August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Censored News: What I've learned blogging for six years

With Marcos, Sonora
What I've learned blogging for six years

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

I’ll try to make this funny so people will read it.

It is about what I’ve learned from blogging, publishing Censored News for the past six years.

I’ve already made the first point. People would rather laugh than hear more of the world’s problems.

During 30 years of journalism, here’s the most powerful lesson I’ve learned: In the end, everyone just wants someone to be nice to them.

The biggest lesson, or surprise, that I’ve learned along the way, is about being a working journalist. At least in my case, the more I wrote on my blog, the less money I made. In the end, after six years of work, my income is zero.

I’m not sure if it is because all the editors consider me too controversial and have blacklisted me now, or if it is because they can now get the info for free.

Perhaps they went the way of the last newspaper that I worked for. The editors decided to get rid of all their journalists and hire plagiarizers instead.

Perhaps it is the information itself. How many newspapers are really publishing the truth about dirty coal-fired power plants on Navajoland or senators trying to steal Indian water rights?

Along the way, I find I’ve become incredibly rich from this experience, rich in new friends, rich in new thoughts and rich in new possibilities.

And really, what could be more exciting than opening up one’s e-mail each day and seeing an article written from someone’s heart and soul. What could be better than discovering rare passages dragged from the depths of someone’s being, and sent with so much passion and love. These are labors of love, from the timid and the bold, from seasoned writers and grassroots mothers, from elderly and youths. They are the voice of power.

Once in a while, my old editors write to me and tell me how much they dislike me now, because of what I am writing. It is sad, but in the end, a real journalist never writes to make friends, or even to keep them.

If I had not taken this journey, I would have missed out on a great deal.

I would have never been in that boiling, blistering red car, so hot that we had to wrap ourselves in wet towels to keep from passing out, on our way to the border in the middle of the summer.

I would have never seen the men with hunting dogs stalking the Arizona border, or watched the Border Patrol agents throwing their coffee cups and candy wrappers on the ground, while they were talking on their cell phones, by the spy towers that didn't work. I would have never heard from my friend about the Israeli out here, which led to the articles on Israel’s Elbit Systems receiving a border security contract here, continuing the Apartheid work it does in Palestine.

If I would have never taken this journey, I would have never gone to Fort Huachuca for the protests of the army’s torture training, where the School of Americas torture manual was published. Abu Ghraib would have never been real to me, or the underground railroad of Indigenous fleeing torture. I would have never known that drones are used for targeted assassinations, that border spy towers are for corporate profiteering, or learned so much about white supremacists with AK47s at the border.

I would have never known that the Sonoran desert is so hot that when you are walking in mid-summer that you can pass out in minutes. I would have never known what heroes the people are who walk and search for the bodies of migrants in this sun and heat, and carry back their remains. If I had never taken this journey, I would have never known hunger, food banks and homelessness, or how it feels to have a surveillance van parked outside your door in the barrio on a dark and lonely night.

If I had never taken this journey, I would have missed out on the great journeys, of being with the Zapatistas in Sonora, of sharing tortillas and laughing together, and of hearing the stories of the long walkers as they walked from the Pacific to the Atlantic on the Long Walk 2. I would have missed out on learning something about radio on that epic five month radio broadcast with Govinda at Earthcycles on that long walk. I would have never spent time with Mohawks, Anishinaabe, O'odham, Pueblos, Navajos, Supai, Yaqui, Mayan, Maori and all my other friends.

I would have never choked on the dust of the oil trucks at Fort Berthold, on Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara land in North Dakota, watched the long coal trains crossing Crow land at the Little Bighorn, or gasped for breath in the polluted dark air of power plants on Navajoland, near Dinetah.

I would have missed a feast with Evo Morales in the mountains of Bolivia.

I would have missed out on hearing the poetry and the language of love that transforms helplessness, hopelessness and sorrow, into resistance and revolution.

If I had never taken this journey, I would not have realized the high price of truth, of integrity, of honor, or been able to recognize it in the faces, in the eyes, of the people I see now.

So, in the end, you see, it is difficult to write something funny, or even to entertain. All I can say is thank you to all of you who shared your truth with me.

--Brenda Norrell
Publisher, Censored News

Video: Indigenous take the streets at Rio+20

Report out from Clayton Thomas-Muller, Cree from Canada, of Indigenous Environmental Network at Peoples March @ Rio+20 Earth Summit!

Media alert for Thursday June 21, 2012
Indigenous Peoples Set to Deliver Kari-Oca II Declaration to Rio+20 Leaders
Press Advisory
Media Advisory
Indigenous Peoples will march to the United Nations Rio+20 Summit tomorrow to deliver the historic Kari-Oca II Declaration to the Rio+20 Secretary-General, Sha Zukang.
Ratified by over five hundred Indigenous Peoples from Brazil and throughout the world, the Kari-Oca II declaration demands respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the dignity of Mother Earth and condemns the Green Economy as the privatization of Life.
The declaration is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese here:
TIME: 11:30AM – 12:15
PLACE:  RIO CENTRO, Flagpole Area between Pavilion 3 and 5
PHOTOS AND VISUALS: Indigenous Peoples will be in ceremonial regalia.

 Tom Goldtooth, (English/Portuguese)
+1 (218) 760 – 0442 (USA)
 Berenice S├ínchez, (Spanish)
+52 044 55 23 39 39 28

Rio+20 Video: Indigenous youth Ta'kaia Blaney: Threat of Tarsands

Part of Rio + 20 series of interviews; Ta'kaia Blaney, member of IEN, Indigenous Environmental Network, delegation speaking about threat of tar sands oil pipeline to her community. June 2012.
Eleven-year-old Ta’kaia Blaney, from the Sliammon Nation in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada, interviewed by Climate Connections about the potential impacts of a tar sands pipeline on her community and people.

Ta’kaiya Blaney sings a song she composed about protecting the earth for future generations.

Thank you to Climate Connections and IEN:

Project Gunrunner: Collapsed media can't get it right

ATF Project Gunrunner Weapons of Choice
Revised 2008
US games of secrecy, bolstered by the collapsed media, ignore life and death in Mexico

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

President Obama has evoked executive privilege in order to keep more secrets about Project Gunrunner, which supplied automatic weapons to Mexico's drug cartels.

When it comes to the ATF's Project Gunrunner, it seems the media is incapable of using the Internet search engines. Project Gunrunner began in 2005 during the Bush administration.

Project Gunrunner began as a pilot project in 2005 in Laredo, Texas, the region where the largest number of murders and tortures have occurred in northern Mexico since 2005. Project Gunrunner continued in Tucson as Operation Wide Receiver in 2006 and 2007, as revealed in a series by the Arizona Daily Star who interviewed the gun supplier.

Then, last year, when Anonymous' Lulzsec hacked the Arizona police departments, a Project Gunrunner brochure was exposed. (See photo above.) ATF's Project Gunrunner Weapons of Choice was dated as revised in 2008 and shows photos of the automatic weapons, which the US allowed to "walk" across the border. The e-mail containing the brochure was circulated by e-mail from an Arizona police officer to US army and navy personnel.

Those that knew about Project Gunrunner, which was more recently called Fast and Furious, didn't seem to care how many people in Mexico were killed. However, when US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed with one of those guns south of Tucson in Dec. of 2010, there was an outrage.

Unfortunately, none of this seems to matter to the media who had rather use Project Gunrunner as a political football game, or dash off a rewrite of others news, and place no value on the lives of the people of Mexico.

Even the media who express outrage over the death of US Border Patrol agent Terry, usually ignore that another agent, ICE agent Jaime Zapata, was killed with one of those guns in northern Mexico.

Perhaps the media can use the search engine and look up those photos, exposed by Lulzsec, and see what has happened to the people of Mexico as a result of those automatic weapons. Perhaps then the media will be unable to sleep at night and stop tossing around the words "Project Gunrunner" as if those are empty words disconnected from torture, mutilation and human life.

US Dept of Justice: Project Gunrunner began in 2005 in Laredo, Texas:

Mohawk Nation News '1812 Flames Across the Border'

Mohawk Nation News

MNN  20 June 2012  Canadians are celebrating their victory in the War of 1812 with lies.  Canada refuses to acknowledge their obligations and debt to the Mohawks. They want to keep robbing us of our territory and resources for a few pennies in "treaty negotiations" or "partnership" agreements.

The Six Nations of the Grand River withdrew from the commemoration of the Battle of Queenston Heights.  Our major role in the three opening battles was belittled. Our duty was to protect the Two Row Agreement and for the invaders to live in peace. A wampum belt that the Crown had given to the Mohawks in 1912 was going to be presented acknowledging our independance and sovereignty.

The British have all our wampums on all our agreements since 1684 when they arrived in Albany.  We can help them translate the wampums and polish the chain. 

Regarding the Covenant Chain and the Two-Row Wampum, in 2009 Canada stated that the understanding between the Crown and the Haudenosaunee has changed.  Everything is confirmed in the wampums.  Canada said a discussion would not be constructive for them. Everything reverts back to one day before June 25th 1701 when we presented the Two Row Wampum to them with 47 Indigenous nations adhering to the agreement. 
Mohawk warriors determined the course of world history. Canada’s Prime Minister Harper has re-written this 200 years later. In the War of 1812 the Mohawks were not just "allies".  The Rotiskenrakete always watched whether they were keeping the peace on both sides of the corporate border

Canada was formed through three Mohawk victories. The Americans declared war on the British to take over Canada. The first battle was April 1812. The Mohawks went to the American Fort Michilmacinac at the convergence of the three big lakes. The Mohawks grabbed the American patrols, killed them and sent them back with no skin except for one. The Americans immediately surrendered to the British to save themselves from the Mohawks. Not one shot was fired. British General Brock claimed victory, though it was a Mohawk victory. 

In Detroit the Mohawks were joined by Tecumseh and his Shawnee warriors. We were stationed around Fort Detroit. Brock sent word to the Americans, "I can’t control the Indians. They want to skin you all".  Without a shot being fired, 1500 Americans surrendered to the British once again to save themselves from the Mohawks. 

The third battle was at Queenston Heights on October 13. Americans sent thousands of soldiers across the Niagara River to secure the British gun battery. Gen. Brock was in his barracks. In the early morning, he ran out to the battlefield with a sword, got a musket ball in the head and died in the first 3 minutes of the battle.  The British troops grabbed their dead general and immediately retreated from the battlefield. The 96 Mohawks warriors watched. Then they stood up and took the guns. When the Americans saw the Mohawks, they ran for their lives across the river. Another Mohawk victory. 

A little twist on what Johnny Horton said about the British in 1815  but it was the Americans in 1812:  “They ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles.  And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go. They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch them … down the banks of the canyon cross the river to New York.

MNN Mohawk Nation News  For more news, books, workshops, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go to  More stories at MNN Archives.  Address:  Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0

Terry Lee 'Confluence or Treachery on the Navajo Nation?'

Confluence or Treachery on the Navajo Nation?
"In reality what the tribal council and the president need to do is resign, pack up, and leave."
"The work is here in the homeland." -- Terry Lee
By Terry Lee, Navajo
Censored News

At this 144 anniversary of the treaty it seems that the people are becoming aware of the truth behind the treaty and resulting subsequent policies (Dawes act, Indian reorganization act, Bennett Freeze, etc).   
In the end people like Stanley Pollack and the corporation in Window Rock have all been arranged by the snakes in Washington and corporate USA to get one thing MONEY with your resources (freely taken).  All the while barring the Navajo from using his mind, education, and thinking to use those resources for themselves; is this not oppression?  Is it not oppression to live in towns like Shiprock, Kayenta, and Chinle in homes that are not truly a family’s, without work, without the ability to use land?
Why is it 144 years since the treaty and there is no real Navajo economy? How much red tape has to be cut before a Navajo can operate an independent business on the homeland?  Why can’t a working Navajo man mortgage his land and home to send a child to school? 
Why does the single Navajo mom have to drive 100 miles round trip to work at a Wal-Mart with the aim to feed her children; but only work enough for gasoline?  The answers are not complex, there are many but they are kept as a delusion from the people. This is truly oppression.
There may not be physical prison walls, but the walls and men with guns are there if you look hard enough. In truth for years the corporate elite have been using men like Stanely Pollack to whisper into the ears of the tribal leaders and promise a little cash to get their way, many stories have been published by such acts and yet the people tolerate it.
Your coal, your water, your natural gas, your uranium have been used to create vast wealth for many an elite in America. Large industry, beautiful buildings, homes, millions of jobs, and lavish lifestyles has been amassed by the looters of the Navajo resources, using the backs of Navajo labor; where is our cut? 
Why are our children still struggling in inhumane schools, why are the youth giving up college prospects, why is there no work on the reservation, why are there starving Dine' on the reservation without running water infrastructure in the richest nation in the world?  Why are the people still existing as a subclass depicted on TV as a destitute people for comedy relief?
True answers of these questions are never given in detail by the dominant culture around the homeland. Instead you hear propaganda, religious excuses, false history lessons, racist remarks, self centered analysis from lawyers and de facto educators who tell us a downplayed lesson of supposed citizenship in this supposed great nation called USA.  A nation that never included the Navajo fully to this day, who yet treat the Navajo as a subclassed burden used today as endangered land squatters to vast subterranean wealth that is already mortgaged. 
Isn’t apartheid education one apparent symptom to vast problems? Isn’t the fleecing of our water in SB2109 another? In retrospect it has been nearly a quarter of a decade since the Peter McDonald problem. Yet there is still no water in areas of the reservation. The people who live in those areas without running water who are supporting SB2109 are truly concerned. Is it any wonder? 
Why hasn’t 25 years worth of funding been used to create that water infrastructure now? Instead the leaders participate in slush fund financing, purchases of lavishness while sporting tribal SUVs, stays in Scottsdale, trips to Washington galas, visits to bars, and now operating casinos yet the peoples’ infrastructure yet remains desolate with the excuse that there is no money. 
But the leaders continue to emulate a politico/economic culture that is not Navajo. It’s been 25 years Mr. Shelly and your government and its aristocratic thinking predecessors and friends have done NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING for the people.

If our people had true sovereignty as Mr. Shelly and Pollack says we can trash SB2109 and other documents that have historically told the Navajo how to live and what they think.  We can trash the old treaties establish our cultural laws, and mobilize our equipment today, hire our own people to build the infrastructures needed today.  Our nation can shut down the looting corporations today, and operate those resources and trade them at the market prices right now.  But instead our leaders are only participating in policy solicitation and mediation for an obese American hand that has trained the Navajo mind to yearn for commoditized notions. 

In reality what the tribal council and the president need to do is resign, pack up, and leave.  Live in Albuquerque or Scottsdale where treachery and indoctrination can thrive for you where selfishness can be exercised unhinged.  

Stanley Pollack is not a Navajo nor will he ever be one, what is he here for? He is only here for the Anglo Saxon mindset of get rich quick.  Men like him leave their Window Rock offices protected by publicly funded privatized security and drive over Navajo children and spit on the Navajo jobless men on their way.  Mr. Pollack take off the turquoise, take your flag, and leave; go back to Washington D.C. and tell your president and corporate dictators that you have been a liar and a criminal of two governments for decades.

Our people will make due in a struggle that is not new.  People ask all the time where are the real Dine' leaders, the visionaries, the intellectuals, the educated, the workers, the brave, the warriors of the people, and the heroes of the people where did they go? Maybe they have been kept away on purpose? Come home, be here, talk with your people, use the language, and participate with the will of the people despite opposition and hate. 

The work is here in the homeland.  

In the case for SB2109, it is an insult and a savage slap in the face by a fat hand in Capitalist America to only settle water rights for a lump sum of three hundred or so millions of dollars. A supposed settlement? The biligannas seriously have a problem if they still think we are still stupid. When you give a capitalist a commodity for a price, they will come back wanting it cheaper, wanting more. If you don’t give it, they come back with threats and competition. Then later they will come back with policy and guns. This is the nature of those people.
Think how much money will corporate America make on the same water amount? It is not unreasonable to say twelve times the worth of the settlement in just a year? With the water they want to steal they will power their economy, provide electricity elsewhere, sell it three times over and try to resell it back to us at inflated prices, finance it with bonds, variable interest, and stocks, provide jobs for their people, provide great education for their kids, create their infrastructure, and buy some more of our people. 
Today we the Dine people need this water. Americans forget themselves; they need to know now that the Dine' Nation belongs to the Dine'.  We will need Navajo water and other Navajo resources to feed our people, feed our livestock, house our families, create our government, create our nation, and create our economy for our children yet to be. 

People don’t sell that out. The biligannas can buy water from Lake Havasu or move elsewhere. We are Americans second; Dine' first and our rights, our claims, our concerns in our language and being for our people in our own land should come first. 

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