August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rally against racism Oklahoma Capitol Oct. 11, 2012

Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties
Press Release October 8, 2012
The Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties (S.P.I.R.I.T.)responds to racial profiling and injustice to people of color in Oklahoma. In response to the Kay County Sheriff's Department's desecration of a sacred eagle staff and their violation of a Mohawk citizen's civil and human rights, S.P.I.R.I.T. has confirmed a meeting with representatives of the Governor's Office to discuss Racial Profiling of Indigenous People in Oklahoma. The Peace & Dignity Journeys' 2012 were our esteemed guests in Oklahoma and were stopped by police three times in four days for "looking suspicious". This is indicative of the racism people of color encounter in Oklahoma on a regular basis. We call upon everyone to stand together with voices united to show that we are not going to let this racism continue without pointing it out and attempting to make change.
“Would the police have stopped a runner carrying an Olympic torch?” asks David Hill (Choctaw), “or how about that guy that ran along the interstate carrying a cross, why wasn’t he harassed?” “Making a Native American put a sacred eagle staff on the ground is akin to pouring holy water out on unhallowed ground” says Brenda Golden. Oklahoma ranks 2nd in the nation for having the most Native American residents, this type insensitivity is uncalled for and was totally based on bias. “With 7 native nations in and around Kay County for over 100 years, surely the local law enforcement agencies can be expected to have some knowledge of native culture. Our traditions and religion are equally revered and our sacred objects esteemed as any religion,” says Dwain Camp, Ponca Elder.
The delegates that will meet with the representative of the Governor's office are: Marilyn Yarbrough, Brenda Golden, Jeri Ligett, David Narcomey, Stella Dyer Long, Tafv Tahdinooappiah. Jeffrey Cantmell of the Assistant General Counsel for Governor Mary Fallin and the Director of Cultural Affairs for Governor Mary Fallin will meet with S.P.I.R.I.T. delegates. S.P.I.R.I.T. attempted numerous times to contact the Tribal Liaison to the Oklahoma State Governor, Kay Hensley, without success, e-mails and phone messages were left unanswered.
S.P.I.R.I.T. hopes to use this opportunity to increase awareness of the racism prevalent in the law enforcement and justice systems in Oklahoma. Racial profiling and inequality of treatment by police and law enforcement is a wide spread problem for people of color in Oklahoma. S.P.I.R.I.T. has invited the Oklahoma State Chapter of the NAACP, the Oklahoma City Chapter of the NAACP, LULAC and the Latino Community Development Agency to support us in making our concerns known. We call upon members of the community to join us in bringing justice to the Peace & Dignity Journeys 2012!
For more information contact Brenda Golden at 405-471-7610. Find us on Facebook at and the event at
Brenda Golden

Dennis Banks: Palestinian Suffering Under U.S.-Backed Occupation Recalls Plight of Native Americans

Democracy Now! Dennis Banks: Palestinian Suffering Under U.S.-Backed Occupation Recalls Plight of Native Americans

Leonard Peltier: Columbus mass murderer of Indigenous Peoples

Leonard Peltier's letter on Columbus Day

By Leonard Peltier
Censored News

French translation, thank you Christine Prat!

Greetings my relatives and friends, supporters!
I know I say this same line all the time but in reality you all are my relatives and I appreciate you. I cannot say that enough. Some of our people, as well as ourselves have decided to call today Indigenous Day instead of Columbus Day and it makes me really think about how many People who still celebrate Columbus, a cruel, mass murderer who on his last trip to the Americas, as I have read, was arrested by his own people for being too cruel. When you consider those kinds of cruelty against our People and his status, it makes you wonder to what level he had taken his cruelty. In all of this historical knowledge that is available people still want to celebrate and hold in high esteem this murderer.
If we were to celebrate Hitler Day, or Mussolini Day, or some other murderer and initiator of violence and genocide, there would be widespread condemnation. It would be like celebrating Bush Day in Iraq. It’s kind of sad to say that even mentioning Columbus in my comments gives him more recognition that he should have. So I agree wholeheartedly with all of you out there that have chosen to call this Indigenous Day. If I weren’t Native American or as some of have come to say – Indigenous, I would still love our ways and cling to our ways and cherish our ways. I see our ways as the way to the future, for the world. Where as I and others have said over and over, and our People before us, this earth is our Mother. This earth is life. And anything you take from the earth creates a debt that is to be paid back at some time in the future by someone.
In speaking of our ways I can’t help but think of times that our sweat lodge that I feel that we could be anywhere, that we are with the Indigenous People, in that time, those moments in our prayers and in our hearts there is no distance between us. I am no longer in a prison in Florida. I can be on the prairie in South Dakota or in a lodge in British Columbia or in a lodge in South America. Or even with some of my children in a family lodge. We all need to be thankful for what we have but we cannot afford to forget what has been taken from us. There is no amount of freedom that I could personally receive that would be restitution enough for what they have taken from me. But if in some way my incarceration and sacrifices for our People who came before me and throughout our Indigenous history serves as a pathway to a brighter future, a healthier earth, and for life of all mankind; if it would bring us together to be of one mind in protecting the future of our People, our children, and all the future generations upon the earth, then it will have been well worth it.
Indigenous Day should become a way of life that embraces all that promotes life and not just a few days out of the year. If you’re standing or sitting or whatever with whoever lives around you, give your loved ones a hug for me. Guard your freedom zealously. Rescue Mother Earth where you can. Sweat often and know that this common man, Leonard Peltier, will always be with you in the struggle, one way or another.
May the Great Spirit bless you with the things you need and enough to share.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Osceola, Geronimo, Chief Seattle and all those many others who stood for what was right and tried to right what was wrong.
Mitakuye Oyasin.
Leonard Peltier

Russell Tribunal on Palestine describes world freeing itself of deception

Dennis Banks with Alice Walker, Cynthia McKinney, Angela Davis,
and other jurors at the closing of the Russell Tribunal on
Palestine on Sunday,  broadcast live online.
Screen capture Censored News.
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

NEW YORK -- The Russell Tribunal on Palestine wasn't just about Palestine. It was about a world freeing itself of Apartheid, Genocide and deception -- from South Africa and Gaza, to the US and the United Nations.

The jurors on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine made powerful points during questions to speakers. Among those jurors were American Indian Movement cofounder Dennis Banks, Angela Davis formerly with the Black Panthers, outspoken global activist Cynthia McKinney, author Alice Walker and Ireland Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire.

Maguire, of Ireland, described how professors in the United States tell her that they are afraid of the US government. She also pushed the media to tell the truth, as she spoke out for Wikileaks Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.

Jurors, representing some of the most powerful movements in the world, and the speakers described a world weary of the self-perceived control and domination by the United States and Israel. They told how the United Nations is controlled by the United States.

Dennis Banks spoke of genocide. Unfortunately, Lakota Russell Means, who has been battling cancer, was ill and unable to attend to deliver his statement on 'Sociocide of the Native Americans.'

As the riveting testimony was being delivered on the second day of the Tribunal on Sunday, Codepink was marching against US drones in Pakistan, a flotilla was sailing for Gaza, treesitters in Texas continued their blockade of the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, United Native Americans protested against Columbus Day in San Francisco, and Native American climate heroes were honored in Washington.

On Monday, the Tribunal will issue its statement.

Check back for updates.

Watch videos on livestream

Democracy Now! Dennis Banks: Palestinian Suffering Under U.S.-Backed Occupation Recalls Plight of Native Americans
fstv2 on Broadcast Live Free


Vi Waln: Columbus Day, Fake Chiefs and Imitation Ceremonies

By Vi Waln
Sicangu Lakota, Rosebud, South Dakota
Posted at Censored News

This week most of the country is observing Columbus Day. Some of the states now call it Native American or Indigenous People’s Day. In any case, it is a day which marks the historical landing of that lost Italian on the shores of America. It’s also a day filled with protests by Indian people across this country.

Before the arrival of Columbus and all who followed him, our people were self-sufficient. The land provided all. There was no such thing as poverty, for our people knew they had to depend on themselves and worked hard to ensure we had food, clothing and shelter all year round.

It is a fact that most of the immigrants which followed the trail blazed by Columbus came here to destroy us in the name of Manifest Destiny. We were not supposed to survive.

Many of our ancestors perished in the fight over land. Some tribes even went as far as to allow their blood line to die out. Our people who weren’t killed were cast out too foreign places far away from home. They were placed on the tracts of land we now call the Rez.

Then Indian children were forcibly removed from their homes to be placed in boarding schools, again in faraway places, with the intent of brainwashing them into assimilation. Later, our people were sent away on relocation programs, a modern attempt to help us become lost in what they call the melting pot. But we are still here.

Today, the most recent census report shows Todd County as number five in South Dakota for the lowest per capita income. Per capita income is listed at $7,714 for our Rosebud Rez. Buffalo County currently holds the top spot with $5,213, Shannon County is in second place with $6,286 and Ziebach County is number four with $7,463.

It’s no surprise that the counties most ravished by poverty listed in the 2010 census report for South Dakota all lay within the boundaries of Indian Reservations. Rosebud (Todd County), Cheyenne River (Ziebach County), Pine Ridge (Shannon County) and Crow Creek (Buffalo County) are our homes. Buffalo County’s per capita income breaks down to about $434 a month.

Now, compare a person living on the Rez who is gainfully employed full time and earns the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The employed person will earn about $15,080 in gross income per year, which breaks down to approximately $1,257 per month. After all of the required federal, state and local deductions are taken out of the paycheck; the employee is hard pressed to support their family.

Many people living on the Rez know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck. They are the working poor and even though they are employed, they still live without many of the modern day conveniences which are enjoyed by the majority of American people living in this country.

Anyway, these are some of the reasons why Indian Reservations in South Dakota are known for being among the top poorest places to live in this so called abundant country called the United States of America. And when it comes to unemployment rates, living conditions and lack of suitable housing, just to name a few, we are often invisible to those who do not live on the Rez.

Occasionally, we will gain national attention through network primetime shows when some random television personality decides to focus on poverty issues. Then there is a public outcry amongst many people. They call and ask how they can help us. It doesn’t last long.

Yet, we are wealthy in ways which cannot be measured. Tribal people have come through the last 520 years with a majority of our ceremonial ways of life intact. We still sing the songs our ancestors sang thousands of years ago. Many children attend ceremony to ensure our prayers will be carried on for the generations yet to come. These are the riches which have kept us alive since 1492. These are things which a high per capita income cannot buy.

Still, I believe the non-Indians will never be satisfied until they have it all. For the last several years we have witnessed an influx of foreigners who want to take over on our ceremonial way of life. They come here from the American cities and from other countries. Most of them show up in the summer to throw themselves into our sun dance ceremony.

Many are quickly overcome by their ego and become very arrogant, pointing out what they believe we are doing wrong in our own ceremonies. What? Some who cop this attitude are escorted to the gate leading out of the sun dance grounds and barred from returning. Problem solved, right? Sometimes this is when the real problem starts.

There are unqualified people right now who think they know how to run a sun dance. In several states to the east of us, there are people who were kicked out of ceremonies in Lakota Territory by our own spiritual leaders. Many of these ceremony rejects have started their own sun dances. They are prostituting our most sacred rites to satisfy their enormous egos.

Worse yet, they bad mouth our medicine people on a regular basis. How ridiculous is that? Most of them stole sacred Lakota teachings from our spiritual leaders who probably initially had compassion for them and allowed them to pray with us. But I believe these people have no idea of what a real ceremony is all about.

When Lakota ceremony is conducted by a genuine Lakota medicine person, born and raised on our homelands, it is real. Non-Lakota rejects don’t count. Just because they say they were on a Lakota Rez praying with us doesn’t make them genuine.

Stop the celebration of an Italian who got lost 520 years ago. And stop paying those fake chiefs for imitation ceremonies which hold no meaning. You are hurting the real Lakota people more than you realize.

Vi Waln is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Her columns were awarded first place in the South Dakota Newspaper Association 2010 contest. She is Editor of the Lakota Country Times and can be reached through email at

Censored News copyright

All content at Censored News is copyrighted by the creator of the work, and may not be used for any reason without written permission. This includes news, books, films, dissertations, grants, reports, pamphlets, and any other purpose.