August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, February 20, 2012

CALIFORNIA: Jim Brown: Reject settlement agreement for Elem Pomo

Monique Sonoquie (Chumash/Apache),
Jim Brown III (Elem Pomo),
Gail Brown (Yok√°ya Pomo)
February 20, 2012


As a part of the Public Comment period On behalf of the Elem families residing on the Elem Reservation, I will formally submit testimony to the Department of Justice and formally notify the federal government agencies and U.S. Citizen’s that the true living Elem Reservation residents and community members formally reject and totally disagree with the current Department of Justice Settlement Agreement as prescribed, for the following reasons.

If the current settlement agreement is approved it will be a travesty of the Federal Justice System, violation of Indian Civil Rights Act and Indian Self-determination while undermining the protection of natural resources and tribal sovereignty and is a set-back of Environmental Justice, a denial of fair and equal compensation to the living surviving Elem members & families for their lifelong pain and suffering and loss of tribal lifeway’s (Gathering of healthy foods and fish). The 380 acres is only a small fraction of the tribe’s total aboriginal lands that were directly lost due to the Mining operations. Further, the $50,000 thousand dollars is a financial insult, and should be viewed as bribe money, so the tribe will not file another law suit for EPA’s 2006 106 violations, that damages has been estimated at ten million dollars. The Settlement Agreement will cover-up and deny the direct trusteeship of the BIA and the environmental responsibilities of our own so called premier agency the U.S. EPA. Ironically, these two federal agencies, The Bureau of Indian Affairs are formally the tribes Trustee and the EPA is the premier Environmental Agency, must take responsibility for their direct violations!

In 1971, the BIA/Central California Agency while providing the Elem tribe with a new housing, road & water project purchased the toxic mine tailings from the Bradley Mining Company! and in addition did not comply with section 106! The BIA/CCA agency has politically created division in the tribal leadership, for example since 2008 over an election dispute, and audit has shut down all services to the Elem tribal members and Community, We have a newly funded HUD (2005) community center that is totally shut down since 2010, along with no existing Tribal health or social services available to the Elem members residing on the Reservation lands and community.

Note: Most of the current officials who agreed to this illegal settlement agreement don’t even live on the Elem Reservation or even in live in the County and they appear only to want to divide up non-gaming funds. While Elem members who live on the Elem Reservation who disagree, have been formally barred from attending Elem General Council tribal meetings addressing this settlement and have been plus have been formally excluded from exercising their voting rights, excluded from sharing tribal non-gaming funds, which is a direct violation of our tribal and civil rights.  

In 2006, the U.S. EPA’s Superfund Cleanup Project at Elem, Sub-Contractor (CH2MHill) also, did not comply with section 106! 70 cubic yards of pre-historic and historic Cultural soils and cultural artifacts were destroyed. They want us to only except $50,000 to not file another law suit? In, addition the U.S. EPA Superfund manager illegally interfered with tribal sovereignty and government operations, when he created a conflict of interest by hiring the EleAdvocate, NAGPRA Coordinator and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer , in 2005 I was appointed Elem Tribal Historian. I have also served my tribe as an elected official and in 1999 as Tribal Chairman signed the California Gaming Compact. I was the Tribal Administrator (Elem Tribal Member) in 2006, who informed the office of Historic Preservation of the U.S. EPA violation, and then once I exposed the conflict of interest created between the US EPA Superfund Manager and the Elem Tribal Chairman, I was terminated by the tribal Chairman in 2007.  I will be formally submitting and requesting this immediate amendment to the settlement. In addition, I considering requesting formal compensation for my loss of employment that resulted from the EPA Superfund Manager’s conflict of interest!

On behalf of the Elem tribal members and residents of Elem Indian Colony, We formally request the following financial amendments to the Elem settlement agreement.

Jim Brown III, Elem-Modun Tribal Member

$3. Million to purchase Rattlesnake Island (To forever preserve the ancient homeland tribal village and sacred site for the tribe)
$1.5 Million Build Elem Museum/Cultural Center (Fund, operate Museum & Cultural center for tribe & public)
$1.5 Million Elem Health/Wellness Center (Fund Health & Wellness center for Tribal members)
$2. Million for Elem tribal members ($50,000.00 each) financial compensation for lifelong pain, Suffering and loss of life. ($500,000 Higher Education, Employment & Training fund).
$1. Million for Sacred Site protection and development of a tribal land trust organization and for the purchase & operations of Anderson Marsh State/Tribal Park for Public access.
$1. Million to payment to and for the Lake County citizen’s benefit (Food kitchen, Homeless Shelter, Farmers Markets, organic gardens, etc.)
Grand Total: $10,000.000. Million Settlement

Contact Info:
For more information please contact Jim Brown III, Elem-Tribal Member at P.O. Box 610 Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423, E-mail at

News article: Mining settlement gives land to Elem Colony, pays for cleanup

Arizona: Save Oak Flat from land exchange

On Feb. 8, Miss San Carlos, Desirae Rambler (left)
and San Carlos Apache Youth Council President (right),
support the testimony given by Shan Lewis (center),
President of the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona,
 in his testimony against passage of H.R.
Courtesy photo.
By Sandra Rambler
San Carlos Apache
Censored News
WASHINGTON -- On Feb. 8, Shan Lewis, President of the Inter-Tribal Council provided testimony to the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in Washington, D.C. regarding opposition against H.R. 1904, also known as the proposed Southeastern Arizona Land Exchange Act.  President Lewis was accompanied by Terry Rambler, Tribal Chairman, Steve Titla, Tribal Attorney, Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Peridot District Councilmember, Vernelda Grant, Tribal Archaeologist, Tanayia White, Executive Assistant to the Chairman, Desirae Rambler, Miss San Carlos and some members of the Youth Council and their parents including Lanea Burdette, Youth Council President.  Other various tribal leaders from tribes within the U.S. were also present, namely Ben Shelly, President of the Navajo Nation.
Mr. Lewis began his testimony, “Good morning, Chairman Bingaman, Ranking Member Murkowski and other member of the committee.  My name is Shan Lewis, President of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and Vice-Chairman of the Fort Mojave Tribe.  On behalf of the 20 member tribes of ITCA, thank you for letting me testify.”

“I would like for all of the tribal leaders here today to stand.  We are here to bring a united front in strong opposition to H.R. 1904.  Tribes from New Mexico, the Great Plains, the Northwest, California, the South, the East, the Midwest, the Navajo Nation, and many other tribes join us against the bill.”

“With the Committee’s permission, I would like to include in the record tribal letters and resolutions opposing this bill.  Also, I would like to include a statement from a San Carlos family about its upcoming sunrise dance t Oak Flat, celebrating a young woman’s coming of age.  This is just one example of great significance of Oak Flat to families who have held ceremonies there for centuries.”

“I have three fundamental points in my remarks, destruction of sacred sites, federal protections that no longer apply if this land becomes privatized and regional water resources that will permanently be altered, depleted and contaminated.”

Since 2004, Resolution Copper has done everything it can to pass this legislation that would direct the Forest Service to transfer sacred land in the Tonto National Forest so that it can develop a massive block cave copper mine.”

“To protect our holy places, it saddens us that we have to defend their legitimacy.  Oak Flat is one of the holy places of Western Apache and Yavapai tribes where Gaan, or spiritual beings reside.  The Gaan are considered Angels.  Just as a Church is a special place to Christians, Oak Flat is the equivalent for Apaches, Yavapais and others.  Many tribes go to these special for prayer, ceremonies, to gather ceremonial items, or for peace and personal cleansing.  These places are holy.”

“Federal laws and policies that protect sacred sites currently protect Oak Flat.  But, if this land is transferred to Resolution Copper where it would become private land, federal protections would disappear and this sacred area will be destroyed.  To give you an idea of the federal land that would be conveyed to the company, I have some maps.  The first map shows the Tonto Forest in relation to the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona.  These lands are ancestral tribal lands.  Here, the second map shows Oak Flat in the Forest outlined in red.  The black outline shows land withdrawn from mining by President Eisenhower.”

“Resolution Copper wants these sacred lands to extract one cubic mile of ore located over one mile beneath the surface.  To give a mental picture, it would take over 1400 Cowboys Stadium to hold a cubic mile of ore.  The company plans to use the block cave method to extract this ore because it is far cheaper than other methods.”

“Here, this diagram depicts what the block cave mining process is.  The company would dig a tunnel downward over a mile long and then dig another tunnel to the ore body.  Once at the ore, they would blast away and extract massive amounts of ore using robotic technology a mile deep – technology that has not been developed.”

“The next diagram shows what happens once they start pulling out all this ore.  At some point, the surface starts to cave in – this is called the “intact zone.”  Given the massive amounts of earth that the company plans to extract, the surface will eventually collapse and the area will become an open pit.  This is called the “cave zone.”  We think the cave zone would be about 2 miles in diameter.  This open pit will be visible from outer space.  We have requested federal or independent studies on this project since 2005 without success.”

“Another grave concern is the permanent damage to surface and ground water.  This mine will deplete enormous quantities of water and pollute it, which will devastate our communities.  This water is a sacred element in tribal religious ceremonies.  Arizona is a desert, and we all have a right to know what happens to our water.  Again, there have been no federal or independent studies on this issue.”

“Here is a picture of a perennial spring at Oak Flat.  Mining here will dry up or contaminate this spring and other water sources at Oak Flat.  Here is a picture of the Oak Flat Campground and an ancient oak tree that has nourished us for centuries with its acorns.  This area is protected under the Eisenhower Withdrawal Order.  This area is in the cave zone and would be destroyed.”

“I would like to make three last points, this bill is a special deal or earmark for one company is foreign-owned.  The company claims that this project will create many jobs.  However, no money can replace the loss of sacred sites.  The company claims that this mine will be an extension of the old Magma mine in the area.  This is not true.  Magma was developed in the 1880’s with a much smaller blueprint.  Nevertheless, Magma destroyed our holy places.  Back then, we were POW’s until the early 1900’s and didn’t have the right to vote in Arizona until 1948.  We can’t turn back the clock, but we can say “NO” to this mine.”

“This bill would violate our government-to-government relationship and result in the destruction of a holy place.  Senators, you simply will not be able to mitigate that this mine will destroy,” concluded President Lewis.

Some of the tribes and national organizations that support the San Carlos Apache Tribe include the largest Indian National Organization, the National Congress of American Indians, which comprises of over 560 federally recognized Indian tribes, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, the United Southern and Eastern Tries, Jicarilla Apache Tribe, Pueblo of Tesuque, Pueblo of Zuni, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Susanville Indian Reservation, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona Mining Coalition, Concern Citizens and Retired Miner’s Coalition, Religious and Human Rights Organization, Concerned Climbers of Arizona, Mescalero Apache Nation, All Indian Pueblo Council, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos, Hopi Tribe, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas Association, Tohono O’Odham Nation, Azee Bee Nahagha of Dine Nation, Karuk Tribe, Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, Navajo Nation, Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, Picuris Pueblo, Ramona Band of Cahuilla and others.

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