August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Longest Walk 4 walks to Grimes Point sacred Paiute land

Photos by Western Shoshone long walker Carl 'Bad Bear' Sampson, on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2013.
The Longest Walk 4 walked from Sand Mountain to Grimes Point, sacred land of the Paiute.

Friday, November 29, 2013

O'odham and Anarchist Thanksgiving Day Protest Against Border Patrol

Article and photos courtesy of O'odham and Anarchist solidarity action
Censored News

"On Thursday, November 28th, 2013, a group of people made up by members of the Tohono O'odham Nation, the Anti-Colonial Anarchist Bloc, and various Tucson community members in solidarity with those resisting ongoing colonisation on stolen Native land, gathered in front of the gates to the Border Patrol headquarters at Golf Links and Swan in Tucson. 

They carried banners and signs and spoke passionately about their reasons for skipping "thanksgiving" celebrations in order to draw attention to the ways that colonisation is being perpetuated by institutions such as U.S. Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, Tucson Police, the University of Arizona, the mayor and council of Flagstaff, and the Arizona Department of Transportation. 

Ofelia Rivas, a grandmother from the O'odham Nation, welcomed the group in her traditional language and spoke to the ways that she has experienced harassment and abuse from U.S. Border Patrol occupying her Nation's lands. She described the ways that the checkpoints on the Nation, and the activity of the Border Patrol agents, make it impossible for O'odham people to participate in traditional ceremonies, and how this disrupts traditional culture. 

She spoke about how the demanding of proof of "american citizenship", to people who sometimes do not not have birth documents, systematically disrupts the freedom of O'odham people. She described scenarios in which O'odham people had been held at gunpoint by Border Patrol officers. And as she spoke, a bus packed with people being detained by Border Patrol drove through the gates. Some of the protesters cried, some waved, some booed the agency and its atrocities, while a large banner advocating "¡Fuera Migra! ¡Fuera Policía!" was held up for people on the bus to see, who waved and watched as they were taken away.

Chants to "End U.S. Imperialism!", to get "Off O'odham lands!", saying "No Thanks For Genocide!", and to take down the border were heard by people in their cars at the busy intersection, likely traveling on the holiday to visit family and celebrate what protesters called "a distraction from genocidal violence that is ongoing." A banner that loudly pronounced "NO BORDER PATROL ON STOLEN LAND" was held high. A list of demands was read, including that Border Patrol immediately leave Tohono O'odham lands and deconstruct all surveillance equipment on those lands, and that they close down ALL Border Patrol checkpoints, especially those on O'Odham lands.

The protest ended with a closing from Ofelia Rivas, and a promise from the group that they will continue to demand accountability and an end to ongoing colonialism long after the distraction of "thanksgiving" is replaced by another one."

Please share this link (located in your browser)

Zapatistas: Space full for Little School Dec 2013 Jan 2014

Zapatistas Sonora 2007 by Brenda Norrell

Space Full for First Grade at the Zapatista Little School in December 2013 and January 2014

To the compañeras and compañeros of the Sixth:
To Whom it May Concern:
From: Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.
Past, present, and future compas:

We send you our greetings. Once again we are informing you that we are doing a second and third round of the first grade of the Zapatista Little School, even though we only barely managed to cover our costs the first round, and this thanks to the fact that someone gave more to cover our compañeras and compañeros from near and far. That’s how we took care of the costs that couldn’t be covered by what had been collected in the donation jar.

Today! Protest Arizona Snowbowl Toiletbowl Opening Day!

ACTION ALERT: No Arizona Toiletbowl! Protest Arizona Snowbowl Opening Day on Nov. 29

What: Protest Arizona Snowbowl's opening day.

Why: The mountain, water, and all life forms are precious. We will keeping standing for human rights and environmental justice until they STOP making snow with treated sewage effluent.
Come stand together against Snowbowel's dirty snow!

When: Opening Day, starting at 9 am Nov. 29, 2013

Where: TWO LOCATIONS - At Flagstaff City Hall Lawn (corner of Rt 66 and N. Humprhey's St.), at the corner of Hwy 180 and Snowbowl Rd.
Bring banners and cookies, and hot cocoa! Cookies and cocoa optional :)

Arizona Snowbowl is readying to open it's ski slopes this coming Friday, Nov. 29. This will be the second year Snowbowl employs guns to spray reclaimed wastewater snow onto ski runs, a practice which; is illegal according to State Law (R18-9-704), is dangerous to human health, will negatively affect alpine flora and fauna, and is an affront to many Indigenous Peoples who hold the mountain sacred.

Water, be it potable or reclaimed, is precious in this desert region and should not be wasted for a water intensive recreational sport, especially when considering that the Colorado River is reputed as the "most endangered waterway", the lifeline for millions of residents in the Southwest region. We can work to stop climate change, but it is foolish to attempt to override it through the creation of artificial snow.

Currently, Flagstaff taxpayers are subsidizing Snowbowl's reclaimed wastewater use for dirty snow. The cost to produce reclaimed wastewater is ($1.94/1,000gal), yet it is sold to Snowbowl for a meager ($ .96/1,000gal), potable water users make up the dollar difference. City officials acknowledge that reclaimed wastewater may contain antibiotic resistant bacteria and pharmaceuticals, but have no timeline for testing and mitigating these issues. It is illegal to ingest reclaimed wastewater through the eyes, mouth, ears or skin due to its fecal coliform and chemical content. In spite of this, state agencies are turning a blind eye to these facts when considering matters with Snowbowl and are therefore putting thousands of skiers and families at risk.

Over thirteen Indigenous Nations have expressed overwhelming opposition to the use of reclaimed wastewater on the San Fransisco Peaks, citing the damage it will do to medicinal plants, animals, culture, and the sanctity of this sacred site.  The Forest Service, City of Flagstaff, and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have all colluded to push snowmaking through and to ignore any voice against such action. And still the disgusting reality of Snowbowl's actions are washed away by media outlets, eager to rake in revenues from Snowbowl advertisements.

That's why we will keep raising our voices. Join us to oppose human rights abuses, the desecration of sacred sites, environmental degradation, and the flagrant abuse of our water resources.

For more info:

Longest Walk 4 walking from Yomba Shoshone land to Paiute land

Friday night, Nov. 29, 2013 Camped at Grimes Point Paiute land Nevada

Friday nght

Thursday night camped at Cold Springs Nevada
Thursday night

Friday dawn, Nov. 29, 2013

Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz walking from Yomba Shoshone, Western Shoshone, land toward Paiute land in Nevada. Photos on Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29, 2013: The walkers were camped out on Thursday night at Cold Springs, and on Friday night at Grimes Point. Thanks to Western Shoshone long walker Carl 'Bad Bear' Sampson for the photos from his homeland.

By Brenda Norrell

YOMBA SHOSHONE LAND -- The Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz is now in its final and fifth month on the long walk from DC and the east coast and will arrive in Alcatraz on Dec. 21, with a ceremony on Dec. 22, 2013.
Michael Lane, Longest Walk 4 said on Thursday, "Day 137 - Here we are on the Yomba Reservation in the Western Shoshone Nation. Thank you to Johnny Bob and his family, Rozina, Buck and all those that have walked with us the last couple weeks. Will be getting the van going again after the alternator went out yesterday in Austin. 22 miles to cover today and we will be camping by Alpine Road on Hwy 50, with canned beans for dinner tonight. Tomorrow our Walker from the Zapotec Nation will be running 40 miles to Sand Mountain. In Fallon on Saturday, hosted by the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. Remember to give thanks for Indigenous Sovereignty and all that entails. It does not come from the nation-states but from the Land, and the original instructions given to us. Just saying. Have fun today."

More photos: Western Shoshone Bad Bear's mom joins him on the Longest Walk 4 in their homeland

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Navajo Chapters oppose liabilities waiver for BHP dirty coal

Dangerous BHP ash ponds

Navajo Nation waiving all BHP Billiton’s liabilities and its associated costs NOT endorsed by the Navajo shareholders

By Dine' CARE

Farmington – On November 24, 2013, the Shiprock Chapter passed a resolution to oppose the waiver of BHP Billiton’s liabilities with a vote of 57-0. 

On this same day, a Farmington Daily Times article stated, “Shiprock is the only chapter to issue a resolution that opposes the waiver of liability.” This statement failed to include three other Chapters; Dilkon, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad (Burnham), and Tsé al náozt’í (Sanostee) who also oppose the Navajo leadership in purchasing the Navajo Mine and/or opposing the waiver of liabilities. On September 15, 2013, Tsé al náozt’í Chapter was the first to oppose the Navajo Mine purchase before the Navajo Nation Council waived BHP’s liabilities.

Leonard Peltier 'Day of Mourning Statement'

Day of Mourning Statement from Leonard Peltier

November 2013 

Censored News

Greetings my relatives friends and supporters,

It is yet another year. It seems like a thousand years ago but only a year in time in reality from the last time I dictated one of these statement for the day of mourning so, again, I want to say as last time, that I am honored that you would want to hear my words.
Sometimes when I lay on my bunk and I am between sleeping and awake, for a small moment of time, I am free and I am there with you. I know this sounds kind of melodramatic and I am not trying to be so, but things affect you differently inside of here and things affect you differently as you get older. But I want to say with all my strength, some things don’t change, at least not for me. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Un-Thanksgiving Dinner AIM West San Francisco 2013 Photos

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
The Un-Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by AIM West featured speakers, Aztec dancers, a raffle, and yes even the turkey bird with all the un-Thanksgiving trimmings. The event was held at the Baha'i Center in San Francisco on Wed., Nov. 27, 2013, following two days of the AIM West sixth annual conference. 
Wounded Knee De Campo (photo 3 on right) told those gathered that the racist mascots do not honor Indian people. Pointing out the colonizers' history of genocide, murder, rape and boarding schools of Native Americans, Wounded Knee urged everyone not to buy sports merchandise depicting racist images of American Indians.
Photos Un-Thanksgiving Feast San Francisco 2013
Photo 1: Madonna Thunder Hawk of the Stronghold at Wounded Knee '73. 2. Morning Star Gali with two-month old, Pitt River Nation. 3. Un-Thanksgiving Feast with pumpkin pies and persimmons, along with the turkey bird and trimmings. 4. Dr. Loco, along with local Apache activist and Wounded Knee. 5. Aztec Dancers from Mexico City and Oaxaca. 6. AIM West coordinator Tony Gonzales with Jesse of the  Occupation of Alcatraz.  7. Our friend Tomas from Longest Walk 2 northern route. 8. Bill Means, founder of International Indian Treaty Council, brother of Russell and Ted Means. 9. Our friend Bruce from Longest Walk 2 northern route 2008.

Please share this link (located in your browser)

Thanks to Alice for Dutch translation NAIS

Bad Bear's Photos Long Walk 4 on 'Loneliest Road in America' Nevada

Bad Bear's mom joins him on the Longest Walk.



By Censored News

Longest Walk 4 on the "Loneliest Road in America" this morning, out of Austin, Nevada. Bad Bear's mom joins him on Longest Walk 4. Walking west from Austin, Nevada, Western Shoshone Rozina Bobb Sampson, Bad Bear's mom, walked with the walkers today. Rozina is the sister of Johnny Bob. Thanks to Bad Bear for photos and videos, Wed. Nov. 27, 2013.

Michael Lane, Longest Walk 4 said, "Day 137 - Here we are on the Yomba Reservation in the Western Shoshone Nation. Thank you to Johnny Bob and his family, Rozina, Buck and all those that have walked with us the last couple weeks. Will be getting the van going again after the alternator went out yesterday in Austin. 22 miles to cover today and we will be camping by Alpine Road on Hwy 50, with canned beans for dinner tonight. Tomorrow our Walker from the Zapotec Nation will be running 40 miles to Sand Mountain. In Fallon on Saturday, hosted by the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. Remember to give thanks for Indigenous Sovereignty and all that entails. It does not come from the nation-states but from the Land, and the original instructions given to us. Just saying. Have fun today."

Photo Benallys with XIT Reunion in Shiprock

Jeneda Benally and her father Jones Benally (seated) with the reunion of the original XIT band members in Shiprock, New Mexico on the Navajo Nation. Photo courtesy Jeneda Benally published with permission at Censored News.

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

SHIPROCK, N. M. -- The legendary XIT, sound of the American Indian Movement in the 60s and 70s, made a hit on the Navajo Nation.
Jeneda Benally said, "The original and legendary XIT! Their reunion concert in Shiprock was incredible! So happy to have met a band that has inspired me since I was a so little!"
XIT band members included Chili Yazzie on far right, Dine' of Shiprock, N.M.
Read about Sihasin, the band of Jeneda and her brother Clayson Benally:

Thanks Alice for Dutch translation: NAIS

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

AIM West Bill Means: America's payments meant to ease US conscience

AIM VICTORY SONG Tuesday, AIM West, Nov. 26, 2013 Video by Censored News

Bill Means: America's payouts are a way of clearing its conscience of genocide and stolen land
Bill Means

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News Exclusive
Dutch translation NAIS
SAN FRANCISCO -- The attacks on Indigenous Peoples, from the tarsands to Indian child welfare, were topics at the start of the second day of the sixth annual AIM West Conference here today, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013.

Bill Means, Lakota, began with an explanation of how the so-called origin of the word "Indians" is a myth and did not refer to Columbus believing he had landed in India. Means said India did not exist in 1492. Columbus had actually referred to the people of this land as "Indios." Columbus said the people here were spiritual people and "generous to a fault."

Means explained the dangers of TransCanada's tarsands that threatens Indian country. Further he described how South Dakota has declared Indian children as "special needs" in order to profiteer from child welfare.

Means described the corruption that resulted in the Cobell settlement and the hand-out mentality the Cobell payments and other current payments to American Indians perpetuate.

Means said there is now a rise once again in the "hand-out economy" attitude rather than people seeking work.

"Colonization is still taking place through these payments."
Madonna Thunder Hawk

"This creates the attitude that someone will take care of you if you stay at home and do nothing."

Means said these payments have become a way to "clear the conscience of America" for genocide and stolen land.

Means also described the corporations of extractive fossil fuels that are like PacMan. He said these are corporations that eat up everything. "They are the moral equipment of PacMan."

Means, founder and board member of the International Indian Treaty Council, said, "We have a worldwide movement. We are not just talking about the Americas anymore."

Means also described 30 years of international efforts at the United Nations. He said the United Nations works as a turtle, at a very slow rate, and sticks its head in at times, but the work continues. The Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples is the current step toward the next goal of obtaining Observer status at the United Nations.

Means said Indigenous Peoples gift to the United Nations is that the UN is realizing the importance of climate change, and the importance of matriarchal societies where women take the leadership, dissuading constant wars.

Madonna Thunder Hawk, Lakota, said her work is as a community organizer, "Moccasins on the Ground."

South Dakota is the main culprit of the Indian Child Welfare Act. It is still a frontier mentality, she said.

"Republi-crats" is what happens with issues in Indian country in South Dakota, she said of the political reality.

"They are taking our most precious resource, our children." Thunder Hawk said this is her seventh year of working on this campaign. "This is the fight that is most important."

"Our people are so colonized. How do you prioritize." Thunder Hawk said the tribal councils are involved in corruption and trying to imitate the colonizers.

Thunder Hawk said South Dakota had no resources, then they figured out they had nine reservations. She said when the Bushes were in control, the federal funding for child welfare services started going -- rather than through the federal government to Indian tribes-- to the state of South Dakota.

Tony Gonzales
Millions began going to the state of South Dakota. Thunder Hawk said the facts are online at

Thunder Hawk said Mormons are notorious for stealing Indian children. "They use them as indentured servants."

Thunder Hawk recommended reading the news at Last Real Indians. "Chase IronEyes is what we call an AIM baby. Now he is an attorney."

Of Last Real Indians, she said, "They talk about the fight against the pipeline, and the fight against neo-Nazis, and the battle against what is going on in Indian child welfare."

Tony Gonzales, AIM West coordinator, said the Washington Redskins added "salt to the wound" by using members of the Navajo Code Talkers Association in a presentation. Gonzales said, "They are playing with our elders," and "it is time to get serious." See background article at Washington Post:

Further, Gonzales said the Indian Child Welfare Act is being manipulated to benefit non-Indians, as was revealed in one recent child in the news. "The baby girl was taken away from her Cherokee father."

Gonzales said it is time to take action to keep the Indian Child Welfare Act "from being skirted."

"That's what this conference is about, finding solutions, finding partnerships, so we can all work together."

In the afternoon, there was a discussion of how to educate schools and the public about respect of Native images and protection of sacred places and burial grounds. The discussion centered on images and how this effects individuals as human beings. The discussion focused on the recent victory when Vallejo Schools in California removed an Apache mascot. Those gathered at AIM West pointed out that the media often reports on the image of mascots in a one-sided manner and fails to honor the words and perspectives of Native people.

Bill Means said AIM has challenged the churches to work on the issues of mascots and the use of racist images, because politicians work with churches. Means said it can be a means of establishing forums, or even drafting legislation as one organizing tactic.

During the discussion on genetically-modified seeds, Means said these seeds do not reproduce and must be repurchased each year. Further, the seeds which are taken and manipulated are part of Native culture, including what Natives know as the Three Sisters -- squash, beans and corn. Monsanto and other companies are polluting rivers and lakes with the runoff from GMOs.

Means said the lakes in Minnesota are polluted from the runoff from the pollution of farming, which includes genetically modified seeds. He said the fertilizer added to the soil, necessary to make these GMO seeds grow, further degrades the soil and pollutes the soil and waterways.

"We have to have the basic right to our traditional foods," Means said, pointing out that the Indigenous Peoples right to food sovereignty is even stated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In Central and South America, Indigenous Peoples are hard hit by the devastation caused by corporations seizing their farmlands and the destruction caused by GMOs.

"Many people coming across the border from the south are doing this because they can't feed their families," Means said.

During the discussion on international efforts, Tony Gonzales said intellectual property of Indigenous Peoples was found in 1992 to benefit non-Indians and corporations by $92 billion globally. "We are not getting one penny of that."

Gonzales said Indigenous Peoples issues are taken to the UN Human Rights Commission. The UN Forum on Indigenous Peoples in New York annually is a means of addressing many issues.

Earlier, there was also a discussion of Loop 202 in the Phoenix area. The proposed highway would require blasting through South Mountain which is sacred to Gila River O'otham and other Native Americans in the area.

In San Francisco on Monday, there was a protest of President Obama a few weeks blocks away from the AIM West Conference. The protest focused on President Obama's current immigration and other policies.

The protest of President Obama in San Francisco included a protest of the TransCanada tarsands protest which threatens Indian country and specifically the enormous Ogallala Aquifer in the Plains.

Already the gouging out of the earth for the southern route of the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, promoted by Obama, has led to the destruction of small farms in Texas and Oklahoma and the jailing of elderly farmers in Texas who were trying to protect their little farms. The tarsands mining in Alberta, Canada, has created widespread devastation and pollution, threatening future generations of Cree and other First Nations.

"We are in solidarity," Gonzales said.

"Truth is speaking to power. They are not going to relinquish it easily."

Also: Day 1 AIM West "American Indian Movement, History of Struggle, History of Hope"

Censored News videos: Bill Means speaking on Day 2: Long struggle of Indigenous Peoples for recognition at UN:

Watch Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV Concluding comments

Please share this Censored News link (located in your Internet browser)
Day 2 AIM West "Bill Means: America's payouts way to ease US conscience"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bad Bear's Photos Longest Walk 4 walking toward Austin Nevada

The Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz walked from Eureka toward Austin, Nevada, today, through Western Shoshone country. Thanks to long walker Bad Bear Sampson for sharing photos with Censored News! The walkers are on the final stretch, the final month of the five month walk. Their route takes them through Paiute country next, then Carson City, Sacramento and on to Alcatraz for a ceremony on Dec. 22, 2013.

Mohawk John Kane: Our ''Special Month" -- Almost in the Bag

Our “Special Month” — Almost in the Bag
By Mohawk John Kane
So as we head into the final week of National Native American Heritage Month as proclaimed by the 44th Rahnatakaias, or as I call it, our “special month,” we get to witness another misappropriation of our culture or, at the very least, another great falsehood of American history, the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving. History books, Disney and other tellers of fairy tales continue to promote a feel good fantasy of happy little Pilgrims inviting equally happy little Indians to the “first” Thanksgiving feast in the “New World” and that is just wrong.

American Indian Movement: History of Struggle and Hope

American Indian Movement: History of Struggle and Hope

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News Exclusive
Dutch translation NAIS
French translation Christine Prat

SAN FRANCISCO -- The sixth annual AIM West Conference began Monday morning with a prayer and drum song. Lakotas Bill Means and Madonna Thunder Hawk were among the first to arrive at the gathering, which includes presentations today and tomorrow, the annual un-thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday and a concert on Friday.

AIM history at AIM West Conference
Bill Means began with a Lakota greeting, "My heart is strong and I extend my hand in friendship." Means said he became a part of AIM in Vietnam in a bunker, when he saw his brother, Russell Means, in a copy of the military magazine "Stars and Stripes." Russell Means, who has now passed to the Spirit World, was protesting on the East Coast in 1968. The article said: "Plymouth Rock should have landed on the Pilgrims -- rather than the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock."

Bill Means said he couldn't wait to get out of the military and be part of this movement.

Bill Means spoke of the three identified enemies of Indian people, and how AIM sought solutions, including demanding that the Treaties be honored, and charity efforts focused on Native people be refocused into jobs and developing the communities.

AIM was formed in the 1960s and it was a time like non other. It was a time of Black Panthers in San Francisco; Martin Luther King in Alabama; women's rights; and the anti-war movement. Means said he was a member of Vietnam Veterans against the War.

Means met the American Indian Movement during the Occupation of Alcatraz and couldn't wait to take it home to Pine Ridge. "We always had a solution we were about to address." Means said there was a 20-point position paper in the Trail of Broken Treaties.

AIM identified three enemies of American Indian people: First, the United States government in the form of the BIA, which used to be in the War Dept., second the churches, and the third was the education system.

The solution was to begin with the Treaties, made between Nations. "Our elders always told us, 'Use those Treaties.'"

Means said AIM was well organized and they did their homework.

Besides the US government, Means said the other great enemy of Indian people are the churches and schools. Their motto was: "Save the child, kill the Indian." It was assimilation and acculturation. Meanwhile, AIM challenged the churches to work with the communities rather than to focus on the poverty and taking children out of Indian homes.

Still, through all of this, America saw Indians as romantic images.

"But we are still here and we have a right to be who we are," Means said. Within AIM, American Indians began to control their own curriculum in schools.

"This was very revolutionary at the time."

AIM identified the enemies and carried out ways to address those. Means said mascots are protested because the issue is one of respect. This basic respect is necessary before moving on to other issues such as Treaties.

Means said the film, "A Man Called Horse," was protested because it portrayed a white man saving Indians. The marches against the movie, however, created a backlash and the movie actually became more famous because everyone wanted to see what Indian people were so upset about. "We learned some lessons."

Means questioned why the US is not upholding their own laws which includes Indian Treaty rights. As long as Article 6 is there, the Treaty rights remain, he said.

Recalling the '60s, Means said, it was a time of social change and of marching. America was in a very different place than it is now.

Madonna Thunder Hawk, Lakota, and Jean
Jean Whitehorse, Dine'
Whitehorse, Dine', spoke on Monday morning. Thunder Hawk stressed the importance of extended families and communities, and the battle against the state of South Dakota which is profiteering from taking Indian children from their homes. Whitehorse described how she was abused in boarding school for speaking Dine'. She also shared the Beauty Way.

Thunder Hawk said she lived in San Francisco when she was young. Thunder Hawk also remembered when Bill Mean’s father went out to Alcatraz in 1964 to occupy it, before the longer occupation of Alcatraz years later.           

“We were family oriented," said Thunder Hawk. She spoke of extended families in the Lakota way. She said after WW II she lived here in the San Francisco area, and her family members grew up with Bill Means family members.

Thunder Hawk said the movement has survived because of community organizers. She said the US could not wipe them all out because they were community based and family based.

“The bottom line for us is land protection," she said.

Thunder Hawk said today there are so many threats, including the Keystone XL pipeline. The oil would be shipped to China.

Thunder Hawk described how today the strategy of the US and energy companies involves the privatization of Indian land. She said energy companies pick off individual land owners and buy the land and mineral rights from those who are desperate for money. 

Along with this, there are man camps in the oil and gas fields.

Today much of the struggle focuses on the Indian Child Welfare Act which is profiteering from child welfare and seizing Indian children from their homes.

"The state of South Dakota found out they could make millions by taking over child welfare for the whole state," Thunder Hawk said.

She said the youths are offering hope. "The young people are really active and waking up."

There are many struggles in the Dakotas. Now white supremacists are coming in and buying up land in small towns. This just happened in Leith, North Dakota, near the Standing Rock Indian Nation.

"These little towns are dying."

In Leith, there were only 26 residents when the neo-Nazi bought up housing and lots. The residents put out a call for help.

"We are under siege more than ever," Thunder Hawk said, describing the attacks on the people, communities and Indian Nations in the Dakotas.

Churches now have a new strategy for seeking recruits of Indian people. Today, she said churches use sage and the priests wear beadwork.

"They are busy trying to convert the Indian people. They say, 'We'll pay your light bill for you.'"

Further, Indian people are dealing with the over medication and drugging of youths by Indian Health Service. IHS has given youths excessive mood-altering drugs which dulls them.

The issue is survival. Thunder Hawk said she likes to come to the AIM West gathering each year because there are progressive Indian people here. Meanwhile, in South Dakota there is a frontier mentality. There is a lack of resources and lack of attorneys. Further, people don't want to go up against the state, the idea of taking on the state is considered too radical for them.

"Moccasins on the ground, that's who I am," Thunder Hawk said.

She said AIM West is a clearing house, for international work. Further, the Internet has allowed young people to see the big picture.

"We don't stand alone. I"m really glad to be here."

Jean Whitehorse, Dine', remembered the Occupation of Alcatraz and the struggle for land, liberty, justice and freedom. She also exposed racism in children's literature and the need for a new type of education.

Whitehorse said people often ask "Why Alcatraz, what's there, why do you Indians want that?"

Then, she responds, "Alcatraz resembles an Indian reservation, there's nothing on them."

Whitehorse talked of how this society labels American Indians before they are even born. She showed a family planning pamphlet, which was distributed to Navajo women earlier. The pamphlet illustrated in drawings that if a Navajo woman had one child, she would have lots of horses, but if she had many children, she wouldn't have many horses.

There were also cases of nurses and doctors who stole Navajo babies. Now, some of those "lost birds" are coming back and looking for their families. "It's not just Navajos, it is all over."

Mormons took Navajo children off Navajo land.

Whitehorse showed children's books of how Indians are portrayed. She said, "We are portrayed as fools, stupid or uneducated."

She also showed a recipe, from a book claiming to be Indian food, that was supposed to be Indian fry bread. "It looks more like cookies."

In one children's book, the author confused Navajos, Hopis and Pueblos as one tribe, mixing it all together in one confusing story.

Whitehorse pointed out that there are books that tell the real stories. She said Navajo poet Luci Tapahonso's books are an example of authentic Native authors.

"Living in harmony and balance is our prayer," she said. Whitehorse said after living in the San Francisco Bay area on relocation, her grandmother taught her to live in harmony and balance in the Beauty Way.
Tony Gonzales AIM West

During the afternoon at the AIM West Conference, the film Autodescubrimiento 1492 -- 1992 (Self Discovery) was shown on Indigenous rights. The film includes early footage from Big Mountain of many of the Dine' elders who have passed on to the Spirit World, and songs by Ute/Navajo Willie Lonewolf, who has also made his journey to the Spirit World, and many others.

The 62-minute film was produced by Rodrigo Betancur. It is a documentary of the 500 years of struggle of Indigenous Peoples, including Dine' of Big Mountain and the official and counter celebrations in San Francisco. The film says the goal is to "demystify, confront and challenge the images of official history.'"

AIM West Conference Coordinator Tony Gonzales said discussions on Tuesday will include the Vallejo schools dropping the Apache mascot and Indigenous Peoples issues at the United Nations

Please share this link from Censored News

Also see: Day 2: Bill Means: Time to halt hand-out mentality

Info on this week's gatherings:

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.