August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Most Censored in Indian Country: The Corporate Polluters

Corporate destruction of Mother Earth most censored issue in Indian country

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: Marisa Joseph, Yankton Sioux, stands with Gerald Danforth, Oneida Wisconsin, before the solar panels and wind generator providing power to the Earthcycles. Photo Brenda Norrell.

NEW TOWN, North Dakota -- The 16th Annual Protecting Mother Earth Gathering revealed the most censored issues in Indian country, including the corporate polluters who are protected and promoted, under the guise of economic development. From Peabody Coal in Arizona, to BP on the Gulf Coast, and tar sands profiteers in Alberta, Canada, corporations destroy the land, air and water.

The Gathering of the Indigenous Environmental Network attracted Native Americans from throughout the United States, First Nations in Canada, Wixirika from Mexico and Maya from Guatemala, July 28-31.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Cheyenne River Lakota, delivered a powerful address to Gathering of the Indigenous Environmental Network, as it opened its four day conference on the land of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations, now being destroyed by massive oil and gas wells.

Chief Looking Horse is the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate. Chief Looking Horse spoke of his own early days and the guidance he was given for spiritual leaders. Although it is now a time of ceremonies for the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate, he said he came here to speak because of the importance.

“When I was young, we had no cancer or diabetes, and people kept their word. When they said they were going to do something, they kept their word. Today, the leadership is not good. People are speaking out of hurt and pain.”

Chief Looking Horse spoke of the pain and suffering of the people and of Mother Earth. While speaking of this difficult time, he shared his vision that the people, with the help of the Canupa, Sacred Pipe, and a return to a spiritual way of life, will make it through.

“We know that Grandmother Earth is sick right now," Chief Looking Horse said. (Read more at: )

Kandi Mossett, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, urged those attending to call the Fort Berthold BIA and oppose the finding of 'no significant impact' on the plan for 3,000 oil and gas wells here over the next five years. Mossett described the death of a 23-year-old friend killed due to the heavy truck traffic. She urged calling Earl Silk, Fort Berthold BIA, 701-627-4707, tell him the lands of the Three Affiliated Tribes, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, are already being destroyed by oil and gas drilling.

"I want my warriors back. I want our men back," said Wahleah Johns, Navajo, of the Black Mesa Water Coalition, as she described how Peabody Coal has drained the aquifers for coal mining and power plants in Arizona, and how the Navajo elected leaders cater to the corporations.

Further, coal fired power plants, including the Navajo Nation's coal fired power plants in Arizona and New Mexico, are a leading cause of global warming and climate change, now causing the ice in the Arctic to melt, with Alaskan villages crashing into the ocean and polar bears, walruses and other wildlife dying.

The devastation to both the environment and the local economies was described in the US and Canada, from New Town, North Dakota, to Alberta, Canada, as transit workers' high wages make food and housing unaffordable to local families.

The resistance to the dirty tar sands announced plans for civil disobedience in Washington to send a message to the Obama Administration to halt a plan for use of the dirtiest oil on the planet, which threatens natural resources and humanity in North America, including Indian country.

Clayton Thomas Muller, Cree, said civil disobedience is planned for Washington to challenge the Obama Administration and US State Department, now presiding over a key decision regarding dirty oil from the tar sands pipeline, the proposed TransCanada Corp. Keystone XL pipeline.

Muller said if this pipeline is allowed to proceed from Canada to the Gulf Coast, it would cross sacred lands and endanger Indian country resources, including the Lakota aquifer.

“It is an absolutely insane plan, especially in a time of climate change,” Muller said, adding that already Gulf Coast industries are getting ready for this dirty oil.

Shell and BP are among the corporate polluters pressing for more dirty oil. (Read more at: )

Native Americans in Alaska and Louisiana have both suffered from the nation's largest oil spills, which have devastated Native communities who depend on subsistence from the land and oceans to survive.

Faith Gemmill of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands) said oil spills and climate change should serve as a wakeup call in North America -- but this has not happened.

Gemmill is a Pit River/ Wintu and Neets'aii Gwich'in Athabascan from Arctic Village, Alaska.

Gemmill joined local Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara fighting massive oil and gas development here in North Dakota, and First Nations activists fighting dirty tar sands development in Alberta, Canada.

Gemmill spoke of the similarities between the devastating oil spills in Alaska and Louisiana. She pointed out that climate change further wrecks Native villages on both coasts, where land is caving into the ocean.

"We all have the same story."

Houma Nation Chief Brenda Dardar Robichaux  was among the presenters at the Protecting Mother Earth Gathering in North Dakota, July 28-31, 2011. The Houma were hard hit by both Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

Gemmill said when the oil spill devastated the Louisiana Gulf Coast, she was a member of a delegation from Alaska that traveled to Louisiana. They shared with the Houma, their own struggle in Alaska to recover from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Gemmill said she described to the Houma the years of litigation and the years of impacts for Alaska Natives, years of heartbreak that Louisiana Natives would now have to face.

"Years later we haven't recovered. The species haven’t recovered. There were a lot of similarities," Gemmill said. (Read more at: )

Indian country leaders are now being courted with "greenwashing," as corporations attempt to profiteer from the Green Movement which seeks to halt global warming and create alternative energy sources. The scam of carbon credits, and waste incinerators disguised as renewable energy and recycling projects, are the latest corporate hoaxes.

Indian country has been targeted for decades as America's waste dump, with coal-fired power plants, massive oil and gas wells, uranium mining and toxic dumping.

Native Americans are now being duped into the carbon market, entering into the carbon credits scam, which allows the world's worst polluters to continue polluting. The carbon market scheme also seizes Indigenous Peoples forests and other resources around the world. Already Indian Nations in Idaho and Oregon have been duped by corporate propaganda to become part of the carbon market.

Bradley Angel of Greenaction described the latest Greenwashing scams. Angel said an action alert has been issued because of companies targeting Native Nations with proposed waste incinerators disguised as renewable energy and recycling projects.

On the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin, the Oneida Seven Generations Corporation is promoting a project using pyrolysis technology. The pyrolysis incinerator is proposed in Green Bay, after their initial plan for a site on Oneida Indian Nation land was dropped.

"Not only does the Oneida Seven Generations Corp. want to have a facility in Green Bay, but it is also promoting this to other tribes, a potential disaster," Angel told Indigenous Peoples gathered from throughout the Americas.

Greenaction evaluated the project and advised the Oneidas to halt the Oneida Seven Generations Corporation Proposal in Wisconsin for a pyrolysis gasification facility. (Read more at: )

The Gathering began when Western Shoshone Chet Stevens brought the fire from the 15th Annual Gathering. Scott Baker, Hidatsa, accepted the Fire and lit the Sacred Fire for the 16th IEN Protecting Mother Earth Gathering. Keeper of the Calendar Mayan Tata Cecilio Tuyuc Sucuc from Guatemala was among those gathered for prayer. (Read more at: )

The four day Gathering was broadcast live and on the web in New Town, North Dakota, and rebroadcast on Crow Voices Radio at Wellknown Buffalo, Montana this week.

Listen to the Gathering on Censored News Blogtalk Radio:
Wixirika (Huicholes) fighting the First Majestic Silver Mine in Vancouver BC, demanding a halt to the destruction of their sacred mountains.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Lakota Dakota Nakota Oyate, describe the age in which we live and the teachings handed down.
Anishinabe Water Walker Josephine Mandamin describe her sacred walks around the Great Lakes and the preciousness of water.
Censored News Blogtalk Radio
More info at the Indigenous Environmental Network:

Navajo government ignores elderly without water

Navajo Nation government caters to coal mines and power plants, while Navajo elderly go without water
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Photo: Navajo elderly drinking contaminated water/Forgotten People

BIG MOUNTAIN, Ariz. -- While Peabody Coal and power plants use the precious aquifer water here, Navajo elderly go without.

Forgotten People shares the voices of Navajos resisting relocation, where Navajo elderly are forced to haul their water, elderly who are often ill and without transportation. The wells have been capped off and the springs are drying up.

Still, the Navajo Nation leaders only make an occasional, superficial gesture at caring about the suffering of Navajo elderly without water. Instead, the Navajo government continues to focus on polluting and disease producing industries.

By ignoring the suffering of Navajos on Black Mesa, and instead catering to the needs of Peabody Coal, the United States government and other mining and power plant operations, the Navajo Nation government has engaged in a crime against humanity. While providing the Southwest cities with electricity produced with large quantities of pure water, the Navajo government has neglected to provide water for their own people.

The media has been a complicit partner in this crime. While failing to expose the suffering and injustice on Black Mesa, the media has continued to promote the polluting industries on the Navajo Nation, even cheerleading for more coal-fired power plants.

Coal-fired power plants not only use excessive water, but they are the primary cause of global warming and the melting of the Arctic, now causing Native villages to crash into the waters. The pollution from coal-fired power plants has resulted in habitat change in the far north, causing the deaths of polar bears, walruses and other wildlife.

Black Mesa comments from Forgotten People:
Pauline Whitesinger, Big Mountain speaks: We want to participate in a water hauling project. The wells throughout HPL (Hopi Partitioned Lands) have been capped off, fenced off, bulldozed and the natural water source near me is contaminated and unregulated. When I drink the water it hurts my throat and I have a reaction when I swallow it and get sick. I have no vehicle and have no access to safe drinking water. My livestock are thirsty. We are living under a State of Emergency! We are endangered, denied access to water, forced to travel over unpassable dirt roads and endure violations during our ceremonies that the Hopi Tribe says requires a permit to conduct. There are other water sources near me and they are all denied to me for my use. When I was offering a sacrament to the water the Hopi told me to leave the water alone, it does not belong to me. I speak on behalf of my people. We have brought our case and our words (as attached) to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner (see link for UN OHCHR website), Congressional, federal, and tribal forums advocating for our human right to water and sanitation.

Caroline Tohannie, Black Mesa speaks: Our springs were our wetlands with cat tails and other wetlands growth. But they are no longer here. This is where we make offerings and get our healing medicine like cat tails or wreaths for ceremonial purposes. These are our sacred sites. The BIA made wells that had concrete covers and manual pumps. But BIA Rangers came around and disassembled them, taking the pumps out, unscrewing parts, taking off pipes. All the windmills in our region were capped off by the BIA. At first one windmill was capped off but we could reopen it at first but then found the BIA welded the cover shut with dirt over the well opening. There was no longer any way to get water from the well. At another windmill in the area, the BIA disassembled the windmill pump so it would not work. We have been fenced and capped off from access to water. This has created many problems for living things, even insects that need water, animals, birds and people. These tactics are being done to force us off our land so Peabody Coal Company can expand their mining operations.

Read more statements from Navajos on Black Mesa:

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