August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ben Carnes: Testifying in the corrupt Cobell case

Ghost Dancer by Leonard Peltier
Struggling to get to DC to testify in the corrupt Cobell case, Ben Carnes offers Leonard Peltier lithographs to cover the costs

By Ben Carnes, Choctaw
Censored News

Hawk Man by Leonard Peltier

I need to fly to Washington, DC from Dallas Fort-Worth on June 19th and return on the evening of June 20th. I am scheduled to speak at the Fairness Hearing regarding the Cobell Settlement at 10 am on June 20th.

My position is that the case was about gaining a full accounting of the mismanaged (stolen) funds from our accounts. It was about losing more land in the process from families who already have little, and the fair market value doesn't include the price of the sovereignty that is attached to the land as our intrinsic right, or a 10 year time limit on use of educational funding.

I'm in opposition to what amounts to a cover up, because if the settlement is approved, then we are told we waive any future claims. The theft of our funds is a violation of the fiduciary trust relationship the government holds. If they cannot be trusted, then the proper remedy would be the dissolution of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and criminal prosecution of those responsible. Once justice is served, then they can talk about what is truly owed to us.

There are 19 of us who are scheduled to speak at this hearing. Just a few out of several hundred thousand who are members of this class action lawsuit, who filed an objection and a notice to speak at the hearing. We all hope to make our voice count for many of those who could not appear or believed they could make a difference. We've been made to feel that there is nothing that can be done to stand in the way of the government and corporations when they want something. The most important thing here is that we just cannot sit back and be silent! Our lands will be there forever, but the measly crumbs they will send out in checks will be gone in just a few days.

Medicine Man by Leonard Peltier
I have these three Leonard Peltier lithos to select from. I can give two of each, and they sell for $60 on up. They were given to me by the committee a few years ago as a gift and to do with as I needed. If anyone has the frequent flier miles to secure me a plane ticket, I'll be more than happy to send these to you.
Ghostdancer: 2 for sale; Hawkman 2: 6 for sale; Medicine Man none for sale

You can reach me privately at my email: bencarnes@rocketmail,com or if you want to purchase any that are for sale, that would also be helpful in covering some of my expenses for this trip. I've reserved two of each for anyone who can get me a flight, which means someone is getting the last two "Medicine Man" lithos I have left.
Fairness hearing scheduled for June 20:
See 'court document' in the article for those opposing the settlement who will testify

Well kept secret: Senate Affairs hearing on UN Indigenous Declaration

Photo Dine' Water Rights
Hush, don't tell: Today's hearing on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
June 9, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The US Senate Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples today, Thursday. Why weren't people informed?
The witness list lacks many of the names of those who were responsible for the creation of the Declaration and who are pressing for implementation.
Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, questioned why there was so little news and information on the hearing and so few key people were invited to testify. "Where's the support numbers and emails? What about all the United Nations Indigenous experts and non-profit organizations? Where is the original Working Group of the Declaration?
"Indigenous people of america where are you?" Rivas asked.
Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have already revealed how the US worked behind the scenes, attempting to prevent adoption of the Declaration by the United Nations. Ultimately, the US was the last country in the world, of those who opposed it, to voice support for it.
The US is obviously going to look for ways to prevent the Declaration from interfering with its seizure of cheap coal and cheap oil and gas from Indian lands. It is certainly going to look for ways to prevent the Declaration from ensuring water rights or halting the Arctic-melting power plants on Indian lands.
The US will surely try to prevent the Declaration from interfering with destructive electric transmission lines and uranium mining on Indian lands. The US will surely work to halt the Declaration from ensuring intellectual property rights. The US will surely try to prevent the Declaration from resulting in the return of aboriginal territories to Native peoples.
The hearing begins at 2:15 pm. Are they planning an all nighter on these weighty issues?
Will this hearing lead to any real changes in US policy? Is the US ready to ensure the rights stated in the Declaration will be guaranteed by Congress and federal courts?
It will take more than lip for the US to become a leader in human rights. Is this hearing, like so many White House and Congressional events, another event for posturing, an event for the US to pretend to take action -- when it is really only a PR event with a photo op.

THURSDAY OVERSIGHT HEARING on Setting the Standard: Domestic Policy Implications of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Thursday, June 9 2011
Dirksen Senate Office Building 628
The hearing will explore the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as an international policy goal to which the United States is signatory, the current ways existing domestic policy achieves the UNDRIP goals, and additional domestic policy considerations to make the United States a world leader in indigenous rights and implementation of the UNDRIP.
Panel I
MR. DONALD “DEL” LAVERDURE, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC
Panel II
MR. ROBERT T. COULTER, Executive Director, Indian Law Resource Center, Helena, MT
MR. JAMES ANAYA, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United Nations, Tucson, AZ
MR. LINDSAY G. ROBERTSON, Professor of Law / Faculty Director of the American Indian Law and Policy Center / Judge Haskell A. Holloman Professor / and Sam K. Viersen Presidential Professor, University of Oklahoma College of Law, Norman, Oklahoma
MR. RYAN RED CORN, Filmmaker / Member, 1491s, Pawhuska, OK
Panel III
THE HONORABLE FAWN SHARP, President, Quinault Indian Nation, Taholah, WA
MR. FRANK ETTAWAGESHIK, Executive Director, United Tribes of Michigan, Harbor Springs, MI
MR. DUANE YAZZIE, Chairperson, Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, Window Rock, AZ
MS. MELANIE KNIGHT, Secretary of State, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Tahlequah, OK

O'odham Ofelia Rivas: Halt Loop 202: Destruction of Sacred Mountain

Muhadag Do’ag, the mountain out of which the proposed freeway extension to the 202 is to be carved, is a sacred (holy) male mountain. It is the keeper of the stories of the sacred bear in O’odham history. Muhadag Do’ag is a healing mountain and is a vital part of the well-being of all O’odham and their culture.

O’odham Rights
PO Box 1835, Sells, AZ, 85634

Ofelia Rivas, Founder
May 26, 2011
Declaration for the Ancestors and Descendants of O’odham Lands and O’odham Sacred (Holy) Places
ADOT Five Year Program
Communication and Community Partnerships
206 South 17th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) State Transportation Board

RE: Opposition Statement to the South Mountain Extension to the Loop 202

My name is Ofelia Rivas. I am O’odham. I come from a place called Ali Jegk (Little Clearing), a village in the O’odham territory now known as the Tohono O’odham Nation - a federally recognized Indian reservation here in the state of Arizona.

The original lands of the O’odham are vast and extend north to what is now Phoenix, east to the San Pedro River, south to Hermosillo (Sonora, Mexico) and west to what is now called the Sea of Cortez. Throughout our lands are permanent and temporary communities and sacred (holy) places.

Prior to the invasion of O’odham lands by the Spaniards, and later by the Anglo Americans, all the bands of O’odham co-existed and interacted with each other. They worked together and celebrated the harvest along the rivers of Ke’le Ak’mel (Gila River) and Gu Ak’mel (Salt River).

The O’odham had trading routes that connected all the O’odham. They traded goods such as sea salt from the south and grains of original O’odham wheat and barley from the river areas. Historically, the O’odham were united to insure the protection of sacred places and their people. Our traditional history is an oral history which records the formation of our lands, including the volcanic eruptions which formed our landscape and the sacred (holy) mountains.

Throughout the O’odham lands the mountains are regarded as Elders that maintain the ancient history and stories of the O’odham. The mountains are regarded as sacred (holy), and a living part of Mother Earth. They are identified as female or male. They are given special offerings by each O’odham, including the singing of each mountain’s specific song. The offerings are conducted to honor the mountain’s purpose on the land. Offerings can be cornmeal or other sacred ceremonial herbal medicines. The offering song names the mountain and the story it tells.

Muhadag Do’ag, the mountain out of which the proposed freeway extension to the 202 is to be carved, is a sacred (holy) male mountain. It is the keeper of the stories of the sacred bear in O’odham history. Muhadag Do’ag is a healing mountain and is a vital part of the well-being of all O’odham and their culture.

As a young woman of 25, I was traveling through the region accompanied an Elder from a southern O’odham village now known as Caborca, in Sonora, Mexico. As we were approaching the sacred mountain of Muhadag Do’ag, she started talking about her grandfather who told the history and sang the song of the mountain. She told me about the history of the mountain and the story of the bear. She remembered the song and she sang the sacred song. Muhadag Do’ag stands there to teach the O’odham about the region and the history of the O’odham.

Today the O’odham face many alterations to our Him’dag - our way of life. Our people are segregated by arbitrary borders. Our lands are divided by international, federal, state, and local institutions of political supremacy. The best example is the arbitrary international border that cuts in half the traditional O’odham lands, leaving part in Mexico, and part in the United States.

These deliberate alterations are attempts to weaken our culture and our connection to the land. The destruction of Muhadag Do’ag for the freeway extension would be a continuation of this deliberate process of disconnecting the O'odham from their land which itself is part of a campaign of cultural genocide against the O’odham - the original people of the land.

We pray in O’odham for Muhadag Do’ag, and for the future of all O’odham. May he continue to stand, sacred, strong, and tall for all people of the region. May you understand his purpose. He is an ancient man, who is there for healing and protection.

We’s ‘th Ha-jun We’he-jed
Please do not allow the construction of this freeway!
Ofelia Rivas
Founder of the O'odham Rights

Glen Cove Protection welcomes suspension of funding to desecrate sacred place

San Francisco Bay Trail Project of the Association of Bay Area Governments Suspends $200,000 Grant to Greater Vallejo Recreation District for Glen Cove Development Due to Impact on Native American Burial Site

Left to right: Wounded Knee DeOcampo (Me-wuk), Tony Cerda (Rumsen Ohlone), Mickey Gemmill, Jr (Pit River), Naiche Dominguez (Apache/Ohlone), Wicahpiluta Candelaria (Rumsen Ohlone/ Apache)
Photo copyright Scott Braley: Protect Glen Cove

By Protect Glen Cove

VALLEJO, California – In the 56th day of their Spiritual Vigil, Native Americans working to stop destruction and desecration of the burial and cremation site at Glen Cove in Vallejo welcomed the decision by the San Francisco Bay Trail Project of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to suspend its $200,000 grant to the Greater Vallejo Recreation District. The statement from ABAG and their Bay Trail Project states: “The issue of concern is that the proposed half mile Bay Trail segment on the Glen Cove property in Vallejo is part of a larger GVRD development that affects sensitive Native American burial sites.” ABAG’s statement says that the grant is being suspended until cultural land use issues are resolved.

“We are pleased that the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Bay Trail Project have listened to the voices of the Indigenous people and supporters and have made the decision to reconsider funding of the joint project that they had planned with GVRD at Glen Cove/Sogorea Te. We would like to thank them for their support in the protection of our Sacred site,” said Corrina Gould, an Ohlone tribal member and leader of the ongoing efforts to protect the Glen Cove sacred site. “We hope this loss of major funding for GVRD will encourage all the parties involved in this issue to sit down and reach a mutually acceptable solution that protects the burial and cremation sites from destruction.”

Bay Trail’s decision to suspend funding of the Glen Cove Project follows mounting pressure from their constituents to address their involvement in the controversial plans to develop a recreational park on a sacred burial ground and spiritually important area. Supporters of the effort to protect the sacred site picketed the offices of Bay Trail on Tuesday May 31st, challenging their role in the planned development and urging them to immediately divest all funding.

Following a meeting between the Native American-led Protect Glen Cove Committee and representatives of Bay Trail and ABAG, last Thursday, the decision to suspend the $200,000 grant comes at a crucial time. This significant loss of funding and political support for the controversial Glen Cove project leaves its future uncertain, placing even more pressure on GVRD regarding their plans to bulldoze a hill that likely contains human remains and to build toilets and a parking lot at the sacred site.

Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes and the Protect Glen Cove Committee, backed by supporters from all walks of life, have vowed to continue the spiritual ceremony at Glen Cove until an agreement is reached that will protect the sacred site and human remains.

The historical and cultural value of the site has never been disputed and it continues to be spiritually important to California tribes. Human remains have been consistently unearthed over the years as the area around the site has been developed. The Glen Cove Shell Mound spans fifteen acres along the Carquinez Strait. It is the final resting place of many Indigenous People dating back more than 3,500 years, and has served as a traditional meeting place for dozens of California Indian tribes. Glen Cove is located near the intersection of South Regatta and Whitesides Drive in Vallejo. For more information and directions:

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