August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gila River Sacrifices Against Loop 202 on Two Day Run and March

Photo by GRIC against Loop 202
Gila River Sacrifices Against Loop 202 on Two Day Run and March
By GRIC against Loop 202
Posted at Censored News
GILA RIVER INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. -- On December 7th and 8th, members of the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) showed their opposition to the proposed 202 freeway by holding the Sacrificing Against the Freeway gathering, a two day spiritual relay run and march. Participants of all ages and communities came to support No Build GRIC advocates by offeringtheir prayers and strength to efforts against the proposed South Mountain Loop 202 freeway. No Build supporters from the Tohono O’odham Nation, Onk Akimel O’odham (Salt River), Dine (Navajo), Pee Posh (Maricopa), Apache, and Hopi tribes also helped run and carry prayers throughout the two days.
Jiivik Siiki, from Hashan Kehk, one of the organizers of the gathering stated, “The primary reason why this action was called was to show everyone that our Himthag, our culture, has a major place in the decision as to whether or not this freeway should be placed on tribal land. It has also been reported that the supporters of the freeway are making statements that ‘our culture is dead’ and we felt the need to show them how strong our teachings are.”
The first daystarted with a 36 mile sunrise run from U’us Kehk (Blackwater) through Hashan Kehk, Gu’u Ki (Sacaton), and Vah-ki, and ended at the southern base of the Estrella Mountains. The second day was a 15 mile sunrise run and march. The march went along the proposed route of the 202 extension in Komadk. Marchers carried banners stating“Pangea Will Never Represent My Land Interest”, “Caution Loop 202 Biohazard”, and “Pangea Is Bad Business for Ahwatukee and Gila River”. The gathering ended near the base of Moahdahk Do’ag (South Mountain), where runners ran staffs to the mountain.
Non-Native supporters were welcomed, and several from the Phoenix area also joined the run and march. Jezz Putnam, member of No South Mountain Freeway, a Phoenix-based 202 opposition group, ran for both days. Putnam said, “O’odham community members running side-by-side with supporters and then walking in step together for the Sunday march marks a true turning point in the fight against the expansion of the loop 202. The gathering exhibited the strength and unity inside of everyone who is willing to work together to defend the future of our communities from the threat of the freeway.”
Throughout the two days, organizers stressed the importance of coming together through culture, and encouraged community members, especially the youth, to mobilize against the freeway.
One of the many reasons I ran was to help strengthen and unite the community to fight for our land, just as our ancestors did. This freeway would be harmful to our families, and also to those who live near the proposed areas off Gila River,” said 18 year old Summer Blackwater of Sacaton. “Pangea and other pro-freeway members must listen to us, and respect our wishes to not build this freeway. We’re not trying to force a road through anyone’s yards and homes. Why must they do exactly that to our community?”
Since 1983, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has threatened the health, environmental quality and culture of the Gila River Indian Community by attempting to build the Loop 202 South Mountain freeway extension. For over 25 years, GRIC has continuously voiced its opposition to the Loop 202 extension. In February 2012, the community voted 720 to 603 in favor of a No Build ballot option in a single-issue vote on the 202. Still, ADOT, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), and pro-freeway supporters like Pangea, a land development corporation, continue with their plans centered on the construction of the freeway extension. Additionally, ADOT has delayed the release of the environmental impact study (EIS) for this proposed construction for over 25 years.
Currently, Pangea is seeking a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from GRIC tribal council which grants Pangea and their investors exclusive rights to develop over 5500 acres of tribal land on the reservation’s western end along the route of the proposed Loop 202 freeway. Gila River landowners have been targeted by the Pangea corporation with‘good-faith’ payments of $50 for their consent signatures and have been bribed to attend tribal government meetings with $500 raffle prizes. The cash payments and raffle prizes are used by Pangea in addition to a misinformation campaign that downplays the negative health impacts of the freeway, and which makes no mention of the destruction of traditional cultural properties that are in the path of the freeway and the Pangea City Concept.
Despite Pangea’s misleading campaign that the freeway can’t be stopped, ADOT still lists “No Build” as an option. In a statement the day following the February 2012 No Build victory, MAG Chair Hugh Hallman conceded that “this vote is a significant milestone in the process and allows us to focus our efforts now exclusively on the Pecos Road alignment. The no-build option is also an alternative.”
Organizers of the Sacrificing Against the Freeway sought to inform community members and Gila River tribal leaders that No Build is an option and to remind them of their duty to protect O’odham land.
It was a powerful thing to see O’odham, Pee Posh and other supporters come together to send prayers and connect our lives back to the land we belong to. It gives much needed strength to our struggle to defend against encroaching freeways and other developments,” said Wesley Miles of Co-op village. “Many thanks and prayers to all who helped and supported, no matter how far.”
No Build GRIC advocates were thankful for the show of support, and encouraged No Build supporters from both GRIC and the Phoenix area to attend upcoming MAG public meetings in January 2013.
Community members expressed their hopes for more gatherings like Sacrificing Against the Freeway. Siiki encouraged the need to address the harmful cultural impacts of the proposed freeway, as well as the environmental impacts.
Siiki concluded, “This run and march was specifically for us to show our Himthag is important in protecting and keeping our lands. There was no hidden agenda. This activity was all volunteer and relied upon individuals and families to support it. We did not need to charter vehicles or ask anyone to sign papers, people just showed up and carried prayers across our lands willingly. People need to know the true reasons why this land must remain in our possession as a community, and our new friends will help spread that to the rest of the world.”
For more information regarding the Loop 202 struggle, please contact us at:

O'othham March against Pi Vehsig (Imbalance)

O'othham March against Pi Vehsig (Imbalance)
Gila River Indian Community member Jiivik Siiki, speaks on the recent Sacrificing against the Freeway spiritual run and march on December 8th and 9th, 2012
By GRIC against Loop 202
Posted at Censored News
The primary reason why this action was called was to show everyone that our Himthag, our culture, has a major place in the decision as to whether or not this freeway should be placed on tribal land. It has also been reported that the supporters of the freeway are making statements that "our culture is dead" and we felt the need to show them how strong our teachings are. Many of us continue to practice our teachings, which center on respect and being caretakers of our lands, all O'othham lands, and not just the lands of the Gila River Indian Community's current boundaries.
In our teachings, and I can only speak about the male side of our culture, we O'othham men are born with the obligation that we must place ourselves in between anything negative or threatening in order to ensure respect and protection of our children, our companions, our families and relatives, our villages, our Hemajkam ( tribal nation), and also our lands. With this, we men must increase our numbers and the numbers of O'othham willing to retake their obligation to be protectors and caretakers of what is ours. When someone inside or outside the community threatens us, we must place ourselves in a position to protect And this is where we are now, that our people are tired of being disrespected by having to vote "no freeway" over and over again, which implies we are incapable of making our own choices; this is the mindset of those that embrace what we call Pi Vehsig chukthathag, or imbalance mind and thoughts. This affects both non-tribal as well as tribal minds.
In our teachings, we know that we have inherited this land from our ancestors, our Sho'oshon, those who are our beginning. They have sacrificed much to give us this opportunity to show respect to our lands. This is another obligation we are born with; to think about everyone rather than ourselves. Sadly, our traditional ideals and teachings are being shunned and ridiculed when incitements and bribes are waved in our faces. Currently that bribe is the money in exchange for our land to build the freeway. This is the reality of our O'othham world that we believe we are having a harder time finding balance, or Vehsig. This is untrue, it is very easy to create balance, we just choose not to.
In this particular circumstance, which simply is the taking of more of our land for the benefit of others, the supporters of the freeway are not unique in their mindset or the position they feel they hold. In our tribal history (and the history of all native peoples all over the world), we see examples of Pi Vehsig thinking - in english it is called colonization. We have an oppressor - in this case Pangea, and we have the oppressed - in this case the landowners.In the description of Pi Vehsig and how it has impacted Akimel O'othham lands, the Fifth Mashad, or moon, is called "Bishak Mashad: the 'Surrounds, Embraces, and Takes Over' phase. In this moon, the colonizer (Pangea) will use fellow O'othham (landowners) and our teachings (that Moahdahk is sacred) to claim what is ours (our land). More to this point is that the oppressed are manipulated to think that they must embrace non-tribal thinking, while also being told that this non-tribal philosophy is for the benefit of the tribe. It's a contradiction that is very difficult for the oppressed to not only see, but for them admit. At this point in our colonization, the oppressed, which is fellow O'othham (i.e. Joey Perez and the landowners) become addicted to the imbalanced way of thinking, which is so far from our traditional teachings, that they display what we call Vechij Pi Vehsig, the New Imbalanced Thinking; the closest term in O'othham was can describe as sub-oppression. This is the point in our tribal history where we no longer need an outside oppressor to threaten the community's future; we begin to do it on our own. It becomes our own relatives who try to destroy the balance.
The supporters of the freeway cannot see this because they are living it. They will turn their rage on you and threaten you because you can see it; sadly we are watching them being manipulated, oppressed, ridiculed, and leashed from a distance, and many times there's nothing we can do about it. There are times when you just have to give up on a person, because there are others that really want and embrace your help. The supporters of the freeway can claim they are protecting Moahdahk, but they are not willing to give up what they think is their "family land," which is not an O'othham philosophy; that one person can own land that belongs to all of us. The land belongs to all of the O'othham regardless of whose name the federal government placed on it. In the way of our Himthag, it is all of our responsibility to protect this land. Not disrespects it.
The landowners justify their existence through a law that was established to steal tribal lands. The Dawes Act (also known as the Allotment Act) was created in order for the Americans to take tribal lands away from tribal peoples, thus the reason why there are no reservations on the eastern part of this country. Under this law, the federal government through the Department of Interior legally owns all land, including allotted lands. Therefore, the term "land owner" is a fallacy. More importantly, under traditional O'othham Himthag laws and teachings, all of us own and take care of our lands. The so-called landowners only have to relinquish their allotments to the tribe should they truly have the best interests of the whole community in mind; instead, they want to believe the pieces of land are theirs, and they will get some money for it, and somehow this benefits all of us. This is what greed does, this is what pi vehsig thinking does.
We always have to consider our actions and the responses others will have towards our actions. This sacrifice and stand to show our opposition to the freeway was open to everyone because it will affect everyone. In understanding that all peoples have been oppressed at one time or another, and have faced ridicule and others telling them they are incapable of making their own decisions, this activity allowed them to help a group of people change that negative way of thinking. We had many groups of people invited and participate, all ages, all philosophies, because this taking of our land is something they did not like to see happen to them and they would not like to see it happen to us. Go'ol Hemajkam (The Other People) were invited, cared for, fed, provided warmth of the fire and handshakes, because they care for us so much to come and help us stop this disrespect. They were invited because we wanted them to see what we can do, and perhaps they will be strengthened to protect their own. It was made very clear that this run and march was specifically for us to show how our Himthag is important in protecting and keeping our lands; there was no hidden agenda. This activity was all volunteer and relied upon individuals and families to support it; we did not need to charter vehicles or ask anyone to sign papers; they just showed up and carried prayers across our lands willingly. People need to know the true reasons why this land must remain in our possession as a community, and our new friends will help spread that to the rest of the world.
For more information about the Loop 202 opposition, please contact us at

Democracy Now! Never before broadcast video Leonard Peltier

Democracy NOW!
I am writing to share with you a 25-minute segment about the campaign
to push President Obama to pardon Native American activist Leonard
Peltier, who has spent 37 years in prison in controversial case.
We air a never-before-broadcast video of Peltier from an interview by
German journalist Claus Beegert, in which Peltier once again asks for
clemency. Watch and share this exclusive video footage:
Democracy Now! speaks with Peter Coyote, a well-known actor and
longtime friend of Peltier, who is part of a renewed effort to urge
Obama to grant clemency. If he carries out his full sentence, Peltier
will be 95 years old by the time that he is released. On Friday,
singers Harry Belafonte and Pete Seeger will host a "Bring Leonard
Peltier Home In 2012 Concert" at the Beacon Theater in New York City
to raise awareness of Peltier's case. Coyote shares exclusive details
about his experiences in working with political officials and his
belief that the government is pointedly ignoring pleas to release
Peltier, despite the many doubts that surround the case. He tells
Democracy Now! that even the judge in the case personally wrote to
President Clinton to grant clemency because of the blatant errors in
the information presented at trial. Watch:
Democracy Now! has been closely covering Leonard Peltier's case over
the past few years. Our archive features interviews with former
President Bill Clinton, Janet Reno, and Kevin McKiernan, the only
reporter present during the 1975 shootings at the Pine Ridge
Reservation. Watch and listen to some highlights from our coverage:
Reporter Who Witnessed Pine Ridge Shoot Out Calls for Presidential
Ex-AG Janet Reno on the Florida Elections, John Ashcroft and Leonard
Bill Clinton Loses His Cool in Democracy Now! Interview on Everything
But Monica: Leonard Peltier, Racial Profiling, Iraqi Sanctions, Ralph
Nader, the Death Penalty and Israel-Palestine:
You can also watch and listen to all of our reports on Peltier at
Please feel free to share our reports today by posting on your website
or social media network. I have provided the links and video embed
codes below. The complete transcripts will be posted soon on our
website. Democracy Now! is an independent, global news hour that
broadcasts live Monday through Friday from 8-9am EST at
Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Please let me know
if you have any questions.
My Best, Jamie Hall
Social Media and Online Outreach Intern Democracy Now!

Mohawk Nation News 'Idle No More' Editorial

MNN: IDLE NO MORE. Editorial

MNN: IDLE NO MORE. Editorial
Mohawk Nation News

MNN. Dec. 12, 2012. The Assembly of First Nations AFN and Iroquois Caucus IC merged their corporations on December 4th 2012. The Iroquois Caucus represents the band councils on the Mohawk communities in Canada, not the legitimate Mohawk people or Iroquois Confederacy. They take credit for our grassroots activism. In fact they worked behind the scenes to help their benefactors, the Canadian government, to try to silence us and continue the illusion of freedom.
The AFN represents the other colonial band councils in Canada. It appears that these two corporate branches are at the forefront of the ‘Idle No More’ movement or taking over the agenda. They are trying to give the impression that all Indians follow the Indian Act, which is a lie.
The merger is supposed to be the start of a combative relationship between the AFN and the federal government. How? Both lobby groups are being paid by the corporation of Canada.
The Iroquois Caucus has nothing to do with resisting the colonists. They are well paid to pacify, confuse us and make sure that the true Confederacy cannot institute the Great Law of Peace.
They have no legal right to enter into any negotiations involving our people, land and resources. They only represent the band council corporate Indians and the voters in the reserve elections. Grassroots peoples will not be sitting at the negotiating table when these three corporations [AFN, IC and Canada] wheel and deal away our resources and place more genocidal restrictions on us.
Prime Minister Harper is frustrated over AFN’s failure to shut us up and make us subservient. His fascist bill C [whatever!] will create more starvation, imprisonment and death from economic, racial, cultural, spiritual genocide. Every successful independent Indigenous business is criminalized. Harper wants a new team of super obedient Indians. As the Economic Hitman says, “Don’t worry about the people. Just think about you and your family”.
The 1924 Indian Advancement Act placed us under the most oppressive economic sanctions of any people on earth, to try to starve us into submission. The reserves were and still are prisoners of war camps. To eat we are forced into oppression. They want to remove us to take our resource rich land for the multinational corporations and to create toxic garbage dumps. [Attawapiskat, Keshachewan, Akwesasne, Kahnawake, Tyendinaga, etc.].
The “It’s-No-Use” AFN met recently in the Gatineau to tell us how bad and hopeless everything is and practically told us we had to keep on living with it.
The delegates crossed the Ottawa River to march on Parliament Hill and tried to enter the House of Commons. The scuffle was over in an instant. The government knew it was their puppets and could slam the door in their faces. According to the Indian Act the Indians are not allowed to go in.
The true ongwehonweh of Great Turtle Island will not beg for what is ours. The visitors will be reminded of their illegal occupation of our land, theft of our possessions, the genocide and what they owe us.
Why are our people fighting for treaties? These illegal contracts are not worth the paper they are written on. We don’t get anything. They got the right to control us and take everything from us. Every treaty has been broken, which makes them null and void.
The only true treaty is the Guswentha in 1701 giving them refuge and to become of one mind with us. They could never have any jurisdiction over us, our land, resources, air and water. International law provides that when a treaty is broken everything reverts to one day before the treaty, June 24 1701.
The occupiers issue corporate band cards. The holders are deemed to be Canadian Indians under Canada’s corporate sovereignty and jurisdiction.
If band cards were torn up tomorrow and Canadian corporations were renounced, only band council chiefs and those who vote in their elections would remain as their artificial corporate Indians. The rest of us would be in the driver’s seat, not being part of the foreign corporations and having never given up anything.
Canada loses $60 million a day, $22 billion a year, because of the discount prices they get for selling our oil to the US. They want to sell it to Asian markets via the West coast. We will never allow the pipeline to go through ongwehoneh land. We closed down the Northern Gateway pipeline project. In the 1970s we shut down the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. Scumbags Enbridge was shut down. The thieves don’t want to be honest with their landlords. Instead they send their fake cops [police officers] to threaten us.
The settlers came here with nothing, no common language, people or history. They brought greed and a thirst for blood. They are panicking, angry, frustrated and threatening us because they never thought they would be accountable. It is time to dissolve the squatting illegal corporation of Canada. Yes, we will tell foreign governments, corporations and their entities what they may or may not have.
We must work together as one inherent people of Great Turtle Island. There is a formula to come to a consensus so that we all survive. If one goes hungry, we all go hungry. Pushing for control of the interest on our resources is a start.
all nations
We want peace, not pacifism. We want control of our lives, our land, minerals, oil, water, gas, soil, eco-system, air and everything on it.

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

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