Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 9, 2012

Red Ink 'Native Nations Water Rights Symposium' Tucson

Debra White Plume (Lakota) is an American Indian Movement (AIM) activist and an independentconsultant for the reorganization of federally funded programs on the PineRidge Reservation. As Executive Director of Owe Aku (Bring Backthe Way), a non-profit environmental organization, Debra fights to protectNative resources and provides conservation training for youth. She facilitatesthe Lakota Media Project collaboration with Prairie Dust Films. Debra is adelegate for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Recently, Debra has worked on the front lines of halting construction of the Keystone Pipeline, and works to create awareness to the tar sands issue from an Indigenous perspective.
Simon Ortiz is generally recognized by critics and scholars of American Indian literature as one of the mostnotable writers of the "Native American renaissance" of the 1960s and1970s. Most famous for his poetry, Ortiz also has written many short stories,essays and children's books.
Ortiz, a full-blooded NativeAmerican, was raised in the Acoma village of McCarty's, and spokeonly Acoma at home. His interest in the culture and history of his peoplepropelled him to a career of writing. After graduating with an MFA from the University of Iowa, he supported his writing byteaching Native American literature and creative writing at San Diego State,the Institute of American Indian Arts, Navajo Community College, Marin College, the University of New Mexico, the Sinte Gleska College, andthe Universityof Toronto. Ortiz'early writings reflect his nomadic life, with recurring images of bus depots,airports, and subway stations in his poetry of this period recording ademanding schedule of lecture tours and speaking engagements.
Ortiz also served as lieutenantgovernor of the Pueblo ofAcoma andconsulting editor of the Pueblo of Acoma Press.
Among the awards he has won arethe NationalEndowment for the Arts Discovery Award (1969), the White House Salute to Poetry HonoredPoet Award (1981), a Pushcart Prize (for From Sand Creek)(1981), the New Mexico Humanities Council Humanitarian Award (1989), and the Wordcraft CircleWriter of the Year (Anthology/Collection) Award (for Speaking forGenerations) (2000).

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