Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 30, 2012

Marchers declare state of human rights emergency in Arizona

Marchers declare state of human rights emergency in Arizona

Please read this Peaks update as well: Stop Snowbowl: Upcoming Flagstaff Elections, Know Where They Stand (

By Klee Benally
Censored News
Photos by Ethan Sing and Shelby Ray

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- More than 300 people including dozens of organizations rallied in Wheeler Park, then marched through the streets of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona in response to escalating human rights violations.

"Arizona is in a state of human rights emergency," stated Eli Isaacs, a volunteer with the Repeal Coalition and an organizer of the march. "We may come from different parts of this community and face different issues, but this racist state and greedy corporations can only push us so far. With our backs against the wall, its easy to see the same forces are oppressing us all, its natural to find unity against common oppressors."

Community members and students addressed reproductive justice, hetero-sexism, cultural survival, racism, sexism, ageism, police brutality and racial profiling. The gathering spoke out against racist laws such as SB1070 and HB2281, and John McCain and John Kyl's water settlement. They urged protection of the San Francisco Peaks and all other sacred places. They agreed to be in solidarity and to support one another in the struggle for human rights.

Luis Fernandez, from Arizona ALCU, asked the crowd what human rights were. Voices rang out, crying "Access to shelter, enough food, safe birth control, freedom to worship as you please" and more.

In August 2011, The Havasupai Tribe, Klee Benally, a Dine’ (Navajo) activist, and the International Indian Treaty Council, filed an Urgent Action / Early Warning Complaint with the United Nations (UN) CERD Committee, on the desecration of Sacred San Francisco Peaks, Arizona. The complaint addressed Arizona Snowbowl’s clear-cutting of 40 acres of pristine forest and the laying of over 5 miles of a waste water pipeline in furtherance of a US Forest Service and City of Flagstaff supported project to spray artificial snow made of waste water effluent on the Holy San Francisco Peaks.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, known internationally as the CERD Committee is charged with monitoring compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

“The Forest Service, the City of Flagstaff, and the courts have proven that they do not understand or respect our spiritual ceremonies and practices and our spiritual relationship to the Earth,” said Klee Benally, arrested multiple times while demonstrating to protect the Holy Peaks. “We have no guaranteed protection for our religious freedom as Indigenous Peoples in the US. The desecration of this Holy site is an attack on our cultural survival.”

Steve Kugler, an advocate for the homeless, stated, "During 2007’s winter solstice, a Homeless Memorial Day Service was conducted on city hall lawn. Twelve names of the city’s unsheltered people that died from exposure during the winter were read.

Unknown to the public, twelve more people had died. These twelve were not acknowledged by city officials, nor were they mentioned in Flagstaff’s media. I feel that the officials did this, because the unreported twelve people were not substance abusers, they are a blight to Flagstaff’s service industry.

My take is that Flagstaff has 2,500 all season, homeless, people who do not have a voice. Thirty percent of the 2,500 homeless are students. Let me be their voice. Flagstaff’s city’s officials were elected by the people to be a proxy voice for the people. Do Flagstaff’s citizens have justice when its elected officials feel that they are above the law, adhere to their own agendas and are not accountable to the people that elected them to office?"

Ofelia Rivas from O'odham Voice Against the Wall, talked about resisting border militarization and how she just testified before a UN special rapporteur in Tucson, Ariz. "The rights of mother earth is what we need to protect today to survive as human beings." stated Rivas.

Paloma Allen, O'odham, who has been working to stop loop 202 from desecrating the sacred South Mountain in Phoenix stated, "Indigenous rights and indigenous identity don't mean anything to this state, that's why we have to be vocal."

Lola, a youth member of a new Flagstaff based group called B.L.A.S.T. spoke passionately about how she has been impacted by Arizona's immigration laws, "This has affected me by my family getting deported, I cannot see them any more because they are on the other side of the border. It just hurts me inside to have them leave and just wake up one day and they're not there. What if that was your family getting deported, what if that was your mother getting put in jail? That is not good, that's not a way we as humans should be treated. We all have rights we all should be treated equal, so I do not understand why they are trying to take away our families."

Raquel, a former member of Tucson based U.N.I.D.O.S., the youth organization that occupied Tucson Unified School District's (TUSD) school board meeting last year, stated, "It's very clear the path that this state lays for youth of color.

It's very clear from the militarization of schools, from the militarization of neighborhoods, from the militarization of the border itself on O'odham lands. The reason that ethnic studies is under attack is because these classes represent a rupture in the plan that Arizona had for youth of color. The TUSD fears resistance so much that every parent or teacher has to go through metal detectors."

Claire Bergstresser, an NAU student and member of Immigration Action Research Team, directly addressed SB1070 and HB2281. Bergstresser quoted HB 2281 as "prohibiting ethnic solidarity" and responded to it by expressing, "I could not understand why our government had mixed politics with education, why students were being limited education on ethnic studies, the things that they can connect with, understand, and love." Bergstresser addressed the crowd, "Your voice and your passions hold no borders and will be heard. At the end of the day, it is not the loudest voices that are remembered but the ones with the passion and courage to listen, express and act in the name of something bigger than yourself. We will march today for our passions, we will march today in the name of human rights, but also we will march today to have our voices heard."


Vast Navajo Water Giveaway Exposed

By Dine' Hada Asidi
Posted at Censored News
Scoll down document
Vast Navajo Water Giveaway Exposed

Photo Human Rights March Flagstaff!

Photo credit: Sabin Portillo
About Outta Your Backpack Media: Indigenous youths in Flagstaff, Arizona region

Klee Benally | - Independent Indigenous Media
Check out my jewelry and other items for sale on Etsy! - Indigenous Youth Empowerment! - Flagstaff Infoshop

April 26, 2012

Mohawk Nation News website relaunched!

The new Mohawk Nation News MNN website has been launched:
Would you please go to the website and sign in to receive updates on our articles.  Your help in distributing our stories is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Human Rights March Flagstaff April 28, 2012

March for Human Rights to be Held in Flagstaff, ArizonaFor Justice & a Healthy Future for Coming Generations!
Posted at Censored News
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Dozens of organizations and concerned citizens are sponsoring a rally & march for Human Rights on Saturday, April 28, 2012 in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
WHY: Arizona has become a frontline in the contemporary national struggle for Human Rights. Huge corporations and city, state and federal governments are attacking our rights to education, Religious Freedom, Health, Reproductive Justice, Cultural Survival; the people of Arizona and the nation face Further Housing Foreclosures, Further Forced Relocation & Evictions, Pollution of Land, Water & Air, Desecration of Sacred Sites, Environmental Degradation, Racial Profiling, Racism, and on-going Gender & Sexual Orientation Based Discrimination.
Together we will demonstrate that struggling peoples stand together for healthy communities with dignity and respect! We will stand up for what is honorable.
Stop Snowbowl & Desecration of All Sacred Sites!
Stop Racist Laws & Attacks on Migrant Communities!
Protect Mother Earth! Water is Life!

WHO: The growing list of sponsors includes: Flagstaff Action Network,, Repeal Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity, Protect the Peaks, Dine’ Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, Laguna Acoma Coalition For A Safe Environment, Indigenous World Association, Beehive Design Collective, Outta Your Backpack Media, Radio Free Flagstaff, Taala Hooghan Infoshop, The Shanker Law Firm, PLC, Indigenous Action Media, NAU M.E.C.H.A, Ethos7, BLAST.
Join hundreds of your friends, neighbors and allies in bearing witness and taking a stand.

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 2012. Rally will start at 3:00 PM (MST).

WHERE: Rally will begin at Wheeler Park parking lot in downtown Flagstaff across from City Hall), a march through downtown Flagstaff will immediately follow.

GET INVOLVED: We are asking for Nations, institutions of faith, businesses, Chapter houses, grassroots movements, academic departments, student groups, and others to sponsor this event and help mobilize and do outreach locally in their communities.
Spread the word, organize caravans to Flagstaff, contribute financially, and post everywhere.

Further information:

Troubling questions for the UN Rapporteur session, its speakers and sponsors

Troubling questions for the UN Rapporteur session, its speakers and sponsors

Updated with French translation

By Ofelia Rivas
Traditional ceremonial O'odham, concerning session with the UN Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples in Tucson, on April 26-27, 2012
Censored News
The discussion and meaningful dialogue is more important to the original peoples of this lands, (United States, Canada and Mexico) without defining lands by borders. The bisection and marginalization of people is reflected in the space this "Significance of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Conference" is held. Yes, Not only am I unable to pay for the parking space, but I don't have the gas money to bring the elders and the ceremonial people. These are the people that these institutions should be hearing from to truly understand the implications and true significance of this document. It is disheartening to find on the speakers list a non-O'odham with a non-profit organization using our most sacred figure of the O'odham way of life. This official consultation will further validate this violation and further the agenda of this individual, WHICH is supposed to be protected by this document. This questions the individuals, organizations and non-profit organizations and instant organization represented on this speakers list. Are they representatives of the people or of individuals there to overshadow the real issues. I am on the speakers list only by a 5 day "extreme effort" by the Amnesty International people, since I was apart of the report on Human rights violations on the border, (Us/Mx), I will be speaking on the human Rights violations of the O'odham by the homeland security forces and the impact of US Immigration policies on our people. I represent the Traditional O'odham Leaders the original government of the O'odham and the ceremonial leaders.

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- The UN Rapporteur's sessions for Indigenous Peoples testimony are Thursday and Friday April 26 -- 27, 2012, in Tucson. Censored News has received many concerns about this session, its speakers and sponsors.
Foremost is the question of whether the original people of this land will be respected, the Traditional Ceremonial Tohono O'odham. (See Ofelia Rivas' statement from the traditional and ceremonial O'odham on the left column.)
Is the process of testifying at this session so academic and complicated that grassroots Indigenous are excluded? Will non-Indians trying to seize control of Indian organizations, and grant funding, be given priority?
The University of Arizona in Tucson, with its long history of Indigenous rights abuses, is serving as a cosponsor of this event. Should it be? The University of Arizona at Tucson, led the assault and desecration on sacred Mount Graham, along with the Pope and other universities. The consortium desecrated the sacred mountain of Apaches and other Indian Nations with their huge telescopes and cleared the land for development.
Now, the university is engaged in developing spyware that spies on Tohono O'odham and other Indigenous along the border. The university is engaged in teaching racial profiling at the border and the development of drones that kill civilians worldwide. These drones also carry out assassinations, without trial or jury, by the US.
Globally, the University of Arizona is engaged in, and teaches, global cyber spying, which includes racial profiling and religious profiling of Muslims and other targeted peoples of color. The university is co-opted by the agenda of Homeland Security and the US Border Patrol.
All of this is a matter of public record, and facts that the university brags about in press statements.
As for the UN sessions for Indigenous Peoples testimony, Native Americans ask these questions:
  • Is rhetoric being used as a distraction and substitution for action?
  • In the end, does powerful testimony become watered down in short and meaningless UN summaries?
  • Does the UN actually ever do anything, in practical terms, with the testimony it receives?
  • Does the UN ever take any action that results in change with this testimony?
Further, these UN events attract the wannabes: The suddenly-Cherokee and the "Yaqui" who Yaquis will tell you are frauds.
Why do the wannabes do it? They write grants for the organizations that include salaries or expenses for themselves. Controlling the funding is the first step to controlling the organization.
The ever-present tribe changers, who change their tribes once they are exposed, or use a mix of tribes to conceal the truth, usually show up centerfront to demand attention.
Also troubling are the sponsors of the Tucson session. Along with the university, one of the cosponsors is the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation Board of Trustees includes a member of Goldman Sachs. Robert Kaplan, professor at Harvard Business School and a senior director of The Goldman Sachs Group, serves on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees
However, there are no sponsors for the parking fees for grassroots Indigenous Peoples. The parking fees are $8 a day.
Will the well-funded, the academics, the showboats and the wannabes take centerstage?

Par Ofelia Rivas
O’odham traditionnelle et cérémonielle, à propos de la session avec le Rapporteur Spécial des Nations Unies pour les Peuples Autochtones à Tucson les 26 et 27 avril 2012
Censored News

Original article in English:

Traduction Christine Prat

La discussion et le dialogue constructif sont plus importants pour les peuples d’origine de ces territoires (Etats-Unis, Canada et Mexique) que de définir des pays par des frontières. La division et la marginalisation des gens sont reflétées par l’endroit où cette « Conférence sur le Sens de la Déclaration des Droits des Peuples Autochtones » se tient. Non seulement je n’ai pas les moyens de payer le parking, mais en plus, je n’ai pas l’argent pour payer l’essence pour y amener les Anciens et les leaders cérémoniels. Ce sont les gens que les institutions devraient entendre pour vraiment comprendre les implications et le sens réel de ce document. C’est démoralisant de trouver sur la liste des intervenants un non-O’odham d’une ONG qui utilise la figure la plus sacrée du mode de vie O’odham. Cette consultation officielle contribuera à valider cette violation et favorisera les fins de cet individu, CE QUI est sensé être protégé par ce document. Ceci met en question les individus, les organisations, les ONG et l’organisation improvisée représentés sur la liste des intervenants. Représentent-ils le peuple ou des individus venus pour détourner l’attention des questions réelles. Je ne suis sur la liste des intervenants qu’après 5 jours « d’effort intense » de la part de gens d’Amnesty International, vu que j’étais impliquée dans le rapport sur les violations des Droits de l’Homme à la frontière (US/Mexique), et je parlerai des violations des Droits de l’Homme des O’odham par les forces de sécurité intérieures et de l’impacte de la politique d’Immigration des Etats-Unis sur notre peuple. Je représente les Leaders Traditionnels O’odham, le gouvernement d’origine des O’odham et leurs leaders cérémoniels.



Original article in English:

Par Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Traduction Christine Prat

Jeudi 26 avril 2012

TUCSON, Arizona – Les sessions du Rapporteur des Nations Unies consacrées au témoignage des Peuples Autochtones [de la région] se tiennent jeudi 26 et vendredi 27 avril 2012, à Tucson. Censored News a reçu beaucoup de commentaires exprimant des inquiétudes sur cette session, ses intervenants et ses sponsors.
La question essentielle est de savoir si le peuple d’origine de ce territoire, les Tohono O’odham Traditionnels Cérémoniels , sera respecté. (voir la déclaration d’Ofelia Rivas pour les O’odham traditionnels et cérémoniels).
Est-ce que témoigner à cette session est si académique et compliqué que les Indigènes de la bases en sont exclus ? Est-ce que des non-Indiens essayant de prendre le contrôle des organisations Indiennes, et des subventions, auront la priorité ?
L’Université d’Arizona de Tucson, avec sa longue histoire de violation des droits des Indigènes est co-sponsor de l’évènement. Est-ce normal ? L’Université d’Arizona de Tucson a conduit l’assaut et la profanation du site sacré Mount Graham, avec le Pape et d’autres universités. Le consortium a profané la montagne sacrée pour des Apaches et d’autres Nations Indiennes en plaçant des télescopes géants et en débroussaillant le territoire pour le développement.
Maintenant, l’université est en train de développer du matériel d’espionnage pour espionner les Tohono O’odham et d’autres Indigènes le long de la frontière. L’université enseigne les techniques de fichage racial à la frontière et de développement de drones qui tuent des civils dans le monde entier. Ces drones servent aussi aux Etats-Unis pour commettre des assassinats sans jugement et sans jury.
En gros, l’Université d’Arizona développe et enseigne le cyber espionnage global, y compris le fichage racial et religieux des Musulmans et d’autres peuples de couleur désignés comme cibles. L’université est cooptée par la Sécurité Intérieure et la Patrouille des Frontières des Etats-Unis.
Tout ceci est du domaine publique et l’université s’en vante dans ses communiqués de presse.
Pour en revenir aux sessions des Nations Unies consacrées au témoignage des Peuples Autochtones, les Amérindiens posent les questions suivantes :
. Est-ce que la rhétorique sert de diversion et se substitue à l’action ?
. Est-ce qu’en fin de compte des témoignages forts sont dilués dans des résumés des Nations Unies courts et insignifiants ?
. Les Nations Unies font-elles jamais quelque chose, en termes pratiques, des témoignages qu’elles reçoivent ?
. Les Nations Unies entreprennent-elles jamais des actions donnant des résultats, sur la base de ces témoignages ?
Ensuite, ces occasions officielles des Nations Unies attirent ceux qui « voudraient en être » : les Cherokees par génération spontanée et les « Yaqui » dont les Yaquis vous diront qu’ils sont des imposteurs.
Pourquoi veulent-ils « en être » ? Ils écrivent des accords d’attribution de subventions qui comprennent leurs salaires et leurs frais. Contrôler le financement est le premier stade pour contrôler l’organisation.
Et il y a toujours ceux qui changent de tribu chaque fois qu’ils sont découverts, ou prétendent avoir des origines mêlées pour dissimuler la vérité et qui généralement se mettent en avant et exigent l’attention.
 Tout aussi troublant : les sponsors de la session de Tucson. A côté de l’université, l’un des co-sponsors est la Fondation Ford. Le Conseil d’Administration de la Fondation Ford compte parmi ses membres quelqu’un de Goldman Sachs. Robert Kaplan, professeur à l’Ecole de Commerce de Harvard et l’un des directeurs du groupe Goldman Sachs, fait aussi partie du Conseil d’Administration de la Fondation Ford.
Cependant, il n’y a pas de sponsors pour payer les frais de parking des Indigènes de la base. Le parking coûte $8 par jour.
Les subventionnés, les universitaires, les vedettes et les pseudos occuperont-ils le centre de la scène ?

Publié par

April 25, 2012

Calvin Johnson: Correcting Shelly's spin from Leupp on water rights


By Calvin Johnson
Posted at Censored News

The Navajo Nation President issued a press release regarding the Lower Colorado River Settlement Forum held in Leupp on April 24, 2012. The press release is one-sided (biased).

The Navajo Nation President’s press release states, “Though many people have spoken against the settlement through the five meetings, solutions and alternatives aren’t being presented.” This is false. The president failed to mention that all the speakers spoke against the legislation being offered. The president also failed to mention the speakers provided numerous solutions and alternatives. One such solution and alternative presented was to have the Navajo people draft up their own settlement agreement. Another one was to eliminate languages in the bill that threatens the Nations ability to retain it’s inherit rights. Another was to skip the negotiations and keep litigating and fight it through the judicial system.

These are good solutions and alternatives as requested by the president but the president is ignoring the people’s voices and concerns.

Radmilla Cody a Leupp resident and voter ask the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, “What are the disadvantages of the bill/settlement since you are presenting only the benefits?” No response was made to Ms. Cody’s question.

At one point during the presentation Water Commissioner Ray Gilmore stated that the Hopi’s are fighting this in court saying they (Hopi) have “time and immemorial….what does that mean?”. Mr. Gilmore continued and peppered his presentation with statements like “a claim does not mean rights." Another speaker responded and said the people and our leaders need to seriously understand the terminology of “claims” which also mean “rights” in legal terms.

These are important factual statements made by the citizens of the Navajo Nation which the President and his Director of Communications left out of his press release. The president is not being fair and not accurately reporting to the people the true events that are happening at the forums.

Continue to voice your concerns to our leaders in opposition to SB2109 and HR 4067.

Calvin Johnson
Leupp, Arizona


President Shelly Supports LCR Settlement Education

Contact: Erny Zah. Director of Communications
Cell: (928) 380-0771
For Immediate Release
April 25, 2012

LEUPP, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly reaffirmed he is listening to the opinion of the Navajo people about the Little Colorado River Water Settlement.

President Shelly stated his position last night at the Leupp chapter house. The meeting was the fifth in a series of seven scheduled meetings about the Little Colorado Water Settlement Agreement and Sen. Jon Kyl’s senate bill 2109.

“I support the education from the water commission,” President Shelly said before an audience of about 130 people.

In an eight minute closing statement after a five-hour meeting, President Shelly spoke nearly entirely in Navajo.

President Shelly said he hasn’t signed anything regarding the Little Colorado Water Settlement and that he wants the people to be educated about the settlement. He added that he is offering more education to the Navajo people than what was offered than in 2010 when the Navajo Nation approved the Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement, which was never ratified by Congress.

Vice President Rex Lee Jim attended the meeting too and spoke to the audience mostly in Navajo.

Vice President Jim said the language of the settlement is difficult to understand because its written in complicated legal terms, but that people needed to understand the proposed settlement.

The meetings were set in areas and chapters that would be directly affected by the proposed settlement that has been negotiated for more than 30 years.

Leupp, a community of about 1,000 people, would be one of the communities directly affected by the proposed water settlement.

Part of the settlement would be money to build a ground water project and a water pipeline between Leupp and Dilkon, which is about 40 miles away.

The project would cost about $100 million and would allow access to nearly 5,000 acrefeet of drinkable water per year. Currently, the communities use about 441 acre-feet per year of water.

Though many people have spoken against the settlement through the five meetings, solutions and alternatives aren’t being presented.

According to the power point presentation at the meetings, if the Navajo Nation doesn’t settle claims to the Little Colorado River, potentially an Arizona state judge could decide the fate of Navajo claims to the water.

The proposed settlement would:
• Provide the Navajo Nation unlimited right to N-Aquifer ground water for domestic and municipal uses (homes, hospitals, schools and others)
• Provide the Navajo Nation with the right to pump as much groundwater as it wants from the C-Aquifer, while placing limits on the amounts that non-Navajos (including the Hopi Tribe) can pump near the Navajo Reservation
• Protect the right to use all unappropriated surface water from the Little Colorado River
• Prohibit the construction of new reservoirs anywhere in the LCR basin without the consent of the Navajo Nation
• Prohibit new surface water irrigation by any party, except the Navajo Nation
• Recognize all historic and existing irrigation on the reservation
• Fund the critical infrastructure projects in Leupp-Dilkon and Ganado (and provide for operation and maintenance funding of these projects)

The settlement does not include resolve or waive Navajo claims to the larger Colorado River.

Halt copper mining water contamination for Gila River O'otham

Protect Gila River Indian lands from water contamination from copper mining, south of Phoenix

By Lori Riddle
Censored News

GILA RIVER INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. -- A threat to my Community, we just won a long battle water rights court battle and now we have to fight to support the protection of it from contaminants. Please help by contacting the agencies at the bottom and tell them to leave the water alone, no In-Situ mining! Your support is greatly appreciated!

Summary of the Curis Copper Mining Project (Florence, Arizona)
- A company is currently trying to obtain permits to mine an area in Florence that has a southern boundary of the Gila River and is just southeast of the Eastern most boundary of the Gila River community.

- This proposed Florence Copper Project is proposing to pump more than 10 billion pounds of toxic sulfuric acid into the ground - at the height of its 20-year operation more than one million pounds a day!!

- The flow of the water, both above and below ground, is from the mine site towards the Gila River community's Eastern boundary.

- The proposal is being fronted by a Canadian-owned mining company Curis Resources, which has never owned or operated a mine of any type in its short history and is merely a penny stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

- The type of mining they propose to conduct is called In-Situ mining. There are no commercial In-Situ copper mines anywhere in North America - this would be the first mine of its type.

- The In-Situ process has been used to mine Uranium across North America with disastrous consequences. An Independent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) concluded that no In-Situ mine has ever restored groundwater to pre-mining conditions.

- EPA published a report in 1999 resulting from a study and samples on the Florence Copper Project, concluding that in-situ leach mining releases radioactive chemicals into the groundwater.

- Previous mining operator BHP conducted a test pilot project in 1997 for 100 days. Since that time, there have been more than 26 separate exceedances of water quality standards for constituents such as radiochemicals, magnesium, sulfates, total dissolved solids, adjusted gross alpha, and radium. In other words, there is more than a decade of significant evidence showing that this operation contaminated the groundwater.

- On Jan 23, 2012, Curis reported to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), groundwater exceedances on one of their monitoring wells of contaminants such as sulfate, total dissolved solids, and magnesium ranged from three (3) times to twelve (12) times the allowable levels.

- The proposed acidic solution is NOT akin to vinegar, as claimed by Curis. This acidic solution dissolves arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, radiochemicals, and other pollutants into the groundwater. In addition, Curis proposes to re-acidify and re-inject this contaminated solution into the aquifer multiple times.

- Natural Geology of the Site Does Not Prevent the Movement of Water Between Zones - The ore body into which Curis proposes injecting acidic solution is naturally highly fractured which makes the movement of injected acidic solution and groundwater unpredictable and difficult to control.

- After nearly two years of studying this project, the Town of Florence Council rejected Curis' proposed land use change to allow for mining in Dec 2011 by a unanimous 7-0 vote.

- Following the denial of Curis' application, after Curis indicated they would go ahead and just mine on some neighboring land owned by the Arizona State Land Department, the Florence Town Council enacted a subsequent Resolution urging "all federal, state, and county agencies involved in the permitting process for the Florence Copper Project to recognize that approving such a project along the Gila River, in close proximity to populated areas and the vital aquifer is ill-advised... The Mayor and Council further urge agencies to deny any and all permit applications for the Florence Copper Project.

- Opposition to this project is widespread - 8 separate private landowners owning more than 18,000 acres in the surrounding area, two private water utility companies, thousands of local residents, Pulte Homes, and the Town of Florence have all expressed the opposition to the project because of the grave environmental risk.

- Curis indicates the intent to inject more acid in the next several months. If you want to voice your concern to those in the Arizona State Government who will be making that decision shortly, you should immediately contact:

Governor Jan Brewer

Nancy Rumrill
U.S. EPA Region 9

Henry Darwin
Director ADEQ

Maria Baier
Arizona State Land
Department Commissioner

KKK carved on blind Lakota elder in Rapid City hospital



Blind, 68-year-old Lakota elder Vern Traversie has KKK carved into his torso while recovering from open heart surgery at Rapid City Regional Hospital on a referral from the Indian Health Service.
After 7 months of waiting for justice, Cheyenne River Sioux Nation tribal member Vern Traversie goes public with an appeal for justice.

Censored News
Update July 17, 2012:
Vern Traversie files lawsuit against hospital:

Vern Traversie Justice Rally and March
Rally and March photos in left column at Censored News
Rapid City, South Dakota USA May 21, 2012 (11am – 4pm MST)
Rally underway, began at 11:00 AM MST at Memorial Park, south side of Rushmore Civic Center, Rapid City, South Dakota. The Justice for Vern March continued southbound on 5th Street to the Rapid City Regional Hospital.The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is supporting VERN TRAVERSIE.

New Navajo water rights theft documents: 'Pollack fear document'

New Navajo whistleblower documents on theft of Navajo water rights

Navajos respond to discrimination at water rights hearings; and the 'fear' document from Navajo Nation water attorney Stanley Pollack, see two original documents below

By Dine' Hada Asidi
Posted at Censored News

Dear Elders, Youth, Children, Brothers, Sisters, Aunties, Uncles, Sons and Daughters
Here is a summary document with great background research information, showing just some of the untruths, misrepresentations, and deliberate omission of information being to by Pollack, to the President, Water Commission, and Pollack's other supporters. 
The attached document was prepared in response to the Navajo Nations lawyer Stanley Pollack's "FEAR" document. The research contained in this document is meant to educate and develop informed questions when attending Water Workshops, Conferences, Hearings, and Forums.
Some of the falsehoods they spread are beyond shocking.  The falsehoods are clearly violations of informed consent, human rights, and legal ethics applied to lawyers. We have a team working on these issues in another paper.
Also, the English use limitations in Tuba were violations of the Navajo Bill of Rights "freedom of speech" provision.  Any county officers aiding this, or if any of this takes place in a county or state school building, it is a violation of our U.S. Constitutional rights. 
They (Shelly, Pollack's supporters, etc.)  did not impose that English limit in Ganado so that Theresa Showa, a non speaker of Navajo and a big Pollack supporter, could speak and speak longer than just about anyone else.  That's also a violation of the equal treatment provision in the Navajo Bill of Rights.
These hearings are discriminatory, rigged, and violations of our rights by our own People.   Now we know how tribal people felt in the 1800s when the Army recruited scouts from their own members to help hunt them down.
Then there is age discrimination.  The youth were excluded from Pinon.  It's their future we're discussing.  What kind of example is this for the youth.
Also, the BIA/BIE schools are prohibiting student and faculty free speech on the S. 2109 or any water rights issue.   Those are the kinds of schools Pollack's supporters must have gone to.
This Has Been Prepared For The People and By The People
Thank you six final writers/editors who labored on the attached all afternoon and part of tonight.

Hada' Asidi Response to Pollack Memo to Naize
. Pollack's Memo to Naize Apr 16 (2)

April 24, 2012

Navajos press president for his stance on water rights theft

Diné Hada’ Asídí The Navajo Vigilant Ones(A Navajo People’s Public Interest Organization)

Contact: Milton Bluehouse: 928-205-5558
Ed Becenti:

Diné Hada’ Asídí is serving here as a clearinghouse, on the immediate issue of this Press Release, for the members of a score of Navajo grassroots groups and their many hundreds of citizen supporters who are opposed to S.B. 2109 and H.R. 4067
e.s.―Milton Bluehouse, Sr.

April 23, 2012



Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly must immediately declare to the People his “New Stand” on S. 2109

Oak Springs, Navajo Nation (Ariz.) ― The evening of April 20th Navajo President Ben Shelly and his Water Rights Commission presented the 4th in a series of public forums on the highly controversial Senate Bill 2109.

At the meeting’s conclusion, the President astonished everyone―especially his own shocked group―by suddenly announcing “I’m going to Washington, D.C. and stop this bill.”

After this statement, and with the roar of approval from the audience going on, it was difficult to tell exactly what he said next.
Witnesses report that both after and before his bombshell, Mr. Shelly alternately said: “I’m telling them the deal’s off.” “I’m visiting Kyl and McCain and telling them I change my stance to take the people’s stance in opposition.”

“I’m telling Kyl and McCain to delay and not rush the bill.” “I’m still learning.
Maybe a referendum is the way to go.” “The People need to be educated more.”

At Oak Springs Shelly made at least a temporary deviation from water lawyer Pollack’s destructive plan, but this time on behalf of the People. Now the President has to declare to the People whether he is going to honor his words and the obvious message the People received from him at Oak Springs, or if he is going to back-peddle into Pollack’s spider web of control and drag the Navajo People with him.
It’s now up to President Shelly to set the record straight, and declare clearly and repeatedly―through the print and radio media to all the people―what his “new stand” is on S. 2109.

The water rights groups and their thousands of supporters are saying he must show who he represents, either the Navajo People (like he did for a brief moment at Oak Springs), or Mr. Pollack and outside interests.

April 21, 2012

Moapa Paiutes Healing Walk Earth Day 2012

Reid Gardner dirty coal fired
power plant
Media Advisory for: Monday April 16, 2012
Contact: Lynn Goya, Sierra Club, (702) 281-8686, / Elspeth Cordua, Sierra Club, (702) 732-7750,

Moapa Band of Paiutes and Sierra Club Unite in Three Day Cultural Healing Walk & Earth Day Rally
Tribe Walks to Protest Health Devastation Caused by Reid Gardner Coal Plant

Posted at Censored News

On Sunday, April 22, Earth Day, members of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, other Southwest Tribal Nations, Nevada residents, and members of the Sierra Club will gather outside the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse, to conclude a 50-mile, three-day cultural healing march from the dirty Reid Gardner Power Plant.  The unprecedented cultural healing walk will include Tribal Members and supporters from throughout the Southwest, walking from the Paiute Reservation to Nevada’s power center for the U.S. government. The walk through Tribal Lands makes visible the damage the plant’s invisible coal particulates are doing to the Tribe’s health, culture and economy.

The first two days of the walk will be a private, ceremonial gathering of Tribal Nations to heal and reconnect with their ancient culture. On the third day, as the Nations conduct the final processional to the federal courthouse, the Sierra Club and other community groups will join in to rally for environmental and social justice and a transition from coal to clean, renewable Nevada-based energy.

The rally will begin with a traditional Tribal victory dance and song. Then, Tribal members will tell the stories of the health and social toll Reid Gardner has inflicted on elders, families and children.

The Moapa Band of Paiutes Tribal lands abut the Reid Gardner plant, Southern Nevada’s last coal-burning power plant.  The Reid Gardner plant threatens the Moapa Band of Paiutes and nearby residents’ health by spewing life-threatening air pollutants that worsen asthma, allergies, sinus problems, ear infections, thyroid disease and heart disease.  The Reid Gardner toxic coal ash pits contain a toxic stew of carcinogens and neurotoxins that have affected the health of most of the residents of this tiny community through contamination of the air, land and groundwater.

Who: Moapa Band of Paiutes Chairman William Anderson, Tribal elders, members of the Sierra Club, and concerned Nevada residents.

What: Culmination of Cultural Healing Walk and Earth Day Rally
Walk: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. (along Las Vegas Blvd.)
from Heritage Park, 890 Las Vegas Blvd N, to Lloyd George Federal Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. S,
Rally: 3 – 4 p.m. at Lloyd George Federal Courthouse

When:  Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2012

Limited interviews and photo opportunities will be provided to select journalists along the Tribal Nations-only portion of the walk.  Call to request.

Ihanktonwan (Yankton) fighting hogfarm in court April 23, 2012

Ihanktonwan protest hogfarm 2008
Ihanktonwan are still fighting the hogfarm in South Dakota

By Faith Spotted Eagle
Censored News

On Monday, April 23, 2012 a group of Ihanktonwan (Yankton) tribal members will listen to their appeal to a Charles Mix Co Judge to deny a commercial water permit to the unwelcome Longview Farms CAFO. The tribal members believe that the CAFO is attempting to violate tribal water rights use and welcomes prayers for the outcome of the preservation of our sacred waters.  Court is at 2:30 pm at Chas Mix Co Courthouse, Lake Andes, SD.  The tribal members are being represented by Tracey Zephier, tribal attorney.
The tribal group has urged the tribe not to give up, even though the tribe wished not to appeal through previous counsel.  The tribal members are Sharon Drapeau, (deceased elder Evelyn Blackmoon), Faith Spotted Eagle, Judy Honomichle, Allan Hare, Kip Spotted Eagle Collins, Glenn Drapeau and Eva Bruigier. Four years ago to the date of April 23, protesters were mass arrested and taken to jail when they tried to defend a tribal road.
After national coverage and an intervention filed in the UN, the county backed off and dropped the charges on the protesters.  The water wars have begun!!!  We need your support.  It is ironic that court is the same day, years later after the arrests.
Contact Faith Spotted Eagle at for questions or on facebook.  Wopida.

April 19, 2012

Lazy Journalists: The best friend of corrupt politicians and corporations

Plagiarizers, aggregators and deceivers

Art by Censored News
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

It is too bad that the national staff reporters getting paychecks don't do real investigative journalism anymore. The corporations are loving it. From government contracts and uranium mining to Indian "settlements" and the promotion of dirty coal fired power plants, lazy journalists are the best friends of corrupt politicians and corporations.
"Journalism" in Indian country these days usually falls into these categories: Plagiarizers, aggregators and deceivers.
Aggregators are publishers who post others hard work with advertising, in order to make money for themselves.
Corporate manipulators are publishers who post selected work of others to manipulate public opinion, or advance their own agenda.
As for reporters, there's also the deceiver. The deceivers disguise their plagiarism. They rewrite others hard work that they find online, and top it off with a phone call or two, in order to disguise it as their own story. They want you, the reader, to believe it is an original and they were actually out covering a news story. They use a borrowed or stolen photo to complete the hoax.
The most notorious of these deceivers have been armchair "reporters" in Indian country, engaged in deceit and getting paid for it, for decades.
There's also the criminally insane publishers and reporters, who without any shame, just collect others work, copy and paste it together, and put their own name on it.
Then, there's the waste-of-space reporters. These writers, who are either lazy, inexperienced or flexing their egos, waste your time with non-news. From the incompetent jumble of words to the useless distraction and repetitive soapbox, their articles are a waste of reader brain cells.
News publishers are also out to convince their freelancers that they are too poor to pay.
However, any publisher who has advertising on their website, is corporate owned, or has raised $10,000 or more in recent fundraising, should be paying reporters and photographers first and second print rights. This means, even if an article or photo has been published before, and you have been paid for it, you still deserve your name on it, and to get paid for it when it is published again.
Write or call the reporters, editors and publishers and demand justice for yourself and others. Demand that the ethics of journalism be upheld.

The following comment, received by Censored News, vanished from the blogger, so it is being added here:
The Dream  has left a new comment on your post "Lazy Journalists: The best friend of corrupt polit...":
I wanted to bring something to your attention. The possibility exists that there are indeed a few investigative journalists who are doing their jobs. But someone is going through a lot of effort to keep us from seeing what they are reporting.
I imagine that someone like you is aware of who John Pilger is. He made a film called "THE WAR YOU DON'T SEE" Its got to be one of the most incriminating documents ever made against the USA and its overseas policies. As far as I can tell it has been banned in the USA. Do a search for it. You will get many results. Most of them will be a preview. Many of them will also say  look here to see the film online for free. Try visiting any one of the sites that makes that claim. You will find that you can't see it.
Just to make things easy for you look here.  is a site that is run by independent journalists who give their time freely. They accept no advertising and have the film posted twice on this page.
You will notice that one of them says deleted by Vimeo. The other says film does not exist. I know for a fact that the one that says deleted by Vimeo used to say copyright violation on it. You would think that if you can't see a film for free in the USA, then surely you can buy it. Try buying it. You will find that you can't. If by some chance you do find someone who will sell it, you will find that the DVD won't work in your player because it was made on the European video system.
It should be the responsibility of every single American to see this film. But Americans are the only ones who won't see it. Just ask yourself how many people will go through the hassle to get what amounts to a documentary film, to actually go and find the software that will let them see it on their DVD player should they have been able to find someone to sell them the Euro copy?
By now I think you should be able to see what I'm talking about. There is more. This is not the only film this is happening to. There were once many vids posted by independent journalist Lizzie Phelan. While most of the corporate media was in bed on US aircraft carriers, she is the one who was bringing the reports from downtown Tripoli while they were being bombed by NATO,. Her website disappeared first, and with the passage of time many of her vids that were posted in a number of places on the net have also disappeared. Some of them said copyright violation, and there was a name on there that I can't remember now that was given the credit for holding the copyright. Lizzie Phelan has no idea who that person is. These are the ones that a jamock like me knows about. There have got to be more. Do you see what I am saying? The last time "THE WAR YOU DON'T SEE" was posted in its entirety on youtube was last October maybe. I was posting it everywhere and anywhere I could for about 3 days. It disappeared at the same time a vid that I had made was deleted from youtube and they disabled my account for something like 6 months because of it. Their note to me said it violated their upload policy.
Something weird about this one. About a month ago or more, it had been deleted from Vimeo. I was back there looking for something else and noticed it was not deleted anymore. However when I played it, it now has these weird bumps at the end where the info I give is being played. I have no explanation for this that's rational.  I think my point is clear now. I think its also safe to say that these can't be the only instances of this.

Black Hills Treaty Council to Rapporteur: Free prior informed consent

By Black Hills Sioux Naiton Treaty Council and Owe Aku International Justice Project
Censored News

Greetings on behalf of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council and Owe Aku International Justice Project. Recently, at a Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council meeting in Pine Ridge, will all of our vast territories represented, the people discussed several policies, including international strategy. It has never been a secret that our elders and leaders believe that the only potential justice on Indigenous treaties will be found outside of settler nation colonial systems as used by the Untied States. We have argued, in resolution of both the Study on Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, along with many other North American Indigenous treaty nations, that the appropriate place for treaty resolution is before an international mechanism such as the International Court of Justice.

In the attached presentation to Mr. James Anaya, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, who will be welcomed on the Lakota Homeland at Sicangu territory on May 1, 2012, we make a series of recommendations designed to create actual mechanisms with some authority to hear the violations of member nations against the rights of Indigenous peoples. Since the passage of the Declaration and the establishment of the Permanent Forum the only course for any kind of acknowledgment that our rights even exist have been to make recommendations to one body who then makes recommendations to another body that then puts the recommendations into a report.

It is our purpose here then to begin, at last, a meaningful discussion on action-oriented mechanisms with the ability to directly address violating nations and propose international methods for the resolution of those violations to Indigenous rights. Are the violations of Indigenous human rights around the world any less important than the violations against other peoples and, if not, should there not be mechanisms for addressing those settler nations who repeatedly violate international law and standards with impunity against Indigenous peoples that continue to result in genocide, cultural degradation, language destruction, and most importantly, environmental matricide against Mother Earth for the benefit of a few? We do not believe our rights are any different and therefore respectfully submit the attached.
(Resolution below)
Kent Lebsock Alex White Plume
Director Eyapaha

Owe Aku International Justice Project Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council
for Lakota Treaty Justice & Advocacy
646-233-4406 605-455-2155
646-395-1617 (fax)

Cheyenne River
Crow Creek
Fort Peck
Lower Brule
Pine Ridge
Standing Rock
Presentation to the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples at Sinte Gleska University on the Lakota Homeland on May 1 and 2, 2012

“The 1868 F. Laramie Treaty is an international legal document and the basis of our international relationship with the United States and the world.  The U.S. government and its people began to violate this Treaty immediately upon the “discovery” of gold in the He Sapa (Black Hills) and have continued to violate this Treaty to this day.  The U.S. government and its people realized the abundance of minerals, plants and land within our land base, and their appetites for wealth were whetted, and indeed, have never been satiated as they continue to extract from Mother Earth in order to profit from this degradation. 

“The Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council reaffirms its Declaration of Inherent Authority and Sovereignty to the Indian Reorganization Act government of the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Interior Department of the U.S. government, and to the American President Barrack Obama, as well as the U.S. State Department.  This is necessary as the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) government

continues to operate as the colonizer of the Lakota, to deepen assimilation policies of the U.S., is unable to enforce treaty Rights, and moves in and out of discussion to accept money for Treaty violations.”[1] 

None of the actions by U.S. colonizers and their agents have been adequately changed by the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.  Therefore, given the statement of our traditional governing authority, we would make the following recommendations to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples :

1.         That action-oriented mechanism(s) must be created in order to resolve issues of conflict that arise from violations to the principles and standards protecting the rights and responsibilities of Indigenous peoples over our lands, territories and resources as set forth in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international laws and standards, in particular the current universal crisis facing Sacred Water.

2.         That action-oriented mechanism(s) must be created in order to resolve issues of conflict that arise from violations to the principles and standards protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples from unilateral, dictatorial actions by member nations who willfully and purposely violate the right to free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples as set forth in paragraphs 10, 11, 19, 28, and 29 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.  Recent violations by the United States and Canadian governments include the failure to seek the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples regarding the climate-killing Keystone XL-Pipeline.  Here on our territory in the Lakota Homeland, this recently resulted in the necessity of our peoples to protect the land by blockading giant trucks from illegally traversing our land. 

3.         That action-oriented mechanism(s) must be created in order to resolve historical and contemporary treaty issues that arise from violations to treaties between settler nations and Indigenous nations.  For example, it is well-established that the United States of America has broken every treaty it legally and internationally acknowledged with Indigenous nations.  Through a process of domestication, lies, deceit and outright genocide, the violation of these treaties has never been addressed justly or fairly, nor have the American people been held accountable for the results of treaty violations on the Indigenous peoples of our continent.

4.         That action-oriented mechanisms must be created to resolve conflicts that arise from violations to the principles and standards protecting the rights and responsibilities of Indigenous peoples, that these mechanisms must be independent, balanced, inclusive and transparent and that these mechanisms must have the ability to recommend to the United Nations and its agencies actions designed to enforce, enhance, highlight and publicize its conclusions in order to pressure violating member nations to comply with international law and standards with respect to Indigenous peoples.   

5.         That action-oriented mechanisms must be created to resolve conflicts that arise from violations to the principles and standards protecting the rights and responsibilities of Indigenous peoples, that these mechanisms must include, inter alia, the establishment of ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples’ governance institutions, including indigenous nations, councils, parliaments, and traditional and other forms of governments, independent of member nations’ colonizing institutions including the Indian Reorganization Act governments. 

These action-oriented recommendations are the result of the failure of most governments of member states, especially the United States of America, to take steps to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Despite its “support” of the Declaration issued by the President of the United States on December 16, 2011, that “support” is hallow and meaningless.

In nearly every sentence of the statement where “support” is indicated, there is a significant qualification or denial placed upon the tenets set forth in the Declaration.   

[The Declaration] expresses aspirations of the United States, aspirations that this country seeks to achieve within the structure of the U.S. Constitution, laws, and international obligations, while also seeking, where appropriate, to improve our laws and policies.

Which begs the question: under what circumstances would it be inappropriate to improve law and policy?  Given the lessons of history, it is clear that improving laws and policies in the U.S. is often considered inappropriate if it extends equal rights and justice to Native peoples and nations.  The clarity of the United States position is repeated when they write:

“The United States is therefore pleased to support the Declaration’s call to promote the development of a new and distinct international concept of self-determination specific to indigenous peoples. The Declaration’s call is to promote the development of a concept of self-determination for indigenous peoples that is different from the existing right of self-determination in international law.

This statement is indication that, rather than leading in the work in human rights, the United States prefers to arrogantly stand outside the circle of nations while demanding that others conform to policies the U.S. is happy to violate.  Please see the full text of our objections attached hereto. 

For these reasons we have recommended the action-oriented steps set forth herein.  

Additionally, we would like to resubmit herewith the Response of Owe Aku International Justice project to the Questionnaire of the Special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples on the issue of extractive industries and its affects on our people and territory. 



Chief Oliver Red Cloud, Itacan                                              Alex White Plume, Eyapha
For more information or to support our recommendations, please contact

Owe Aku International Justice Project, 720 W. 173rd St., #59, NYC NY 10032,, 646-233-4406

Kent Lebsock                                                                          Alex White Plume

Director                                                                                   Eyapaha

Owe Aku International Justice Project                                   Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council                                      

Response of Owe Aku International Justice Project

to the Questionnaire of the

Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples

pursuant to United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 15/14 of  30 September 2010, Reference:  Indigenous (2005-1)
1.  What are the major concerns regarding the extraction or development of natural resources within or in close proximity to the territories of indigenous peoples? Please provide examples of any specific negative experiences and information about the lessons learned from those experiences.

Uranium mining by technique of in situ leaching (ISL) is proven to release dangerous, carcinogenic contaminants, including Arsenic and Alpha Emitters (Radium 226 & 228, Barium, Thorium 230). Of the eight water wells sampled [at Pine Ridge? or where?] by the US Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in 1999 and 2000, half exhibited a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for Radionuclides exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’)legal MCL for Gross Alpha Particle activity. The Indian Health Service Arsenic Tech Team reported in 2005 that 98 wells in Pine Ridge have levels of Arsenic two to twelve times higher than the MCL prescribed by the US government. In response to these findings, the source of water for the families originally drawing from the contaminated wells was changed to either pipelines from the Missouri River or delivery via trucks. Also, growing concern of the source of the contamination must be addressed with a definitive study across the reservation to identify all sources of contamination - in river systems, springs and groundwater. Despite these deadly circumstances, uranium mining giants Crow Butte Resources, Powertech, the Newtron Energy Corporation, and Cameco are planning the opening of several mines around the Pine Ridge Reservation, in the North Trend area, the Three Crow area, the Black Hills area and the Wild Horse Sanctuary, as well as in Crawford, Nebraska. 

2.  What are the possible benefits for indigenous peoples of extractive or natural resource development within or in close proximity to their territories? Please identify any specific examples of positive cases or good practices.
In return for mining the known uranium deposit under the Pine Ridge land-base, the Oglala Lakota Tribal government may be offered billions of dollars by large and small multi-nationals. The Native American Energy Group (NAEG) has approached the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) President numerous times in the past, proposing economic development, in the form of revenue and  home construction, as a solution to the poverty and unemployment in Pine Ridge. They have used the promise of a comprehensive water study across the entire reservation in exchange for uranium site tests. However, these do not represent good practices.  Although this is one of the few uranium exploration “development” projects to actually propose any financial “benefit” for Pine Ridge, it trades on poverty that sacrifices our people’s long time survival for short term gain and  a serious violation to the sanctity of the Earth.  Additional violations include a failure to follow of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent provisions of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples under international human rights standards.  Because the mining would involve use of Treaty territory, the entire issue must involve participation from traditional Lakota leaders and the entirety of the Lakota Oyate (nation), not just the OST President or colonial Indian Reorganization Act Government illegally installed by the United States in 1934.  Known opposition has been publicly announced by the traditional leadership of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, the Natural Resources Protection Team (a unit of the BIA government), as well as several community organizations including Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way).  

3.  What are the principal steps required for avoiding negative impacts for indigenous peoples from the extraction or development of natural resources and for establishing good practices in this regard?

To the Oglala Lakota, environmental justice means the right to develop our own environmental protection programs with water and air quality standards set by the Lakota Nation.  By the authority of our rights guaranteed by treaty and the right to self-determination guaranteed, inter alia, in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigneous Peoples, we are entitled to to implement our own environmental programs and standards. 

The decision making process regarding any use of Earth resources must include recognition of the traditional government, the Lakota people as a whole, and the requirements of the Fort Laramie treaties of 1868.  The people have a right to be informed of all possible outcomes of uranium mining on future generations, water, land, people, animals, and plants.
Resources are required for an independent, comprehensive report on energy companies’ past  violations to local, national and international standards.  Following the study, remediation of violations must be required and enforceable.  In the meantime, a permanent moratorium on any future mining must be implemented unless agreed to by the Lakota Oyate pursuant to treaty provisions and the applicability of international standards, including free, prior and informed consent. 

Owe Aku strongly urges the Special Rapporteur to eliminate use of the term “consultation”, and utilize the more applicable human rights standard, “free prior informed consent” (FPIC). As the Special Rapporteur is well aware, consultations are often performed with a preconceived outcome by the greater negotiating power and do not realistically promote debate or participation with all interested parties.  By contrast, the right to FPIC promotes the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and is the standard we, as an Indigneous nation, support.


Cheyenne River
Crow Creek
Fort Peck
Lower BrulePine Ridge
Standing Rock

Resolution of the

Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council

Rejection of the United States’ Statement


U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the

Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Owe Aku International Justice Project, with the support of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, is pleased that the United States announced its “support” of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on December 16, 2011.  Although, the United States was the last country in the United Nations to do so, with the “support” of the United States, the Declaration now enjoys, at least nominally, universal support amongst the world family of nations, including the Lakota Oyate. 

However, reaction to U.S. support did quickly turn to disappointment.  We were as dispirited by the unreasonable and inequitable limitations and qualifications placed on the Declaration by the United States in its official statement.  In the first paragraph of the “support” statem

Black Hills Sioux Nation
Treaty Council
Pine Ridge Agency, SD

Chief Oliver Red Cloud - Itancan
Alexander White Plume - Eyapaha
P.O. Box 535, Manderson, SD 57756 - 605-455-2155

ent they make it is clear that the Declaration is in no way a legal document, nor are they bound by it. 
“The United States supports the Declaration, which—while not legally binding or a statement of current international law—has both moral and political force.”[2]

Despite the President’s optimistic public speech introducing U.S. support, in nearly every sentence of the statement where “support” is indicated, there is a significant qualification or denial placed upon the tenets set forth in the Declaration.   

[The Declaration] expresses aspirations of the United States, aspirations that this country seeks to achieve within the structure of the U.S. Constitution, laws, and international obligations, while also seeking, where appropriate, to improve our laws and policies.[3]

Which begs the question: under what circumstances would it be inappropriate to improve law and policy?  Given the lessons of history, it is clear that not improving laws and policies in the U.S. is often considered inappropriate if it extends equal rights and justice to Native peoples and nations.  In their statement that purports to “support” the Declaration, they reiterate the U.S. has done nothing but justify continuance of discriminatory policy.  

The world has long recognized that the United States has lost any moral authority it may have ever claimed with regards to human rights or even the international laws of aggression and peace.  This statement is further indication that, rather than leading in the work in human rights, the United States prefers to arrogantly stand outside the circle of nations while demanding that others conform to policies the U.S. is happy to violate.

They even manage to get in a comment that reduces Native Americans (and probably, more significantly, our lands and territories) to an exclusive right of dominion.  Apparently the State Department and the President are comfortable referring to Indians in a subservient, unequal and even proprietary manner. 

“...few have been more marginalized and ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans—our First Americans.”

Not “the First Americans” or simply “First Americans”, but “our First Americans.”  This is hardly an accident given the obvious swarm of lawyers that combed through the document adding the numerous limitations. 

“The decision by the United States to support the Declaration was the result of a thorough review of the Declaration by the relevant federal agencies.”[4]

In his remarks in November during Native American Heritage month, he acknowledged that:

“While we cannot erase the scourges or broken promises of our past, we will move ahead together in writing a new, brighter chapter in our joint history.”[5]

We would respectfully suggest that a good start at moving ahead togethering would be to honestly endorse the Declaration, recognize the human rights of Indigenous peoples, and honor the 335 treaties that have been broken. As it stands, the U.S. support of the Declaration is a meaningless shell that permits the American people and their government to continue the colonial policies it has practised with respect to Indian peoples since the settler nation, the United States, established its own right to self-determination.  To expect that we, as Indigenous peoples, would accept anything less is a barely veiled attempt to deny our humanity.

Further evidence of this attitude continues In the most alarming part of the statement of support when the U.S. states:

“The United States is therefore pleased to support the Declaration’s call to promote the development of a new and distinct international concept of self-determination specific to indigenous peoples. The Declaration’s call is to promote the development of a concept of self-determination for indigenous peoples that is different from the existing right of self-determination in international law. [6]

This is nothing more than saying that, as Indigenous peoples, we are NOT entitled to the same rights as other peoples.  By adding their own unilateral spin on the Declaration , as though it were a Fox News story, they are stating that the Declaration indeed supports US Federal Indian policy, colonization, disenfranchisement from resources, and isolation from ecological and economic self-determination. 

Nonetheless, even dismissing their redefinition of self-determination and the removal of Indigenous peoples from the rights granted to all other peoples in the world, the U.S. limits even their own narrow definition of self-determination to federally recognized tribes.  This, then, makes the Declaration simply another manipulation in their policy of domestication, assimilation and colonization of Indian peoples.  There is no change here. 

“The Declaration’s concept of self-determination is consistent with the United States’ existing recognition of, and relationship with, federally recognized tribes as political entities that have inherent sovereign powers of self-governance.” [7]

Self-governance refers only to BIA tribal councils that were installed unilaterally by the United States government, [8] and owe allegiance and are dependent on Washington’s programs regarding Indian lands and resources.  Their statement on the Declaration actually uses many pages to list the programs they use in this process.   

In the section entitled “Protection of Naive American Lands and the Environment” [9] they actually state that although “

“some of the most grievous acts committed by the United States and many other States against indigenous peoples were with regard to their lands, territories, and natural resources” … “the United States understands these provisions to call for the existence of national laws and mechanisms for the full legal recognition of the lands, territories, and natural resources indigenous peoples currently possess. … [The U.S.] “intends to continue to work so that the laws and mechanisms it has put in place to recognize existing, and accommodate the acquisition of additional, land, territory, and natural resource rights under U.S. law function properly and to facilitate, as appropriate, access by indigenous peoples to the traditional lands, territories and natural resources in which they have an interest.”  [Emphasis added.]

It would be difficult to insert more qualifications and references to U.S. authority over Indian people.  Fortunately this is a written statement, otherwise the the wagging of the “forked tongues” would be visible from a satellite in outer space.   Part of the rights under US law for “tribes” is to have land acquired and held in trust. 

The Obama Administration claims they have acquired over 34,000 acres of land in trust[10] on behalf of Indian tribes.  They indicate that this is a good thing.  What is not added to the back-patting is that “land in trust” merely continues the same policy of trust land that is given to mining, ranching, and other corporate interests, instead of stewardship by Indian peoples as clearly outlined in the Declaration.  They even cite the case, City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation[11] in which they deny treaty rights based on the Doctrine of Discovery.[12]  This is hidden under the guise of protecting tribal lands, a clear distortion of the truth.

“The United States has also sought to protect tribal lands, and tribal jurisdiction over those lands, in several other court cases, including the City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation…” [13]

Paternalism is clearly evident again in their discussion of their “training program” for Indians to prepare us “to manage their own natural resources.  An ironic concept since, for thousands of years, Indian nations were capable of managing our resources without U.S.  interference.  Indeed, it is that very interference which made it necessary for the Declaration to include numerous articles on the rights of Indigenous peoples to manage, access, conserve and use our resources according to our traditions and customs. 

Sixteen different tribes, from Maine to Alaska, participated this summer in the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs Water Training Program. The Training Program is taught by instructors from several Department of the Interior bureaus. The program strengthens tribal governments and prepares them to manage their own natural resources with qualified tribal government employees who have the necessary expertise to help alleviate the shortage of technical expertise on Indian reservations.”[14]

This particular example of an agency program designed to “enhance tribal self-determination” is particularly ill conceived given the fact that mining projects that are contaminating water and adding deadly heavy metals and chemicals to the ground water throughout the West, are being supported and encouraged by the United States government.  “Tribal self-determination” has resulted in water contamination over the objections of Indian nations that are wholly inconsistent with the Declaration. 

As to redress, their qualifications are even more imperial and reflect the same attitude used since 1776. The various cases and acts that they cite as enhancing tribal authority actually only enhance federally recognized tribes continued dependence on the federal government and an inability to act under the provisions of self-determination set forth as it is defined in the Declaration.

“The United States will also continue to implement the many U.S. laws that require the agreement of federally recognized tribes or indigenous groups before certain actions can be taken or that require redress for takings of property.”[15]

Although they state that they are pursuing effforts to implement laws that “require redress for takings of property,” they go on to list a series of “new offices to ensure proper implementation of their consultation policies.”  Consultations do not address the taking of property, the violation of treaties or the blatant disregard for basic human rights when it comes to Indian people in the U.S. 

Self-determination is not a concept to be defined by the United States, its President, its Congress or its people.  It is an international legal concept that all member nations of the UN adhere to and understand. 

“[The policies being adopted by the U.S.] demonstrate not only that the United States has a well-developed court system that provides a means of redress for many wrongs suffered by U.S. citizens, residents and others – including federally recognized tribes and indigenous individuals and groups -- but also that redress is available from the U.S. Congress under appropriate circumstances. The United States will interpret the redress provisions of the Declaration to be consistent with the existing system for legal redress in the United States, while working to ensure that appropriate redress is in fact provided under U.S. law.”[16]

Again this is a distortion of the reality of the lives of Indian peoples who find themselves living within U.S. established borders.  As pointed out in many studies and the interventions and testimonies before the United Nations by Indigenous peoples in many different international forums, neither recourse nor redress can be found within the domestic legal systems of the United States.  On the contrary, the United States’ history with respect to Native nations and peoples, as well as its contemporary dominion of land and resources, also provide ample evidence of the inadequacies of U.S. domesitc policies towards Indian peoples.[17] 

United States support of the Declaration is, in fact, harmful when looked at carefully and analyzed under the guiding principles underpinning purpose of the Declaration.  Because of its paternalistic and unsupported  separation of Indigenous peoples from the same rights afforded to all other peoples, the “support” by the United States, should be seen as a warning to Indigneous peoples of true American intentions.   Despite their ongoing belief in some kind of moral authority when it comes to rights, especially, human rights, the United States on behalf of its people, continues to stand outside the family of nations and insists that other nations adhere to international law and standards, while they arrogantly interpret everything from torture to colonization in terms of their interests alone.  The Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council rejects the “support” provided by the United States in its entirety and stand by the principles of international law to which all peoples are entitled and to which all peoples owe a duty to responsibly act according to those laws and principles.


I, the undersigned Secretary of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, do hereby certify that the above resolution has been approved by consensus of the Oglala Delegation of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, effective January 19, 2011


Chief Oliver Red Cloud, Itacan                                              Frederick Cedar Face, Secretary

[1] Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, Declaration of Inherent Sovereignty and Authority as Separate and Distinct from 1934 Indian Reorganization Act Government, Resolution of March 29, adopted by consensus of all bands. 
[2] Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Initiatives to Promote the Government-to-Government Relationship & Improve the Lives of Indigenous Peoples, p. 1
[3] Id. p. 1
[4] Id. p. 1
[5] Id. p. 1
[6] Id. p. 3
[7] Id. p. 3
[8] Even though the U.S. held elections on the institution of tribal councils, at Pine Ridge it never passed, but was forced upon the people.  This does not demonstrate a right to self-determination under international law.
[9] Id. p. 6
[10] Id. p. 6
[11] City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, 125 S. Ct. 1478, 148384 (2005). 
[12] United Nations, E/C.19/2010/13, Preliminary study of the impact on indigenous peoples of the international legal construct known as the Doctrine of Discovery Submitted by the Special Rapporteur, ¶ 49. 
 “That the Doctrine of Discovery is still being used as an active legal principle by the United States Supreme Court in the twentieth-first century is revealed in the case City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York58 decided in March 2005, exactly 50 years after the Tee-Hit-Ton ruling. The case involved a dispute over taxation of ancestral lands of the Oneida Indian Nation. During oral arguments, it became clear that the case would hinge on whether, in the opinion of the Court, the Oneida Indian Nation “has sovereignty status” with regard to the ancestral lands the Oneida Nation had reacquired. To contextualize the Court’s decision and to decide the sovereign status of the Oneida Indian Nation, the Supreme Court relied upon the Doctrine of Discovery. This is revealed in footnote number one of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s decision for the Court majority: “Under the ‘Doctrine of  Discovery’”, wrote Justice Ginsberg, “... fee title to the lands occupied by Indians when the colonists arrived became vested in the sovereign — first the discovering European nation and later the original states and the United States”. As documented by this preliminary study, the Supreme Court’s reference to the Doctrine of Discovery places the context for the Court’s decision in Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York within the Framework of Dominance, dating back to the era of the Vatican papal bulls.”
[13]Supra p. 6, Announcement of the U.S. on the Declaration
[14] Id. p. 4
[15] Id. p. 5
[16] Id. p. 8
[17] see Towards the International Court of Justice, An Analysis of the Case of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council on the violations of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868:  The Legal and Historical Basis for International Adjudication, Owe Aku International Justice Project, 2011.