August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Obama's nearly-secret meeting with Native American reps this week

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
President Obama's meeting with a select group of Native
American leaders at the White House in 2010, prior to the
full conference held in the Interior building,
was not made public ahead of time last year.

Update: Monday:
The White House said Obama
is not expected to attend Wed. and Thurs.
listening sessions at the White House. Obama
will make "remarks" on Friday at the Interior
Building,  the White House said.
See update at Censored News;

The White House Tribal Nations Conference is on Friday, Dec. 2, at the Interior building. The big question is why the secrecy about which Native American leaders will be attending the regional meetings, actually held at the White House, and who those leaders will be meeting with, on Wednesday and Thursday.

Those regional Native American leaders will meet at the White House prior to the meeting over at the Interior building on Friday, Dec. 2. Native American leaders from all 565 federally-recognized Indian Nations have been invited to attend the Friday session.

The White House announced those invitation-only meetings to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, but did not name the regional representatives, or explain how they are being selected. Censored News is awaiting a response from both the White House and the National Congress of American Indians, after requesting this information.

According to one invitation obtained by Censored News, this year Native American leaders actually invited to the White House for regional meetings are invited to meet with President Obama's "senior" officials, and not specifically Obama.

Once again this year, the White House Tribal Nations Conference is being held at the Interior building and not at the White House. Native American leaders were told that only one representative can be sent from each Indian Nation and no help is available for travel.

John Kane, Mohawk, said those "leaders" attending are "BIA puppets," and nothing meaningful will come out of this event.

"This is such a farce. If the entire six hour event was about direct access with the president, it would work out to less than 40 seconds per 'tribal leader.' Most of these guys are such figure heads and BIA puppets that their biggest concern will be to get their pictures taken. Nothing meaningful could possibly come from such an event."

"Ninety-five percent of the Native people in the room will be left out, if there are any 'discussions' at all," Kane said.

Alex White Plume, Lakota on Pine Ridge in South Dakota, also points out that the voices of the people at home are never heard.

"Obama is meeting with the tribal councils. They represent the modern colonized form of government. The real Lakota are home and never get heard. Our issue of Treaty violation is never bought up. This all sounds good, except it does not represent the Treaty Lakota."

Last year, there was no advance notice that President Obama had selected a small group of chairpersons from Indian Nations for a private meeting, before the conference at the White House. The meeting, shown in this photo above, was made public after it was held. Native leaders attending the White House invitation-only session said they were each given one minute to speak, and Obama was given eight minutes to respond to the group.

The majority of Native American leaders invited to the private White House meeting with Obama last year were from Indian Nations with oil and gas drilling, coal mining and power plants. Those have resulted in widespread devastation of the land, poisoning of the air and pollution of the aquifers and rivers in Indian country.

Besides the environmental damage, the result has been widespread health problems for American Indians. Those invited included Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Chairman Tex Hall from North Dakota, and Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Gary Hayes from Utah. Navajo President Joe Shirley was there, from the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has three coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners region and hundreds of oil and gas wells.

The Navajo Nation and Crow Nation were both represented at the White House last year, two of the many Indian Nations in the west where the federal and state governments are seizing Indian water rights by way of legal maneuvers.

Three years ago, at the first White House Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama was criticized for showing a lack of respect to Native American leaders. In the initial announcement, Obama first invited and welcomed all Native American leaders to come to the White House. Then, however, Obama changed the meeting place to the Interior building.

The question remains: Didn't Obama realize in the beginning that there are 565 Indian Nations?

Obama further insulted Native American leaders in 2009 and 2010 by failing to greet and shake the hands of Native American leaders, as a show of respect for the arrival of leaders of sovereign nations. Obama did not host a reception to greet the leaders. Instead, Obama made a speech at the Interior building, responded to questions, and left the conference.

Before the White House Tribal Nations Conference began that first year in 2009, Native leaders stood in long lines in the cold outside the Interior building, waiting to get inside.

Already this year, Native Americans are asking: Who are the regional representatives in the select groups invited to the White House? How were they chosen? Why hasn't all of this been made public?

The meeting is costly to attend for each individual Indian Nation, which must provide for its own travel, hotels and meals, etc. If all 565 Indian Nations attend, those costs could easily total over $1 million.

Further, Native Americans want to know from both Obama and their own leaders if this meeting is just for the purpose of political grandstanding and photo ops, or if it will result in real change for Indian country.

White House Tribal Nations Conference Schedule:
Invitation-only sessions at the White House:
Wednesday, November 30
White House Briefings and Listening Sessions with Tribal Leaders by Region
Eisenhower Executive Office Building by White House Invitation Only
12:30‐2:00 Representatives from the Eastern, Eastern Oklahoma, Southern Plains, Great Plains, Midwest and Rocky Mountain Regions
3:00‐4:30 Representatives from the Pacific and Northwest Regions
More details posted at:
Thursday, December 1
White House Briefings and Listening Sessions with Tribal Leaders by Region
Eisenhower Executive Office Building by White House Invitation Only
9:30‐11:00 Representatives from the Southwest, Navajo and Western Regions
3:30‐5:00 Representatives from the Alaska Region

See full schedule at:
Read more: Kimberly Teehee is the White House Domestic Policy Council Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs.

White House meeting with Obama, photo 2010: Earl J. Barbry, Sr., Chairman, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana; Cedric Black Eagle, Chairman, Crow Nation; Brian Cladoosby, Chairman, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community; Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Brenda Edwards, Chairperson, Caddo Nation; Tex G. Hall, Chairman, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation: Three Affiliated Tribes; Gary Hayes, Chairman, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe; John Red Eagle, Principal Chief, Osage Nation; Joe Shirley, Jr. , President, Navajo Nation; Robert H. Smith, Chairman, Pala Band of Mission Indians; Edward K. Thomas, President, Tlingit Haida Central Council; Mervin Wright, Jr., Chairman, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Nevada

Occupy Phoenix: Shut down ALEC on Nov. 30, 2011

Ezra Kaplan (928) 351-7999
Diane D’Angelo (602) 405-5134

Occupy Phoenix to Protest at ALEC Summit on November 30
We will no longer remain passive while our country is sold to the highest bidder.
Press statementPHOENIX — On November 30, Occupy Phoenix will lead a protest at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) States & Nations Policy Summit at Scottsdale’s Westin Kierland Hotel. The 99% will be joined by members of other local groups and Occupiers from other cities as they answer a national call for action against this heinous organization.

The protests shine a light on the corporate takeover of state legislatures. Via ALEC, corporations hand legislators changes to laws that directly benefit their bottom line, such as Arizona’s notorious SB 1070. Currently 35 AZ State Representatives and 15 AZ Senators have ties to the organization. Recently recalled Senate President Russell Pearce is a member of ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force Executive Committees.

ALEC is at the core of what is wrong with our political system today. This organization promotes and enacts the sale of local and national legislation. We will no longer remain passive while our country is sold to the highest bidder.

For more information about Occupy Phoenix visit

To learn more about ALEC’s takeover of our democracy visit: Follow Twitter hashtags #ALECexposed or #occupyALEC

Senate bill for military lock up of US citizens at home

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window
Posted at Censored News
While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.
Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.
Read more at ACLU Blog:

VIDEO Occupy Wall Street: The movement

Tucson Police make two arrests at Occupy Tucson

By Alex Maldonado
Censored News

TUCSON (Sat., Nov. 26, 2011) Tonight, at approximately 1 a.m., two more from Occupy Tucson were taken into custody, after seven Tucson Police Department vehicles arrived at Veinte de Agosto Park for the nightly citations for staying in the park after hours.
Joan Zatorski Puca sat passive and silent as Tucson police took her into custody for refusing her citation. Tucson Police then proceeded to carry her limp body without handcuffs into a police cruiser. A statement was read as Joan remained passive and silent with two Tucson police officers on each side of her. "... who has never been arrested, much less walked into a jail..." "... I ask you to surround me with your personal prayers this evening. That I may stay committed to my decision to display non-violent behavior, speech, and attitude in the face of (what may be) a physically and medically challenging experience for me tonight (and beyond)." Matthew Pence was also taken into custody after refusing his citation. Matthew was escorted to another police cruiser, and handcuffed and physically searched. Matthew, who was also passive, was then seated into the vehicle and led away.
Occupiers and supporters waved and yelled words of encouragement to both as they were led away.
Alex Maldonado (Peacekeeper and Veteran For Peace)
Occupy Tucson's Matthew Pence was handcuffed, searched and taken into custody after midnight on Saturday, November 26th after refusing his citation. TPD has been issuing citations for staying in the park after hours since the occupation started on Saturday, October 15th. Pence surrendered passively without incident as fellow occupiers and supporters gave Pence encouragement.
Video courtesy Alex Maldonado (Peacekeeper & Veteran For Peace)

Occupy Tucson's Joan Zatorski Puca was taken into custody after midnight on Saturday, November 26th for refusing her citation. TPD has been issuing citations for staying in the park after hours since the occupation began on Saturday, October 15th. Zatorski Puca remained passive and silent, as her limp body was seated into a police cruiser without incident.
Video courtesy Alex Maldonado (Peacekeeper & Veteran For Peace)
Friday, Nov. 25, evening
By  Joan Zatorski Puca
After much personal introspection, I came to the decision today that this evening I will place myself in position to be arrested at Pancho Villa Park downtown (Veinte de Agosto Park) and jailed in relation to my involvement in the OCCUPY MOVEMENT in Tucson.

I've been carefully studying and meditating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's most erudite essay, his "Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)" this past week. I am convinced that it is essential for deliberate, immediate attention be refocused on the issues of economic injustice which initially galvanized the OCCUPY MOVEMENT world-wide (as opposed to issues related to local city curfew, park ordinances, or even this issue of First Amendment Rights).

I have come to this conclusion not as a leader of any movement or group but as a singular individual desperately concerned about the profound suffering presently experienced by millions of human beings across every economic and social class, generation, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion, religious or spiritual belief.

In good conscience, I simply cannot let Mary DeCamp (recent Mayoral candidate, Tucson Peace Activist) be the lone Tucsonan willing to enter jail (as she did in the wee hours of November 25th) as a means of drawing attention to our country's blatant issues regarding economic injustice.

As an educated white woman, legally disabled by illness, a civil servant with almost 20 years of service to children who were living at or below the poverty line, a mother, grandmother, spouse, avowed Christian, registered and consistently-participating voter, American citizen by birthright, granddaughter of immigrants, who has never been arrested, much less walked into a jail, I believe I am the most "common" example of the "common person" impacted by the devastatingly serious economic issues that thousands upon thousands of people are demanding be addressed.

I am you... we are all one and we are suffering. Only by uniting with one another can our most egregious issues be solved.

Look in my eyes and see the reflection of your own face, your own pain... Look again and see, as well, the possibility for redemption, for resolution, for renewal of all that is good within the soul of America.

In closing, I ask you to surround me with your personal prayers this evening. That I may stay committed to my decision to display non-violent behavior, speech, and attitude in the face of (what may be) a physically and medically challenging experience for me tonight (and beyond).

Joan Zatorski Puca
Tucson, Arizona

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