August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Durban, South Africa: Indigenous demand climate justice

Tom Goldtooth, IEN, Global Day of Action Durban

Ben Powless, Mohawk, COP 17 Durban, South Africa

Photos, video and article from COP 17 ongoing in Durban, South Africa

Riot Police Block Most Affected by Climate Change from Entering Climate Conference

December 2, 2011 by Agence France Presse by Alexander Joe and Marlowe Hood

DURBAN, South Africa ­-- Bearing the message that their livelihoods were in peril, hundreds of women farmers tried Friday to gatecrash UN climate talks in Durban, where they were peacefully held back by police. The women, from 10 countries across southern Africa, converged on the conference to testify how storms and heatwaves, intensified by climate change, were wreaking havoc on an already meagre sustenance.
Global Exchange, Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Justice Ecology Project

RIGHTS OF NATURE: A Legal Framework to Hold Industry Accountable to the Earth   
Under current law, nature is property, submitted to the onslaught of corporate greed. How different would our world look if the Amazon could sue Chevron for damages, or if BP were legally beholden to the Gulf of Mexico? What if the law protected the rights of Gauteng and Mpumalanga from Acid Mine Drainage and the rivers in Durban and stopped the pollution? With the world's attention on the COP 17, it is time to join Ecuador, Bolivia and 2 dozen communities in the United States that have established the legal basis of Rights for Nature.
WHERE: UN COP17, Kosi Palm 
WHEN: 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, December 6, 2011
* Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, US
* Pablo Solon, former UN Ambassador from the Plurinational State of Bolivia
* Desmond D'Sa, Coordinator, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
* Natalie Greene, Coordinator, Rights of Nature Program, Fundacion Pachamama and President, CEDENMA, Ecuador
* Cormac Cullinan, Environmental Attorney, EnAct International, South Africa
* Shannon Biggs, Community and Nature's Rights Director, Global Exchange, USA
Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange: 021 835 778 8847
Jeff Conant, Global Justice Ecology Project: 073 623 0619
From Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD and for Life 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Indigenous Peoples participating in the UNFCCC negotiations have called for a moratorium on REDD+ today. In a statement to be released to the press, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD and for Life declares: "REDD+ threatens the survival of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities and could result in the biggest land grab of all time. Based on in-depth investigations, a growing number of recent reports provide evidence that Indigenous Peoples are being subjected to violations of their rights as a result of the implementation of REDD+-type programs and policies."

WHERE: UN COP17, ICC, Kosi Palm
WHEN: 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, December 6, 2011
     Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network,       
     Turtle Island
            Marlon Santi, former President of CONAIE, Ecuador
            Berenice Sánchez, MesoAmerican Indigenous Womens BioDiversity Network, Mexico
            Helena Paul, EcoNexus
            Others TBA
Jeff Conant, Global Justice Ecology Project:(0)73 623 0619
PRESS ADVISORY:  Monday, December 5, 2011
En français ci-dessous
Media Advisory: Climate Justice Now! Press Conference
-Photo Ops-
The global Climate Justice Now! network will hold a press conference to discuss the radical new agenda that is needed to achieve climate justice and save the planet
(English, Spanish and French translation)
Kosi Palm room, Tuesday 6 December, 13:30-14:00
Speakers include:
Nnimmo Bassey, winner of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award (Nigeria) [to be confirmed]
Kandi Mosset, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara,Indigenous Environmental Network, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (North America)
Tomoko Kashiwakazaki, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development: Women and Gender Constituency (Thailand)
Alberto Gomez, La Via Campesina International Coordinating Committee (Mexico)
Tasha Peters, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, (Canada)
Moderator: Tetet Lauron, IBON International (Philippines)
The dominance of "the 1%" corporate elite over "the 99%" of the people is being challenged around the world. These same tensions and dynamics are at play here at the UNFCCC COP-17, which has been taken over by the interests of corporations. The UNFCCC process is betraying the interests of people globally while providing industry with new opportunities to profit from climate chaos.
Meanwhile, there is great debate in the halls of the ICC about the future of the Clean Development Mechanism, Carbon Markets, REDD+ and the Kyoto Protocol itself. Should these industry-friendly schemes continue or is the process so corrupt and bankrupt that it needs to be eliminated and replaced by truly just and effective climate mitigation strategies?
Climate Justice Now! speakers will address these issues from perspectives of the global climate justice movement and present real, community-based solutions.
Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project +27 (0)78 632 2801 (English)
Maxime Combes, Attac France, +27 (0)72 063 2835 (French)
Jeff Conant, GJEP, +27 (0)73 623 0619 (Spanish)
Info Presse : Conférence de presse de Climate Justice Now!
 (Opportunités pour photos)
Le réseau pour la justice globale Climate Justice Now ! tiendra une conférence de presse pour présenter le radical et nouvel agenda nécessaire pour la justice climatique et sauver la planète.
(Traduction en anglais, espagnol et français)
Salle Kosi Palm - mardi 6 décembre - 13h30 - 14h
Nnimmo Bassey, Amis de la Terre International, lauréat du Prix Nobel Alternatif en 2010 (Nigeria) [à confirmer]
Kandi Mosset, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Indigenous Environmental Network, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (North America)
Tomoko Kashiwakazaki, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development:     Gender CC (Thailand)
Alberto Gomez, Comité international de coordination de La Via Campesina (Mexique)
Tasha Peters, Youth Delegation, Occupy COP17 (Canada)
Modérateur : Tetet Lauron, IBON International (Philippines)
La domination des 1% de l'élite économique et financière, sur les 99% de la population est contestée partout sur la planète. Ces mêmes tensions et les mêmes dynamiques ont cours ici à la COP-17, qui est aujourd'hui dominé par les intérêts économiques des entreprises. Le processus de la CCNUCC est en train de trahir les intérêts des populations tout en fournissant au monde économique de nouvelles opportunités de tirer profit du chaos climatique.
Pendant ce temps, se trame dans les couloirs de l'ICC un grand débat sur l'avenir du Mécanisme de Développement Propre (MDP), des marchés du carbone, de REDD + et du Protocole de Kyoto lui-même. Ces mesures favorables à l'industrie doivent-elles continuer ou bien ce processus est-il tellement corrompu et en faillite qu'il faudrait qu'il soit éliminé et remplacé par des stratégies réellement justes et efficaces face aux dérèglements climatiques ?
Les intervenants de Climate Justice Now ! aborderont ces enjeux depuis la perspective du mouvement global pour la justice climatique et vont présenter des solutions réelles basées sur les pratiques locales des populations.
Contact :
Maxime Combes, Attac France, +27 (0) 720632835,  (Français)
Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project +27 (0)78 632 2801 (Anglais)
Jeff Conant, GJEP, +27 (0)73 623 0619 (Espagnol) 

VIDEO: Delegation of the Indigenous Environmental Network from US and Canada protest Shell in Durban, South Africa, with Africans, Spanish news video:

Now, bring in the clowns ... Uncle Sam and his 1 percent ...

VIDEO: O'odham Ofelia Rivas speaks at SRP protest

Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, speaks during the protest of the Salt River Project in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 2, part of the protest of the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Scottsdale. Rivas welcomed all to O'odham land and said a prayer for the people, land and all living things.
SRP diverted water from O'odham lands for non-Indian use, devastating the agricultural way of life of the O'odham people. Further, today SRP operates the coal-fired power plant, Navajo Generating Station, on the Navajo Nation.

Debra White Plume in New York: Occupied land

Worship Greed

Debra White Plume in New York: Occupied land
By Debra White Plume
Censored News
During a visit to New York City, my friend and I rode the train downtown and spent two days walking around. We went to Wall Street on the day that is only celebrated by America and Americans, known as Thanksgiving. We went to Zuccotti Park, now called Liberty Park, since it has been Occupied for the past two months by the Occupiers. There is one entrance/exit. It is manned by the NYPD. There are chest high metal barricades all around the park, along with yellow police tape. As we enter, it feels eerie. I see a lot of people, but no other Natives. There are men playing chess, a guy is twisting balloons into shapes and handing them to others. There are young women passing out turkey dinners in Styrofoam containers. People are saying Happy Thanksgiving. We walk along, and hear drums. We follow the sound, and see about ten young white men, all pounding their drums, it doesn’t sound like a song to me, but I am prejudiced. I grew up hearing only the Lakota drum, which is significant to its purpose. I tend to judge all other drum beats against our own. The NYPD begin to come in to the park and gather around the drummers. The Occupiers form a circle around the NYPD and the drummers and function as a human microphone, which states “Cameras out, cameras on the police”. I glance around and see the NYPD Guard Tower high up in the corner of the park, plastic and temporary. Can’t see the uniforms, but can see the weapons. The plastic windows up there are smoked. Nearby there is a guy with a huge poster that says something about hospitals killing people in New Jersey. There are a dozen protesters with big signs that say the 1% wear furs from animals they killed. Yikes, I realize I am wearing a leather jacket.
There are conversations going on all around, in small groups. I hear about capitalism, the 1%, see young faces chanting This Is What Democracy Looks Like. I don’t hear anything about Mother Earth and how desecration is the source of the riches of the 1% at the cost of the Native Nations. I wonder if the Occupiers know they are Occupying an Occupied land. I wonder if they know we Native Nations are older than America? I notice cop cars parked all around the area, and NYPD everywhere. The circle of cop cars is outside the circle of barricades, which is outside the yellow police tape. I see this as a trap and wonder if anyone else feels this way. I see folks that look homeless, dressed in ten layers of clothes that have not been washed in months. They snuggle into the few benches, sprinkled around here and there. There is a group of people forming, getting bigger by the minute, singing Christian songs. I see the Wikki Leaks Top Secret Media Van. There are several unmarked plain white cargo vans parked around the streets, some with those little satellite thingys on the roof. The Christian song is getting louder, drowning out the human microphone over there trying to protect the drummers. Seeing Democracy, Capitalism, and Christianity all in one place--when I know all three all work against each other to create chaos--I want to leave, I can’t stand the singing. I know who committed genocide against my people and it was just as much the Christian Religion as it was the American government and its settlers. It is in my lifetime that the churches took little Lakota children to boarding school to brainwash and beat. I was there. I was one of them. My friend and I notice the NYPD notice us as we leave Liberty Park. The banks and money houses are everywhere down here, they form a circle around the cop cars that form a circle around the barricades and yellow tape, all around the Occupiers.
We walk around the Wall Street area. I think of the invaders of long ago who built the actual wall as a defensive structure to keep out the Indians, of the Stock Market that was named for the selling and buying of live stock, that is, the black people who were to become the slaves of the people with the money and mindset to buy them, I think of the Indians who were beheaded here, to teach them a lesson. The buildings are tall and glass, and even look rich. The air is quiet, like in a church. I guess this is kind of like a church, where the congregation worships greed. Looking at the names on the banks, I recall the headlines a few years ago when a great spin was pulled like wool over the eyes of most of America, and billions of taxpayer dollars were given, with no questions asked, by elected officials to these banks and money houses, to bail them out of the problems they got themselves into. I remembered how I thought at that time that America was now openly governed by Wall Street. I am happy to leave this place, it feels heavy.
We ride the A Train, there are musicians on there who make lonely-sounding music, they say they are Gypsies. I give them all my change. I think about discussions I heard at Liberty Park, talk about changing the system, like it is broken. Me, I think this system was created to be exactly the way it is, but I have the 143 years since the 1868 Ft Laramie Treaty between our Nation and America to measure it by. The folks in Liberty Park never talked about that, when I was there. Then my friend and I saw a movie star get on our train and that’s all we talked about till we got home. Neither of us could think of her name, but we remembered movies she was in.
The second day we walked around NYC was Black Friday, another day peculiar to America. Seeing the stores with recognizable names, all lined up in rows along these narrow, old streets, like they are soldiers in the front line. People of all colors, but mostly white, moving in and out of the stores, carrying shopping bags decorated with logos that even I recognize, coming from one of the poorest counties in America. Faces smiling, chatting into costly cell phones of lovely purchases just made. Cloudy gray sky, dark and chilly in these canyons of the city, buildings so tall the sun shines only a few hours a day here. Smells of water, the East River nearby, the ocean a little further. Sidewalks are litter-free, yellow cabs parked here and there, black shiny town cars everywhere. No peanut vendors down here!
Seeing the store names creates nausea deep in my stomach, they represent the casually luxurious lifestyle of the families that own these corporations, and I think their lust for wealth is never going to be satisfied, no matter how much they accumulate, it will never be enough. Nausea rising from seeing working people pull out credit cards of corporations owned by the same wealthy people who own the stores that accept the credit cards who own the banks that finance the credit cards. To shop in there, they will pay for years for the purchases made today. More interest money paid to the same banks that these very same taxpayers bailed out a few years ago! The shoppers just keep making the rich people richer, while they burrow deeper into their own debt. This Black Friday concept blows my mind, a day created to increase the wealth of the richest, gained by the non-existing dollars of the people shopping with plastic, much of the items purchased on time are created and marketed by those who are the owners of the plastic, who have created this way for people with no money to make the purchase with plastic. What a system! Celebrate Christmas In Style, say the BLACK FRIDAY SALE signs hanging everywhere.
Plastic shoppers seem so happy, but I see a small frown pop up, only for a second, is there a worry about where the money will come from to pay off these purchases? Maybe there is a doubt that the 50 inch flat screen TV might not REALLY be necessary, that maybe it is, after all the interest rates, not going to really cost $200. Young women oh-ing over the fabulous pair of designer shoes that will look SOOO good on them when they go out to that designer club over there. Doesn't sound like a necessary purchase to me, I mean it's not like they are talking about spending their non-existent dollars on food, shelter, medicine, tuition. But that purchase makes them happy, to indulge their desire, after all, that lady said she hadn’t been waxed for a month.
As we are shuffled along in the crowd of people moving from store to store, my thoughts go to nonessential products and services being part of the problem, such consumers prop up the rich while they continue to complain about the rich. Or maybe its’ just me that considers them non-essential items and services? Could the reason behind this come here-go away kind of thinking be that the consumers just want for a few minutes to be MORE LIKE THE RICH, in that they do not have to just admire something, they can actually possess it?
In my experience, the lack of choices is one of the hardest parts of being without money. Choices have to be made based on the amount of money available. When that amount is very small, the choices become very limited as well. The lack of choices feels like confinement, and I think it is a natural response to resist confinement. Maybe some peoples’ resistance is to get a credit card and charge it to the max? That outcome is brilliantly capitalist and was probably thought of by the very rich. Had enough of watching shoppers in this huge mecca of the capitalists, we leave the area.
Wandering now to the East Village, Greenwich Village, Little Italy. Lots of mom and pop shops, and vendors up and down the streets. Famous coffee shops on every corner, the strong odor tempting, but we move on, determined on principle, to not spend a precious $7.50 on a cup of coffee. See folks paying with credit cards, smiley faces, but some people have a glazed look in their eyes. Maybe wondering where they can get the cash to pay for something they charged because they didn't have the cash to purchase it?
Here, items are handmade from other countries, each unique and very expensive. Liked that one handbag, but the price is comparable to that registered paint horse I admired a few auctions ago. Didn't get the handbag, didn't get the paint horse either!
We wander into another neighborhood. It is kind of dark in these city canyons, but not so much here, the buildings are not so tall around here, the sun gets in a few more minutes a day. Litter on the streets, just enough so it looks out of place. We stop and I pay cash for a pair of sunglasses, a gift. Street prices are very good, about a fourth of what I would spend back home. A few blocks later, we turn a corner, and stumble over folks sitting on the sidewalk. They shook little cups, a woman's voice chanted, "help me, have not eaten for days, no job, no home, help me, please". I put money in the crumbled paper cup that she is shaking like a rattle. Her old eyes say thank you, her skin is wrinkled, her hand is thin, she looks like she might have an illness, its’ in her eyes and the grimace of her jaw. As we walked away, the sound of her old voice began to fade, but I still hear it now, it is there in the back of my mind.
Finding the right subway entrance, we go down, down, five flights of stairs, deep underground. As the train stops and goes, leaving downtown and moving toward the neighborhood where I stay, folks get on and off, I notice they have a different appearance the further we move away from the rich part of town, less designer bags and shoes and signature perfumes. More folks getting on the train who wear uniforms, a few wearing hospital scrubs, utility maintenance men, teenagers wearing knock-off designer clothes purchased in the alleys from guys who catch the items that fell off the trucks. Baby strollers look normal, not like the fancy ones on Wall Street that probably cost as much as my 21 year old car.
During the past two days, I somewhat walked through three lifestyles. I saw where the rich live and work, I saw their kitchen where they cook up their riches. I saw the parts of town where plastic is king and folks fool themselves that they are above the “down-trodden”, a term I heard a lot at Liberty Park. I saw the streets where the homeless beg for money and food. I noticed also that those were the streets where there was litter everywhere, but rarely a yellow cab, and not a single black shiny town car.
We got back to my friends apartment and I burned sage, sending smoke to clear away anything bad. We made a pot of coffee, the whole can cost less than one cup of designer coffee. I washed up, got comfortable in house clothes. We drank that pot of good coffee, I smoked roll-your-own cigarettes. We talked about the past days and how most Americans don’t have a clue about real history, how this country and its rich people made their wealth from stealing Native Nations’ land and its bounty, to this day even. How the land theft had to be prefaced with killing off whole Nations. We talked about Decolonization, a personal experience that can only begin with a paradigm shift. We talked about what we will do next summer, about pow-wows, Sun Dance, horse races, give-aways, and films to use for upcoming Film Forums.
I told my friend all about that registered paint horse that I admired, how his price was the same as that handbag the young lady purchased downtown. That was some horse! My husband and are I are saving up to get one just like him. Sometime, somewhere, I will find another horse that catches my eye, maybe we will have the money to take the horse home, to live on the land with our family. You see, we all want something, to indulge our desires. Mine is another paint horse. I will pay cash, no bankster is going to hold me hostage. I have to fight the confinement within the limits of my chains, because, you see, none of us are free. As the saying goes, none of us will be free until all of us are free. The first step to that freedom is knowing that you wear chains. The problem with that is, you can’t really feel the chains until you try to move.

Debra White Plume, Lakota, is of the Oglala Lakota Nation, Pine Ridge, SD.

VIDEO: IEN Tom Goldtooth COP 17 Durban, South Africa

Indigenous Environmental Network executive director Tom Goldtooth at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa.

Shut Down ALEC! This week in photos

Photos by Shut Down ALEC
Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photos by Shut Down ALEC
Article by Brenda Norrell

PHOENIX -- (Dec. 2, 2011) Shut Down ALEC! this week in the Phoenix Valley exposed the corporate greed and control of the Arizona legislature by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which met in Scottsdale this week.
Navajo and O'odham took the lead to expose the behind-doors machinations of corporations cutting deals with the Arizona government, including energy companies and private prisons, that exploit the resources and people in Indian country.
The corporate profiteers included Boeing. After its billion dollar boondoggle of spy towers on the Arizona border, Boeing is now asking Tohono O'odham districts to approve new spy towers on their lands. Homeland Security says it will begin the bidding process in Jan. 2012 for the Integrated Fixed Towers surveillance system. However, Boeing announced it was hiring for a technician for the project in Ajo, Ariz., last week.
The corporate profiteers working in collusion with Arizona legislators include Corrections Corporations of America, CCA, targeting migrants and all people of color to fill their prisons for profit in Arizona. Wackenhut G4S also profiteers with a contract to transport detained migrants from the Arizona border.
During a protest of the Salt River Project in Tempe, Ariz., on Friday, Louise Benally of Big Mountain on Black Mesa, Navajo resisting relocation, demanded SRP halt the coal fired power plant near Page, the Navajo Generating Station, on the Navajo Nation and begin the conversion to renewal energy sources. SRP electricity flows to Southwest cities, while many Navajos live without running water and electricity, and suffer from the extensive pollution and environmental destruction. Speaking at the protest, Benally said SRP and Peabody Coal mine are depleting the aquifer and already springs and streams have dried up.
“We have no water in our community," Benally said at the SRP protest. "The wells are drying up, the water wells, the water table is dropping, a lot of pollution is being released into the ground water. There are lands that are cracking open, which has never happened before. Vegetation is being totally poisoned by sulfur dioxide from the blasting."
Before the protest began, Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, welcomed the people to O'odham land and offered a prayer for the land, people and all living things. Rivas said SRP diverted water from O'odham lands in southern Arizona, which was used for irrigating their crops by way of their canals. The result was devastating for the O'odham way of life.
“As Indigenous People we understand that the balance of the land is the balance of our people and any disturbance of that is very devastating, not only to our spiritual health, but to our deep connection to the land and all living things. As Indigenous People we are not separated from our environment. We’re deeply connected to everything in the universe: the land, the mountains, water, air, and all plant and animal life," Rivas said.
During the protest, five people locked down, then were cut away by police and arrested. On Wednesday, O'odham were among those pepper sprayed by police outside the ALEC conference in Scottsdale. O'odham Veteran David Ortega, peacemaker, was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic with a mild heart attack after being pepper sprayed.
Eight people were arrested at the action at the resort where the ALEC summit took place on November 30. Sixteen were arrested at the action at SRP December 2nd, including 5 who locked down in the building. One more was arrested at the First Friday march also December 2. All have been released as of 2 p.m. on December 3.

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