August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, April 9, 2012

Robert Yazzie: Roots of Dine' Law at Rights of Mother Earth Haskell

The Roots of Dine' Law: Creation and the power of names and language

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

HASKELL INDIAN NATIONS UNIVERSITY, Kansas -- Dine' Robert Yazzie of the Dine' Policy Institute, former Navajo Supreme Court judge, shares a Declaration of the Dine' elders, the Roots of Dine' Law. Yazzie shares the power of prayer, and the power of names and language, at the Rights of Mother Earth Gathering in the Dine' and English languages.

"There are still Holy People around. We still see the Holy People speaking to us through water, and through fire," Yazzie said at the gathering held April 4-6, 2012.

Yazzie urges those listening to concentrate on the language and use your own indigenous thinking. The Declaration is in Title 1 of Navajo Nation Code adopted on Nov 8, 2002.

The Roots of Dine’ Law describes how the Holy People sang songs and offered prayers and the earth and universe came into being, along with water, sacred mountains, air and plants. Fire, light and sacred stones came into being with resilience.

"This is the foremost, fundamental law set in place for us."

"At the time of Creation, these things were put into place and this is our make up."

"We are called the Holy Earth Surface People."

DINE' and English:

Recorded by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Earthcycles.

Rights of Mother Earth at Haskell
Kandi Mossett: Fort Berthold ND: Oil trucks killed seven children and youths
Ecuador Indigenous Marlon Santi at Haskell: Rights of Mother Earth gathering continues efforts of Bolivia President Evo Morales:
Sundance Chief Rueben George, BC, at Haskell, grandson of Chief Dan George:
Anishinaabe Renee Gurneau of Red Lake, Minn: Mother Earth, memory and being
Supai Hopi Mona Polacca: Water, prayer and humility, one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
Haskell professor Dr. Daniel Wildcat of Rights of Mother Earth: Power and place
Dine' Robert Yazzie: Roots of Dine' Law at Rights of Mother Earth

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Supai Hopi Mona Polacca: Water, prayer and humility

Mona Polacca
Rights of Mother Earth Kansas 2012
Photo Censored News
At the Rights of Mother Earth Gathering in Kansas, Mona Polacca speaks on the spirituality that is life

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

HASKELL INDIAN NATIONS UNIVERSITY, Kansas -- Mona Polacca, Havasupai/Hopi, spoke at the Rights of Mother Earth Conference, about the foundation of life. From the first water inside the mother's womb, to the prayer upon which life depends, Polacca spoke of the spirituality of life.

People of the Blue Waters, People of Peace

Mona Polacca introduced herself as Havasupai, People of the Blue Waters, from the Water Clan. She is Hopi, People of Peace, and Tewa on paternal grandfather’s side. She is Sun Clan, Butterfly Clan and Tobacco Clan.

Polacca, one of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, began by remembering the words of Thomas Banyacya, "We are all related.”

Water, air, Grandfather Sun and Mother Earth

Polacca said at the time when we were inside our mother’s womb, that this was the “first foundation of life.”

“We were formed in water,” she said. “The water came out before us and we followed.”

“When we came into this world, the first thing we did was we took in air.”

“When we let out that air, we let out our first cry.”

“This is the air we breathe.”

Then, when your family took you outside for the first time, Grandfather Sun saw you, recognized you.

Then you were introduced to the fire of life

Then, when you were sitting up, experiencing your body from head to toe, you began using your backbone. On your stomach, you started crawling, crawling on Mother Earth, finding your way around.

Exploring, your caretaker stood you up on your two feet, stood you up and let go.

You experienced balance and connection to Mother Earth for the first time in your life. Then there was your first step. You began making your path, putting your footprints on Mother Earth.

"We are all related with all life being, from Mother Earth on up, all the way to the heavens."

“We have relied on these basic foundations of life.”

“It is life.”

“What is this spirituality, what is this sacredness?”

“It is life.”

Polacca spoke of how her family members refused to leave their home land in the Grand Canyon. A family member had to continuously occupy their little village in order to keep the National Park Service from coming in and bulldozing it down. The National Park Service cut off their water. Then, they had to carry their water. They had to make their own trail through the forest. But they remained.

Then, after 20 years, her family did get some of their land back. Now, they rely on their garden and the little creek that flows through to water their garden.
Supai prayers for protection
from uranium mining
Red Butte Grand Canyon
Photo by Brenda Norrell
But now uranium mining has started up again in the Grand Canyon.

The water is going to flow down into the canyon, this canyon that was formed from the great Colorado River.

Polacca said even if they don’t care about the Havasupai, there are many people on the river who will be contaminated by the runoff from that uranium mining.

The smallest ear of corn

When Hopi selected corn, they chose the smallest ear of corn. This is humility.

Hopi don’t have water systems for irrigating their crops. They rely on their prayers.

“They rely on those instructions given to them when they first came into this world.”

“They rely on the blessing of the Rain People.”

“This is the existence of the people I come from.”

Polacca said when she became a woman, her mother told her she was in this world for a purpose and she had a responsibility.

Her mother told her, “Your responsibly is that you are a representation of our family, you are a representative of our community, you are a representative of our tribe, you are a representative our nations, you are a representative of our world and you are a representative of our universe.”

“You have a responsibility to take care of it.”

“When she said those things to me, I really believed those things she said to me.”

Her mother told her to be kind, to take care of herself and take care of others.

“Don’t fight with your brothers and sisters, they’re all you have.”

Her mother offered the water and the food to the earth, prayers and offering to ancestors who were here before us.

Her mother said, “They made a way for us, they made prayers for us.”

They prayed for the future generations.

Protecting the earth from uranium mining

Polacca said the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers support the Lakota grandmothers in the fight against uranium mining in Lakota country. They wrote the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and appealed to them on behalf of the grandchildren and the effects of exposure.

They also wrote to the uranium mining company.

“We didn’t get a response from that Canadian company.”

Polacca spoke on Thursday, April 5, the day when Hopi and Navajo protested the scheme to steal their water rights to the Little Colorado River. In Tuba City, Arizona, Hopi and Navajo protested Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl.

Polacca said that Hopi are protesting the scheme to force them to give up their water rights to the Little Colorado River in the so-called “water rights settlement.”

She said the real purpose of this settlement is to give the Salt River Project and Peabody Coal full benefit and use of this water.

“Today Hopi are protesting in Tuba City, raising their voice in protest of this bill.”

“I believe in prayer. This is the way the grandmothers do their work.”

“That is part of the uniqueness of who we are.”

Speaking of the sacredness of holy places and the places of origin, she said, “We can’t step over the line and apply western notions.”

Copyright Censored News
For permission to repost this article in full or repost photos:

Rights of Mother Earth at HaskellKandi Mossett: Fort Berthold ND: Oil trucks killed seven children and youths
Ecuador Indigenous Marlon Santi at Haskell: Rights of Mother Earth gathering continues efforts of Bolivia President Evo Morales:
Sundance Chief Rueben George, BC, at Haskell, grandson of Chief Dan George:
Anishinaabe Renee Gurneau of Red Lake, Minn: Mother Earth, memory and being
Supai Hopi Mona Polacca: Water, prayer and humility, one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
Haskell professor Dr. Daniel Wildcat of Rights of Mother Earth: Power and place
Dine' Robert Yazzie: Roots of Dine' Law at Rights of Mother Earth

Also watch:
Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers in India

Bunky Echo-Hawk on the Lower Eastside

KNAU Radio gets it right! Kyl McCain meet with angry Navajo protesters

By Shelley Smithson KNAU

As most of the media is censoring the protest of the scheme to steal Navajo water rights by Senators Kyl and McCain, KNAU Radio Flagstaff gets it right!

Senators Kyl and McCain Meet Angry Protesters
in Tuba City

By Shelley Smithson
Protesters held up signs and booed as Arizona Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain visited Tuba City Thursday.
The senators were in Tuba City to discuss details of their water settlement bill with Navajo and Hopi officials.
The $300 million bill would cede the tribe’s claims to the Little Colorado River in exchange for three water development projects in reservation communities where many lack running water.
But the bill is unpopular with many, even those who live in communities that would get drinking water.
“Why didn’t they involve the public? This is their land. This is their water,” asks former Navajo Nation President Milton Bluehouse. “ I believe there is a vast violation of human rights.”
Bluehouse says he was pushed by Navajo Police when he tried to enter the closed-door meeting between the senators, the Navajo president and vice president, and members of the Tribal Council.

VIDEO: Upset Navajos protest McCain Kyl water theft

Photo by Paper Rocket Productions

By Paper Rocket Productions

SB2109 Video- Tuba City, AZ- McCain & Kyl from Paper Rocket Productions on Vimeo.
SB 2109 was introduced into congress on February 14, 2012

Over 300 Diné and Hopi people ( including traditional people and elders) upset by the latest colonial attack on indigenous peoples water rights, gathered to protest the visits of two US Senators (Jon Kyl & John McCain) to the Navajo Nation April 5, 2012.The people had gathered to say "NO DEAL" and "KILL THE BILL" to S2109, the bill that would allow for more water to flow into Arizona for the benefit of companies and urban growth.

Protesters chanted "Water Is Life", "Free Indian Water Ends Now", "Let the Water Flow", "Sewage Water for McCain and Kyl", other chants were said in Diné.

Protesters waited for the Navajo president Ben Shelly and US senators McCain and Kyl to exit the meeting in Tuba City, on the Navajo Nation. Earlier protesters marched in the streets of Tuba City, as Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly met with the Senators to discuss the further dismantling of Navajo and Hopi water rights. Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly announced to the public after the meeting that a deal has not been made yet. He stated that "the agreement will have to be agreed to by the Navajo People." There are 7 town hall meetings scheduled to hear input from 7 of the 110 chapter houses (similar to districts) and council delegates. However, the Navajo people would like more than 7 town hall meetings because this bill affects more chapters including ones in New Mexico.           

Native Fashion Show Honors Women, Empowers Future

American Indian Graduate Student Association
Contact: Gerard Begay (M) (602) 301-3969

AIGSA Fashion Show Provides Platform for Native Designers and Models
Posted at Censored News

"Our Past, Our Present Woven Together: Honoring Our Native Women in Fashion" is the theme for the 2nd Annual AIGSA Fashion Show. The theme highlights the strength of Native women, which is drawn from their Native cultures, values, and traditions and uniquely woven into their daily modern lives. Native women don’t walk in two worlds, they combine them and provide the inspiration to shape the destiny of our communities while emulating and honoring our traditions and values.

Designer and model participants are from Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and represent tribes from throughout the U.S. The various designs and accessories reflect the diversity of cultures and traditions of the Native community. Incorporating traditional concepts into modern fashion provides a powerful form of cultural expression. Student and amateur designers and models will be participating alongside professionals. Last year over 200 people attended and this year even more are expected.

The American Indian Graduate Student Association (AIGSA) is a student organization at Arizona State University that strives to support American Indian graduate students in higher education, serves as mentors to the American Indian undergraduates and raises awareness of American Indian culture, issues and concerns. The purpose of the AIGSA Fashion Show is to celebrate the many inspirational and successful Native American women in the community and to raise public awareness.

Appearances will be made by Miss Indian ASU Mykhal Mendoza, Miss Navajo Nation Crystalyne Gaye Curley, Miss Phoenix United States 2012 Tashina Atine, and Miss Indian Arizona 1
st Attendant Martha Ludlow Martinez.

Designers include Marco Arviso, Kevin Duncan, House of Darylene, Dineh Couture, Earle Couture, Glacsy, Genevieve Hardy, Cher Thomas, Shayne Watson and Kevin Whitehat.

The AIGSA Fashion Show will take place on
Thursday, April 19, 2012 from 12pm to 1pm on Hayden Lawn at the Arizona State University, Tempe Campus.

VIDEO: Navajo President Shelly selling out the people

Navajo President Ben Shelly attempting to aid Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl to steal Navajo water rights to the Little Colorado River. Video taped in Tuba City on April 5, 2012.

Pit River Tribe affirms UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples


By Pit River Nation
Censored News

BURNEY, CA – On March 29th, 2012 The Pit River Tribe unanimously affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Pit River Tribe is now the first tribe within the State ofCalifornia to affirm the declaration and the first since the United States affirmed its support of the declaration. Pit River Tribe is the third tribe in the United States to officially affirm the declaration after Gila River of Arizona in 2008 and Seminole Nation of Oklahoma in 2010. In preparation for Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. James Anaya’s visit to examine the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in the country from 23 April to 4 May 2012.

 As noted in the resolution, The Pit River Tribe affirms its inherent right to self-determination over its tribal lands and traditional ancestral territories according to Docket 347 Adopted July 15, 1959 and the full recognition and effective implementation of the rights affirmed in the Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperation relations between the Pit River Tribe and the United States Government.

The United Nations adopted the Declaration in 2007, with 144of 192 member nations casting affirmative votes. A handful of nations abstained from the final vote, a handful had absentee delegates, but only four voted against the Declaration: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.All four have now reversed their position with the United States affirming its support of the declaration on December 16th, 2010.

Morning Star Gali
Assistant Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
Pit River Tribe
36970 Park Avenue
Office: 530.335.5421 Ext. 222
Fax 530. 335. 3140
Web Site:

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