August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mohawk John Kane on sovereignty and the UN agenda: 'We aren't jilted lovers'

John Kane, Mohawk, on sovereignty: "This isn't about a broken promise. We aren't jilted lovers."

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Amnesty International slammed the United Nations in its 2012 report for its failures, saying it ignores human rights when issues stand in the way of profit. The report comes after criticisms from Native Americans who say the recent UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples focused on rhetoric and academia, while ignoring issues which threaten their survival.

Amnesty International said the UN is failing its purpose. “The language of human rights is adopted when it serves political or corporate agendas, and shelved when inconvenient or standing in the way of profit.”

During recent sessions for testimony to the UN Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples in the US, Native Peoples said the process of testifying was so formal and expensive that it excluded most grassroots Native people.

Further, Native people questioned what will become of their testimony and whether it will simply be reduced to a short and meaningless summary and then filed away.

Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, said traditional and ceremonial O'odham elders were not invited or on the speakers list at the Tucson session. However, a non-O'odham, misusing a sacred name of the O'odham in the name of his organization, was on the speakers list.

Tucson is traditional O'odham territory.

Others questioned the paternalism of the United Nations.

John Kane, Mohawk and host of Lets Talk Native Pride radio, questioned the focus of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the pattern of Natives asking the UN to recognize Indian treaties and sovereignty.

"We aren't jilted lovers," Kane said.

Kane said, "For weeks we have heard nothing but the UN this and the UN that; the DRIP (Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), the "Special Rapporteur," the Permanent Forum. All for what? So we finally can have our issues, Native issues, heard by the WORLD, the international community, responsible nations. And what do we talk about? Access to sacred sites, a 500 year old decree by the Vatican and, of course, treaties."

"The single biggest problem on Native lands is poverty! All social ills come back to this. Can some of it be traced to the Discovery Doctrine or other means of stealing our lands? Sure. But today's genocidal policies are specifically about denying our own economic development."

Kane points out Native sovereignty was never surrendered.

"It is not a question of asking the international community to honor or recognize Native sovereignty. The question is where, when and how was there ever a legal or internationally recognizable transfer of our sovereignty to the US, Canada or anyone else. If we start with the premise that our sovereignty WAS recognized, the only way it could not STILL be is that if there was some legal act of subjugation. Let the US or Canada produce their treaty that establishes that transfer of authority. Our sovereignty is NOT a treaty right and it was not surrendered in one either.

"This isn't about a broken promise. We aren't jilted lovers. We are not begging for the international community to respect us or feel sorry for us. Our sovereignty is an internationally recognized authority to 'carry ourselves.' We aren't asking a favor of the world. It is the legal and moral obligation of other nations to acknowledge that America's 'Final Solution' has failed. We are still here and although it is argued that some of our distinction has faded (and how could it not have in light of US and Canadian policies?), our sovereign birthright has not." Read more:

Meanwhile, the session of the UN Rapporteur in Tucson was held at the University of Arizona, which is boycotted by many Native Americans.

During the session, Rivas said she has boycotted the university because of its involvement in the development of spyware targeting Indigenous Peoples on the border.

San Carlos Apache Wendsler Nosie did attend the session, but pointed out when he testified that he had boycotted the university for 19 years. Nosie said the university had him arrested during protests to protect sacred Mount Graham from the construction of telescopes. After years of protests and court cases, the telescopes were put on the sacred mountain by a consortium headed by the University of Arizona and the Pope.

Others at the Tucson session questioned the sponsorship by the Ford Foundation, whose board members include a member of Goldman Sachs.

In its new report, Amnesty International also questioned the motives of the United Nations, pointing out opportunists and financial profiteers.

“In the last year it has all too often become clear that opportunistic alliances and financial interests have trumped human rights as global powers jockey for influence in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Salil Shetty.

“The language of human rights is adopted when it serves political or corporate agendas, and shelved when inconvenient or standing in the way of profit.”

Read Amnesty’s new report:
Amnesty 2012: No longer business as usual for tyranny and injustice:
Watch John Kane television interview:

Rising Tide and Indigenous: Shell harbinger of death

Photo by indyrikki
Rising Tide, First Nations and Inupiat confront Shell at annual general meeting at The Hague and in London: Halt poisoning Native people and the earth

By Rising Tide London
Posted at Censored News

Photo by indyrikki
LONDON -- At the Shell annual general meeting link at the Barbican the suits on the Shell board were given a 3 hour grilling, with questioners focusing attention on its environmental and human rights crimes around the world. Spread throughout the auditorium, hooded London Rising Tide and friends grim Shell reapers stood silently awaiting direction from the board toward their next appointment with Shell induced death and environmental destruction.
The grim figures stood motionless for almost an hour while Messrs Ollila and Vosser, Chairman and CEO, attempted to defend Shell's ravenous pursuit of profit above all else at the expense of:
-- The pristine Arctic, where drilling and probably spilling will begin in the summer;
-- The Canadian boreal forest, where Tar Sands "extraction" has increased by 100k barrels per day
-- The once beautiful fish spawning grounds of the Niger Delta, now clogged with a "Deepwater Horizon's" worth of oil every year
They listened intently to Vosser spouting that so-called "ethical company status" was "very close to my heart and we are driving sustainability." We all know where its being driven. Remember climate change?
Shell and melting glaciers
Climate change may not be a fashionable subject these days, but it’s already claiming 300,000 lives a year. Glaciers are disappearing, sea levels are rising and extreme weather is becoming more extreme. As temperatures rise, we’ll see more flooding, drought, disease, famine and war, creating hundreds of millions of refugees  and destroying entire ecosystems and species.
We can’t  afford to forget about climate change – or the fact that companies like Shell are at the heart of the problem and a shift to Fossil Fuel Gas and land grabbing biofuels isn't helping!
Meanwhile outside, many more Shell Grim Reapers managed to gain entry into the lobby before being ejected by what one shareholder inside referred to as "over the top security." There they met with Occupy Shell Oil coffin bearers who had formed a solemn procession with the corporate body of Shell from St.Pauls Cathedral to be laid to rest at the feet of a 6 degree Celcius global temperature rise this century.
There among the shareholders, city cops and many private security and corporate spies, the Shell Reapers handed out leaflets to inform of impending Shell devastation, clutching with their bony fingers a "Shell Greenwash" banner. Most  passersby were happy to receive a leaflet from the Shell Spectres, with some even keen to ask questions.
Indigenous confront Shell at The Hague with its devastation
Native delegation at The Hague
Photo by Ben Powless, Mohawk
A delegation from Indigenous peoples attended Shell’s main annual general meeting in The Hague, Netherlands. They detailed the massive human and ecological rights violations and economic devastation that Shell's operations have brought to local communities. The tar sands development in Alberta, Canada covers an area the size of England, with toxic lakes so huge they are visible from space, leaking poisons into the local water supply. The effects that tar sands  are having on local First Nations communities are devastating. Not only are indigenous livelihoods and futures being  destroyed, but communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.
Shell tarsands poisoning Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Eriel Deranger, community member and spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Alberta – an Indigenous community residing downstream from tar sands operations and who are currently suing Shell for violating past agreements - stated, “Tar sands extraction projects on our traditional lands are being approved at a pace that is both irresponsible and irreparably destructive. People in the community of Fort Chipewyan? are genuinely afraid. Our food and water sources are contaminated, resulting in a fear of eating traditional foods and eroding the continuation of our cultural and subsistence lifestyles. Yet Shell plans to aggressively expand its activities, doubling production. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is calling on Shell to meet its past agreements and halt expansion until our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts of tar sands operations are addressed.”
Aamjiwnaang most polluted place in North America
Ron Plain, from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Ontario – which has been called ‘the most polluted place in North America’ by the National Geographic Society, and the ‘the most contaminated airshed in Canada’ by the World Health Organization due to its proximity to ‘Chemical Valley’ where Shell’s and other tar sands operators’ refineries are causing serious health and reproductive impacts – said,  “Aamjiwnaang is the first community in the world to experience birth ratios of 2 girls to 1 boy due to endocrine disruption from the pollution. This is the first step towards extinction. Shell have admitted that their current facility, which is located at the fenceline of Aamjiwnaang, ‘could not meet today’s environmental regulations or standards.’ But Shell’s proposal for a new facility within Aamjiwnaang territory was recently denied by Canada for a whole host of environmental, social and other reasons. The corporate response to that set-back was to build onto the antiquated facility the equipment needed to process more tar sands bitumen.”
Shell plans to drill in Arctic this summerRobert Thompson, Chairman of REDOIL and an Inupiat from Kaktovik, a village on the edge of the Arctic Ocean in Alaska, where Shell plans to drill offshore in Arctic waters this summer, said: “Shell plans to drill in the Arctic this summer without the proven technology or infrastructure to deal with inevitable spills. They have not demonstrated the ability to clean up spills within or from under the ice or during storms. Our culture depends on a clean ocean, and we have subsisted in this region for 12,000 years. We oppose Shell’s plans that have the potential to destroy the culture of our people and will further push the planet into irreversible climate change.”
Mohawk Ben Powless: Shell is a corporate criminalBen Powless, a Mohawk from Six Nations in Ontario, representing the Indigenous Environmental Network, said, “Not only have Shell revelled in being a climate criminal, they have also been exposed as fighting the European Union’s proposed Fuel Quality Directive, in collusion with the Canadian government. Their continued environmental destruction and violation of Indigenous rights across Canada, Alaska and Nigeria show that Shell needs to change their operations or face increasing protest and opposition across the world. Our organization is supporting an Indigenous-led campaign against Shell’s extreme energy projects to bring together frontline impacted communities.”

To find out more about the Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign, see:
So, what else can we do about Shell in London?
Apart from street corner Petrol Garage blockades we can wage war on corporate branding. Join us to help kick Shell-out Sponsorship = buying us off . Shell's sponsorship acts as a greenwashed blindfold to prevent us seeing the ravages of frontier oil extraction boundaries being pushed. When we challenge this, we strike a blow at Shell’s brand, chip away at its power and move towards the day when Big Oil – like Big Tobacco – is no longer seen as socially acceptable. As we once kicked the tobacco companies out of our cultural institutions we must now do the same to the oil industry.

London Rising Tide,
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tel: 07708 794665
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