Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights
Friday, January 4, 2013
UPDATE WATCH VIDEO of Jan. 5, 2012 Cornwall Akwesasne Border Action!
Navajo filmmaker Arlene Bowman reflects on the mystery and magic of salmon in Vancouver, BC
Almost six weeks now since I saw first saw the salmons swim to their homeland to spawn in a small stream close by at Hyland Creek, Surrey BC. A few sockeye swam in the pools. December 19th I saw a red male salmon swim alone in his pool, the only salmon left, but on December 21, 2012, Friday I saw him with a female salmon partner. Today is January 5, 2013. I wondered last Tuesday, what will happen to this male salmon? No female to spawn with unless the other females return who swam fast away. I do not know where she came from but it happened. Maybe she is one of those who returned.
Visited often. I wrote a journal about the salmons in the streams I viewed and checked; also I took still photos and videotaped the salmons. This is the first time ever I saw big fish swim in small streams: the sockeye salmon. I am not a fish or salmon expert. Now hardly any salmon exist in the small pools in the stream except the pair near the tree root since November 25, 2012. Now she has gone, too.
To read-view documentaries about salmon is one thing, but to view live salmons is another. Sometimes these salmons, their heads, eyes, fins, tails, green olive skins with black spots showed halfway as they rested or below the water level. Sometimes to evade they dived deeper. In twilight the white stripe that runs across the top of their bodies, worn out scales swayed in a long S letter. Red male salmons and females swished and wiggled their bodies fast, splish, splash across smooth slippery rocks in thin streams. Once in a lifetime, I never experienced this among living things, except for kittens being born.
I looked at a map, which illustrates tributaries in Surrey. My partner and I assessed the Serpentine River might be the only possible route the salmons followed to reach the nearby small stream. Imagine long ago many, many, many salmons returned. The local news reported the salmons’ return in BC Canada lessened a lot in the last five years. A couple expressed in November 2012 to my partner at the local small park, the salmon’s return five years ago in 2007 was huge compared to now. To have seen that. To have viewed salmons in the earliest times!
My interest in cats motivated me to volunteer and care for household cats at a local SPCA shelter for a few years in Surrey BC. I have a black female cat. Read about the tigers in India. Tigers will be extinct in the future. So sad. Man is the main predator. Man develops land, populates and spreads over land where the tigers and lions populate and once roamed far distances. The big cats need huge space to move. People, who chop and get rid of the jungle for lumber and other resources, eliminate the areas where tigers and lions travel. I read tigers are killed for parts by certain peoples of the world.
Salmons’ dilemma is similar. Some developers of land are not aware or ignore the salmons’ habitat, the way they live and spawn. These developers take away the trees and ferns where salmons swim and hide for protection. Salmon swim in cold water rather than warm water or they die. In the U.S. most of the dams built eliminated the salmon routes in their return to spawning grounds. Now the climate has started to change to a warmer temperature, which will cause natural elimination.
Once eagles were an endangered species in North America, but they rebounded. So glad they revived, but other birds, animals and living things in this world are not as recoverable.
In my November - December 2012 observation of the salmon return, I noticed the streams nearby are polluted; yet the salmon swims and drinks in them. Wish I could test the waters and salmon bodies by obtaining samples from the water and salmon bodies to find out what is in the water and salmon bodies, but I do not have contact with equipment to test.
Some people care a lot, while others do not care what happens to the animals that live now not endangered and endangered. What makes people think birds, animals and living things last forever? Such as in the beginning in the United States, the colonizers nearly killed off the buffalo. From another point-of-view the colonizers figured, get rid of the buffalo will get rid of Indigenous people; a starvation technique used by the U.S. military. When I first heard about this technique, I had doubts. However, the more I thought about it, the more plausible it became. Why do people kill animals and use parts of them? What makes people create pipelines for gas or oil in BC such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline and assume the pipes will not leak on the land when they leak, which destroys the salmon, other animals’ habitats and pollute water? Arrogance, ignorance and greed affect the living things in the environment where the animals, endangered species and humans live. In 1971, Marvin Gaye wrote and sang in “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” fish, whales and animals get mercury, carcinogens from oil, gas or whatever poisons the ocean and land. When miners mine uranium, miners receive cancer from exposure to radioactivity unless the mining companies resolved the problem. Among the few uranium-mining companies who wanted to mine uranium in the Grand Canyon in 2011 was a Canadian uranium mining company. Two First Nations live in the Grand Canyon of Arizona and use the Colorado River water. In fact, everyone in the U.S. west uses Colorado water. A twenty year ban was enacted upon uranium mining by the Obama Administration in the Grand Canyon, January 2012. United States and Canada are not innocent countries.
My point-of-view: Much of the world public is unaware about the environment, living things and endangered species in the world as well as other issues: racism, sexism, ignorance about Indigenous people in the Americas and other peoples of color in the world. In past history the world contained many abundant animals, salmons and other living things than now. To educate people early on is the answer in elementary and secondary schools about information: living things and world issues. Who teaches the daughters and sons to be so well adjusted, informed, misinformed and prejudiced? Parents. Some parents raise their children well. I have met them. Also, I have met the opposite. Some teenagers at sixteen with value systems develop and hardened into a warped reality. Almost too late. North American colonization, Manifest Destiny attitude in U.S. plays a huge part. I am a Dine’ filmmaker. My way is to change the information about the world: to write, produce create films and videos via drama, documentary or animation, write songs, poems and stories about the endangered species, sexism and racism and reverse the frozen stereotyped images of Indigenous people, especially about Indigenous women. As far I am concerned, very little has changed. This is 2013?! Cannot give up. Resist. Educate. Seeing the salmon swim up the stream to spawn, big fish in little streams further changed my life this November 25 - December 25, 2012.
Dine' filmmaker Arlene Bowman, originally from Greasewood, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation, grew up in Phoenix. She now lives in Vancouver. Her films have shown on PBS and in international film festivals.
Arlene Bowman completed her master's degree in film at the University of California at Los Angeles. An independent producer concentrating on Native themes, Arlene has produced, directed, and edited the award-winning "Navajo Talking Picture" (1986) and co-produced and co-directed "Drugs in the 90s: Coward Hunter". As media curator and instructor, Bowman programmed "The Native American Film and Video Festival" (1989, UCLA Film and Television Archive) and "Native Images Festival" (1990, Los Angeles) and has taught film production at California State University, Long Beach. (09/09)
Navajo Talking Picture
A film by Arlene Bowman, 1986, 40 min., Color
In NAVAJO TALKING PICTURE film student Arlene Bowman (Navajo) travels to the Reservation to document the traditional ways of her grandmother.
Grand Chief Murray Clearsky's letter to President Obama
President Barak Obama
United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
RE: Idle No More – Canadian Indian Democratic movement
As the Grand Chief of the Southern Chiefs Organization in Manitoba, Canada, it is my honor to extend to you our heartfelt congratulations on your successful re-election as President of the United States of America. You have become a role model and a source of inspiration for our people and especially for our youth.
As we are aware, you have an unprecedented relationship with Indigenous people in your country and do consult with them on matters which impact their lives. Due to an awakening of the Indigenous people in Canada, I would like to share with you some thoughts about issues that I feel are of significant importance.
Canada does not provide for the right to property in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms unlike the United States of America, and this ought to be amended so all people including the First Nations of Canada can enjoy the benefits. Canada and the United States have historically been close trading partners and we, the First Nations of Canada, have been marginalized and cannot fully participate and contribute to this economic relationship when being denied our right to property.
The sale of natural resources is a major component of the Canadian economy and First Nations have never ceded their right to these natural resources, rather they have been taken and unilaterally legislated to the provinces by Canada. This is in contravention of the Treaties and it denies the Canadian government’s responsibility to respect our nation-to-nation relationship.
First Nations are the legal indigenous owners of the natural resources of Canada and we are requesting that you and your administration encourage Prime Minister Stephen Harper to establish a relationship where a fair and equitable share of the revenues generated through the sale of natural resources accrues to First Nations. This would allow the First Nations of Canada to exercise a degree of autonomy in economic and institutional development and an opportunity to participate in, and contribute to the growth of, our integrated economies.
The UN declaration affirms the minimum human rights standards necessary for the “survival, dignity and well being of the Indigenous peoples of the world”. These include the right of self-determination, protections from discrimination and genocide, and recognition of rights to lands, territories and resources that are essential to the identity, health and livelihood of Indigenous peoples. This declaration also explicitly requires that all provisions are to be balanced with other rights protections and interpreted in accordance with principles of justice, democracy, non-discrimination, good governance and respect for the human rights of all. Any actions taken by signatories (governments) bound by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must also exercise the provision of and attaining free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous peoples for their traditional territories being impacted by successor state governments.
The Idle No More grassroots movement in Canada is gaining unprecedented momentum and in the past two weeks, there have been rallies held in major cities across the United States and across the world in solidarity with the movement for freedom, equality and future integrity of our lands, resources and water from resource extraction industries which under the recently unilaterally imposed Canadian Bill C-45 will now be symbolically regulated with no legal or regulatory deterrent mechanisms in place to prevent long term negative environmental impacts. The Idle No More movement is supported by an unprecedented number of non-indigenous people globally and this support is growing daily and the message is getting louder.
The United States of America is the largest trading partner with Canada through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and due to the increasing marginalization and complete disregard by the Stephen Harper Conservative government for First Nations rights, the rallies and temporary blockades being implemented and organized now will only increase and future rallies, demonstrations and blockades could have a devastating impact on the very fragile American economy as our economies are so intrinsically intertwined that potential blockades on economic supply routes in Canada may trigger negative economic impacts on the United States of America in both the short and long term.
As Grand Chief of the Southern Chiefs Organizations in southern Manitoba and being the representative voice for 33 First Nations, I am formally requesting that you contact the Stephen Harper government and strongly advise Prime Minister Harper to work in true partnership with Canadian First Nations and repeal Bill C-45 which has grave short and long term threats to indigenous rights and compromises the environmental integrity of our lands.
Mr. President, with your assistance in attaining this long overdue recognition of our nations, preservation of our lands, recognition of our land rights, and with our share of the revenues, we shall significantly improve the lives of all First Nations people across Canada where our people and communities would be healthy and vibrant once again.
Thank you for considering these matters and for your anticipated assistance. Should you wish to further explore First Nations issues in Canada we invite you, and any of your officials, to join us in dialogue at your earliest convenience. Finally, I have been personally encouraged and challenged by your call to a renewed and higher purpose, and I trust that together, we will provide a time of hope, opportunity and a full measure of success for all people. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and all Americans.
Grand Chief Murray Clearsky
Southern Chiefs Organization
225-530 Century Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
4 January 2013
Ottawa, OntarioPrime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on a planned meeting with a delegation of First Nations leaders coordinated by the Assembly of First Nations: "On January 24, 2012, I was pleased to participate in the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering. On that day, the Government of Canada and First Nations committed to making progress in the following areas:
- Improving relationships and strong partnerships between Canada and First Nations respectful of Aboriginal and Treaty rights as recognized and affirmed in the Constitution Act, 1982;
- Building effective, appropriate, transparent and fully accountable governance structures;
- Empowering success of individuals through access to education and opportunity;
- Enabling strong, sustainable, and self-sufficient communities;
- Creating conditions to accelerate economic development opportunities and maximize benefits for all Canadians;
- Respecting the role of First Nations' culture and language in our history and future.
"It is in this spirit of ongoing dialogue that, together with Minister Duncan, I will be participating in a working meeting with a delegation of First Nations leaders coordinated by the Assembly of First Nations on January 11, 2013. This working meeting will focus on two areas flowing from the Gathering: the treaty relationship and aboriginal rights, and economic development.
"The Government of Canada and First Nations have an enduring historic relationship based on mutual respect, friendship and support. The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening this relationship."
CANADA AT WAR: OKA 1990
MNN. Jan. 3, 2013. Truth prevailed and only we can control our destiny. Dekanawida instructed us to transform war into peace, to bring everyone to one mind. We are telling Prime Minister Harper and his invading soldiers and police to refute the New World Order and sit in the shade of the Great Tree of Peace. Otherwise they might be buried along with all the conflicts they have created.
In 1990 when we objected to our burial and ceremonial grounds being turned into a golf course, Canada sent 5,000 heavily armed para-military police, RCMP and soldiers to surround us.
|Army and warrior faceoff||1990|
Illegal charges were laid on us, which did not stick. We proved that what we did was political and not criminal. It was under the guidance of the Great Law. We were sanctioned by Creation.
Some soldiers told us later they were trained to carry out atrocities on us, such as racial slurs, hitting, spitting, brutalizing the women and children and even stabbing one child in the chest.
We learned some strategies ourselves: to stay dispersed; to keep some outside for communication, food runs and bail money; and to organize people to come to our rescue. Today’s flash mobs are effective guerilla tactics where we suddenly show up, do a round dance and then leave.
In 1990 our sell-outs set up nearby to translate Mohawk into French and to advise the police and army. The time has come for all to assess our native and non-native allies.
Afterwards this same elite Canadian airborne regiment was sent to Somalia to commit the same atrocities against the natives there.
The UN, US and Canada are the New World Order. We have the goods they want and need. We intend to eliminate the divide and conquer war strategy of the bankers who own the UN, US and Canada corporations. The idea that whoever has the money makes the rules is finished. The bankers’ money printing machines will be shattered. They will be arrested and jailed for their fraud and crimes, and deported.
The council of Women and the Council of Men will re-establish the peace. It is a natural duty. The land is owned by the future seven generations. We are borrowing it from them. We will do everything necessary to take care of it for them. We are fighting for our identity and rights to control our lives, territories, commerce and way of life.
The administrators of Canada’s genocide, the band and tribal councils, tried to take over the “Idle No More” agenda. These colonial serpents are not welcome. They are preparing to meet Harper on January 24th, which Chief Spence may attend if she has not died of hunger.
As Memphis Slim sang: “You may not have me all the time. You may never go my way. Mother Earth is laying for you, because of all the debt you’ve got to pay. Don’t care how great you are. Don’t care what you’re worth. When it all ends up, you’ve gotta go back to Mother Earth.”
MNN Mohawk Nation News firstname.lastname@example.org For more news, books, workshops, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go to www.mohawknationnews.com More stories at MNN Archives. Address: Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0