August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Native leaders urge US presidential candidates to honor Indigenous rights

Indigenous Leaders Challenge Presidential Candidates on Keystone XL,
Environmental Justice, and Treaty Rights

By Jennifer Baker
918-720-2925 (mobile)
Censored News

DENVER -- Indigenous people and organizations from Colorado and across the United States came together on Tuesday to raise their voices in the presidential battleground state of Colorado on the eve of the first nationally televised presidential debate. Dissatisfied with President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s failure to address the many threats posed to clean water in Indian country, Tribal leaders and communities called on both candidates to withdraw their support for TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and to honor rights and territorial boundaries established by treaties.

Vice President Tom Poor Bear of the Oglala Lakota Nation shared words from his heart about the importance of the land to his people, the obligation of the United States to respect the territorial boundaries set forth by treaties, and the duty of the present generation to protect the land and water from toxic contamination by the Keystone XL pipeline.
“I look at this pipeline,” Poor Bear explained, “as an 1,800 mile snake that’s going to bore itself into Mother Earth and start spitting black venom at our water, which our future generations are going to drink someday.”

“We have one mother, and that’s Mother Earth,” Poor Bear stated, reminding Americans that we are all in this together.
Local Native students Amanda Williams and Sky Roosevelt-Morris presented statements issued by Chief Oliver Red Cloud and the Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties (S.P.I.R.I.T.), respectively.
In his statement, Oglala Lakota hereditary Chief Oliver Red Cloud, great grandson of Chief Red Cloud – who signed the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty – cited specific provisions of that treaty which the United States would violate if it allowed the pipeline to be built. 

“I hope that the candidates will hear my words and begin to understand what they have, so far, been overlooking. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not just an environmental issue. It is an issue of sustainability and survival for Native people. It is an issue of preserving and protecting what is sacred. And it is an issue of upholding the law by honoring the treaties.”
“The U.S. government has a long history of violating its own laws and policies when it comes to its treatment of Indian tribes," said Jennifer Baker, Oglala Lakota legal counsel. “As the proposed northern pipeline segment works its way through the administrative process, our next president will have an opportunity to redefine and restore the relationship of the United States with indigenous nations by finally living up to its legal obligations; doing so requires adequately consulting affected tribes, understanding and enforcing the terms of the treaties, and rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.”

S.P.I.R.I.T. also issued a statement opposing the pipeline and pledged to “join with like-minded groups from this date forward to stop the pipeline.”
Renewable Rider Tom Weis, a strong ally of Native communities fighting the pipeline, closed the event with firm words and action, saying, the candidates “need to understand we’re not going to stand for this pipeline. They need to hear that message loud and clear, and we’re going to start delivering it today.”

Participants then accompanied Weis, in his bright yellow, human-powered “rocket trike,” in delivering copies of an Open Letter to Denver Romney and Obama campaign offices calling on both candidates to defend America from this imminent economic, public health and national security threat.
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For more information about the event, or for high resolution photos, please contact Jennifer Baker at the above telephone number or email address.

Attached photo: Vice President of Oglala Lakota Nation Tom Poor Bear and Renewable Rider Tom Weis address supporters on the steps of the Capitol in Denver

Censored: What the mainstream media club doesn't want you to know today

What the mainstream media club doesn't want you to know

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Photo 1 by Code Pink. Photo 2 by Ben Powless, Mohawk.
Mary the Texas tree sitter continues to hold off TransCanada’s Keystone bulldozers that are seizing family farms at Winsboro, Texas, as an Ottawa judge throws out charges against tar sands protesters at Parliament and Lakotas fight the tarsands in the Plains.
The Code Pink delegation is now in Pakistan and meeting with the victims of Obama drone strikes, as a Flotilla ship sails from Italy for Gaza.
In Arizona, Navajos protest today at Bodaway Gap, as developers, including former Navajo President Albert Hale, push to desecrate sacred Navajo land near the Grand Canyon. In Richmond, Calif, the Occupy movement protests the Chevron Refinery following an August explosion and toxic air releases.
However, the mainstream media, a sort of “club” that decides what readers should and should not know about, will be reporting little, if any, of this today, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.
It is Day 10 in Winnsboro, Texas, where tree sitters have been holding off bulldozers destroying family lands and seizing Texas family farms. This southern route of the TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, for the dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, is the same pipeline that Obama came to Oklahoma to promote.
In Ottawa on Tuesday, a judge dismissed all charges against thirteen Canadians on trial. Protesters said they were taking action against “the reckless climate change and energy policies of the Harper Government. The judge threw out the case after the Crown presented insufficient evidence that the peaceful demonstration constituted a crime.

The 13 defendants were arrested on 26 September 2011, during a demonstration on Parliament Hill in which roughly 200 people risked arrest to protest the climate change and energy policies of the Harper government.
Read more
Native Americans and their allies in the US are challenging US presidential candidates to withdraw support for the Keystone pipeline and Alberta tar sands.
In a letter to US presidential candidates, Native Americans and their allies said, “You both know about the poor safety record of Canadian pipeline companies and the economic danger Keystone XL poses to our nation’s food and water supplies. TransCanada’s Keystone I tar sands pipeline, built two years ago, leaked corrosive tar sands slurry 12 times in its first 12 months. In 2010, a similar pipeline run by another Canadian company spilled more than 1 million gallons of toxic tar sands into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, sickening hundreds of people, displacing homeowners, wrecking businesses, and destroying jobs. Keystone XL – which would pump tar sands at extreme pressure and temperature across nearly 2,000 U.S. waterways – promises more of the same by allowing for leaks of up to 1.7 million gallons daily without triggering a real-time leak detection system. It is not a matter of if, but when, TransCanada’s 1,700-mile tar sands pipeline will compromise America’s breadbasket by contaminating our Great Plains rivers and aquifers.” Read more
Lakotas held a teach in at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, to protect their sacred lands and water from the threat of the dirty tarsands pipeline. Watch Debra White Plume and Richard Iron Cloud statements on videos:
On Monday, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation filed a constitutional challenge in the Joint Review process against Shell Oil Canada’s application for the expansion of their Jackpine Mine tar sands project. “The First Nation challenge outlines the government’s failure to uphold Treaty 8, and to force better protection of the resources needed to sustain rights protected under Treaty 8. A constitutional challenge based on Treaty 8 rights has never been fully argued in front of an Alberta Joint Review panel and the first nation hopes to set new precedents that may mean changes to the regulatory process.” Read moe
In Pakistan, the full Code Pink delegation arrived in Islamabad today to begin a week of activities to express their opposition to US drone strikes in Pakistan. “The response from Pakistanis has been overwhelmingly positive and welcoming, and many plan to join the Code Pink contingent as it marches to South Waziristan to protest US drone strikes on October 7,” Code Pink said.
“We are already receiving an outpouring of support from Pakistani people who are heartened to learn that there are Americans with a conscience who are willing to come all the way to Pakistan to show solidarity and apologize for the drone strikes that have brought so much death and destruction to the impoverished people of north Pakistan,” said Code Pink cofounder and delegation leader Medea Benjamin
In northern Italy, an humanitarian ship set sail for Gaza this week. “The port authorities in La Spezia in northern Italy finally decided to not give in to Israeli pressure. Just minutes ago Ship to Gaza and its vessel Estelle got final clearance to depart from port. Credit to the responsible officials who showed integrity and a sense of justice! We were beginning to recognize the pattern from last years Flotilla all too well, when a Greek government under pressure took the decision to detain all Flotilla boats in Greek ports.”
In Arizona, Navajos protest planned development of a pristine region near the Grand Canyon in the Bodaway Gap area today. It is where the Colorado and Little Colorado River converge. The spokesman for the group pushing the development is Albert Hale, former president of the Navajo Nation who resigned during a financial corruption probe. Hale was then appointed by the Arizona governor to fill a vacancy in the state legislature and is again now being protested by Navajos.
The Occupy the Richmond Chevron Refinery Demonstration Protest is today. The march begins at Richmond Bart station at 3:00 pm with a small rally then a march down Macdonald Ave to Washington Park in Point Richmond, where there will be a second meeting point. Then it continues to the Richmond Chevron Refinery, with a mass rally at 5:00 pm.
First Nation Terrance Nelson continues to shake up Canada with allegations of vote buying, as he readies to leave with a First Nation delegation for Iran.

Day 10: Texas treesitters hold off Keystone tarsands seizing family farms

Video: Eleanor Reacts to TransCanada Destroying Her Land

Everyone who meets Eleanor Fairchild will tell you that she doesn’t seem like she’s a day over 50. She turned 72 last month. A year ago on her 71st birthday she was arrested along with 1,252 other people during the peaceful sit-ins in front of the White House to stop Keystone XL. She has done everything she can to prevent the destruction of her land by TransCanada, dreading the day when they would start plowing through her 300 acre farm outside Winnsboro, Texas.
That day came this last Saturday when, unannounced, TransCanada arrived on her land with heavy machinery and began tearing up the ground and clear-cutting every tree in their path. She heard the roar of the machinery from inside her home and rushed toward the machines to stop them, but at that point there was nothing she could do but watch them destroy her beloved farm.

Eleanor knows what’s at stake with the Keystone XL. When she first heard the words “Keystone XL” she started researching and was horrified to learn the contents of the toxic sludge they wanted to pump through the pipes. Her land is home to lush wetland ecosystems and multiple natural, fresh water springs that flow with over 400 gallons of fresh water every minute. Every last drop of it stands to be poisoned by this toxic pipeline.
Knowing the risks to her land and her safety she refused to sell any of it to this multi-national corporation and never signed a single contract. So they took it from her. Unable to acquire her land through the cohesive tactics TransCanada had used on countless other landowners they expropriated it through eminent domain.
“I hate to see my land torn up, but I realize at this point that there’s nothing I can do,” she said. “I’m concerned about everyone’s land because a lot of people are being hurt a lot more than I am, and it just breaks my heart.”
In the end its going to take a lot more than TransCanada’s bulldozers to deter a brilliant, tough spirit like Eleanor’s, and in the meantime she’ll be waiting in her home and praying for them to go away.
This is why we blockade. We’re here to stand with landowners like Eleanor who feel they don’t have any options left to defend their homes.
Join us at our upcoming Direct Action Training October 12-14th and large public event on October 15th to take a stand.

Epic Action Video — Mary Delaying Keystone XL For Another Day (Day 10)

UPDATE: 9:30AM – Mary Holding Strong on Her 40 Foot Pole For Second Day in a Row
From her perch on a 40 foot pole in the middle of a Keystone XL clear-cut path, life long Texan Mary Germaniti proclaims “I am going to stop construction for the second day in a row!”
UPDATE: 8:30AM – Excavator and Huge Wood Chipper Chewing Up Piles of Felled Trees
UPDATE: 8:00AM – TransCanada and Police Shined a Bright Floodlight On Blockaders All Night
Here is the must-see video that you’ve been waiting for. Over the last 10 days we’ve witnessed TransCanada’s heavy machinery recklessly endangering the safety of peaceful blockaders working to defend families from this toxic pipeline. This epic video says it all.

CODEPINK Peace Delegation now in Pakistan, Meeting with Victims of Obama’s Drone Strikes

CODEPINK Peace Delegation now in Pakistan, Meeting with Victims of Obama’s Drone Strikes
 For Immediate Release
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK,, +923365978798
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK,, +923419853545
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, +923419853377

Islamabad, Pakistan— Today the full CODEPINK delegation to Pakistan will arrive in Islamabad to begin a week of activities to express their opposition to US drone strikes in Pakistan. A pre-delegation group of American activists has been on the ground in Pakistan for several days meeting with think tanks, human rights organizations, and military and academic institutions.
The response from Pakistanis has been overwhelmingly positive and welcoming, and many plan to join the CODEPINK contingent as it marches to South Waziristan to protest US drone strikes on October 7th. “We are already receiving an outpouring of support from Pakistani people who are heartened to learn that there are Americans with a conscience who are willing to come all the way to Pakistan to show solidarity and apologize for the drone strikes that have brought so much death and destruction to the impoverished people of north Pakistan,” said CODEPINK cofounder and delegation leader Medea Benjamin.
On Wednesday, October 3, the delegation will meet with two victims from the first drone strike ever conducted during Obama’s presidency on January 23, 2009, which killed nine people—all civilians. One victim is Fahim Qureshi, who lost an eye, and had to have abdominal surgery because the drone missile pierced his stomach. He also lost 4 members of his family. The other victim is Mohammad Ejaz, who lost 2 family members.
Afterwards the delegation will meet with lawyers of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights who brought a lawsuit in the Peshawar High Court against the Pakistani government for its involvement in drone strikes and another case in Islamabad against CIA officials for committing murder on Pakistani soil. The delegation will then deliver petitions with tens of thousands of American signatures opposing the lethal U.S. use of drones to U.S. Embassy officials.
Delegates are available for interviews, and updates from the trip will be posted periodically on
Also see Censored News article: Medea Benjamin speaking in Tucson:
US Citizens to lead march against US drone strikes in Pakistan

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