August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Russell Means Memorial: Russell's spirit lives on

Photo capture from livestream Little Wound School

Remembering Russell, Warrior for the People

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photos livestream screen captures by Censored News
KYLE, S.D. -- Russell Means, warrior for the people, was honored Wednesday night on Pine Ridge by his family, leaders of the American Indian Movement, friends and spiritual leaders at Little Wound School in Kyle, S.D. Horseback riders arrived with the ashes of Russell, who passed to the Spirit World with the Morning Star on Monday.
Russell's brother  Bill Means said, "He will be replaced by thousands. One person is not going to replace him, but through his work, through his family, he will be replaced 1,000 times over."
Chief Leonard Crow Dog, Lakota medicine man who participated in the Occupation of Wounded Knee, said Means was first and foremost a spiritual leader, but the times called for a warrior, and like Crazy Horse, that is what he transformed into. Read Rapid City Journal’s coverage here:

From the livestream, viewers around the world watched as Russell was remembered.

Speaking on the birth of the American Indian Movement, Clyde Bellecourt described how he read Black Elk Speaks over and over in prison. Clyde said he began dreaming of those images and this gave birth to the American Indian Movement while he was in prison.

Bellecourt said Russell's spirit is alive and he could see it in the spirit of the young people present, and in Russell’s children.

“The Movement is inside of you, inside of each one of you, burning in your heart," Clyde said.

Speakers remembered Russell from the Trail of Broken Treaties and the Occupation of Wounded Knee. Lakotas shared how Chief Frank Fools Crow had designated Russell as a spiritual leader.

During the memorial, Dennis Banks spoke of the legacy of Russell Means and said he was with Russell when he passed. Banks said he brought Anishinabe wild rice to share during the dinner.

Larry Anderson, Dine’ from Fort Defiance, Ariz., said Means taught the children about the traditional way of life and how to be a leader.

“I met Russell Means during the Wounded Knee takeover, just down the road.” Anderson said he was one of five Navajos present during the takeover of Wounded Knee.

Anderson said after he received his education, he heard about Wounded Knee.

“I told my brother who was going to school with me, that’s where I belong. I want to be in Wounded Knee.”

“It is a great honor to be here this evening with my nephews and nieces and grandchildren of Russell Means. He was a great man. He was a great leader.”

Anderson said he was sorry that he was unable to be here after Ted Means passed. Anderson said they drove 15 hours, from the Navajo Nation, for Russell's memorial. “It was a wonderful feeling to see old faces, and new faces.” Anderson said he is now a teacher. “It is fun working with children."

“Russell Means has given us many ways of protecting our culture, our traditions and our people.”

“We will always be allies,” Anderson said, speaking of the commitments made through the Sundance and other ceremonies, to protect “our women and our way of life.”

Anderson then spoke to Russell Means in the Dine’ language, beginning with a greeting and gratitude.

During the evening presentations, Madonna Thunder Hawk described the takeover of Wounded Knee and the firefights. “We were in the medic building, listening to it on the walkie talkie.” She said there was a call for medics as one firefight was going on, as one person had been hit. They tried to negotiate a cease fire, but it wasn’t possible. As she was rushing up the hill, she looked and saw one man running behind the medics with a stretcher, and it was Larry Anderson.

At the memorial, Cheyenne Arapahoe arrived from Oklahoma and spoke of Russell Means and how he gave them strength to maintain their language and culture, in times of the southern battle against rednecks and racism.

“It is really hard to be an Indian, especially a woman,” said a Cheyenne Araphoe women offering a tribute to Russell.

“But when we get together, we stand strong.” She brought photos and video from Russell in Central America to share with the family.

“Russell Means never left his people behind,” said one of the Lakota elders. The elder described how the rain had washed away Russell's footprints and what this means. He also said that Russell created the Yellow Thunder Camp in the Black Hills and upheld the Lakota Treaty, he said.

“All of the treaty lands are still ours, he did that.”

The sound of the drum and the AIM song honored Russell Means who was a backbone of the Indian rights movement, and became a symbol of resistance to colonization, repression and injustice.
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Gulf Coast mother chains herself to Keystone XL tarsands gate

BREAKING: Gulf Coast Oilfield Wife, Mother of 6, Cherri Foytlin Chains Self to Keystone XL Pipeyard Gate
Reposted from Tarsands Blockade
Cherri and Tar Sands Blockade stands in solidarity with the Defend Our Coast actions today in British Columbia:

UPDATE 3:30PM – Cherri’s Bail is set at $2,500. We expect her out within an hour.
She’s being charged with Class A Misdemeanor Criminal Trespass of a Habitation/Shelter/Superfund/Infrastructure… This is a new one for us. There are obviously some special designations attached to this charge. We’ll chat with our lawyers and send some details soon.

UPDATE 1:00PM – Cherri is expected to see a judge before the day ends – Donate to her bail
Demonstrate your support Cherri’s action to defend our coast and stand with indigenous and affected communities with a donation to her bail fund.
UPDATE 11:00AM – Cherri was threatened with Felony Use of a Criminal Instrument…
…for using chains and locks anyone could purchase from a hardware store. Confirmation of charges pending.

In the mean time, check out Cherri’s blog and watch her Why We Blockade Testimonial Video:

UPDATE 10:00AM – Cherri Has Been Arrested After Two Sheriffs Cut Her Chains with Bolt Cutters
UPDATE 9:40AM – TransCanada Workers Threatening to Cut Cherri’s Chain with a Grinder

UPDATE 9:35AM – Two Titus County Sheriffs Arrive – Talking About Cutting Chain
UPDATE 9:30AM – Six Huge Trucks Delayed From Keystone XL Pipeyard by Cherri’s Action

UPDATE 8:30AM – Cherri Chains Herself Keystone XL Pipeyard Gate

Drawing connections to all coastal communities threatened by toxic tar sands development, Cherri Foytlin, an indigenous South Louisiana mother of six and wife of a Gulf Coast oilfield worker, chained herself to the gate of a Keystone XL pipeyard. Effectively blocking pipe from being shipped to construction sites along the controversial pipeline’s route, Foytlin’s action coincides with the Defend Our Coast activities in British Columbia, where more than 60 Canadian communities are protesting a proposed tar sands pipeline through their region. Hers marks the 32nd arrest since Tar Sands Blockade’s actions began over two months ago and today marks the 31st day of sustained protest at its Winnsboro tree blockade.
“This pipeline is a project of death. From destructive tar sands development that destroy indigenous sovereignty and health at the route’s start to the toxic emissions that will lay further burden on environmental justice communities along the Gulf of Mexico, this pipeline not only disproportionately affects indigenous frontline communities but its clear that it will bring death and disease to all in its path,” Foytlin declared.
Refusing to accept the Gulf Coast’s designation as the Nation’s Energy Sacrifice Zone, Foytlin, along with many Gulf Coast residents and indigenous activists are dismayed but not surprised to find the conversations regarding Keystone XL as a whole from national environmental groups to the Presidential campaigns have made little to no mention of the damage TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline will heap upon Gulf Coast communities like Houston and Port Arthur, TX, where Keystone XL will terminate. Already overburdened with oil refineries and other dirty energy related industry, this neglectful attitude dovetails neatly with TransCanada’s reckless disregard for the health and safety of families in the refinery communities and elsewhere along the pipeline’s route.
The Rayne, Louisiana resident, who in the Spring of 2011 walked 1,243 miles from New Orleans to Washington D.C. as a call for action to stop the BP Drilling Disaster, has been a constant voice speaking out for the health and ecosystems of Gulf Coast communities.
She continued, “This fight is also about the personal freedoms given to us through the blood of all of our combined ancestry. Conservatives believe government is too big, that they are choking out our freedoms. The Occupy Movement believes corporations have kidnapped those same rights in the pursuit of profit over humanity. I believe both groups are right, and this pipeline and the use of eminent domain by a foreign company to seize and lay claim to American land, aided by the silence of the government, is an epic example of those truths.”
Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
“From the Pacific Coast to the Gulf Coast, Tar Sands Blockade acts in solidarity with all communities and indigenous people rising up to defend their homes from toxic tar sands pipelines. The refinery communities of the Gulf Coast have historically been and continue to be treated as collateral damage by industry and now landowners from Canada to Texas are learning that reality, too,” stated Ramsey Sprague, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson born in Houma, Louisiana to a Chitimacha family. “From start to finish, tar sands development only further endangers communities already at far greater risk for death and disease from toxic environmental exposure to human-made chemical pollutants than communities further away from the petroleum refineries and the unconscionable mining operations that define their origins.”

Terrance Nelson: Canada and US 'War on Children'

Returning from Iran, Terrance Nelson, former chief of Roseau River Ojibwe, speaks out on the human rights violations of Canada and the US
The Crusader

By Terrance Nelson
Censored News
October 24th 2012
First of all, thank you so much for your help. The impact of Iranian people and especially Press T.V. helping to show the world the human rights violations in Canada is huge. Despite what they say in the western press, they cannot deny their own sins. They continue to talk about Iran as the "bad guy" but they cannot isolate Iran. They have the Crusader mentality, the belief that there is only one chosen people. According to the Crusader mentality, they have the right to impose their values upon other people. In their minds, God has chosen them to convert all other people to their belief. The Crusader will fail again. Never forget, there are good people in North America also, we are not all Crusaders.
The Mennonite Central Committee is a Christian organization that is non political and was working in Iraq for many years including during the economic sanctions. When we accepted an invitation from the Saddam Hussein Government to visit Iraq in April 1998, it was the MCC that helped us. The MCC are Christians and although I am not a Christian, these people have my deepest respect. The United Nations released a study in December 1995 stating that 567,000 Iraqi children had died in the first five years of economic sanctions. When we were getting ready to go to Iraq with a television camera crew, some of the MCC people were so frustrated by the sanctions that they almost became political. They saw first hand the price that the children in Iraq were paying for the imposition of sanctions. No medicines in some circumstances, cancers being treated with half doses because there was restrictions. Seven of us went in and we documented the suffering..
Iraq was bombed with depleted uranium. I interviewed the Iraqi Minister of Health. He talked of the four fold increase in cancer. I thought, if only the people in the west saw the children in Iraq suffering without medicines that the economic sanctions would be condemned. We were labelled as "dupes" of Saddam by the Jewish media. The children were not children in the minds of the west. The Iraqi had been dehumanized, they were not considered the same as western children. To me, the killing of over half a million children had to mean the west hated Iraqi children. I could not understand how people could dismiss the suffering of children. We put together a seven minute video called A War On Children.
If the west can kill half a million Iraqi children without any regrets, how many Iranian people are they willing to kill. I ask Canadians, Americans, and the British point blank, how far are you willing to go in the war against Iran. Are you willing to kill a 100,000, 300,000, 500,000, a million, three million, ten million Iranians? Israel says that they will bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities. Does that bombing once again use depleted uranium and what happens to the radiation contamination released from the nuclear sites? Who gets poisoned this time? Where do the nuclear clouds drift to?
The road to war starts with dehumanization of people. They must become non human in order to allow us kill them without regret. The west must demonize the Iranian people in order to kill them. When you view the video, a War on Children, how is it possible to dismiss the children as non humans? Steven Harper is a Crusader. The Crusaders were people who were so egotistical that they believed that God chose only them, that the only values that matter was theirs. We killed them in Vietnam, in Korea, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and we will kill them in Iran. We believe that we have the right to kill other people in their own lands? Do we really have the right to impose solutions and values on other people. I saw in Iraq the children who made no war on anyone, they committed no sin against other people but they paid the price for being Iraqi. In Iran, who will pay the price for the mentality of the Crusader?
In one of my presentations to Iranian University students I told them about Manitoba, the province in Canada where I live. In Manitoba, the government licenses tobacco and makes money on taxing all cigarette products even though they know that tobacco causes cancer, the province still licenses it. The government also licenses alcohol and taxes it heavily, the government also controls all gambling. In order to make more money, they have to attract customers into the beer parlour where they sell them alcohol and let them gamble. To get them in, they license nude dancing. Women will dance totally naked for all to see. Sometimes on women's nights, men will dance nude for the women. What if other people in world told us that we should not live like this, that our morals were wrong, how would we react to some other people's values being imposed upon us. So, what makes us superior to the Iranians, how do we impose our values on the Iranians. By what right to we believe that we can go into Iran and tell the Iranian women that we are there to rescue them, to give them freedom.
In Iran, they tell me that 70% of the students at University are women and the literacy rate has climbed dramatically since the Revolution in 1979. Is it the responsibility and the right of the west to go into Iran and impose our values upon the Iranian people. Is our version of freedom for women to be imposed upon the Iranian women. In Tehran, I saw police with no guns. There is no alcohol allowed in public places, drug dealers are harshly dealth with, rape is punished by death. Is it our values, no, but the question is what gives us the right to impose our view of human rights upon the Iranians? As Iranian women increasingly become the doctors, the scientists, the PHDs, they will shape the future. Is Iran perfect, of course not, is there room for improvement, of course, what society is perfect? I traveled to Iran, I saw first hand the beauty of the people and as such, I will not support another war, I will not condone the deaths of Iranians, I will not support the Crusader and I condemn the economic sanctions against Iran as Genocide. It is the same Genocide that was imposed upon the Iraqi.
No American pilot was ever charged with the use of depleted uranium bombs. It has never been even considered a crime to use depleted uranium in bombing populated cities. If Press T.V. shows the world our video, A War on Children, maybe depeleted uranium shell casings can be outlawed, banned from use in future wars. Our video is harsh but we chose to delete even harsher, more horrible images of the children's suffering. There were scenes that cannot be shown in public, the suffering of the children was too tragic to show in the video, we had to delete some of those images. What you see in our video is tame compared to what we saw in the wards of the most acute suffering children. I for one have abandoned any support for the Crusader, the ones who think they have a right to kill people in their own lands.
Once again thank you for your help in exposing the human rights violations in Canada, the violations against the indigenous people of Canada.