August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The taste of the old Mexico

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

There is a place where I go to eat green corn tamales, it reminds me of the Mexico of long ago, the Mexico before there was so much violence. Hats and chiles, garlic and woodcuts, hang on the walls. The waitresses speak Spanish, and the customers, workers, grandmothers and grandchildren, like eating here, they laugh a lot. You will probably say, “I know that place,” because you do. It is in Tucson, it is in Nogales, it is in El Paso, it is in Mexicali, it is in so many places along this border.

On the menu is ceviche, pescado and birria.

There is a sadness in remembering this Mexico, the one I traveled to so many times alone, on the buses to Creel, on the train back from Las Mochis, and in the backs of pickup trucks.

Now the Mexico I see is in police photos, it is not the Mexico I know, not the Mexico I knew and loved on the beach in Puerto Penasco, where they cooked the fresh fish from that day’s catch. The land that inspired me, gave me hope, was Sonora, sweating in the summer sun, as I poured water over my head to keep from passing out, and tasted the sweets from the vendors, who stood next to the Mexican soldiers, when they were only a little feared. Now this desert is the desert of bodies, it is the desert where families search for their loved ones, ever hopeful that they have survived, ever hopeful that my friends who guide them in their search for their loved one, will not find their body here.

The Mexico I know now is the one where the hats hang on the café where I eat green corn tamales. The Mexico I know now is the one where there is a cruel race, fueled by the demand for drugs in the US, fueled by the secret ops of the US military. The Mexico I know now is where two young women, reporters, were beaten to death in Mexico City, and another young woman, a reporter, was decapitated in Nuevo Laredo near the Texas border. All three in the past few weeks. The Mexico I know now is the Mexico where no one is safe.

But sometimes, like today, I hear the old Mexico, I hear it in the laughter, I see it in the hats on the wall, the painted flowers, the bright-colored blanket hanging over the door. I see the old Mexico. I taste it in the roasted green chile, in the fresh ground corn. I hear it in the polite "Gracias."

Walking in the old neighborhood, I hear an old woman wailing, who is she wailing for, perhaps she is wailing for us all.

Who is to blame for this loss. Is it those who demand the drugs in the US. Is the US military, the brainwashing and the security forces, and their coopted media, are they to blame. Is it the corporations who seize the land and push the corn farmers north, to walk too often to their deaths in the desert. Are we all to blame for caring too little and for not trying hard enough.

The music is playing now in the old café, and it is the old music, the music they played on car radios in Sonora long ago, music that made the people dance, made the people laugh.

Who will bring the music back.

Hopi High Radio: A shout out for seven media awards!

Congratulations to he Hopi High radio team!

By Stan Bindell
Posted at Censored News
Listen online to Hopi Radio

POLACCA, ARIZ.---Hopi High media students won seven state awards, gave a presentation at a conference, toured Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism and agreed to a partnership with Radio Phoenix during the last couple weeks.
Hopi High won seven media awards from the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association with five awards for radio and two for journalism.
Christina Rucker took home two radio awards with a superior for public service announcement and an honorable mention for a commercial. Superior is the top ranking and could be considered the state championship in that division. Honorable mention is the third place for each category.
The top ranking in the public service announcement came for an announcement about a gas line break in the community. The commercial was about Cellular One.
Rucker, a junior, said the award was unexpected.
“I feel very happy, surprised and felt like I accomplished something big,” she said. “I did not expect to receive any awards let alone two awards and one that is the highest you can get.”
Also receiving honorable mention in radio for Hopi High were Otivia “Big O” Puhuhefvaya, Jewel Kagenveama and Kara Mahle. The contest was based on last year’s recordings. Mahle graduated last year and now attends the University of Kansas. Mahle’s award was for a profile on Hopi High Athletic Director Wallace Youvella Jr.
Puhuhefvaya was ecstatic about winning a state award.
“Winning was a shock. It made my day. I was walking around with a smile all day,” she said. “Winning this award was awesome.”
Puhuhefvaya, a junior, received her award for a sports story about the Hopi High boys cross country team.
Kagenveama, a senior, won her award for a profile on flute player Jose Fred. She said recording the profile was one of the toughest projects she had, especially because she had to correct her mistakes.
“I was glad I got my recording to perfection,” she said. “I really didn’t expect to win an award, but I was like ‘hey.’ It’s worth a challenge so I tried it. I was glad to know that my hard work paid off for something good.”
The two honorable mention journalism awards went to Halli Lomayaktewa and Talik Namoki.
Lomayaktewa, a junior, won honorable mention for writing a story about Hopi High student Darin Johnson being named to the Public Radio Exchange Editorial Board. She did not expect to win an award.
“I felt very honored that I got a state award,” she said.
Namoki, a senior, won an honorable mention award for her newspaper story about Youvella’s nomination to the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board.
She said she was also surprised she won an AIPA award this year.
“I felt happy and honored. This is the second year I won an AIPA award. My mom and my family are proud of me,” she said.
The Hopi High radio students gave a presentation the following week at the Southwestern Institute for Education for Native Americans after being recognized by that group as a model education program.
The Hopi High radio students were the only student group giving a presentation as the rest of the presenters were adults including spokesmen for the Arizona Cardinals and Cable One.
The Hopi High radio student presenters were Sacheen Mike, Rucker and Puhuhefvaya with help from national journalism award winning student Mary Grace Pewewardy. The trio said the conference was educational and fun. They also thought their presentation went well although they ran into some technical difficulties and wished that the audience asked more questions.
They liked the sessions by the other presenters. Puhuhefvaya said she particularly liked the “I am sacred, not scared” session led by Hopi Percy Ami which focused on character and students making good decisions.
The trio also liked guest performers Tatanka Means, Aaron White, Anthony Wakeman and Linda White Wolf. Means is an actor, stuntman and comedian. White sings and plays the guitar while Wakeman plays the flute. White Wolf is an Arizona television personality.
Mike, a junior, said Means was awesome with his standup comedy.
The trio said the tour at ASU Cronkite School of Journalism, one of the top journalism schools in the country, was fun and educational.
The trio were glad to reach a partnership with Radio Phoenix, an online radio station, and look forward to supplying them with news on a weekly basis. The Hopi High media students met with Victor Aronow from the Arizona Community Media Foundation to setup the partnership.
“I hope we can do it,” Mike said.
The Hopi High School radio broadcast and journalism clubs are raising money so they can attend the National Journalism Education Association conference in Seattle,Washington, April 12-15.    
The radio club is attempting to raise $14,400 so they can send ten students and two chaperones to attend the national conference so students can learn more about how they can become empowered though communications.     
The trip will cost approximately $1,200 per person for the airfare, hotel, food and other amenities. Hopi High School will match the money that the club raises. Any donation is appreciated.    
The students attending the national youth radio conference will benefit by meeting students from other radio stations from throughout the country and learning more about radio techniques.    
Checks should be made out to the Hopi High Radio Club or Hopi High Journalism, P.O.Box 337, Keams Canyon, Arizona, 86034.    
For more information, telephone radio teacher Stan Bindell at 928-738-5111, extension 241.

Navajo Human Rights Commission not invited to Farmington Minority Roundtable

Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and Farmington Mayor’s New Initiative

By Rachelle Todea
Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission
Posted at Censored News

CORRECTION:  NNHRC recently learned The Daily Times’ online comment section allowing for anonymity has been discontinued, instead a new online service for the forum has been implemented. Thank you to Kurt Madar, a reporter for the Daily Times, for bringing this to my attention.
UPDATE: October 12, 2011

NNHRC and Farmington Mayor’s New Initiative
ST. MICHAELS, Ariz.—Navajo Nation Human Rights officials continue to monitor race related events and incidents in the City of Farmington and San Juan County including the Mayor’s latest endeavor.
Mayor Tommy Roberts has begun an informal forum to promote discussion for “people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds who live and/or work in [Farmington],” called the “Minority Issues Roundtable.” In talking with Bob Campbell, the assistant city manager for the City of Farmington, the roundtable was by invite only.
NNHRC was not invited since NNHRC does not live or work in the community of Farmington. NNHRC learned about the initiative from a Daily Times reporter, who wanted a response about the Mayor’s initiative.
“Education and outreach are the most effective tools against intolerance and racism,” said Leonard Gorman for the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. “Hopefully, Mayor Roberts will gain further understanding about how to address race relations by the invited participants.”
Stakeholders and experts must come together in their field for win-win solution in race relations.
NNHRC recognizes “the majority of the people in the City do not tolerate racism,” according to the Memorandum of Agreement between the Navajo Nation and City of Farmington, which was signed on November 17, 2010. But “… we must never forget the tragedies inflicted on Navajos by a minority in the community and ensure that the Navajo people’s stories are acknowledged and told in their words.”
Hopefully, the intent is to gain Navajo people’s stories from the Farmington community and the stories are acknowledged at the Mayor’s forum.
About “racism and discriminatory practices to be eliminated now and forever at every level of government and eventually in the hearts and minds of all peoples,” as stated in the Farmington’s and Navajo Nation’s MOA—on July 27, 2011, NNHRC proposed a billboard campaign related to Diné values and non-Navajo values to promote a healthier community.
NNHRC has also proposed a “Progress Report” to the City of Farmington through its liaison body the Community Relations Commission. The report card outlines recommendations made in three reports: The Farmington Report: Civil Rights for Native Americans 30 Years Later report of 2005, the 2007 Promoting Police Accountability and Community Relations in Farmington report, and the 2008-2009 Assessing Race Relations between Navajos and Non-Navajos report. The intent of the report card is to use it as a “spring board” to which NNHRC and the City could move forward, not to give Farmington a grade. Discussions about the report card will continue between NNHRC and the City of Farmington.
Though, Farmington has made positive strides, according to the Assessing Race Relations between Navajo and non-Navajos report, the strides must continue for improvement. More importantly, the report was not intended to end active improvements in race relations, hence, the MOA.
Finally, about monitoring, to date, the Farmington Daily Times has provided NNHRC a lens to which to monitor the City of Farmington and San Juan County race related incidents. Also noteworthy, NNHRC recently learned the entity which facilitated the Farmington Daily Times’ on-line comment section allowing for anonymity to make racial derogatory statements has been discontinued. This forum had demonstrated the state-of-affairs between Navajos and non-Navajos in Farmington.

NNHRC will present at the San Juan College Native American Week on November 14-16, 2011, about Navajo human rights, the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Know your rights when stopped by an officer, Know what police procedures are in your community, Know your rights when terminated by your employer, Know your rights in consumer related issues.

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.

Navajo Nation’s MOA—on July 27, 2011, NNHRC proposed a billboard campaign related to Diné values and non-Navajo values to promote a healthier community.
Hopefully, the intent is to gain Navajo people’s stories from the Farmington community and the stories are acknowledged at the Mayor’s forum.

Hopi Tribe does not support Navajo proposal to use groundwater for snowmaking on Nuvatukyaovi

Hopi Tribal Council does not support Navajo's proposal to use groundwater for snowmaking on Nuvatukyaovi

By Hopi Tribe
Posted at Censored News
Oct. 11, 2011

French translation:

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. -- The Hopi Tribal Council does not join or support a recently proposed Navajo Nation Council Resolution recommending the use of groundwater for snowmaking on Nuvatukyaovi (the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff).

Navajo Nation Councilman Walter Phelps has introduced a bill that would have the Navajo Nation support the use of groundwater for snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks.

Water – regardless of its source – is a limited and critical natural resource in the Southwest and the Hopi Tribe continues to oppose any artificial snowmaking by these means. As set forth in the Hopi Tribe’s complaint against the city of Flagstaff, the city is already using more than its fair share of water, and any plans to sell water to the Snowbowl will only worsen this problem. In addition, the sale of water for snowmaking so that a select few can benefit, violates the public interest in wise water use for our region.

Nuvatukyaovi is an important, sacred place for the Hopi which holds a central and essential role in Hopi culture, traditions and way of life. The Hopi Tribe has tirelessly opposed the issuance of the Special Use Permit to the Arizona Snowbowl, which allows for the installation of artificial snowmaking equipment. The Hopi Tribe has maintained unwavering opposition to any type of artificial snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks, whether from reclaimed wastewater, recovered reclaimed water or groundwater. The only water appropriate for Nuvatukyaovi is natural water as provided by rain and snow, and there can be no exceptions.

The Navajo proposal is not a solution to the issues facing the tribes with respect to Arizona Snowbowl’s expansions on Nuvatukyaovi. Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa affirms, “The Hopi Tribal Council, all known Hopi religious practitioners, the Hopi Tribe and its people are still, and always will be, opposed to the use of any snowmaking operations on Nuvatukyaovi.”

The Tribe continues to declare that the only solution is to prevent any and all artificial snowmaking on the Peaks and to void the contract between the city of Flagstaff and Arizona Snowbowl.

For more information on the Hopi Tribe visit

Democracy Now! Occupy Wall Street Indigenous Day of Mourning Columbus Day

As the nation marked Columbus Day on Monday, indigenous groups led a rally at Occupy Wall Street exposing the history behind Christopher Columbus and the impact his "discovery" had on the Americas. "We’re here to say that Columbus is not a day," said Roberto "Múcaro" Borrero of the United Confederation of Taíno People. "We’re here to join with other people’s voices in saying there needs to be an end to the cycle of colonialism and greed."

AMY GOODMAN: We’re standing here at Liberty Plaza right next to an indigenous gathering, where they’re using the people’s mic. People are speaking, and then they’re repeating it to amplify what is being said.
Why don’t you introduce yourself?
ROBERTO "MÚCARO" BORRERO: Hi, Amy. My name is Roberto "Múcaro" Borrero. I’m a representative of the United Confederation of Taino People. I’m a Taíno indigenous person.
AMY GOODMAN: And explain who are the Taíno and why you’re here today on Columbus Day.
ROBERTO "MÚCARO" BORRERO: Well, for us, it’s actually Indigenous Peoples Day. And for the Taíno people, who were the first indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere to be contacted by Columbus, to be impacted by the colonial machine that took—that was set in motion after that initial contact, we’re here to say that Columbus is not a day. We’re here to join with other people’s voices in saying there needs to be an end to the cycle of colonialism and greed. So I’m happy to be here with everybody.
AMY GOODMAN: Thank you very much.

Indigenous Day of Resistance Occupy Sacramento

United Native Americans
From Quanah Parker
United Native Americans
Censored News

Native American, Student, Labor and Civil Rights Groups Call for Indigenous Day of Resistance Protest and Occupy Sacramento Press Conference

Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Time: 10:00am
Place: Cesar Chavez Park
Contact: Cassandra Lepe (818) 741-8234

As another Columbus Holiday was shamelessly celebrated nationally, Native Americans, Student, Labor and Civil Rights groups join the National call for all communities across the Americas to join us in the struggle to denounce this so-called “celebration” and replace it to a National Holiday to honor and remember the Indigenous People. We also address the current attacks on our indigenous communities.

Oct 14th we will march to the Capitol for an Indigenous Day of Resistance Protest and Occupy Sacramento to denounce the United State’s glorification of the atrocities committed against native ancestors of the Americas during the Indigenous Holocaust let by Christopher Columbus.

With many severe cuts to education and social services nationwide, we call to question, why we continue to increase our $14.6 billion US National Debt to fund wars over seas. Instead we have a war at home, were millions are losing their homes and jobs while the banks are plundering our wealth. CA is #1 in Prison Spending and #43 in Education Nationwide Why is that? (NOTE: California is the 8th Largest economy in the WORLD and the US House Approx ¼ of the worlds prison population)

As for our Native Community surrounding the US/Mexican border, we are now being labeled as “Immigrants” that was once home. We are tired of seeing migrants scapegoated for the failures of capitalism. It angers us to be called “illegal aliens” when it was our ancestors who inhabited this lands before Columbus came to conquer and plunder this land. Now in contrast our people are forced to risk their lives crossing a further militarized border (Over the last decade, it is estimated 10,000 died crossing the border).

We are tired of seeing racist attacks to our communities through the education system. Now Ethnic studies are under attack, and in places like Arizona, the right to know our own history is illegal.

We are tired of seeing how after exploiting and repressing our migrant community, politicians manipulate “undocumented” students and the “immigrant” community giving false promises about legalization in order to gain the so-called “Latino vote”.

Obama, has set a record for deporting 1 million of our people. Many of these deportations have been done through the program ironically called “Secure-communities”. But instead of security it has created fear in our homes and broken apart countless families. Currently the president has recently pulled a move halting 300 thousand deportations. It is our belief that this is just a move to get himself re-elected in 2012, but his actions speak for himself. The program of “secure-communities” which has deported so many of our people and caused fear on our barrios still in place.

We are calling to action here at the State Capitol for all communities to join the movement to defend families and education, because this is a people’s movement for human rights and to stand up against injustice. We will no longer be victimized by these racist laws or corporate greed restricting us of an education and split up the millions of families from one another.

This is bigger than Columbus Day… this is for accountability for the rights of all people to live and work for their families and have a good education not corrupted by racism.

MEChA Alta Califas Norte (Northern Region)
MEChA Central Tlatokan Ameyal
San Jose State MEXA
Chico State MEChA
Woodland Community College MEChA
United Indigenous Nations
Peace and Freedom Party (Yolo County Chapter)
Socialist Organizer
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement AFL-CIO Sacramento
Union Civica Primero de Mayo
Autonomous Brown Berets of Sonoma county
Brown Beret National Organization
El Partido Nacional de la Raza Unida
United Native Americans Inc.
League of United Latin American Citizens Sacramento Lorenzo Patiño Council #2862
Assocaintion of RAZA Educators Sacramento Chapter
Party for Socialism and Liberation Sacramento


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