August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Leonard Peltier moved to Florida prison

Censored News

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Leonard Peltier has been moved from Oklahoma City to the U.S. Penitentiary at Coleman, Florida.
The United States Penitentiary I in Coleman is a high security facility located in central Florida approximately 50 miles northwest of Orlando, 60 miles northeast of Tampa, and 35 miles south of Ocala.
P.O. BOX 1033
This is nearly 2,000 miles from Leonard's Nation, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, in North Dakota! Tell the Federal Bureau of Prisons that the only acceptable transfer is one to a medium security facility in close proximity to (within a 500-mile radius of) his family and Nation. Ideally, Leonard should be moved to the medium security facility at Oxford, Wisconsin.
Dr. Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone: (202) 307-3250 (Director); (202) 307-3198 (Switchboard)
Fax: (202) 514-6620
From: Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106

Rattlesnake Island: Final decision violates Pomo rights

Contact: Batsulwin Brown
Phone: 707-349-2412

Final Decision on Rattlesnake Island Development by Lake County Board of Supervisors Violates California Environmental Quality Act 

Elem Pomo Call for Boycott of Nady Electronics

Press statement byElem Pomo
Censored News

LAKEPORT, CA –The Lake County Board of Supervisors issued a long-awaited final decision at the County Planning Commission hearing held last Tuesday, September 6th. The BOS voted 3-2 not to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which would have called for a focused study of the archaeological and cultural resources located on Rattlesnake Island.

During the hearing, the board permitted the attorneys and hired anthropologist of wealthy businessman John Nady to respond for four hours to testimony provided two weeks ago. Closing statements by Nady’s attorneys followed, with little time for any response by representatives of the Elem Pomo tribe, who seek to protect their sacred site from becoming Nady’s vacation home.

Evidence presented during the hearing clarified that Nady’s archaeologist had not 'consulted' with the Elem, as was previously claimed, nor had he been asked 'not to remove artifacts'.  According to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements, consultation must take place if there is a possibility of the presence of human remains. “When a significant resource is involved, CEQA requires that the permitting agency first consider project alternatives, which will allow the "resources to be preserved in place and left in an undisturbed state "(CEQA sec. 21083.2 [b]).

Dr. John Parker, Archaeologist noted, “In this case, the county has decided to approve the project without proper mitigation measures. By approving the project with only "monitoring" they are saying that they will not formulate mitigation measures until something "significant" is discovered during construction … Monitoring is a way of "deferring"mitigation to some later date, which is not allowed by law."

Supervisor Comstock, the Lake County Board Supervisor who cast the deciding vote, commented, “I'm a huge proponent of private property rights.”He added. “My family's been living in Lake County for 150 years- you can't get more native than that."

Statements made by Nady’s party included character assassinations of Elem Tribal member Jim Brown, who was portrayed as 'unreliable’. Jim Brown responded, “I don’t need three attorneys to manipulate what I want tosay.”  In his closing statement,Brown continued, “This [vote] is an embarrassment to your own planning department who made the recommendation; so it’s saying to them they’re not anybody. We need to stay together and make sure our laws are there for all of us, not just those that have the attorneys and money to manipulate.”

A request by Supervisor Rushing to follow up with an ethnographic report was ignored. The final vote was 3-2 in favor of the appeal to allow Nady's egregious development plans, which can begin within 45 days of the September 6thhearing. Nady can receive the building permit as early as November.

Nady’s development endeavor directly upon the village site and ceremonial grounds of the Elem Pomo, documented to be between 6-14,000 years, is not his first effort to desecrate sacred grounds. Nady’s company headquarters are located atop the Emeryville Shell mound, the largest Ohlone Shell mound in the bay area. In 2000, local bay area Native community members and allies attempted to block Nady’s development of the Emeryville Shell mound site, documented to be over 3,500 years old. Despite major community opposition at Emeryville City Council meetings, Nady was successful in his attempts to coerce council members to vote in his favor.

Due to his flagrant disrespect for local Indigenous communities,musicians & others of an electronic ilk are being asked to boycott NADY electronics

Help to protect the Environmental & Cultural Integrity of Rattlesnake Island. For more information and updates about efforts to Save the Island visit:
Stay tuned for further details about an upcoming protest at Nady Electronics.
The Headquarters of Nady Electronics is located at 6701 Shellmound Street
Emeryville, CA 94608-1023.
Urge the Lake County Board of Supervisors to reverse its decision against an EIR for Rattlesnake Island
Fax: (707) 263-2207
Telephone:  (707) 263-2368
Mail:  255 N Forbes St # 109 Lakeport, CA 95453-4759

Mohawk Nation News: Communal Culture 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'

Communal Culture: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Mohawk Nation News

MNN Sep. 11, 2011.  According to a recent study, the short allele in the serotonin that transports genes makes communal people more prone to depression. The long alleled people tend to be leaders and standouts.They are anxious loners, another form of depression.

Sharon Jayson of USA TODAY and Sujata Gupta of Psychology Today wrote about a study in 29 countries by Northwestern University in Evanston Ill on how culture may shape genes.

Most people of color carry the short allele.  When they leave their people, they can become depressed.  To protect themselves, they don’t stray from their group. Or they join a similar group. Immigrants from faraway places may be prone to depression, as they don’t have access to their group.

PsychologistJoan Chiao, said communal cultures value social harmony and working together. Such cultures protect individuals with depression.

Is that why the Mohawk iron workers came home every weekend?  If they remained part of or in contact with their people, were they protecting themselves from depression?

Highly individualistic cultures such as the USA and Western Europe "value uniqueness over harmony”, having their way rather than agreement or understanding. They see themselves as unique from the group.  They don’t see the communal perspective.  

Members of individualistic cultures have a need to assert their leadership over others or force them to submit to them.  If they can’t control or be superior to somebody, they become anxious.  Their own people don’t jump to their aid.

Western culture is more concerned with "me".  Communal cultures focus on "we." They think communal cultures should be changed.  

When a group must work together as equals to survive, Westerners may find themselves alone. Who would listen to them, look after them or do the work for them?

In the end, will they try to eat us, as depicted in the movies “The Road” or “Alive”? These films were long allele responses to apocalyptic events. The white people lacked the natural urge to take on a group identity.

The fast decreasing Western population fear having no one to dominate.  In a catastrophe [probably of their own making] their victims may turn their back on them.

 Have long allele people become expendable? Is nature weeding out those who have harmed the earth?

 MNN Mohawk Nation News  For more news, books, to donate to helppay legal fees and to sign up for MNN newsletters go to  More stories at MNN Categories “COLONIALISM/ART/CULTURE”.  Address:  Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0
Store: Indigenous authors – Kahnawake books – Mohawk Warriors Three – WarriorsHand Book – Rebuilding the Iroquois Confederacy.
Category:  World – Colonialism - Great Turtle Island – History – NewWorld Order – courts/police Economics/trade/commerce – Land/environment – art/culture.
Tags: North American Indians – Turtle Island – Indian holocaust/genocide – NAUNorth American Union – History Canada/US – United Nations – Cointelpro -colonialism.

Study available online in journal Proceedingsof the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 29 countries studied,including Eastern and Western Europe, South Africa, South Asia, East Asia and South America.

Navajo Human Rights Commission: Suspend permit for Snowbowl wastewater

September 14, 2011

NNHRC passes legislation to request US

President to suspend USFS Permit
NNHRC legislation will go to Navajo Nation Council, next

Press statement

ST. MICHAELS, Ariz.—The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission urges the Navajo Nation Council to formally request the U.S. President to suspend the permit authorizing the use of reclaimed water on Dook’o’osliid [San Francisco Peaks], the sacred mountain to the west marking the traditional boundary of the Navajo people—the Diné. 

The request is on the heels of the U.N. Special Rapporteur of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples S. James Anaya’s recommendation in his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, which was released to the public on August 22, 2011. Anaya will present the report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on September 20, 2011.

“The Navajo people is a part of the world community and the world community has set standards for a good reason,” said Leonard Gorman for the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and continued, “The United States must be responsible and abide by international standards that protect the human rights of Navajos.”

The NNHRC resolution passed 4 in favor, 0 opposed on September 2, 2011, and will be presented to the Navajo Nation Council at a date to be determined. It is titled, “Acknowledging the Report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, S. James Anaya, and Recommending that the Navajo Nation Council to Formally Request the President of the United States of America to Direct the U.S. Forest Service to Suspend the Permit authorizing the use of Reclaimed Waste Water to make Artificial Snow and follow the Recommendations of the Special Rapporteur; and other recommendations” and indicates the timeline between the NNHRC and Anaya formal correspondences. (To view the report, visit

“On May 7, 2010, the Diné Hataałii Association, Diné Medicine Man Association, and Azee’ Bee Nahagha of Diné Nation jointly requested the [Navajo Nation Human Rights] Commission to communicate with Professor S. James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur, regarding the desecration of the San Francisco Peaks and violation of Navajo human rights; and

On May 17, 2010, based on the recommendations of the Commission, the Intergovernmental Relations committee of the Navajo Nation Council authorized the submission of a complaint to Professor S. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur, and requested that Special Rapporteur carry out his mandates to protect the human rights of Navajos and other indigenous peoples as they pertain to their religious beliefs that the San Francisco Peaks is a sacred sites; and

On August 22, 2011, Professor S. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur, issued his report entitled Report by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rep. of Human Rights Council, 18th Sess., Aug. 22, 2011, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/18/35/Add.1; UN.GAOR, 65th Sess., (Sept. 14, 2011)., detailing that the United States did not respond to calling attention to information he received “relating to the proposed use of recycled wastewater for the commercial ski operation [on] the San Francisco Peaks, a mountainous area that is sacred to several Native American tribes.”

From the onset, it took about 15 months for a response, but that response came with three recommendations from the U.N. representative to the United States.

The three recommendations were:

“On the basis of the foregoing, the Special Rapporteur respectfully recommends that the United States Government engage in a comprehensive review of its relevant policies and actions to ensure that they are in compliance with international standards in relations to the San Francisco Peaks and other Native American sacred sites, and that it take appropriate remedial action.

In this connection, the [United States] Government should reinitiate or continue consultations with the tribes whose religions practices are affected by the ski operations on the San Francisco Peaks and endeavor to reach agreement with them on the development of the ski area. The [United States] Government should give serious consideration to suspending the permit for the modification of Snowbowl until such agreement can be achieved or until, in the absence of such an agreement, a written determination is made by a competent government authority that the final decision about the ski area modifications is in accordance with the United States’ international human rights obligations.”

“The Special Rapporteur wishes to stress the need to ensure that actions or decision by [the United States] Government agencies are in accordance with, not just domestic law, but also international standards that protect the right of Native American to practice and maintain their religious traditions. The Special Rapporteur is aware of existing government programs and policies to consult with indigenous peoples and take account their religious traditions in government decision-making with respect to sacred sites. The Special Rapporteur urges the
 [United States] Government to build on these programs and policies to conform to international standards and by doing so to establish a good practice and become a world leader that it can in protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

With Anaya’s recommendations, NNHRC has respectfully requested the Navajo Nation Council, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, and President and Vice-President of the Navajo Nation to formally request the President of the United States, President Obama, to suspend the permit from the U.S. Forest Service authorizing the use of reclaimed waste water to produce artificial snow until the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations contained in his report are appropriately addressed, according to the NNHRC resolution.

“The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission further hereby recommends that the Navajo Nation Council, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council and President and Vice-President of the Navajo Nation send a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, to be present and/or participate in the presentation of the [Anaya] report to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor S. James Anaya,” according to the NNHRC resolution.

Relevant new perspective from a United Nations official

For Navajo human rights official Leonard Gorman, Anaya’s report provides relevant language to the international community who Anaya serves on behalf of indigenous peoples.

Anaya stated, “Under the cited human rights treaties, to which the United States is a party, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the United States has endorsed, consultations should take place with the objective of achieving agreement or consent by indigenous peoples to decisions that may directly affect them in significant ways, such as decisions affecting their sacred sites.”

Moreover, Anaya said, “Simply providing indigenous peoples with information about a proposed decision and gathering and taking into account their points of view is not sufficient in this context. Consultation must occur through procedures of dialogue aimed at arriving at a consensus.”

Otherwise, Anaya stated, “In the absence of consent by indigenous peoples to decisions that affect them, States should act with great caution. At a minimum, States should ensure that any such decision does not infringe indigenous peoples’ internationally-protected collective or individual rights, including the right to maintain and practice religion in relation to sacred sites.

“The process of snowmaking from reclaimed sewage water on the San Francisco Peaks undoubtedly constitutes a palpable limitation on religious freedom and belief, as clearly indicated by the U.S. Forest Service’s Final Environmental Impact Statement,” stated Anaya.

Anaya continued and stated, “The religious freedom at stake is not simply about maintaining ceremonial or medicinal plants free from adverse physical environmental conditions or about physical access to shrines within the Peaks. More comprehensively, it is about the integrity of entire religious belief systems and the critical place of the Peaks and its myriad qualities within those belief systems.”

Gorman said, “Anaya’s report supports the need to not only elevate the fundamental religious rights into the international arena but importantly the necessity to ensure that United States carries out its commitments to human rights based on binding international treaties.  This is a comprehensive approach to protect Dook’o’osliid.”

Anaya is one of few international representatives on human rights who said in his report, “It is highly questionable that the effects on Native American religion can be justified under a reasonable assessment of necessity and proportionality, if the purpose behind the Government decision to permit the enhancements to the ski operation is none other than to promote recreation.”


The 22nd Navajo Nation Council Delegate Jonathan Nez (Shonto/Navajo Mountain/Oljato/Tsah Bii Kin) will sponsor the legislation on behalf of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, date to be determined.

Rachelle Todea,Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 1689
Window Rock, Navajo Nation (AZ)  86515
Phone: (928) 871-7436
Fax: (928) 871-7437

"Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development," according to the Article 3 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, G.A. Res. 61/295, U.N. Doc A/RES/295 (Sept. 13, 2007), 46 I.L.M 1013 (2007).

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