August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

VIDEO UN Indigenous Permanent Forum: The Right to Water





The Right to Water and Indigenous Peoples 
UNPFII 10th Session 16-27 May 2011
American Indian Law Alliance 11 Broadway, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10004 Email: aila@ailanyc.org
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
10th Session 16-27 May 2011, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Submitted by Ms. Tonya Gonnella Frichner of the American Indian Law Alliance in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council with Ms. Tia Oros Peters, Executive Director, Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development.

Protection of Water

1. For the last six years our organizations and co-signatories have addressed the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the Protection of Water as a human right, and we are honored to do so again under this agenda item. We call for the recognition of Water as essential to Life; that it is crucial for bio-cultural diversity and for sustaining all aspects of Indigenous Peoples’ survival and well-being, assuring our physical health, nurturing us spiritually and central for the continued vitality of our cultures and traditional livelihoods.

2. We recognize Water is the most vulnerable element of all forms of Life in light of climate change and its impacts, and coupled with the encroachment of invasive development – the terracide – damaging Indigenous homelands and ecosystems, and the aquacide – the killing of our waters. Time is of the essence. We must take action now as some places are flooded and others stricken with drought. We urgently reiterate the critical significance of protecting Water sources and Indigenous Peoples’ full, unencumbered access to clean Water on our territories for physical, cultural and spiritual sustenance, and advance these recommendations.

Recommendations

...22. For example, in the high desert, arid southwestern region of the United States, the Zuni River is critical to the physical and spiritual sustenance of the A:shiwi/Zuni people. During the Fourth and Fifth Permanent Forum Sessions (2005 and 2006), we shared with Forum members the unique characteristics of the river as a sacred waterway, an umbilical cord linking Zuni people with a spiritual destiny, carrying prayers and offerings to Zuni Heaven, a final everlasting place. When it flowed freely, the River fed streams and springs that nurtured thousands of acres of corn, beans, and squash fields that were cultivated and sustained the people, and supported an abundance of wildlife, which is necessary to nourish Zuni cultural sustenance and a rich ceremonial life. In the 1890’s the River was dammed and diverted by the Ramah Cattle Company empowering Mormon missionaries upstream, altering the natural flow and life of the waterway. Today, what was once a vibrant, moving waterway that sustained thousands of people, animals, plant and water-dependent species has been drained, leaving only a dry riverbed where a vital river once flowed. 1982 was the last time the Zuni River flowed through the village since the Ramah Dam was built. Now our land is always thirsty.

23. And on the same Indigenous territory, a sacred site known as Zuni Salt Lake, has been targeted for coal and methane gas development. Salt in an arid environment is critical to the Peoples’ survival. For the A:shiwi, this is also the dwelling place of a spiritual mother. It is also a place of peace for neighboring tribes to ceremoniously gather salt. The exploitation threatening Zuni Salt Lake would siphon millions of gallons of pristine water from beneath the lake for the mining, and create persistent toxins and contaminants that would forever alter the integrity and home of Salt Mother, as and the well-being of the Zuni and other tribal Nations in the region culturally and nutritionally reliant on Zuni Salt Lake.

24. This is just one region of the Indigenous world. We know that in too many places a polluted stream is our only source of Water. In too many places, our peoples are struck down by waterborne and vector borne disease, due to the lack of accessible, clean water on our territories caused by diversion and contamination, and the impacts of Climate Change. We hunger and can no longer plant our gardens, not because we have forgotten how to nurture life from a seed, but because without access to Water, our crops cannot flourish, and we cannot thrive without them. Our Water ceremonies are dying and our songs for the Water no longer fill the air.

25. Brothers and sisters of the world, are we prepared for what will happen when the world grows dry and quiet? What were once rich landscapes awake with forests and gardens, rivers and cornfields, alive with animals and birds, and a harmonious biodiversity of Indigenous cultures, are quickly becoming parched lands which only our tears can soften. Soon, even our most lush lands will be barren. Soon, even our tears will dry up and we will only have blood in our eyes as the wars for oil quickly transform into Water Wars that shroud the globe in a clash which humanity cannot survive. The Earth will burn. Too many of us are already dying of thirst. Our children, and the generations to come, will inherit this conflict and it is for them that we call upon the Permanent Forum and offer this intervention, for the Water – the essence of Life, for world peace.

Elahkwa – thank you.
Go to the web address below for a full copy of the statement:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/session_10_crp_6.pdf

Action Alert: Arizona Snowbowl begins desecration sacred San Francisco Peaks



Photo Klee Benally/Indigenous Action Media

Ski Area Pipeline Construction Threatens Holy San Francisco Peaks

By Klee Benally
Published at Censored News
French translation:
http://www.chrisp.lautre.net/wpblog/?p=64

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.-- Owners of Arizona Snowbowl ski area have begun moving pipeline and construction equipment to the base of the holy San Francisco Peaks, located in Northern Arizona.
The Peaks are central to the ways of life of more than 13 Indigenous Nations. Snowbowl owner Eric Borowski plans on starting the development today.
Although currently challenged by a legal appeal in the 9th Circuit Court, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has permitted the ski area to begin development. The Coconino National Forest, headed by the USDA, manages the Peaks as public lands. Snowbowl has operated under a special use permit since the 1980's, which was initially challenged by Indigenous Nations and environmentalists all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Photo Klee Benally/Indigenous Action Media

According to the Forest Service, "Construction is anticipated to begin this month along a segment of Snowbowl Road. . . Snowbowl Road will remain open; however, delays and temporary closures will occur throughout the duration of construction, approximately five months."
The Forest Service also stated that Snowbowl Road will be closed each day from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
For more than a dozen years Indigenous Nations, environmental activists, and concerned community members have worked together to protect the holy site and surrounding area from further ecological destruction, public health threats, and spiritual desecration.
Snowbowl's development plans include clear-cutting 74 acres of rare alpine habitat that is home to threatened species, making new runs and lifts, adding more parking lots and building a 14.8 mile buried pipeline to transport up to 180 million gallons (per season) of wastewater to make artificial snow on 205 acres.
The wastewater, which would be purchased from the City of Flagstaff, has been proven by biologists to contain harmful contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and hormones. In their Environmental Impact Statement the Forest Service did not consider the impact of ingesting waste water in the form of artificial snow or from the storage pond by humans and animals.
This point is the basis of the Save the Peaks Coalition's current lawsuit which is currently appealing a District Court decision in favor of Snowbowl's proposed actions.
On April 1, 2011 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency motion by the Save the Peaks Coalition to stop Snowbowl ski area and the U.S. Department of Agriculture from cutting down approximately 30,000 trees.
In 2002, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, with no real public process, quietly decided to allow wastewater to be used for snowmaking purposes.
Later that same year the Flagstaff Mayor and City Council signed a contract to allow the sale of sewage effluent for snowmaking on the holy mountain.
The contract has since been renewed administratively, behind closed doors without any public input.
Snowbowl would be the only ski area in the world to use 100% wastewater for snowmaking purposes.
In 2010 Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke revealed a plan, secretly negotiated with the USDA, for use of Flagstaff's drinking water instead of the sewage effluent. Snowbowl was offered 11 million tax payer's dollars to subsidize the increased costs of using potable water.
Stating that the US government believed drinking water snowmaking to be "less offensive" to Indigenous Nations, the plan was pushed without the consent of or any consultation with Indigenous Nations.
Facing overwhelming community and Tribal opposition, City of Flagstaff officials ultimately rejected the plan.
Following the failed attempt to use drinking water the USDA, while still aggressively battling the Save the Peaks Coalition in court, began listening sessions to hear Indigenous Peoples concerns on the protection of sacred places. Ironically, the sessions were initiated in part due to the Peaks controversy.
The USDA is expected to issue a report for policy changes sometime this year.
In response to threat of development, more than 150 people rallied outside of Flagstaff City Hall and held a march for protection of the holy San Francisco Peaks on April 16th.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Contact Flagstaff City Officials and urge them to RESPECT the environment, Indigenous culture, and protect public health by finding a way out of their contract to sell Snowbowl wastewater!
PHONE: (928) 779-7600
EMAIL: council@flagstaffaz.gov
Contact Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and express concern that there was no meaningful public process when the agency approved wastewater for snowmaking.
File a complaint and demand full public review!
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, 1110 West Washington Streetm Phoenix, Arizona 85007
(800) 234-5677 - Toll Free
Northern Regional Office, 1801 West Route 66, Suite 117, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001 (877) 602-3675 - Toll Free
www.azdeq.gov/function/compliance/complaint.html
Contact the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which heads the Forest Service, and urge them to revoke the Special Use Permit for Arizona Snowbowl for greater public interest.
The USDA has been holding hearings on protection of sacred places due to the Peaks controversy. Urge the USDA to immediately place an administrative hold on all development on the San Francisco Peaks!
CALL CRAIG JOHNSON USFS TRIBAL LIASON IN FLAGSTAFF, AZ AT: 928 525 6578.
Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250
Phone: 202-720-3631
Email: TribalSacredSites@fs.fed.us
For Additional Information:
www.fs.fed.us/spf/tribalrelations/sacredsites.shtml
Send Letters to the Editor of your local papers.
Arizona Daily Sun: rwilson@azdailysun.com
Klee Benally
indigenousaction@gmail.com
http://www.indigenousaction.org/ - Independent Indigenous Media

UN Indigenous: Doctrine of Discovery 'Racism and Genocide'

TENTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES

May 16 to 27, 2011 – UN Headquarters, New York City, NY

STATEMENT REVISED:
The Caucus changed and
resubmitted the text of this statement to the UN Permanent Forum. This post, updated on May 28, 2011, reflects the change.
Debra Harry, NAIPC coordinator said, "The corrected version of the NAIPC Intervention on Agenda Item 7: Future Work to the UNPFII-10 (below) was revised and re-submitted to the UNPFII Secretariat because it contained recommendations that did not have consensus in the caucus."

STATEMENT OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ CAUCUS
Future Work of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Subject: Doctrine of Discovery as the special theme for the 11th session in 2012
Presented by: Christopher H. Peters, 7th Generation Fund, President

1. Thank you Madam Chair for the opportunity to speak today. I am honored to addressed this distinguished body of experts on this agenda item. The Indigenous Peoples of the North America region express our sincere appreciation for the decision made by members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to advance the critical topic of the Doctrine of Discovery as the special theme of the 11th session of the Forum.

2. Madam Chair, on March 18th and 19th, 2011 Indigenous Peoples and organizations from North America gathered at Blue Lake, California to discuss a number of urgent concerns and propose recommendations for the future work of the Permanent Forum. We were mindful of the Forum’s Final Report on UNPFII-9, (E/2010/43-E/C.19/2010/15) of May 19, 2010, and its acknowledgement of the Preliminary Study of the Impact on Indigenous Peoples of the International Legal Construct Known as the Doctrine of Discovery, E/C.19/2010/13, (4 February 2010), by Special Rapporteur, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, and in that regard, offer the following recommendations:
Recommendations:

3. We reiterate a call for additional attention, study and documentation of the racist and genocidal doctrine of Christian discovery;

4. Advance our appeal for a deep exploration of the manner in which the doctrine of Christian discovery has been constructed, elaborated, applied, and extended in law, policy, socio-cultural practices, through both secular and religious practices, and to set the stage for its eradication and reversal as a fundamental element of colonialism and imperialism, with full and equal participation by Indigenous Peoples;

5. Request that the following recommendation of the Special Rapporteur be acted upon:
• This study shall be expanded to include a global review of this doctrine and call upon the other Indigenous caucuses to discuss and prepare studies documenting the impacts in their regions.
• That an international expert group meeting be convened to discuss the findings and implications of the preliminary study of the Doctrine of Discovery, and to present its findings to the next UNPFII session (2012) and to ascertain to what extent and how the Doctrine of Discovery and its attendant framework of domination are applied to Indigenous Peoples, and our lands and territories, throughout the world.

6. Call on this Forum (UNPFII-10) to take into consideration the recommendations of the Regional Hearing on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples, held on March 14, 2011 in Pueblo Grande, Phoenix and the upcoming hearings in Mexico and India, in preparation and to help shape the agenda for next year’s theme.

Wok lau

==================================================================
.
The revised statement deletes the portion on 'reconciliation' and other text which the full North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus did not agree on:
Original statement:
UN Indigenous: Doctrine of Discovery 'Racism and Genocide'


TENTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES
The Doctrine of Discovery is directly responsible for the disproportionate levels of incarceration, the violent assaults committed upon our children in boarding and residential schools and the devastating trauma experienced by our families, communities and Nations.
May 16 to 27, 2011 – UN Headquarters, New York City, NY
STATEMENT OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ CAUCUS
Agenda Item 8: Future Work of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Subject: Doctrine of Discovery as the special theme for the 11th session in 2012
Presented by: Christopher H. Peters, Seventh Generation Fund, President
1. Thank you Madam Chair for the opportunity to speak today. I am honored to addressed this distinguished body of experts on this agenda item. The Indigenous Peoples of the North America region express our sincere appreciation for the decision made by members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to advance the critical topic of the Doctrine of Discovery as the special theme of the 11th session of the Forum.
2. The historic edict of Christendom proclaimed by Pope Alexander the 6th nearly 520 years ago, known around the world as the Papal Bulls of 1493, has caused far-reaching and devastatingly negative impacts on the lives, cultures, and ecosystems of Indigenous Peoples throughout the world.
3. The Doctrine of Discovery as the theme for the 11th session of the Permanent Forum will provide an opportunity to redress the social, political and legal constructs that have resulted from the Papal Bulls and the accompanying edict of Terra Nullus. Both of which have perpetuated the ongoing genocide, colonization, and domination of Indigenous Peoples and our homelands. We recognize that it will provide the mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and governments to begin the laborious task of repudiating and deconstructing this vicious framework of colonization within our Nations and communities.
4. We commend the Expert Members of the Permanent Forum for their courage and vision in forwarding this important issues at this time when the world searches for a new ecologically centered paradigm and for a moral and socially conscious process for transforming and protecting the dignity and equality for all citizens of the world community.
5. Madam Chair, on March 18th and 19th, 2011 Indigenous Peoples and organizations from North America gathered at Blue Lake, California to discuss a number of urgent concerns and propose recommendations for the future work of the Permanent Forum. We were mindful of the Forum’s Final Report on UNPFII-9, (E/2010/43-E/C.19/2010/15) of May 19, 2010, and its acknowledgement of the Preliminary Study of the Impact on Indigenous Peoples of the International Legal Construct Known as the Doctrine of Discovery, E/C.19/2010/13, (4 February 2010), by Special Rapporteur, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, and in that regard, offer the following recommendations:
Recommendations:
6. We reiterate a call for additional attention, study and documentation of the racist and genocidal doctrine of Christian discovery;
7. Advance our appeal for a deep exploration of the manner in which the doctrine of Christian discovery has been constructed, elaborated, applied, and extended in law, policy, socio-cultural practices, through both secular and religious practices, and to set the stage for its eradication and reversal as a fundamental element of colonialism and imperialism, with full and equal participation by Indigenous Peoples;
8. Request that the following recommendation of the Special Rapporteur be acted upon:
· This study shall be expanded to include a global review of this doctrine and call upon the other Indigenous caucuses to discuss and prepare studies documenting the impacts in their regions.
· That an international expert group meeting be convened to discuss the findings and implications of the preliminary study of the Doctrine of Discovery, and to present its findings to the next UNPFII session (2012) and to ascertain to what extent and how the Doctrine of Discovery and its attendant framework of domination are applied to Indigenous Peoples, and our lands and territories, throughout the world.
9. Call on this Forum (UNPFII-10) to take into consideration the recommendations of the Regional Hearing on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples, held on March 14, 2011 in Pueblo Grande, Phoenix and the upcoming hearings in Mexico and India, in preparation and to help shape the agenda for next year’s theme.
10. Finally Madam Chair, we implore that the future work of this distinguished body examines the legacy the Doctrine of Discovery, and that it remains mindful of the current and continued impacts on the sovereign and human rights of Indigenous Peoples of the world.
11. The pernicious edicts of the Doctrine of Discovery of 520 years ago are directly responsible for and connected to current polices that perpetrate treaty violations, destructions of sacred places, loss of lands, cultures and languages. It is also directly responsible for the disproportionate levels of incarceration, the violent assaults committed upon our children in boarding and residential schools and the devastating trauma experienced by our families, communities and Nations.
12. Without prejudice to the work and recommendations on Doctrine of Discovery, we support the call for a proposal for the creation of a Doctrine of Reconciliation. We further support the call for an Expert Group Seminar on Truth and Reconciliation Commissions as proposed by the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its 3rd Report to be hosted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Madame Pillay.
Wok lau



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