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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wikileaks: US cables on Mohawks

WIKILEAKS: Border Guards feared Mohawks

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The US diplomats in Montreal and Quebec monitored Mohawks and Indigenous activists. In a series of cables released by Wikileaks in May, the US Ambassadors in Canada made it clear that no one wants to fight the Mohawks.

In fact, the US diplomat in Ottawa points out that the Canadian Border Guards feared the Mohawks.
In a cable dated July 30, 2009, from Ottawa, Terry Breese, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy, wrote about the Canadian Border Services Agency.

"The CBSA customs post on Cornwall Island (Kawehnoke) located on the Mohawk reserve territory of Akwesasne on the Canada-U.S. border closed on May 31. Canadian border guards had left the post citing fears of a violent confrontation with Mohawk residents, who opposed a CBSA directive requiring border guards to carry firearms at the Canadian port-of-entry, effective June 1."

The Canadian Border Guards Union said Mohawks were intimidating them.

"The MCA (Mohawk Council of Akwesasne) has accused CBSA agents at the Cornwall island border post of harassment, intimidation, and racial profiling of Mohawk residents, while the border guards' union has reported that Mohawks on the reserve had harassed and intimidated its members," Wikileaks said in the July 30, 2009 cable.

A US Embassy cable about Kanesatake in May of 2004 reveals the Quebec Government's reluctance to engage Mohawks in confrontation. It was written by the U.S. Consul General in Quebec, Susan Keogh-Fisher.

"The Quebec Government wants to avoid a 1996 Oka-type situation where a mechanized brigade had to intervene and there were costly social and political reactions. 'Anything we do to squash a fly will give rise to huge problems.' The strategy is to avoid counterreaction and 'psychodrama' by keeping a low profile," US Consul Keogh-Fisher states in the May 17, 2004, cable.

Keogh-Fisher describes the disaster of sending in what is called government-funded "warriors/police."

"The Charest Government has refused a $1.5 million request by Police Chief Ed Thompson to increase the native police force to 38 people. Thompson and his peacekeepers have never been able to patrol and had to retire after being pelted with rocks and sticks, with minor injuries. Having funded the first group of warriors/police that Gabriel hired earlier this year, who were virtually taken hostage inside Kanesatake, we understand Ottawa is also hesitating to provide more police forces."

In a second cable about Kanesatake in June 23, 2004, US Consul Bernadette Allen in Montreal writes a long cable describing the failure of bringing in "aboriginal police."

So far, Mohawks are unimpressed with the cables and have little to say about either the content or the arrogant tone of the US Embassy.

John Kane, Mohawk host of the radio show Let's Talk Native Pride, said, "I think one of the reasons you haven't got much response from this is just as you have suggested; it's no surprise. While some would be outraged to be treated this way or spoken of in such terms, we know what we are up against. We also know that 9-11 was an opportunity for both the US and Canada to put Native resistance on par with terrorism. No Department of Homeland Security or PATRIOT Act or Canadian Border Service or joint task force of US and Canadian alphabet soup will change the disposition of Mohawk Warriors."

APTN news in Canada reported on the cables, pointing out that Canada called on the FBI for help.

“Mohawks from other reserves continue to arrive in Kanesatake, including some from Colorado, to join in the resistance. Some ‘gun slingers’ have already arrived from the U.S., and more could come,” said APTN, quoting the May 17, 2004 cable and sent by the U.S. consulate in Quebec City.

So far, there has only been only one benign mention of the Zapatistas in the diplomatic cables. However, there are more than a dozen detailed cables about the Mohawks and aboriginal Canadians. Border crossing, land rights and treaties are among the issues.

Earlier in 2010, before Wikileaks dominated the headlines, Wikileaks revealed Canada's illegal wiretaps of Mohawks.

WIKILEAKS: Border guards feared Akwesasne Mohawks
Wikileaks Cable: Mohawks Borders, Land Claims, Treaties
Wikileaks Montreal Cable: Mohawks June 23, 2004
Wikileaks Cable: Mohawks, Kanesatake, May 17, 2004
Wikileaks: US and Canadian militaries like a marriage
Also see:
Wikileaks: Canada says UN Indigenous Rights Declaration headed for 'train wreck'
(Aug. 6, 2010) Wikileaks: Canada's unauthorized wiretap of Mohawks:

Listen to Let's Talk Native Pride online:
APTN news article:

From UN Permanenet Forum on Indigenous Issues, 9th session report 2010:

The Permanent Forum recommends that the Governments of Canada and the United States address the border issues, such as those related to the Mohawk Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, by taking effective measures to implement article 36 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states that indigenous peoples divided by international borders have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.
Photo: Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas, San Xavier 2006, Tohono O'odham. Photo by Brenda Norrell.

Indigenous Women at UN: Priority for migrants and protection of Mother Earth

Censored News
Photos by Ben Powless, Mohawk

NEW YORK-- At the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Global Indigenous Women's Caucus established priorities for the advancement of Indigenous women. The Caucus supported the climate summit agreement in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for the protection of Mother Earth, and prioritized the need to safeguard migrant women. 

The Caucus also points out the global crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the violence caused by the militarization of Indigenous communities.

Further, the Caucus pointed out the alarming level of toxins in the environments of Indigenous women.
The International Organization on Migration (IOM) was urged to address the problems faced by Indigenous migrant women, including the alarming trend of forced trafficking of Indigenous women within and across national and international borders.

Excerpts from the Caucus statement:
Given that the Indigenous women’s migration is greatly increasing, we recommend the Permanent Forum requests the IOM to report on its progress achieved in addressing these issues. Furthermore, due to ongoing development projects, environmental degradation and economic crises, we request that special attention is given to Indigenous women’s rights. These rights include the right to move and migrate freely throughout their lands and territories (in the face of involuntary displacement and state relocation of Indigenous communities) and the right to live free from violence experienced by migrant Indigenous women and girls and, indeed, all cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The key concerns that we will be highlighting throughout this session include: promotion of the leadership capacity of Indigenous women and girls (including within Indigenous governance systems and development programs and policies), the rights of Mother Earth (including the protection of sacred rights and the sacred right to water), violence caused by the militarization of Indigenous communities, the need for support of Indigenous women’s role in addressing environmental impacts and Climate Change (including reproductive health rights), food sovereignty, impact of extractive industries on Indigenous communities, unrepresented and unrecognized Indigenous peoples, migration and border issues. We would also like to support the examination of the following issues: using CEDAW to advance Indigenous women’s rights, the need for a standardized interpretation of free, prior and informed consent consistent with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Doctrine of Discovery and the proposed World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

The Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus endorses and recommends the UN Permanent Forum to consider the following:
1) the “Position on Women and REDD+” by the Indigenous Environmental Network
2) the statement on the right to water and Indigenous peoples submitted by the American Indian Law Alliance and Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Development
3) the “People’s Agreement of Cochabamba,” the final document of the World’s People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (April 22, 2010)
 4) the proposal by the Global Indigenous Caucus and the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus for an Expert Group meeting to address the impacts on environmental toxins on the health of Indigenous women, including their reproductive health, in 2012 before the UN Permanent Forum’s 11th Session.


VIDEO: Wixarika Statement at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2011

 Wixarika Statement at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

El Frente en Defensa de Wirikuta Tamatsima Wahaa representado por: Las Comunidades Indigenas del Pueblo Wixarika siguientes: San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán y Tuxpan de los municipios de Mezquitic y Bolaños, Jalisco, Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, Municipio de Mezquitic, Jalisco, Bancos de San Hipólito municipio de Mezquital, Durango, Unión Wixárika de Centros Ceremoniales de Jalisco, Durango y Nayarit A.C., Asociación Jalisciense de Apoyo a los Grupos Indigenas A.C., Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, MASACALLI, Frente Amplio Opositor, Autoridades del Ejido de las Margaritas de San Luis Potosí, Pueblo Mágico de Catorce A.C., Organi-K, Nierika A.C., Ameyaltonal A.C., Centro de Investigación Wixárika A.C., La Tierra Respira A.C., Playeras con Causa, Consejo de Visiones, Caravana Arcoiris de la Paz, Native American Church North America, Caravana Estudiantil Ricardo Zavala de la UNAM, Proyecto Esperanza, Cultural Survival, Salva Selva.

Las comunidades indígenas del Pueblo Wixárika a través del Frente en Defensa de Wirikuta Tamatsima Wahaa AGRADECE:




Por este conducto las comunidades indígenas del Pueblo Wixárika comparecemos en el Décimo Foro Permanente de la ONU con sentimiento confortador por habernos dado la oportunidad de expresar nuestro sentir como pueblo.

Los Wixaritari aún seguimos conservando nuestros elementos naturales que integran el ecosistema (hábitat) y la madre tierra en su integralidad e individualidad que forman parte de nuestro patrimonio material e inmaterial que nosotros le llamamos las esencia de la vida. Legado que nos dieron nuestros ancestros para que la cuidemos tal como lo hicieron ellos para las futuras generaciones.

Por ello, queremos que nuestras demandas sean tomadas en cuenta, no solo por el Foro Permanente de la ONU, sino también sean documentadas y examinadas por el Relator Especial sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de la ONU, James Anaya dentro de su INFORME GENERAL y RECOMENDACIONES PERTINENTES.

De igual forma el Pueblo Wixárika pondera y reconoce que los DERECHOS HUMANOS son universales, fundamentales e inherentes para todo los humanos de este planeta, y por ello TODOS nos merecemos un trato igual y respeto digno sin distingo alguno, no solo porque lo establezcan los instrumentos jurídicos internacionales sino por los principios éticos y morales. Para que de esta forma se garantice nuestra esperanza de supervivencia, dignidad, bienestar y nuestros derechos colectivos como pueblos indígenas del mundo.

Las Comunidades indígenas del Pueblo Wixárika enfrentamos un dolor y una inmensa preocupación por las amenazas y embates que hemos vivido a lo largo de nuestra existencia y que persisten actualmente. Primero, sufrimos una invasión a nuestros territorios originarios por parte de la corona española, en lo que hoy conocemos como México. En una segunda invasión sufrimos la división de nuestros derechos territoriales ancestrales por la creación de las entidades federativas, en la cual nunca fuimos consultados, violentándose nuestros documentos primordiales y actualmente, sufrimos una tercera invasión, a través de las amenzas y el exterminio de nuestros territorios sagrados por parte de las políticas neoliberales que dan preferencia a intereses trasnacionales y corporativos, sin el amparo y protección que por obligación debe otorgar y garantizar el gobierno mexicano. Por el contrario están secuestrando y quieren asesinar a nuestra madre, la tierra y buscan la desaparición forzada de la tradición de todo un Pueblo, el Pueblo Wixárika.

Tal es el caso de nuestro sitio sagrado denominado WIRIKUTA lugar donde está nuestro corazón, nuestra vida y nuestros ancestros desde la creación del mundo Wixárika, ubicado en los municipios de Villa de Ramos, Charcas, Santo Domingo, Villa de la Paz, Villa de Guadalupe, Matehuala y Real de Catorce del estado de San Luis Potosí, México. Donde peregrinamos año con año para venerarle y ofrendarle a nuestros ancestros, que ahí coexisten desde los tiempos inmemoriales, para que la vida continúe y se renueven las velas de la vida, no solo para nuestros ancestros, sino para nuestro pueblo y la vida de todos los humanos de este planeta.

Lamentamos que recientemente el estado mexicano a través de la Secretaría de Economía ha otorgado 22 concesiones mineras a la compañía canadiense First Majestic Silver Corp. y sus prestanombres Minera Real Bonanza, S.A. de C.V. y Minera Real de Catorce, S.A. de C.V. para la exploración y explotación de minerales principalmente plata. Esto, a pesar de que nuestro sitio sagrado de Wirikuta fue declarada en 1994 Área Natural Protegida por el Gobierno de San Luis Potosí y que en el 2004 ingresó a la lista tentativa de la UNESCO como parte de la Red Mundial de Sitios Sagrados Naturales. Además el mismo estado mexicano a través de los gobiernos estatales de Zacatecas, Jalisco, Durango, Nayarit, y San Luis Potosí, estando presente el Presidente de la República como invitado de honor y el director general de la Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI) firmó el Pacto de Hauxa Manaká el 28 de Abril del 2008, directamente con la Unión Wixárika de Centros Ceremoniales de Jalisco, Durango y Nayarit A.C., y las autoridades tradicionales y agrarias del Pueblo Wixárika comprometiéndose respetar, proteger, difundir y preservar nuestros sitios sagrados.

De esta forma no cesan de violentarse nuestros DERECHOS HUMANOS, territoriales, ambientales, espirituales, históricos y culturales. Mismos que están garantizados en los instrumentos jurídicos internacionales, como lo es: el Convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), la Declaración Universal de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos, la Convención Americana de los Derechos Humanos y las Leyes Mexicanas en la materia. Esta transgresión resulta aun mas grave toda vez que, además de ser un área ecológica y cultural protegida por decreto gubernamental que cuenta incluso con su plan de manejo, NUNCA FUIMOS CONSULTADOS AL RESPECTO, PARA QUE EN SU CASO OTORGÁRAMOS NUESTRO CONSENTIMIENTO, PREVIO, LIBRE E INFORMADO.

En esta sesión del Foro Permanente de Asuntos Indígenas agradecemos la oportunidad de exponer nuestro caso, pues es un claro ejemplo de cómo el Pueblo Wixárika ha sido ignorado por parte del gobierno mexicano en nuestro derecho a participar en el proceso de toma de decisiones que afectan directamente a nuestro pueblo violentándose de esta manera NUESTROS DERECHOS HUMANOS.

Por lo que atentamente solicitamos a este Foro Permanente, a la UNESCO y a los Parlamentarios de México que consideren las siguientes peticiones como asuntos prioritarios y urgentes dentro del informe definitivo del presente Foro:

La cancelación definitiva de las 22 concesiones mineras que ha otorgado el estado mexicano a la empresa Canadiense First Majestic Silver Corp. y sus filiales en México.

Se eleve el Área Natural Protegida de nuestro sitio sagrado de Wirikuta al nivel Federal.

Se reconozcan legitimamente y de manera definitiva el Area Sagrada de WIRIKUTA y los sitios sagrados de XAPAWIYETA EN LA ISLA DE LOS ALACRANES DE CHAPALA, JALISCO y HARAMARA EN LA ISLA DEL REY DE SAN BLAS, NAYARIT como Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad ante la UNESCO.

Finalmente se garantice de manera efectiva el derecho de los pueblos indígenas a ser CONSULTADO y a PARTICIPAR en las decisiones que nos afecta directamente.


New York, 19 de mayo del 2011

Para mayor información consultar las siguientes páginas:

Clyde Bellecourt to Obama at UN: Apologize for misuse of Geronimo's name

 Clyde Bellecourt to Obama at UN: Apologize for misuse of Geronimo's name

"It’s time for North America to get rid of the frontier mentality, and the myth that ‘the only good Indian is a dead Indian.’" Clyde Bellecourt.

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo copyright Ben Powless: Clyde Bellecourt and Tony Gonzales at UN Permanent Forum 2011.

NEW YORK -- Clyde Bellecourt, founder of the American Indian Movement, said President Obama should apologize to American Indians for the misuse of Geronimo's name during the assault on Osama bin Laden. Speaking to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, Bellecourt described the ongoing struggle to protect Native American resources, especially water, and protect traditional medicines from theft.

"We demand that President Barack Obama as the 'commander and chief' and his war council to recognize and issue a public apology for the continued attack on Indian people, for comparing one of our greatest leaders, Geronimo, to one of the most notorious terrorists known to the world, Osama Bin Laden. It’s time for North America to get rid of the frontier mentality, and the myth that ‘the only good Indian is a dead Indian.’

Bellecourt introduced himself as Nee Gon Nway Wee Dung, founder and national director of the American Indian Movement and executive director Heart of the Earth Inc. Bellecourt is also cofounder of the International Indian Treaty Council.

"My brothers and sisters, the battle to protect the land continues, when seventy five percent of the all energy resources in North America are still on Indian lands. Most importantly, water –our most precious medicine- is still being stolen by governments and greedy corporation," Bellecourt said.

"We must stand together in total solidarity to fight these monstrous acts for the survival of our children. We must continue to think like our grandfathers and grandmothers, chiefs and great leaders before us, who envisioned what it would be like for their children seven generations from now."

Bellecourt described how the United States failed to honor Indian treaties and the attacks on the essence of their ceremonial way of life.
"The American Indian Movement was formed in July 1968 when we felt that absolutely nothing was being done to upgrade the conditions that Indian people were being forced to live under here in the United States. Not one single treaty made between Native nations and the United States was being honored, which guaranteed us and our children’s survival. The right to practice our own spiritual and ceremonial way of life, to speak our languages, to hunt, fish and gather, and practice our traditional forms of government," Bellecourt said.

"In 1974, nine and a half months after the liberation of Wounded Knee, the American Indian Movement leadership was threatened with hundred of years in prison for defending our treaty rights at Wounded Knee in South Dakota."
Bellecourt described the events which led to the formation of the International Indian Treaty Council and conference which followed in Geneva.

"It was determined that we would never survive as a people unless we reached out to the world community, and brought our case before the world court. The genocide against our people did not allow us to pray in our traditional manner, speak our languages, or practice our traditional way of life. And these assault on our cultures continue in one form or another to this very day."

"The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples here today was the result of that conference in Geneva and we reached out to our 370 million Indigenous relatives around the world. As all of you know, it was a thirty year struggle within the UN structure to bring forth The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) of the world that was finally adopted by the General Assembly on September13, 2007."

Read Bellecourt's entire address to UN at AIM West website:

MEXICO: Human rights caravan to Juarez

Javier Sicilia and North American Organizers Present Caravan Bound for Ciudad Juárez

“In This March We Are Again Embracing Ourselves Amidst This Pain and Recognizing Ourselves Through Love”
By Lucero Mendizábal, Class of 2011, School of Authentic Journalism, May 22, 2011
“The United States has imposed war on us, its legalized weapons are much more terrible than the drugs because they are severe and spreading and are killing us,” said writer and poet Javier Sicilia at a press conference held last week to announce a Civil Caravan that will leave the city of Cuernavaca on June 4 destined for Ciudad Juárez. Read more ...
Also see: Fronte NorteSur: Indigenous Mexico Resists

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