August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'Custer' Huppenthal's Last Big Lie: The Seized Books

Tucson students said they
were traumatized when the
books were seized from their
classrooms. They said it was as
if they were in Nazi Germany.
Tucson students were especially
shocked at the seizure of this
book of photos Mexico.
The state school head considers
this book one of the seven most
troubling on the reading list of 50.
Arizona and Tucson school officials attempt to lie, and manipulate the facts, following the seizure of all books from the Mexican American Studies classes -- including 'Rethinking Columbus,' with writings of the top Native American and Indigenous authors and thinkers

Update Jan. 20, 2012: An article in Salon reveals Tucson schools' lies about the books banned from the classrooms. NPR reported the lies as facts, and did not report the truth. Democracy Now had a better report than NPR of course.

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- Arizona school head John "Custer" Huppenthal and Tucson school officials began their big lie over the books seized from Mexican American Studies classrooms. While Tucson Unified School District officials attempt to twist and manipulate the facts, the truth is that all Mexican American Studies books, lesson plans and materials are now being confiscated by Tucson schools officials from the teachers and classrooms.
NPR was among the national news media that refused to ask the right questions on Wednesday and instead promoted the spin of Arizona and Tucson school officials. NPR and the national news media, by refusing to do real journalism, are fueling the racism in Arizona and the Arizona government's initiated hate crimes.
The questions the national news media should be asking are:
1: Were books seized from classrooms in front of students, traumatizing them? (Yes)
2. Has Mexican American culture been banned and found illegal in Tucson schools? (Yes)
3. What has happened to the seven "deadly sin" books seized, among 50 on the Mexican American Studies reading list that were seized from classrooms. The seven books that state school head John "Custer" Huppenthal found troubling includes Rethinking Columbus, with writings by leading Native American and Indigenous authors and thinkers.
NPR and other national news media are good examples of the collapsed media in the US. A quick phone call is not going to give you the truth. It is only going to result in promoting the lies and manipulations of government and political spin masters.
Unless you are present and talking to students, teachers, attorneys, and people on the streets here in Tucson you are not going to get the story right, or have the facts.
Meanwhile, students spoke out at the Martin Luther King Day rally in Tucson, describing how the books were seized from their classrooms, including a book of photos of Mexico. Students said it made them feel like they were in Nazi Germany.
(The lies and distortions of Arizona and Tucson school officials, denying that the books are banned, are at: )
Roberto Rodriguez, professor and columnist living in Tucson, is among the authors whose books were in the classroom. Rodriguez said late Tuesday, "While TUSD claims that there are no banned books, the fact remains that administrators have come into MAS classrooms (which no longer exist) and removed the MAS classroom materials, which includes books that were formerly utilized in the now suspended MAS program.
"While TUSD claims that only 7 book titles were ordered boxed and carried off, the fact is that the confiscation, in some cases in front of the students, involved more than the 7 books that were listed by TUSD.
The seven books that are "not banned" are:
Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado
500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures edited by Elizabeth Martinez
Message to AZTLAN by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales
Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales
Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuna
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow
"However, teachers have had to clean out all their materials, including artwork and posters. In a further irony, some teachers are being told to turn in the books that have not been banned. Go figure!
"As part of the MAS-TUSD curriculum, there are some 50 books. All have been or are being removed or confiscated from every classroom... which strikes the average person as odd... do they think that the presence of books that were formerly part of the MAS curriculum would be a distraction or bad influence. Apparently, those books don't belong in the classroom."
"So if officially, the 50 books (listed at the end of the Cambium report) are not banned, they are confiscated, or in the process of being confiscated... THUS THE BOOKS ARE NOW UNDOCUMENTED! They are as welcome in TUSD schools as undocumented migrants are welcome in this country," Rodriguez said.

The complete list of books on the reading list, which have been removed from the now forbidden Mexican American Studies classrooms, along with all posters, etc, are at the end of this article:;postID=64578831989263
Arizona's school head was especially troubled by these seven books, which Tucson school officials said have been moved to a repository:

Listen to debate on Democracy Now! today:

Tucson Schools Seize Chicano and Native American books from classrooms

Tucson Schools seize Chicano and Native books from classrooms

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON -- High school students from the now-forbidden Mexican American Studies classes in Tucson spoke out during Martin Luther King Day here, protesting the school board and state of Arizona's decision to ban their classes and their culture.

Describing the seizure of Chicano and Native American books from his classrooms, one student said it was an attempt to "take away our power."

"Knowledge is power," he said, describing how education and knowledge form beliefs and, "who we are." He said school officials entered his classroom and removed all the books.

Another student described how ethnic groups other than Latinos at Tucson schools can still discuss their cultures, while Mexican American culture discussions are now forbidden. Further, she says her teachers are now "under a microscope" and issues like feminism, oppression and Martin Luther King are forbidden topics.

Students, describing the trauma, said it was as if they were in Nazi Germany.

Tucson schools seized Chicano and Native American books from classrooms after the board voted Tuesday, Jan. 10, to forbid Mexican American Studies, rather than fight the decision by the state school head. The Tucson Unified School District board was threatened with the loss of millions of education dollars unless the classes were banned.

Louise Benally, Navajo resisting relocation at Big Mountain on the Navajo Nation, joined students protesting outside the board meeting on Jan. 10.

"It is time to slay the beast," said Benally, pointing out that the same corporate beast that oppresses and forbids ethnic studies in Tucson is the same corporate beast poisoning Black Mesa on Navajoland with coal mines and coal fired power plants.

Simon Ortiz, world acclaimed poet, author and professor, responded to the banning of books by Chicano and Native American authors.

Simon Ortiz said, "I am very stunned and very shocked and very pissed off the Tucson Unified School District would ban Mexican American Studies and books like Rethinking Columbus: The Next Five Hundred Years that includes works by Indigenous (Native) authors Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, Winona LaDuke, Buffy St. Marie, Joy Harjo, Wendy Rose, Joseph Bruchac, Jimmie Durham, Peter Blue Cloud, Luther Standing Bear, Gail Trembly, Jose Barreiro, Phillip Martin, Suzanne Shown Harjo. The banning explicitly and pointedly shows it is not only Mexican American Studies and people and so-called illegal immigrants that are targeted but Indigenous studies and people as a whole." Simon J. Ortiz is Regents Professor, at the ASU Department of English, American Indian Studies.

Roberto Rodriguez, professor at University of Arizona, is also among the nation's top Chicano and Latino authors on the Mexican American Studies reading list. Rodriguez' column about this week's school board decision, posted at Censored News, is titled: "Tucson school officials caught on tape 'urinating' on Mexican students."

Rodriguez responded to Censored News on Sunday about the banning of his books at Tucson schools.

"The attacks in Arizona are mind-boggling. To ban the teaching of a discipline is draconian in and of itself. However, there is also now a banned books list that accompanies the ban. I believe 2 of my books are on the list, which includes: Justice: A Question of Race and The X in La Raza. Two others may also be on the list," Rodriguez said.
"That in itself is jarring, but we need to remember the proper context. This is not simply a book-banning; according to Tom Horne, the former state schools' superintendent who designed HB 2281, this is part of a civilizational war. He determined that Mexican American Studies is not based on Greco-Roman knowledge and thus, lies outside of Western Civilization.

"In a sense, he is correct. The philosophical foundation for MAS is a maiz-based philosophy that is both, thousands of years old and Indigenous to this continent. What has just happened is akin to an Auto de Fe -- akin to the 1562 book-burning of Maya books in 1562 at Mani, Yucatan. At TUSD, the list of banned books will total perhaps 50 books, including artwork and posters.

"For us here in Tucson, this is not over. If anything, the banning of books will let the world know precisely what kind of mindset is operating here; in that previous era, this would be referred to as a reduccion (cultural genocide) of all things Indigenous. In this era, it can too also be see as a reduccion."

The reading list includes world acclaimed Chicano and Latino authors, along with Native American authors. The list includes books by Corky Gonzales, along with Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street;” Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “Black Mesa Poems,“ and L.A. Urreas’ “The Devil’s Highway.“ The authors include Henry David Thoreau and the popular book “Like Water for Chocolate.”

On the reading list are Native American author Sherman Alexie's books, “Ten Little Indians,“ and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven.“ O’odham poet and professor Ofelia Zepeda’s “Ocean Power, Poems from the Desert” is also on the list.

DA Morales writes in Three Sonorans, at Tucson Citizen, about the role of state schools chief John Huppenthal. "Big Brother Huppenthal has taken his TEA Party vows to take back Arizona … take it back a few centuries with official book bans that include Shakespeare!"

See banned Mexican American Studies reading list at:

Watch the Censored News videos of students speak out during Martin Luther King Day in Tucson.


Mohawk Nation News: Caught In His Own Web


By Mohawk Nation News

MNN. Jan. 15, 2012. In December the owner of MNN hired a webmaster to update the MNN website: Erland Campbell of Native Web Markets, 6275 Place Northcrest, Montreal, Quebec, H3S 2N3, 514-400-3112.

He received $1,500 in advance to make minor changes. The original remained online. The site he produced is a mere shell of the original. Before launching it, Campbell demanded $500 in cash immediately. He refused to complete the job.

Campbell then sent threatening emails [copies have been kept] trying to extort money, which caused me anxiety and fear.

Then the original site online disappeared.

The host in Norway said that the ‘owner’ [not me] had changed the original MNN password and requested that the site be suspended. I convinced the server to reinstall a new password.

The RCMP Anti-Fraud Centre advised me to go to the local police, make a report and insist on a follow up with the web master. Since he was paid and kept the product, it could constitute theft.

The host in Norway worked very hard to restore the old website which reappeared on the morning of January 17, 2012.

As Chief Seattle said: “Man did not weave the web of life. He is but a mere strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

MNN Mohawk Nation News For more news, books, to donate to maintain the website [PayPal] 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 – Warriors Hand Book – Rebuilding the Iroquois Confederacy. Category: World – Colonialism - Great Turtle Island – History – New World Order – courts/police Economics/trade/commerce – Land/environment – art/culture. Tags: North American Indians – Turtle Island – Indian holocaust/genocide – NAU North American Union – History Canada/US – United Nations – Cointelpro - colonialism.

Native Americans struggle to save Wetlands in Kansas

Wetlands photo courtesy Kyle Gerstner
Jessica Lackey: President of the Wetlands Preservation Organization,
Kelda Britton: Secretary of the Wetlands Preservation Organization,

Who: Prairie Band Pottawatomie Nation, Wetlands Preservation Organization, Jayhawk Audubon Society, Kansas Sierra Club, Environs at KU, KU Ecojustice, and Save the Wakarusa Wetlands Inc.

What: Oral hearings begin for the Prairie Band Pottawatomie Nation, Wetlands Preservation Organization, Jayhawk Audubon Society, Kansas Sierra Club, Environs at KU, KU Ecojustice and Save The Wakarusa Wetlands Inc. vs. Federal Highway Administration and Kansas Department of Transportation

When: On the morning of January 19th, 2012

Where: Byron White Courthouse: 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado

Battle Over South Lawrence Trafficway Reaches Circuit Court in Denver

Since the Kansas Department of Transportation proposed the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT) in the mid 1980’s, the status of this project has been contested in court. Most recently the Prairie Band Pottawatomie Nation and supporting plaintiffs (as listed above) filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on the basis of ongoing serious reservations we have about the Environmental Impact Statement process, along with misgivings also echoed by the ruling judge in her statement.

On Thursday, January 19th at Byron White Courthouse in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, oral hearings for our appeal will begin. David Prager and Bob Eye, attorneys for the plaintiffs, will present their 15 minute argument, followed by the 15 minute argument from the defendants. The three judges will then work on a decision which will hopefully be settled in the next few months.

In Lawrence, approximately ten members from representative plaintiff groups will travel to Denver to attend the hearings. On Friday January 13th, members of these groups met to assemble statements of support for the appeal. Gary Anderson, President of the Jayhawk Audubon Society stated, “The Jayhawk Audubon Society’s Board of Directors carefully considered the 2010 judge’s comments on the most recent ruling, which found that the EIS requirements had been met for the most part. The Board was extremely disappointed that only certain requirements were considered by the judge for review in the case. The Board continues to feel that all requirements of NEPA need to be followed. If this decision is permitted to stand, a dangerous precedent would be established; therefore, the Board voted overwhelmingly to join the appeal.”

According to Marisol Cortez, Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies at KU and faculty advisor for KU Ecojustice, “This project continues to represent histories of injustice and disrespect to Native communities, to sacred spaces the world over, and to the living beings they contain. This is the kind of situation that many scholars and activists call environmental racism, and as in many of these kinds of cases, we see state and federal agencies cutting regulatory corners to railroad a project they assume is a done deal. We say: it is not, and we call on the entire KU community to stand with us against this injustice.”

Mike Caron of Save The Wakarusa Wetlands Inc. stated, “Federal NEPA standards were put in place explicitly to protect minorities from tyranny of the majority. They are the heart of our nation’s protections against environmental injustices.”

Jessica Lackey and Kelda Britton, President and Secretary of Haskell Indian Nation University’s Wetlands Preservation Organization commented, “As Native Americans we are taught that we are the caretakers of the earth. The students of the WPO have taken it upon themselves to protect the wetlands which the school itself has significant historical ties to. Haskell represents over 150 federally recognized tribes and for many of us our only connection to home while we are away is to be able to correlate to our spirit, animal, and plant relatives in the wetlands.”

For further information on the hearing, on the SLT issue, or on perspectives of plaintiff organizations, please contact Jessica Lackey or Kelda Britton at e-mails listed above.

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