August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cree block highway in protest of Harper legislation




The Cree of Maskwacis held a pipe ceremony and peaceful demonstration on Hwy 2A at Maskwacis.
 'We are taking this opportunity, coinciding with 12th hour of the 12th day of December 2012, to bring awareness to First Nations’ opposition to legislation proposed by the Harper government.'
Photo by Samson Cree Nation.
Cree block highway
The Samson Cree Nation issued a statement Tuesday saying the blockade of provincial Hwy 2A
“Pipes will be lifted in support of IdleNoMore,” said the statement. “The presence of the pipe signifies the pipe laws of gentleness, compassion and mutual respect.”
On Monday, thousands of people across the country took to the streets in support of Indigenous rights under the banner of IdleNoMore. The next day, on Tuesday, Spence began her hunger strike in Ottawa which she says will continue until Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Queen Elizabeth II agree to a treaty meeting with First Nations leaders.
“We are taking this opportunity, coinciding with the 12th hour of the 12th day of December 2012, to bring awareness to First Nations’ opposition to legislation proposed by the Harper government,” said the statement, posted on the band’s website. “We also want people to bring attention to the hunger strike started by Chief Theresa Spence.”
The statement said the Harper government is pushing a number of pieces of legislation that “directly undermines First Nations’ right of self-determination.”
Samson Cree Nation is about 97 kilometres south of Edmonton.
--APTN

Peaks Supporters Face Federal Charges in ‘Politically Motivated Attack’


Peaks Supporters Face Federal Charges in ‘Politically Motivated Attack’

Forest Service attempts to ‘Ban’ them from the Peaks to Prevent Further Protests

By Indigenous Action Media
Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com
English/French


Klee Benally singing before arrest
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — On December 11, 2012 three Peaks activists peacefully turned themselves over to U.S. Marshalls in response to allegations of federal charges and “sealed” warrants resulting from a civil protest at a Forest Service building on September 21, 2012.
“It is obvious why these court documents were sealed, the Forest Service wanted to arrest and make an example out of us to deter further protests for protection of the Holy San Francisco Peaks.” stated Klee Benally a Dine’ (Navajo) activist. Benally has been advocating for Indigenous religious freedom and protection of the holy Peaks for more than 14 years, “This is a politically motivated attack that was clearly timed to send a message to anyone who cares about the Peaks from protesting Snowbowl snowmaking with treated sewage effluent.”
Benally declared to a crowd of supporters at the Marshall’s office, “The Forest Service lied in the Environmental Impact Statement, they lied in court, they are lying about these charges, and they are lying about their sacred sites policy. We are being arrested today because we are not afraid to stand up and speak the truth!”
Supporters gather outside the courthouse.
The three Peaks activists were kept in shackles around their waists, hands and feet and caged for nearly 5 hours while waiting to appear before a judge. While in custody, plain clothed U.S. Forest Service agents attempted to individually interrogate the Peaks activists without lawyers present.
Forest Service law enforcement captain John Nelson was the only Forest Service representative in the courtroom. Nelson has a history of intimidating and harassing Peaks supporters and traditional practitioners engaged in prayer on the Peaks.
“It seems clear to me,” Benally stated, that the Forest Service is seeking to suppress any further possibility of us speaking the truth for religious freedom and protection of the holy San Francisco Peaks.”
The prosecutor repeatedly requested that the judge “ban” the activists from going on the San Francisco Peaks and to any Coconino Forest Service building as a condition of their release. During the arraignment, the federal prosecutor continually stated that he was concerned about the possibility of further protests.
Attorney Matthew Brown argued that Benally’s religious practice was directly connected to the San Francisco Peaks and restricting his access to the Holy Mountain would be akin to preventing him from going to church. The judge agreed not to ban Benally from the Peaks but cautioned him that if he broke any laws he would be immediately imprisoned until trial. Even a wrongful arrest on USFS lands would be grounds for imprisonment until trial.
The three Peaks supporters were released just after 2:30 p.m.. They re-joined the group of supporters and held a banner stating, “Protect Sacred Sites, Defend Human Rights.”
A status hearing for the Peaks activists will be held on December 27, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at the Flagstaff Federal Courthouse. A date for a bench trial is expected to be set then.
The four protesters are facing multiple counts (Section 261.3a) of a misdemeanor charge for allegedly interfering with a Forest officer. The statute reads, “Threatening, resisting, intimidating, or interfering with any forest officer engaged in or on account of the performance of his official duties in the protection, improvement, or administration of the National Forest System is prohibited.”
“Not only are these federal charges absurd, they are an attack on freedom of expression,” stated Benally, “The fact that the USFS would bring these charges the same day they released their report on the protection of sacred sites demonstrates that they are not acting in good faith.”
“The final report on Sacred Sites repeatedly points directly at Coconino National Forest and Secretary Vilsack’s callous handling and subsequent approval of using treated sewage effluent to make snow at Arizona Snowbowl.” stated Rudy Preston, a citizen of Flagstaff. He continues his statement “it was the single most detrimental action to their ability to even be taken seriously while doing public outreach to create the report. I feel like the timing of these arrests had two goals in mind: the first was to ban effective activists from Snowbowl as the resort begins to make poop snow, and the second was to thumb their noses at the Sacred Sites report and say, ‘this is how we do it in the Coconino and we don’t care if you want to make good relations with Indigenous cultures.’ Even the Snowbowl Record of Decision clearly states ‘this project will likely have a disproportionately adverse effect on affected Native Americans (p.32)’ and additionally states that the no action alternative ‘is the environmentally preferable alternative because it would not have approved any of the physical, cultural or biological impacts that are anticipated under the implementation of Alternative 3 (snowmaking and expansion, p.33).’”
Peaks supporters have stated that they are undeterred from this attack on their freedom to express themselves and will continue their efforts to protect the holy San Francisco Peaks.
“The natural laws and the indigenous people were already here in a good relationship before the coming of the colonial society who draws law and boundaries.” stated Big Mountain resister Louise Benally who was outside the courthouse offering support, “However we Indigenous Peoples will always have ties with these lands, we will continue to live that way with nature and we will carry on. These man-made laws by the U.S. government will vanish soon.”
Previous News Release & Forest Service Report here: http://www.indigenousaction.org/peaks-activists-targeted-with-federal-charges-and-arrest-warrants-as-forest-service-announces-new-sacred-sites-policy/
More info: www.ProtectthePeaks.org
Contact: Klee Benally indigenousaction@gmail.com

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE: DES DEFENSEURS DES PICS RISQUENT DES POURSUITES FEDERALES, SUITE A UNE ‘ATTAQUE A CARACTERE POLITIQUE’
Par Indigenous Action
12 décembre 2012
Le Service des Forêts tente d’interdire l’accès aux Pics aux activistes pour empêcher de nouvelles protestations
POUR DIFFUSION IMMEDIATE
Contact :
Klee Benally
Des défenseurs des Pics risquent d’être mis en examen suite à une ‘attaque à caractère polique’
Le Service des Forêts tente de le interdire l’accès aux Pics San Francisco pour prévenir de nouvelles protestations
12 décembre 2012
Traduction Christine Prat
FLAGSTAFF, Arizona – Le 11 décembre 2012 trois activistes défendant les Peaks se sont rendus pacifiquement au commissariat fédéral en réponse à des allégations d’inculpations fédérales et de mandats d’arrêt « sous scellés » suite à une action de protestation dans un bâtiment du Service des Forêts le 12 septembre 2012.
« La raison pour laquelle ces documents étaient sous scellés est évidente, le Service des Forêts voulaient nous arrêter et faire un exemple afin de décourager de nouvelles protestations pour protéger les Pics Sacrés San Francisco. » dit Klee Benally, un activiste Diné (Navajo). Benally a lutté pour la liberté religieuse des Autochtones et la protection des Pics Sacrés depuis plus de 14 ans, « Cette attaque a des mobiles politiques, elle a clairement été planifiée à ce moment précis pour faire passer un message à tous ceux qui se soucient des Pics de s’abstenir de protester contre la fabrication de neige à partir d’eau d’égout recyclée ».
Klee a déclaré a une foule de supporters devant le commissariat : « Le Service des Forêts a menti dans la Déclaration d’Impact Environnemental, ils ont menti au tribunal, ils mentent à propos de ces accusations et ils mentent sur leur politique vis-à-vis des sites sacrés. Nous sommes arrêtés aujourd’hui parce que nous n’avons pas peur de faire face et de dire la vérité ! »
Les trois activistes défenseurs des Pics ont été menottés, la taille, les mains et les pieds liés et retenus dans une cage pendant près de 5 heures avant d’être présentés à un juge. Pendant leur détention, des agents du Service des Forêts US en civil ont tenté de les interroger individuellement, hors de la présence de leurs avocats.
Le capitaine John Nelson, responsable du maintien de l’ordre du Service des Forêts, était le seul représentant du Service au tribunal. Nelson a tout un passé d’intimidation et de harcèlement des défenseurs des Pics et des hommes-médecines traditionnels qui prient sur les Pics.
« Pour moi c’est clair, » dit Klee Benally, « que le Service des Forêts cherche à éliminer toute possibilité d’exprimer la vérité sur la liberté religieuse et la protection des Pics Sacrés San Francisco. »
Le procureur a demandé à de nombreuses reprises que le juge « interdise » aux activistes de se rendre sur les San Francisco Peaks et dans tout bâtiment du Service des Forêts de Coconino comme condition de leur remise en liberté. Pendant la comparution, le procureur fédéral répétait continuellement qu’il s’inquiétait de la possibilité de nouvelles manifestations.
L’avocat Matthew Brown a fait valoir que la pratique religieuse de Benally était directement liée aux Pics San Francisco et que lui en interdire l’accès serait similaire à lui interdire d’aller à l’église. Le juge a accepté de ne pas interdire l’accès aux Pics à Benally mais l’a prévenu qu’à la moindre infraction il serait emprisonné jusqu’au procès. Même une arrestation par erreur sur les terres gérées par le Service des Forêts constituerait une raison de l’emprisonner jusqu’au procès.
Les trois défenseurs des Pics ont été relâchés juste après 2h30 de l’après-midi. Ils ont rejoint le groupe de supporters et ont brandi une banderole proclamant « Protégez les Sites Sacrés, Défendez les Droits de l’Homme. »
Une audience sur le statut de l’instance aura lieu le 27 décembre 2012 à 10h du matin au Tribunal Fédéral de Flagstaff. La date du procès en session plénière y sera probablement fixée.
Les quatre manifestants risquent d’être inculpés d’infractions multiples (Section 261.3a) pour avoir dérangé un Officier des Forêts. Les statuts disent : « Menacer, résister, intimider ou déranger tout officier des forêts dans l’exercice de ses fonctions officielles de protection, d’amélioration ou d’administration de Système National des Forêts ou à cause d’elles, est interdit. »
« Non seulement ces accusations fédérales sont absurdes, mais elles constituent une attaque contre la liberté d’expression » dit Klee Benally, « Le fait que le Service des Forêts des Etats-Unis émette ces accusations le jour même où ils publient leur rapport sur la protection des sites sacrés démontre qu’ils n’agissent pas de bonne foi. »
« Le rapport final sur les Sites Sacrés se réfère à de nombreuses reprise au manque de sensibilité du Service de la Forêt Nationale de Coconino et du Ministre Vilsack dans leur façon de traiter puis d’approuver l’affaire de l’utilisation d’eau d’égout traitée pour faire de la neige à la station Arizona Snowbowl » dit Rudy Preston, un citoyen de Flagstaff. Il ajoute « c’est de loin l’action la plus préjudiciable à leur capacité d’être seulement pris au sérieux lorsqu’ils s’adressent au public pour créer leur rapport. Il me semble que le choix du moment pour ces arrestations avait deux buts : le premier était d’empêcher les activistes d’accéder à Snowbowl au moment où la station commence à faire de la neige d’excréments, et le deuxième était de faire un pied de nez au rapport sur les Sites Sacrés et d’affirmer ‘ voilà comment nous procédons ici dans le Coconino et il nous importe peu que vous vouliez entreprendre de bonnes relations avec les cultures Autochtones.’ Même le Rapport de Décision de Snowbowl dit ‘ce projet aura probablement des effets négatifs hors de proportion sur les Amérindiens concernés’ et ajoute que l’alternative de n’entreprendre aucune action ‘est l’alternative préférable sur le plan de l’environnement parce qu’elle n’aurait approuvé aucun des impacts physiques, culturels et biologiques anticipés dans la mise en œuvre de l’Alternative 3 (fabrication de neige et expansion, p. 33).’ »
Les défenseurs des Pics ont déclaré qu’ils n’étaient pas ébranlés par cette attaque contre leur liberté de s’exprimer et qu’ils continueront dans leurs efforts pour protéger les Pics Sacrés San Francisco. « Les lois naturelles et les peuples autochtones étaient déjà là, et dans une bonne relation, avant l’arrivée de la société coloniale qui fait des lois et trace des frontières. » dit la résistante de Big Mountain Louise Benally, qui était venue devant le tribunal pour proposer son soutien. « Cependant, nous, les Peuples Autochtones, aurons toujours des liens avec ces territoires et nous continuerons de vivre de cette manière avec la nature et poursuivrons notre chemin. Ces lois faites par des humains, par le gouvernement des Etats-Unis disparaîtront bientôt. »



Mohawk John Kane 'Most censored issue 2012: The truth about UN Indigenous Rapporteur'


Mohawk John Kane: Most censored issue in 2012 was the truth about UN Rapporteur James Anaya

First in a series of the most censored issues of 2012

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

Updated with response from James Anaya

Also see: Censored 2012:
Thai activist says UN Rapporteur
caused extensive harm to the people
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/12/censored-2012-thai-activist-says-un.html

TUCSON, Ariz. -- What was most censored in Indian country in 2012?
John Kane, Mohawk, radio host of Let's Talk Native Pride, said the UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples James Anaya was the most censored issue in 2012.
Kane said, "I think the story around James Anaya was the most mischaracterized and one of the most censored stories.
"Who he is, who he met with in his 'whirlwind tour' and his findings were pathetic. The primary observation about the overall condition of Native people was that we needed access to sacred sites?
"Really?
"Poverty, suicides, domestic violence, violence against women, drop out rates, drug and alcohol issues, continued assimilation, puppet tribal governments, real land claims (not just the right to pray on a site) and he comes up with a recommendation for access and control of certain sacred sites.
"I have news for Mr. Anaya, it's all sacred.
"Perhaps he regards only certain parts of his mother sacred but I don't.
"Whatever a Special UN Rapporteur is supposed to be, I am sure he wasn't," Kane told Censored News.
UN Indigenous agenda co-opted in 2012
Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, agreed that Anaya's reports to the United Nations were "watered down." Rivas told Aljazeera's Inside Story in December that Anaya had failed to use the strong language necessary to uphold Indigenous Peoples' human rights.
Earlier, in the spring of 2012, Rivas said the traditional ceremonial O'odham were not invited to present at the UN Rapporteur's special session on Indigenous Issues in nearby Tucson. Rivas also pointed out that one person, who claims to be Cherokee and is misusing a sacred O'odham name for his non-profit, was listed as a presenter.
San Carlos Apache Wendsler Nosie said in his testimony at the same session that in order to attend, Nosie had to temporarily end his boycott of the University of Arizona. The university, along with the Pope, took the lead in constructing telescopes on sacred Mount Graham. Nosie was arrested by the university police as he prayed on the sacred mountain.
Other Native Americas questioned why Ford Foundation funding was used for the Tucson session. Anaya said in the announcement that the purpose of the meeting was for consultation with area Native Americans on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Frauds and embezzlement
Many grassroots Native Americans also cancelled plans to attend the UN session for Indigenous Peoples in New York in the spring of 2012. They said the agenda was controlled by non-Indian frauds and those seeking fame with academic rhetoric.
At the United Nations in Geneva, Alex White Plume of Owe Aku International, Lakota form Pine Ridge, S.D., challenged Indigenous representatives to speak their own Native languages. White Plume questioned whether they can truly represent grassroots Indigenous Peoples if they don't speak their own languages.
As the year grew to an end, Indigenous organizations claiming to represent Indigenous Peoples at the UN were exposed for fraud and embezzlement.
Still other organizations claiming to represent Indigenous Peoples at the UN have been taken over by frauds who secretly obtain large grant funding.
Frauds continue to receive funding based on the suffering of specific Indigenous groups, without notifying those groups. Among those are Yaquis in Sonora, Mexico, who said they were never told of the thousands of dollars in numerous non-profit grants allocated in the US for their projects.
Most Natives here unaware that Anaya lives in southern Arizona
Meanwhile, in southern Arizona, many Native Americans said they were unaware that Rapporteur Anaya has lived in Tucson for 13 years, since he has not maintained contact with traditional Native people here.
Anaya is also professor of Human Rights Law and Policy, at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has been at the university here since 1999, according to the university website.
Co-hosted session with mining department
In the process of research for this article, Censored News, based in Tucson, was surprised to learn that Anaya had met with businesses involved in extractive industries in or near Indian lands here in November.
Anaya, as UN Rapporteur, co-hosted the session with the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources at the University of Arizona. The Lowell Institute brags on its website about its upcoming workshop: "This course provides detailed background on the negotiation and acquisition strategies used in financing mineral resource development."
The question remains to Anaya: Were local Native human rights activists told of this meeting before or after it occurred? Were you posed as the UN Indigenous Rapporteur while working in collusion with a university department that promotes mining?
Anaya's press release after the fact: http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/notes/approaches-and-challenges-regarding-extractive-industries-operating-in-or-near-indigenous-territories-discussed-at-conference-in-tucson-arizona
UN Rapporteur James Anaya responds
James Anaya responded to Censored News with the following comment.
However, Anaya did not respond to those who said that Anaya had always identified himself as Chicano until he began working on Indigenous issues at the University of New Mexico. Students at UNM said Anaya stopped saying he was Chicano and began identifying himself as "Indian" at that time.
Anaya told Censored News, "I welcome comments on my work as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I invite all those interested to read my report on my official visit to the United States, which is available at: http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/country-reports/the-situation-of-indigenous-peoples-in-the-united-states-of-america
"Information on me and my mandate from the UN Human Rights Council is available at the same web site.
"The Tucson consultation was one of several such consultations in several locations during my official visit to the United States. Detailed information on the Tucson consultation, including video of the entire conference, is available at: http://www.law.arizona.edu/depts/iplp/UNSRConference/index.cfm
"The more recent meeting on mining hosted by the University of Arizona's Lowell Institute is part of a series of meetings I have had to hear from all concerned, in the context of my study of extractive industries and indigenous peoples. I have had numerous other meetings, in various parts of the world, with indigenous peoples and organizations to hear their views on the subject. I continue to welcome input on this and other aspects of my work. I can be contacted at the following email address: indigenous@ohchr.org

Navajo women in solidarity with Palestine oppose Navajo president's visit to Israel

Louise Benally/Photo Brenda Norrell
Navajo women in solidarity with Palestine oppose Israel's genocidal practices, say Navajos don't need Israeli chemicals to grow food



By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/12/navajo-women-in-solidarity-with.html
French translation by Chris Prat
http://www.chrisp.lautre.net/wpblog/?p=1286

Navajo women in solidarity with Palestine oppose Navajo President Ben Shelly’s visit to Israel this week and spoke out against the ongoing genocidal policies of Israel and Shelly’s longterm human rights abuses at home.
Navajo women said Shelly and Israel are part of the war machine. Working with sustainable agriculture, Navajos said that Shelly does not need to go to Israel to learn how to use chemicals to grow food.
Louise Benally, Dine’ resisting forced relocation at Big Mountain, Arizona, said, "Ben should stay in Israel, to learn how to farm, they are only puppets for the war machines."
"Is he learning how to farm food, or weapons of mass destruction?" Benally and other Dine’ on Black Mesa say the Navajo Nation government is a puppet government of the US, which abandoned them for coal mining and power plant dollars.
Working with sustainable agriculture, Janene Yazzie, Navajo, said Shelly does not need to go to Israel to learn how to use chemicals to grow food.
“To hear that our president believes the apartheid government of Israel has more to offer than the Dine’ people in his homeland fighting against his policies is hurtful and unbelievably ignorant.”
Yazzie points out that Shelly’s visit to Israel this week is the latest in a long list of human rights violations, which includes schemes to sell out Navajo water rights, and sending armed Swat teams to intimidate Navajos at public forums.
Janene Yazzie said:
It should not shock or surprise us that our Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly has taken an unexpected trip to visit Israel, a government that has committed itself to carrying out genocidal practices against its population of indigenous Palestinian peoples.
"In communities across our nation there is a struggle to localize food production by returning to traditional methods of farming and irrigation suitable to our climate, our soils, our native foods, and the values of our culture," Yazzie said.
"Instead of visiting these projects or investing in them President Shelly has gone to Israel to learn about 'Fertigation,' a method that is dependent on the use of chemical fertilizers." Read more of her statement at: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/12/navajo-janene-yazzie-solidarity-with.html
Angela Davis, Navajo, points out that the Navajo Nation has used genetically modified seeds for years at its commercial farm, Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, and promoted Monsanto on NAPI's website.
Davis said, "If Ben Shelly cares so much about agriculture, then he should stop buying genetically modified seeds from Monsanto. He also says he identifies similar problems with radiation contamination in Israeli water, while ignoring his own people who are sick and dying from radiation in their water from uranium mining that he supports!
"He also sees similarities with Israeli peoples' struggles in their homeland and shares their leader's concerns. He's like Benjamin Natanyaho, a dictator that commits genocide of oppressed people in their own occupied territories. We have more in common with the Palestinians than the Zionist regime of Israel. Ben Shelly is a liar and I don't believe his visitation intentions are in the best interest of the people."

Navajo Janene Yazzie: Solidarity with Palestine


Photo Calvin Johnson, Navajo
Navajo explains why the toxic Navajo president doesn't need to go to Israel to learn how to use chemicals to grow food

By Janene Yazzie
Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

It should not shock or surprise us that our Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly has taken an unexpected trip to visit Israel, a government that has committed itself to carrying out genocidal practices against it's population of indigenous Palestinian peoples. I make this argument because our President has illustrated himself to be unfit to make the kind of informed, wise, and strong decisions that promote the inherent rights of our own Dine (Navajo) people; let alone prove himself to be the kind of leader that is concerned or educated about the campaign of genocide waged by Israel.

"The Solar Hogan is a sustainable energy-efficient design centered
 around the traditional Navajo Hogan, retaining the many spiritual and
cultural meanings of our traditional dwellings. Sadly the Solar Hogan design,
praised to be the future of Navajo Nation Housing, has not received any
 support from Navajo Nation agencies since it was first introduced by
 architect Dennis Halloway and Dr. Charles Cambridge in 1989. This is only
 one of the many promising projects promoted by Sixth World Solutions to empower
 communities to utilize local materials, smart technology and innovative design to
 meet the desperate housing needs faced by so many Dine people.
For more information contact Janene Yazzie at Janene.Y@sixth-world.com"
In his official press release he is quoted as saying, “Our trip is also about cultural exchange in this part of the world where the Israeli people co-exist with their neighbors," listing his priorities as "Agriculture, Technology, Tourism, Infrastructure, and Government Services." Meanwhile his actions within the past year alone have shown his complacency in the violation of the Human Rights of our own people through his endorsement of the toxic "Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement." As part of his campaign to support this bill his "government services" included sending armed swat teams and Navajo Nation people (and in some places state police) to intimidate his own people at public forums and to censure opposition.

His open investment in coal and the policies that support them, as well as his contradiction between rhetoric and actions when it comes to Uranium, all serve to create enormous obstacles to the implementation of plans proposed by Dine entrepreneurs to transform our Nation into one that produces clean energy projects. He has actively tried to discredit, de-legitimize and exclude his own people in important decisions that regard the future of our Nation until we formed overpowering grassroots organizations. Yet still our arguments for social and environmental justice, for investment in sustainable economic development based on clean energy, and localizing food production continue to be met with resistance. To hear that our president believes the apartheid government of Israel has more to offer than the Dine people in his homeland fighting against his policies is hurtful and unbelievably ignorant.

In communities across our nation there is a struggle to localize food production by returning to traditional methods of farming and irrigation suitable to our climate, our soils, our native foods, and the values of our culture. Instead of visiting these projects or investing in them President Shelly has gone to Israel to learn about "Fertigation," a method that is dependent on the use of chemical fertilizers. There are other Dine entrepreneurs such as myself trying to introduce sustainable ways of building energy-efficient homes out of local materials, with waste-water recycling systems that allow us to optimize our use of this precious resource. The underlying conflict in all these issues is that all these grassroots projects employ "alternative methods of development" that empower communities to work together to meet their own local needs. However the projects that have received open support and funding within the past year are based on the unsustainable model of top-down private investments, based on illusions of trickle-down economics.

If President Shelly was really interested in how he could create the kind of development that will really serve the numerous needs of our people he would know that his first priority should be to invest in his own people and become a leader that protects our rights. If he is to represent us on the international level then he needs to become knowledgeable on the unsustainable structures that underlie our current globalized market systems. Lastly, it is imperative that he begin to understand what those of us on the grassroots-level understand; that in order to establish alternative forms of development we have to fight against the status quo of existing systems of power that prevent us from achieving our self-sufficiency. This makes it our responsibility as the largest tribal nation in the U.S. to stand in solidarity with the struggles of Indigenous peoples all over the world who continue to fight removal, exploitation and open acts of genocide on their ancestral lands. I stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and those Indigenous nations and non-indigenous peoples fighting against continued corporate, religious, and political exploitation. Only when we hold our leaders accountable to their electorates, only when we take a united stand against unsustainable market-practices, and only when we accept that all our homelands are changing from climate change, will we be able to unite around a new vision of how humanity should progress. From my experience returning home to join the resistance inside my nation, this is the true heart of the Dine people, and it is a vision that has not been respected or shared by our President Ben Shelly.

Janene Yazzie
Sixth World Solutions, CEO