally acclaimed actor Michael Horse and his partner Pennie Opal Plant from Gathering Tribes Art Gallery in Berkeley paid us a visit and donated much needed supplies. Artists from Oakland donated two spray-painted banners. A limo pulled up to the gate, full of DJs from a local radio station, who visited and brought us fruit. Then a trio of Mormons appeared–after being informed that proselytizing to our participants was forbidden, they joined us for a short while.
Doug and Clayton Duncan from Robinson Rancheria and Gary Thomas of the Elem Pomo Roundhouse shared the story of the massacre of their ancestors at Bloody Island and offered songs. Their family members sang healing songs and danced in honor of the women, accompanied by prayers offered by a Taino Elder from Puerto Rico. More:

'Lets Rape Mother Earth' Indian leaders testify on energy in DC

Testimony in DC by Tex Hall, Ben Shelly and others:
Dine' Citizens against Ruining our Environment points out Navajo President Ben Shelly's bizarre testimony (at Censored News.) Shelly released a press statement promoting the planned Desert Rock Power plant. Tex G. Hall, Chairman Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of the Fort Berthold Reservation, wants more oil and gas drilling into Mother Earth. Hall says the US has too much "unnecessary red tape and bureaucratic delays" to carry out the destruction he desires for dollars. During the testimony in DC, Michael Connolly, Campo Band of Mission Indians, spoke out for renewable energy. The Chickasaw encouraged biofuel. Testimony includes statements from Crow Tribe in Montana and Ute Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.
During the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010, there were no US elected Native American leaders present to join Bolivian President Evo Morales in his global efforts to protect Mother Earth and assure the rights of Nature. The UN climate summit will be in South Africa in Nov/Dec 2011. Join the efforts of President Morales, Bolivia and the global Indigenous and grassroots movement:

Elderly activists break into Navy base with wire cutters to protest nuclear industry
Elderly activists break into Navy base with wire cutters, sit and pray to protest nuclear industry, sentenced to prison
Fr. Steve Kelly, who was in Tucson to protest US torture, is once again dancing to the slammer. Steve had spent so much time in prison for protesting the nuclear industry, and literally trying to beat nuclear weapons into plowshares, I asked him how he could choose, and endure, so much time in prison.
Steve said enthusiastically, "Oh, there's never enough time!" His face lit up, and he told me how he continued his protest in prison, which meant being put into solitary confinement. There, he kept busy writing letters and of course praying. I asked him if they gave him paper for all those letters. He said that he makes do by writing in the margins of those he receives. The next day he quietly stepped across the line at Fort Huachuca Army base, with Fr. Louis Vitale, our friend from the Western Shoshone nuclear protest and arrests, and the two of them were arrested. They were protesting the torture training at Fort Huachuca Army Intelligence Center in southern Arizona, and US torture at Abu Ghraib. --Two of the heroes I've been honored to meet. --Brenda Norrell, Censored News
Read more: CounterPunch Bill Quigley: Two Grandmothers, Two Priests and a Nun go to a Nuclear Base:

Protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining
For the past two years, the Grand Canyon has been protected from the ravages of uranium mining.
Now, the temporary mining moratorium is set to expire, and the Grand Canyon's fragile ecosystem, stunning beauty, and vital water supply are threatened by 1,100 new mining claims that have been filed within 5 miles of this priceless "crown jewel."
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering a 20 year ban on mining to protect the Grand Canyon's entire 1-million acre watershed. But there are other proposals on the table, and industry lobbyists are encouraging BLM to open the floodgates for the uranium mining rush. It's essential that we urge the BLM to protect the Grand Canyon.
Join me in defending the Grand Canyon. Submit a public comment to BLM to protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining:

Haiti burns Monsanto seeds, Navajo Nation farm keeps using them

Haitians burned 400 tons of Monsanto seeds, with 10,000 earthquake-devastated farmers refusing to plant the genetically modified seeds. Meanwhile, the Navajo commercial farm, Navajo Agricultural Products Industries, continues to use Monsanto genetic hybrid corn for planting, as promoted on its website.
NAPI's produce, Navajo Pride, is sold commercially and is among the genetically altered products now sold on grocery shelves in supermarkets, trading posts, etc. Navajo corn is sold as feed corn, ultimtely becoming part of beef and chicken. The corn is sold as Navajo Pride Popcorn.
In interviews, Navajos point out the history of genocide with foods, from the introduction of white flour at the prison camp at Bosque Redondo, to the USDA commodities of grease and empty starch, to the trading posts packed with lard, Spam and potato chips. Now genetically modified foods can be added to this.
The NAPI farmland, on Navajo Nation land near Farmington, N.M., is also the site of a Raytheon Missiles  plant.
Haitians burn Monsanto seeds:
Navajo Agricultural Products using Monsanto genetic hybrids

UN OBSERVER human rights news from the Hague
Good news from Paul Rafferty, who had to temporarily cease publication of the UN OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague, for financial reasons.
Paul is now searching for a sponsor to resume the online and print publication.
Sponsors please contact Paul Rafferty, publisher, or Brenda Norrell, human rights editor, at

Also see:
Japan's Radioactive Nightmare Hits Home for Navajos
Earthcycles and Censored News plan Native Youth Media Workshop for summer of 2011
Protect Glen Cove

Long Walk 3 Photos Cass Lake

Photos by Chris Francisco/Long Walk 3 northern route. More photos on Facebook at: LongestWalk northern route. The walkers are now at Leech Lake, Minn.
New videos from Long Walk 3 northern route on Red Shirt Table, Pine Ridge, South Dakota:

Also :
Long Walk 3 northern route at Red Shirt Table, Pine Ridge, SD:

Ben Carnes 'Osama bin Laden: Code-named Geronimo'

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden: Code-named Geronimo
By Ben Carnes, Choctaw
Reposted with permission by Censored News

“We’ve ID'ed Geronimo,” said a disembodied voice, using the agreed-upon code name for America’s most wanted enemy, Osama bin Laden."...

As a Native man, I was genuinely stunned to learn the US had selected the name of a hero who fought to defend his people and way of life. We've been reduced to caricatures as mascots and entertainment in sports and media. Our Identity as Native people has been confiscated and labeled as "Native Americans" or "American Indians". Then to associate one of our icons of resistance is an insult. I can't even begin to imagine the horror felt by Geronimo's descendants or his people, the Chiricahua Apache. They were branded as Americans in 1924 before they were pardoned as prisoners of war, ironically.
I felt a more appropriate name would have been "Custer" or "Columbus," both murderers, but this doesn't fit with their version of history. And you would think Obama, the president who campaigned for Native votes would have been more sensitive to this point when he said, "I'm on your side. I understand what it means to be an outsider. I know what it means to feel ignored and forgotten, and what it means to struggle. So you will not be forgotten as long as I'm in this White House,...".

This society tends to marginalize the First Peoples of this land, so maybe this shouldn't be a surprise that the heroes of Native people are still regarded as terrorists by the military and they saw no problem in making the association to Geronimo. Some people may say that OBL's skill at evading capture was a tribute in memory of Geronimo! Let's do a reality check here, who would want to elevate OBL to a glorified level?
What I've seen since the use of this code-name was revealed is shock, disgust and outraged. Here's one of many posts on Facebook: "Geronimo was NO TERRORIST, HE WAS HUNTED DOWN BY THIS COUNTRY'S OWN FIRST TERRORIST!!!!TRUTHS HURT!!THIS IS THE TRUTH, i AM A NATIVE WOMAN VET OF THIS COUNTRY, IM INSULTED!!!!!"

If we want to have a look at terrorism, shouldn't we look at the history of the US? When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, it was called the worst act of terrorism on US soil. I beg to differ, as Native people we suffered acts of terrorism at Sand Creek, Washita, Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears and Death, etc., place-names that remain burned into our memories and sacred in our hearts, just as the site of the World Trade Center or the Oklahoma City National Memorial has been for so many people who lost loved ones in recent memory.

I believe the President and the US military owes the Apache people an apology and a sincere one at that.

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