Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 17, 2013

Native Americans prepare to defend homelands, walk across America

Red Butte Havasupai sacred land Photo Dawn Dyer

Native Americans prepare to defend homelands, walk across America
Longest Walk 1978

By Brenda Norrell
Native Americans focused on defending their homelands and upholding the Rights of Nature during June, as they prepared for non-violent resistance to the threats of the tarsands pipeline, uranium mining and coal-fired power plants.
Native Americans also prepared to walk across America for the fourth time to affirm Indigenous rights. The Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz, will depart from DC on July 15, returning home to Alcatraz Island for a ceremony on Dec. 22, 2013.

Zapatistas and Mohawks Vicam 2007
In Chiapas, Zapatistas planned a gathering in August to continue the efforts which began in Yaqui territory in Sonora in 2007.

During June, Lakotas with Moccasins on the Ground in South Dakota trained to defend their lands and water from the threat of the dirty crude oil of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Already farmers in Texas and Oklahoma have been jailed while defending their small farms from the pipeline’s destruction on the southern route.
At the Left Forum in New York, Debra White Plume joined Noam Chomsky, shown holding an announcement of her documentary film called Crying Earth Rise Up.
In Arizona, Native Americans prepared to protest the reopening of the Canyon Uranium Mine on Havasupai sacred land at Red Butte at the Grand Canyon.
White Plume and Chomsky/ Photo Owe Aku
Longest Walk 4 organizers said this weekend that the five month walk, Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz, will begin with a sunrise ceremony in DC on July 15 and follow closely the route of the original Longest Walk in 1978.
The walk will affirm Indigenous sovereignty. The guiding force is land based spiritual beliefs. The walk focuses on protection from the exploitation of the land, including the tar sands development and pipelines. Further, the walk focuses on protecting and maintaining traditional spiritual beliefs, protecting sacred sites and stopping the exploitation of Indigenous women and children.
“The time has come to make our voices heard again for our own Indigenous Peoples, as the original message affirming Indigenous Sovereignty has become clouded through the efforts of the nation-states. The threats to our continued existence and way of life are more severe than ever, yet it has become better disguised. We hope to help bring the original vision back to the forefront,” organizers for the Long Walk 4 said this weekend.
In Norway during June, the Indigenous Environmental Network made an intervention, as a group of Indigenous Peoples planned an Indigenous World Conference for 2014.
The intervention focused on the false green economy and the scam of the carbon credit market which allows the world’s worst polluters to continue polluting.
Photo Ben Powless
Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said, “This green economy regime places a monetary price on Nature and creates new derivative markets that will only increase inequality and expedite the destruction of Nature – of Mother Earth. We cannot put the future of Nature and humanity in the hands of financial speculative mechanisms like carbon trading, REDD, conservation and biodiversity offsets and payment for environmental and ecological services."
In the defense of the Rights of Nature, and preservation of languages and cultures, video and education continue to be tools for upholding autonomy and dignity.
Traditional grassroots Indigenous Peoples are continuing the work of protecting the Rights of Nature, as highlighted in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2010, and enacted in Ecuador and Bolivia. Efforts have increased to fight oil and gas drilling, mining, coal-fired power plants and deforestation, as Indigenous Peoples defend their homelands and rivers throughout the Americas.
In Chiapas, Zapatistas invited supporters to the Seminar Tata Juan Chávez Alonso to be celebrated in CIDECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, beginning on August 17, 2013.
Zapatistas said the gathering is a continuation of the efforts that took shape during the First Encounter of Indigenous Peoples of America celebrated in October of 2007 in Vicam, Sonora, on Yaqui territory. The seminar Tata Juan Chávez Alonso will hold its sessions at different locations of indigenous America throughout the continent, in accordance with the geographies and calendars agreed upon by those who called for the seminar and those who join along the way.
Film capture by Censored News

In northern Arizona, a video made by Native American middle school students, in defense of San Francisco Peaks, was the most viewed video at the online Green Festival over the weekend. Doo'ko'oosliid : San Francisco Peaks, directed by Camille Manybeads Tso and Kira Butler, was the most viewed film at the Green Film Festival, Culture Unplugged.
The Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff, Ariz. -- in disregard for sacred San Francisco Peaks and the healing ceremonies of area Native Americans -- has fought American Indians in federal court in order to use recycled sewage water on the sacred mountain to make snow for skiers and tourists. Medicine men gather plants on the mountain for healing ceremonies. San Francisco Peaks is sacred to 13 area Native American Nations.
(Photo right: Camille Manybeads Tso, Navajo)
Author Brenda Norrell
Also see:
Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz 2013
Defend Havasupai sacred land from uranium mining
Zapatista Events Summer 2013
Owe Aku International Moccasins on the Ground
World Indigenous Conference 2014 Intervention by Indigenous Environmental Network
Dine youths’ Dooko’oosliid on Green Film Festival

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