August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, May 13, 2011

Navajos take fight to protect water to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Photo: Larry King by Shelbie Knox/ENDAUM

Press Conference Monday, May 16, 8:30 National Press Club, Washington, DC

SANTA FE, N.M.— Today, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) and its client, Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM), filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking to halt a uranium mining operation in the Navajo villages of Church Rock and Crownpoint, N.M. They will conduct a press conference Monday, May 16, 8:30 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, DC regarding the filing.

After 16 years of legal fighting, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center has exhausted all avenues offered by the U.S. legal system to overturn the mining license granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to Hydro Resources Inc. (HRI). Should HRI be allowed to mine, the drinking water for approximately 15,000 people will be contaminated.

“The HRI license marks the first time that any mining company in the U.S. has been federally authorized to mine uranium in a community drinking water aquifer,” says Eric Jantz, NMELC attorney. “This aquifer provides the sole source of drinking water for the mostly Navajo community members represented by ENDAUM. By granting this license, the NRC has failed to uphold its mandate to protect the health and safety of all Americans.”

HRI has stated its objective is to begin mining in Church Rock by mid-2013, and the threatened community has few options left.

“ENDAUM’s best hope is to encourage the executive branch of the federal government to intervene to oppose this license,” says Larry King, an ENDAUM board member. “Efforts over the past 15 years at the federal level have failed to engage officials and regulators about the impact this mining will have on the community’s health and water supply. We have to fight in every legal venue to prevent this mining from taking place.”

The petition seeks remedies for the violation of the Navajos human rights and requests that the Commission recommend to the United States to take restorative measures including:

• The NRC should suspend HRI’s materials license until such time as HRI has remediated the radioactive surface contamination on Church Rock’s Section 17, and the United States has taken significant and meaningful steps to remediate the abandoned uranium mines within the boundaries of the Church Rock Chapter;

• That the NRC require HRI to submit comprehensive baseline groundwater quality and other hydrological, geological and geochemical data, subject to a public hearing;

• That the NRC rescind HRI’s license for the Church Rock Section 17 and Unit 1 sites which are subject to the Navajo Nation’s ban on uranium mining and processing;

• That the NRC or other appropriate administrative agencies prohibit forced removal of Petitioner Larry King and his family from Church Rock Section 17 or forced disruption of his subsistence grazing practices or cultural activities.

“Multiple international human rights treaties say health is a human right. The NMELC and our clients agree, and by licensing uranium projects in drinking water aquifers, the U.S. government has failed to protect the Navajo community’s human rights,” said Jantz. “New uranium mining will further desecrate Navajo communities across the reservation already suffering illnesses and death because of legacy mining and waste.”

WHAT: Press Conference Held By Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center
WHERE: The Murrow Room, The National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
WHEN: Monday, May 16, 8:30 a.m.
Jennifer B. Marshall, The Marshall Plan, 505-231-1776,
Contacts: Jennifer B. Marshall, The Marshall Plan,
Eric Jantz, Staff Attorney, New Mexico Environmental Law Center,
cell: 505-980-5239
Juana Colón, Communications and Public Education Associate, New Mexico Environmental Law Center
1405 Luisa Street, Ste.5, Santa Fe, NM 87505, 505-989-9022 x 21, Fax: 505-989-3769
New York Times article:

Western Shoshone Spring Gathering May 2011

Western Shoshone Defense Project

2011 Spring Gathering
May 27th, 28th, 29th - 2011
DATE: May 27th, 28th, 29th
PLACE: The Dann Ranch – Base Camp – Crescent Valley, Nevada (Newe Sogobia)
“Camp Out Event”
“ Bring your camping tents, and family”
Food donations welcome!
Breakfast – Lunch - Dinner
Donations are accepted at site
Prize Drawings – Raffle’s
Story Telling
Up-Date on Shoshone Struggles
Special Guest Speakers
Agenda will be provided at site
If you want to assist or be a part of the activities please contact Larson Bill at 1-775-744-2537 , cell 1-775-397-6726. Help is requested a week before the event to set up the Camp and other logistics, your participation would be greatly appreciated. Directions to the site be posted along the road.
Hope to see you there.
For More information contact: Larson Bill – 397-6726- 744-2537
Photo: Carrie Dann

VIDEO: First Nations oppose Northern Gateway Pipeline

First Nations groups opposed to Enbridge's northern gateway pipeline held a nosiy protest outside the company's downtown Headquarters Wednesday.

GREENPEACE: Wikileaks reveals Hillary Clinton fighting secret Arctic oil wars

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Fighting Secret Arctic Oil Wars
Blogpost by John Hocevar - May 12, 2011
Posted at Censored News 
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in the Arctic ostensibly to discuss preserving its unique environment, a disturbing series of communications revealed today by wikileaks tell another story.
These cables confirm what we have long been saying: several nations - including the US - appear ready to go to war over Arctic oil. For years now, the military forces of Arctic nations like Russia, the US, Norway, and even Canada and Denmark have been watching the ice melt in the far north and getting ready to assert claims to the oil and gas resources that have previously been covered by ice.
Saber rattling and high level posturing has steadily increased over the past five years, exemplified by Russia using a nuclear submarine to plant their flag on the seafloor near the North Pole.
Arctic countries have increased military exercises in these remote waters, with territorial disputes persisting between the US and Canada, between Canada and Denmark, and between Russia and pretty much everybody else. Not wanting to be left out, Norway, already an oil giant, is in the mix as well.
Other nations are busy seeking to extend their territorial boundaries in the Arctic under provisions in the United Nations Law of the Sea, the international agreement that is best suited to reduce tensions in the region. Incredibly, the US has not ratified this treaty, which could leave the US out of the picture as the rest of the Arctic nations resolve their claims.
Despite interest from President Obama and his predecessors from both parties in ratifying the Law of the Sea treaty, a few reactionaries in the US Senate have been allowed to prevent that so far.
One of the more startling revelations in Wikileaks documents was that the former US Ambassador to Denmark connected Danish government officials to Wall Street financiers, in order to get Denmark cash to "exploit" their resources and gain trust with US. This would seem to contradict the stated interests of those who say we must get the oil for ourselves, but I guess they're willing to make an exception if their friends on Wall Street can still make a buck (or a billion of them).
President Obama has included stewardship of the Arctic's unique environment as one of the top priorities in his draft National Ocean Policy, but the early indications revealed here imply that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have a different agenda. While oil from the Deepwater Horizon is still washing ashore in the Gulf of Mexico, Secretary Clinton appears to be focused on how to make sure the US gets their share of any future Arctic oil finds.
Instead, Secretary Clinton and President Obama's considerable diplomatic skills are needed to negotiate a new international agreement to protect the Arctic from offshore drills and spills, both to preserve this unique wilderness and to prevent the current tensions from escalating out of control. No one wants the Arctic to become the next Middle East, so an international agreement to ban drilling and mining may be the best chance for peace in the region as well as for the health of the Arctic ecosystem.
The Arctic Council is in no way prepared to defend the Arctic against a corporate onslaught backed by the largest countries on earth. The choice is simple - either international unity and agreement to protect a unique ecosystem and it's indigenous culture, or international conflict that will divide nations and result in the destruction of the Arctic, its people their culture and wildlife. The first step is to ratify the UN Law of the Sea treaty."
Also see: Harper’s hard line on Arctic softens among U.S. envoys: leaked cables

Globe and Mail

Wixakari (Huichole) Vancouver BC May 16, 2011

A FORUM on the Declaration of Mother Earth’s Rights and Indigenous People Rights

May 16, 2011, Native Education College 285 east 5th Vancouver BC

Photo: Robert Free/Cancun climate summit
Censored News
3:30 pm: Opening prayer: Tsiyotelot Audrey Rivers: Squamish Nation Elder, Matriarch (possible song by Takaya)
3:35: Jesus: Wixakari Nation, Chief Richard Billy: Squamish Nation
4:00 Native American Church Canada Ken Daniels, Mining Alliance speaker: tba 430: Tsilqou’tin Nation, Chief Dave Quilt, Chief Francis Laceese, Stan Stump, 5:00 Helen & Frank Martin; Heiltsuk Nation Chief and Wet suweten Nation Bear Clan Mother
5:30: John and Mary Williams; Lil wat Nation
6:00 Woody Morrison; Hiada Nation630: Dinner, Music by: David Campbell: Arawak Nation
7:00 BC Hydro agreement: Sst at imc Injunction update
7:30: Gladys Raddik, Tammi Starlight
8:00 Bill Lightbown: Kootenay Nation,
8: 15 Latin American speaker, Goldcorp affected Indians
8:30 Closing song

Gila River: Stop the South Mountain Freeway Loop 202

Stop the South Mountain Freeway
News Release

Gila River Against Loop 202 Holds First Community Outreach Meeting
DATE: Thursday May 12, 2011, 10:15AM
Komatke, AZ-District 6

Gila River Indian Community
Over 20 concerned Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) members and O’odham from other tribes attended Gila River Against Loop 202′s (GRAL202) first community outreach meeting on Saturday May 7th, 2011, at the District 6 Learning Center.
“We’re here to listen to the people, the community, and elders, and to inform them of the issues surrounding the Loop 202 and to fill in what the TTT [GRIC Transportation Technical Team] hasn’t,” said Wesley Miles, a volunteer with GRAL202 from Komatke.
Community members welcomed Saturday’s outreach meeting. Those present shared their ideas for ways to hold GRIC leadership accountable. “All we’ve been hearing is that this freeway is going to happen and we don’t have any say. It seems like the Community’s voice is being overlooked,” said one elder at the meeting.
The meeting is the first in a series of community events aimed at informing GRIC members of the “No Build” option regarding the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) proposed eight-lane South Mountain freeway extension to the 202 loop. GRIC’s TTT has presented GRIC with only two options: an on-reservation alignment and an off-reservation alignment.
The two currently proposed routes are less than a mile apart and will have the same harmful effects on the Community’s air quality, health and traditional cultural properties. The on-reservation alignment will result in a loss of approximately 600 acres of tribal land, and the forced relocation of Akimel O’odham and Pee-Posh families. The off-reservation alignment would gouge a 40-story high, 200-yard wide cut into Muadag Do’ag (O’odham name for South Mountain), which is sacred to all O’odham and Pee-Posh.
While the community has been informed of those two freeway alignments, the “No Build” option listed on ADOT’s website has been dismissed by both GRIC’s TTT and tribal leadership. We are sending the message out that “No Build” is the only option that preserves O’odham and Pee-Posh traditions and is also beneficial for Laveen and Ahwatukee residents who will be affected by the noise and pollution of a new freeway.
The proposed freeway is still in the pre-Environmental Impact Statement phase. We believe the freeway planning should go no further. If “GRIC has the sole authority to decide if and where a freeway might be built or studied on its land,” as stated by ADOT, then ADOT must respect the wishes of the Community.
GRIC Governor William Rhodes and tribal council have not yet challenged ADOT’s proposed 202 extension, and have not voiced the Community’s opposition. By not presenting the “No Build” option, GRIC leadership is failing to uphold two previous resolutions approved by the Community, which both stated the Community does not want the freeway at all. Over the last year, GRIC TTT presented GRIC members with information and surveys regarding the South Mountain extension, but did not present the “No Build” option.
The failure of GRIC tribal leadership to present “No Build” compelled concerned GRIC members to oppose the freeway, under the name Gila River Against Loop 202. We directly oppose both proposed alignments of the South Mountain extension to the 202. Our goal is to stop the freeway in order to protect the culture, health, and environment of the Community, and to prevent the desecration of Muadag Do’ag.
Community members at Saturday’s outreach meeting were pleased to know that there is a grassroots effort mobilized to stop the freeway. “It’s exciting to see a group of people from Gila River who won’t back down to the environmental, ecological and cultural destruction the freeway would bring.” said Darius Enos, of Gila Crossing village.
Besides outreach, we are pressuring GRIC tribal leadership to uphold past Community resolutions against the freeway, and are supporting a community referendum that calls for “No Build” on GRIC tribal land. The referendum needs signatures of over 600 registered GRIC voters by November 2011. GRAL202 volunteer Linda Paloma Allen, of Bapchule, stressed the need for more volunteers and said, “We’re calling for more help. There’s a lot of work to be done in key areas, but it has to come from the Community. At this time, we need Community members to submit their comments on the 202 extension directly to ADOT by the June 3 deadline.”
The Regional Transportation Plan-Freeway Plan (RTPFP) is an ADOT program focused on the freeways in Maricopa County. ADOT is taking comments on the RTPFP from the public until June 3. Anyone, GRIC members and other Arizona residents, can pressure the RTPFP program about the South Mountain Freeway.
Some of the support we are asking for can come in the form of door to door canvassing for the 202 referendum, distribution of freeway fact sheets, assistance with research, anti-202 artwork, donations to offset the costs of printing, gas cards, and elder outreach.
Also present at the meeting was representation from No South Mountain Freeway, a coalition of urban citizens that oppose the Loop 202 extension and who support the self-determination of GRIC members.
Allen went on to state that GRAL202 is not fighting for just those attending the meeting, but also for the future health of young children in the Community.
“GRIC has said no twice before. What will it take for them to listen?”
For more information on GRAL202, history and facts about the freeway and ways to support in the No Build effort, please contact us at:
FACEBOOK : Gila River Against Loop 202 and No South Mountain Freeway
Ways to take action in your community to bring awareness to the impacts of the South Mountain Loop 202 Freeway:
1) Submit your No Loop 202 freeway comments to ADOT-RTPFP by June 3rd to the following:
ADOT Five Year Program
Communication and Community Partnerships
206 S. 17th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Follow this link to read documents concerning ADOT’s Five Year Program which encompasses the RTPFP:
2) Pressure tribal officials.
-Sign GRIC referendum against Loop 202 freeway (registered GRIC voters only)
Contact GRAL202 for information on how to sign.
-Submit your No Loop 202 freeway comments to:
District 6 councilman Anthony Villareal
District 6 councilman Terrance Evans
Phone 520.562.9720 (number for both)
Fax 520.562.9729 (fax for both)
GRIC Transportation Technical Team
520.562.9849 fax
3) Volunteer with or donate supplies to Gila River Against Loop 202.
4) Attend and support No Build awareness meetings held by Gila River Against Loop 202.

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