August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Anishinaabe Renee Gurneau: Mother Earth, memory and being

Anishinaabe Renee Gurneau shares a dream, the Creation Story and an understanding of the reality of being

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com
Watch video below

HASKELL INDIAN NATIONS UNIVERSITY, Kansas – Speaking at the Rights of Mother Earth Gathering, Anishinaabe Renee Gurneau shared how a dream led her to better understand the Creation Story and the reality of being part of the Earth and feeling its pain.

Gurneau, former president of Red Lake Nation College in Red Lake, Minn., was among the featured speakers at the gathering at Haskell, April 4 – 6, which continues the efforts of Bolivia President Evo Morales and the World Peoples Conference on the Rights of Mother Earth and Climate Change in 2010.

Gurneau begins with sharing the story of Original Man, who at the time of creation had all the knowledge of Creation. This knowledge included cause and effect.

She also described the duality of life: “For every action there is an opposite reaction.” She said that beyond that duality, which includes the opposites such as light and darkness, there is unity in Creation.

Creator gave Original Man a way of being. The ways of being are very simple and are very profound. These include living in harmony with the earth.

“We always give before we take,” she said. “We give thanks, we give offerings.”

“Everything is spirit,” she said, adding that we are all individual manifestations of the Creator. The ego was given to man so he can experience life, egos which must be kept in check.

We were given this incredible knowledge on how Creation operates. She said the invaders tried to cut Anishinaabe off from this knowledge, but it lives within each person.

“We know it again when we hear it.”

By way of her dream and the Creation story, she came to understand how Anishinaabe people are made of the earth itself.

“The Creator took the earth and molded the earth into us.”

Now, many of the ancestors have gone on and the earth is literally made up of the people. She said when we see the desecration of the earth, there is a hurt in the body. When one sees the trees cut, the strip mining and the tops of the mountains cut off, there is pain within the body.

“It hurts your body.”

There are different places where the energy is concentrated, such as places where there is oil and other places where they are trying to take the energy.

"This is why we feel the pain of it ourselves.”

She said the people carry this knowledge in their blood memory, in their DNA.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t come through the Bearing Strait. The Creator put Anishinaabe right here at Red Lake.”

She encouraged the people to embrace higher consciousness. “Stand in that strength.”

“Otherwise we are always on the defense, or in reaction.”

She said for those who are engaged in decolonizing their thinking, they are in opposition to tribal governments. Commodification -- transforming goods, ideas and identities into commodities -- is the foundation of capitalism, she said.

It is to make things less than, to make it other than that sacred spirit.

All living things are all one spirit.

As an educator, she said it is difficult to work within one's communities. "Our people are not aging well, so you know they are living in contradiction."

Gurneau said we are living in the time of the Seventh Fire. The people live with the memory, grief and sorrow of the past generations, when the people were killed and brutalized in unimaginable ways.

Speaking of those hundreds of years of oppression, brutality and sorrow, she pointed out there were millenniums beyond these recent centuries.

Gurneau said there were thousands of years of well-being, with the knowledge of living in a relationship with Mother Earth.

"We are all related because we have the same Mother."

"We have a lot to draw from."

"We can stand and operate in that position of strength."

Listen to more of Renee Gurneau’s talk below at the Rights of Mother Earth Gathering in Haskell:


Video recorded by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Earthcycles
For permission to republish this article: brendanorrell@gmail.com
Article copyright Censored News.
Feel free to share the link.

Rights of Mother Earth at HaskellKandi Mossett: Fort Berthold ND: Oil trucks killed seven children and youths
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/fort-berthold-oil-trucks-killed-seven.html
Ecuador Indigenous Marlon Santi at Haskell: Rights of Mother Earth gathering continues efforts of Bolivia President Evo Morales:
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/rights-of-mother-earth-haskell.html
Sundance Chief Rueben George, BC, at Haskell, grandson of Chief Dan George:
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/people-of-water-bc-chief-rueben-george.html
Anishinaabe Renee Gurneau of Red Lake, Minn: Mother Earth, memory and being
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/anishinaabe-renee-gurneau-mother-earth.html
Supai Hopi Mona Polacca: Water, prayer and humility, one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/supai-hopi-mona-polacca-water-prayer.html
Haskell professor Dr. Daniel Wildcat of Rights of Mother Earth: Power and place
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/power-and-place-dr-wildcat-on-rights-of.html
Dine' Robert Yazzie: Roots of Dine' Law at Rights of Mother Earth
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/robert-yazzie-roots-of-dine-law-at.html

New at Censored News


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  • Power and Place: Dr. Wildcat on Rights of Mother Earth

    Dr. Daniel Wildcat
    Power and place: Dr. Wildcat on Rights of Mother Earth

    By Brenda Norrell
    Censored News
    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/power-and-place-dr-wildcat-on-rights-of.html
    Watch video below

    HASKELL INDIAN NATIONS UNIVERSITY, Kansas – Dr. Daniel Wildcat encouraged a new dialogue, based on spirit, power and place, and a renewal of the ancestral ways of life, during the Rights of Mother Earth Gathering.

    “Our power resides in the landscapes and seascapes that we call home," Wildcat said at the gathering which continues the efforts of Bolivian President Evo Morales and the World Peoples Conference on the Rights of Mother Earth and Climate Change held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2010.

    Dr. Wildcat, Ph.D., Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma and professor at Haskell Indian Nations University, was a featured speaker and organizer of the Rights of Mother Earth Gathering, April 4 -- 6.

    Wildcat shared the importance of speaking from a power of place, a power of spirit.

    Quoting Henrietta Mann, Northern Cheyenne, when she was a visiting teacher at Haskell, Wildcat said the struggle is to be competent beings.

    “We are born spiritual beings, we know that. What are we struggling with? We are struggling to be competent beings.”

    “We speak from the heart. We speak from the spirit.”

    Wildcat remembered the words of Vine Deloria, Jr., about power and place and how this produces personality.

    “Let’s play to our strength. What is our strength? Our spiritual center of who we are as Indigenous Peoples," Wildcat said.

    “Our power resides in the landscapes and seascapes that we call home.”

    Pointing out the power of place of the White Mountain Apache and Dine,' Wildcat said, “Wisdom sits in places, let’s grab that.”

    Wildcat also described the dichotomy between nature and culture. “Everyone in this room has spoken in their own way.” He said this is the beauty of the unique tribal identities as expressions of homelands and what has been given. The Creator gave stories of emergence, songs and ceremonies.

    “Our cultures reflected that.”

    While discussing the Rights of Mother Earth, he said that cultural diversity must be acknowledged along with biological and ecological diversities. This is what gives Native people their identities. Others must acknowledge the cultural diversity that has given Native people their unique tribal and cultural identities.

    Today's movement is the renewal of old ways and practical knowledge in the world we live in today, without wanting to go back in time. He urged moving away from linear thinking that looks at life in terms of past and future time lines.

    The focus should be on moral and spiritual ecology, which includes human communities -- human communities within ecosystems. He pointed out that in the northwest, coastal people learn by being out on the water, out on the river.

    It is important to acknowledge that we are one small part of it all. However, humans look in the mirror and think they are building something called progress and destruction.

    Urging everyone to become part of this renewal, he said, “There’s work for everyone here.”

    Native people will not walk away from inalienable responsibilities. Although others are after Native peoples water, land and forests, he said it is important to discover a new discourse.

    Quoting Oren Lyons, Wildcat said, “Be careful about the words you use. We don’t have a word for resources.” When Native people refer to the land, trees and human life around us, they speak of relatives and relationships.

    The ongoing discourse, he said, is about living well and respectively with relatives in relationships. “We move from rights to responsibilities; we move from resources to relatives.”

    “We want to talk about resilience of new systems, restoration of indigenous systems, where people understand we are one small part of this complex web of life.”

    This is Indigenous realism, not romanticism, he said.

    Referring to formal education, he said this is only one way of knowing. There is also experiential learning. “We don’t have to learn through controlled experience.”

    “We are in the belly of the beast. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have the opportunity to make change.”

    Wildcat pointed out that the Haskell Indian boarding school here once had a jail that incarcerated children for speaking their language.

    "Look at where we are now. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work."

    Listen below to Dr. Wildcat’s talk at the Rights of Mother Earth Gathering:


    Recorded by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Earthcycles.

    For permission to republish this article in full: brendanorrell@gmail.com
    Feel free to share the link.
    Article copyright Censored News.

    Rights of Mother Earth at HaskellKandi Mossett: Fort Berthold ND: Oil trucks killed seven children and youths
    http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/fort-berthold-oil-trucks-killed-seven.html
    Ecuador Indigenous Marlon Santi at Haskell: Rights of Mother Earth gathering continues efforts of Bolivia President Evo Morales:
    http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/rights-of-mother-earth-haskell.html
    Sundance Chief Rueben George, BC, at Haskell, grandson of Chief Dan George:
    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/people-of-water-bc-chief-rueben-george.html
    Anishinaabe Renee Gurneau of Red Lake, Minn: Mother Earth, memory and being
    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/anishinaabe-renee-gurneau-mother-earth.html
    Supai Hopi Mona Polacca: Water, prayer and humility, one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/supai-hopi-mona-polacca-water-prayer.html
    Haskell professor Dr. Daniel Wildcat of Rights of Mother Earth: Power and place
    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/power-and-place-dr-wildcat-on-rights-of.html
    Dine' Robert Yazzie: Roots of Dine' Law at Rights of Mother Earth
    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/04/robert-yazzie-roots-of-dine-law-at.html
    New at Censored News April 2012
    April (23)

    FBI probes Native Americans opposing Nevada bear hunt



    NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE REQUESTS FBI INVESTIGATION OF NATIVE AMERICAN OPPONENTS OF NEVADA BEAR HUNT


    Sept. 2012: UPDATE: ACLU intervenes in targeting of AIM and No Bear Hunt by Censored News

    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/09/aclu-intervenes-in-targeting-of-aim-and.html

    Northern Nevada AIM  press statement
    Posted at Censored News
    http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

    RENO -- Following their appearance at the March Wildlife Commission meeting, where they stated their opposition to the bear hunt on religious grounds, Native Americans from various Paiute Tribes the Pyramid Lake Paiute Band were recently questioned by FBI and U.S. Marshalls.

    FBI Agent, George Chillito (cell 775-741-9429), an FBI agent with the Task Force on Counter-Terrorism in Reno, reportedly stated that he was investigating the Native Americans at the request of Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens because the “game wardens” and the “audience felt threatened” by the presence of the Native Americans at the March Wildlife Commission meeting.

    Several Native Americans appeared at the Wildlife Commission meeting held on March 23 and March 24 (“meetings”), and at the Washoe County Advisory Board Meeting held on March 15, to oppose the bear hunt, adopted in December 2010. Shortly after the Commission meeting, FBI agents and U.S. Federal Marshals began appearing at the homes and places of work of the Native Americans, and questioning them about why they opposed the bear hunt, and what were they going to do if the bear hunt continued, etc.

    At the meetings, several Native Americans from various Paiute Tribes were present and spoke on the record in opposition to the Bear Hunt for religious reasons, stating that the black bear was a sacred animal to them, and that to kill one for sport was the same as burning a Bible would be to a Christian.

    Shortly thereafter, during the period April 2-4, FBI agents visited and questioned two of the Native Americans who spoke at the open public meetings, by arriving at their homes and places of work. 

    Native American Daniel Thayer was visited by federal agents at his place of work on April 3, and was told that the Nevada Department of Wildlife had requested an investigation because the “audience felt threatened” by his presence, and was similarly questioned. On April 4, another Native American, Raquela Arthur, saw federal agents watching and carrying out surveillance on her private residence.

    When independently contacted, one Nevada Department of Wildlife staff member stated that he had no knowledge of any request by the Nevada Department of Wildlife for the FBI to investigate Native American opponents of the Bear hunt.

    Mr. Chilito is reported to have said that he was also investigating members of www.NoBearHuntNV.org who were present at the meetings, and who have been peacefully and professionally opposing the bear hunt since December 2010 by working within the NDOW public process without incident. Many members of the press from TV and newspapers were also present at the meetings, and were interviewing both Native Americans and members of NoBearHuntNV.org throughout the day. A video of the Commission meeting, and the testimony of the Native Americans, is posted on the Nevada Departmen of Wildlife website.

    This FBI intimidation comes on the heels of alleged racial slurs directed at the Native Americans when they spoke at the Washoe County Advisory Board held on March 15th.

     Native Americans questioned are members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Northern Nevada, a recently registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. AIM members call for NDOW to conduct an internal investigation and to make public who made the request to the FBI, on what grounds it was made, and why the Director of Nevada Department of Wildlife supported such a request.

    Phone contact info available from Censored News for media: brendanorrell@gmail.com
    Lisa and Johnny Bonta, Mr. Bonta is a Member of Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
    Daniel Thayer, Member of the Northern Paiutes from Owyhee, NV
    Raquela Arthur, Member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    RESPONSES

    No Bear Hunt NV shocked at probe of Native Americans exercising First Amendment free speech rights

    By: www.NoBearHuntNV.org
     (NBHO)
    April 10, 2012 - NoBearHuntNV.org has learned that Native Americans are under investigation by the FBI following objections to the bear hunt on religious grounds voiced by Native Americans at the March 23-24 Wildlife Commission meeting in Reno.
     FBI agent George Chilito, with the Task Force for Counter-Terrorism in Reno, along with approximately five U.S. Marshals, visited and questioned Native Americans at their homes and places of work about their opposition to the bear hunt at the request of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).  Mr. Chilito is reported as stating that the investigation was prompted by NDOW game wardens because they, and the audience, "felt threatened" by the presence of the Native Americans at the March Commission meeting. When independently contacted, an NDOW staff member stated that he had no knowledge of any request by NDOW for the FBI to investigate Native American opponents of the Bear hunt.   Mr. Chilito is also reported to have stated that he was also investigating members of NoBearHuntNV.org (NBHN).
     Members of NBHN were present at the Commission meeting (March 23-24) when the Native Americans objected to the Bear hunt for religious reasons, and state that throughout the meeting the Native Americans were peaceful, respectful, and behaved no differently from any other attendees. Many members of the press from TV and newspapers were also present at the meetings, and were interviewing both Native Americans and members of NBHN throughout the day.  A video of the Commission meeting, and the testimony of NBHN members and the Native Americans, is posted on the NDOW website.
     NBHN believes it is outrageous that the FBI is investigating on the basis of someone "feeling threatened" at a public Commission meeting, when there were numerous armed game wardens present at the Commission meeting. NBHN believes that calling out the FBI to investigate opponents of the hunt is an act of political intimidation, meant to discourage all opponents of the hunt from exercising their First Amendment free speech rights, and to discourage Nevada citizens from further expressing their opposition to the Bear hunt to either the Wildlife Commission or the state legislature.  NDOW's initiation of this investigation of bear hunt opponents is a clear indication of the extreme lengths to which backers of the bear hunt are willing to go to ensure that the bear hunt continues, despite overwhelming public opposition.  NBHN is not impressed that the FBI has allowed themselves to be manipulated by supporters of the bear hunt.
     NBHN states that being opposed to the Bear Hunt in Nevada is not a crime, nor is speaking out against the hunt during any public hearing before a state agency.  If public opposition to the hunt is a crime, then 90% of Nevada citizens would be under investigation, which is the percentage of Nevada citizens that oppose the bear hunt.
     NBHN has been opposing the bear hunt since December 2010, and has worked peacefully and professionally within the Department of Wildlife public process without incident for almost a year and a half.  Members and supporters of NBHN have regularly attended and spoken at Wildlife Commission meetings, and at County Advisory Board meetings in Washoe, Douglas, Lyon, and Clark counties without incident.  They have also called, talked with, emailed and met with NDOW staff on a regular basis.  The Wildlife Commission is on the record as stating that they appreciate NBHN's engagement on this issue, as well as their presence and involvement at meetings.
     NBHN fully supports Native American calls for a full and independent investigation as to who made the request to the FBI, on what grounds it was made, and why the Director of NDOW supported such a request. NBHN also questions what other organizations and individuals who have voiced opposition to the Bear Hunt are also under investigation, and if so, on what grounds. 
     Website: www.NoBearHuntNV.org