August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

University of Arizona, why the tap dance isn't enough

University of Arizona claims it will have a human rights conference -- while designing drones and partnering with Homeland Security and Raytheon Missiles

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- The University of Arizona claims it will have a human rights conference focused on Indigenous Peoples and extractive industries. This is the same university that has its students designing drones and partners with Raytheon Missiles, as the US uses drones for targeted assassinations.

The university, under the guise of giving both sides of the story, collects large amounts of data from Indigenous Peoples and in the end, gives it to its corporate partners like Raytheon and Boeing, which built the border wall and spy towers on Tohono O'odham land.

Don't be fooled by the University of Arizona. It has a department of Homeland Security on campus, a class that teaches students how to target people of color for arrest on the US/Mexico border, and a global cyber spy program targeting people of Middle Eastern descent.

If this is a real human rights conference on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and extractive industries on Feb. 1, where are the Navajo and Hopi frontline warriors, fighting Peabody Coal, Navajo Generating Station and its operator Salt River Project. Where are the water warriors who will reveal how the US and non-Indian attorneys employed by the Indian Nations in Arizona are stealing Indian water rights under the guise of Indian water rights settlements, for coal fired power plants, and urban dwellers who waste water.

"Ouch," they say. They don't plan to have anything real here, anything from their own backyard, anything protected and concealed by the university.

The university uses the "buddy" system to map and discover where geothermal energy, and other mining resources are in Arizona and the rest of Indian country. Then, it shares the info with its corporate partners. It also uses Indigenous Peoples for profiteering from large grants.

The university is good at this PR spin, but it is a tap dance. If you talk with university whistleblowers and students, you will discover what the university really does with all the data extracted from Indigenous Peoples.

If the university wants to have a real human rights conference, why not begin by demanding that the university stop designing drones, remove Homeland Security and US Border Patrol agents from the campus, halt the money and information flowing back and forth between the university and Raytheon Missiles and others profiteering from the war machine.

Many of the traditional and ceremonial O'odham and Apache boycott the university. When it was necessary for them to attend the United Nations Rapporteur's session at the university in April, both Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, and Wendsler Nosie, San Carlos Apache, stated in their testimony that they boycott the university because of what it has done, and continues to do, to Indigenous Peoples.

Nosie was arrested by university police while praying on sacred Mount Graham. The university and the Pope took the lead in placing mammoth telescopes on sacred Mount Graham, despite years of protests and court battles to halt the construction.

Today the university is in the business of designing drones, which spy on Indigenous along the border, and are used by the US for targeted assassinations, including the assassination of a 16-year-old US citizen in Yemen.

If the university wants to have a real human rights conference, it could begin by examining the ATF's gunrunning operation to the drug cartels, Operation Wide Receiver, which was based in Tucson, after Project Gunrunner began during the Bush administration on the Texas border in 2005.

If the university wants to have a real human rights conference, it could expose the US military soldiers and US Border Patrol agents arrested in southern Arizona for running drugs. The university could examine the US Border Patrol agents who have beaten and stalked Tohono O'odham on the border, and those US Border Patrol agents who have raped migrants. A real human rights gathering would investigate those US Border Patrol agents who get away with murder, after killing migrants, and a Mexican teen in Mexico, for throwing rocks. It would also examine the white supremacy movement in southern Arizona, which law enforcement ignores.

When it comes to extractive industries, there is plenty to examine in the university's own backyard. There is uranium mining in the Grand Canyon in the homeland of the Havasupai and Hualapai, coal mining on the Navajo Nation, radioactive tailings left from mining during the Cold War, on the Navajo Nation and in the Pueblos.There is copper mining in southern Arizona. There is the toxic poisoning by Asarco on Tohono O'odham land.

There is also that inconvenient truth about the University of Arizona and its corporate partners creating that drone factory, Advanced Ceramics, over by the Tucson International Airport on San Xavier Tohono O'odham land.

The university doesn't need to pull together mappers to steal info, anthropologists to carry out their dirty deeds, or invite those willing to sell their information. Native Americans in Arizona, and the rest of Indian country, say they don't need for the university to welcome geologists to steal more of their land and mineral information, or for the wannabes and academics to come together to steal more of their intellectual and cultural property rights.

The university doesn't need to just invite speakers from a continent away, or academia to distract from the real issues, it could focus closer to home, just down the road, and in the building next door.

A real human rights conference would begin by protesting this university.

The university doesn't need Indian wannabes and frauds to distract from the issues. These departments need to post exactly who the corporate funders are of this conference, the amount received, and how it was spent. The UN Rapporteur's session in April was funded by the Ford Foundation.

UN Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples James Anaya is a professor in one of the departments hosting this conference, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries.

It should be a real human rights conference, it should be more than a tap dance.

And, as Indigenous Peoples will tell you, any real Indigenous gathering begins with the original occupants of the land offering a welcome and blessing.

Were the traditional and ceremonial O'odham invited to offer the welcome and blessing?

See: Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries across the Americas

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 30 years, beginning with the Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. After being censored and terminated by Indian Country Today, she began Censored News, now in its seventh year.

Argentina's Indigenous Support Navajos Battling Mining

Protest against multinational companies and lithium mining Jujuy.
By Mamani, Jorge Luis
Censored News

Good evening, I am writing from Jujuy Argentina, I am representing the Kolla People of Jujuy Province, natives throughout the Andean region of South America, and I heard about the resistance and struggle with respect to surface mining in its Territories.
I endorse their struggle because it is the biggest problem we have, the original people of Jujuy, especially for the Kolla People. I send lots of hugs, and a lot of strength so they can go out winners.
See: Navajos and Appalachians protest Peabody Coal in St. Louis, protesters attacked and arrested by police
Desde el Pueblo Kolla, Fuerza Hermanos Navajos!
Buenas noches, les escribo desde jujuy argentina, estoy representando al Pueblo Kolla de la Provincia de Jujuy, somos originarios en toda la region andina de sur america, y me he enterado sobre la resistencia y lucha que tienen respecto a la extraccion a cielo abierto en sus Territorios.
Me Adhiero a su lucha porque es el problema mas grande que tenemos los pueblos originarios de Jujuy, especialmente en el Pueblo Kolla, les mando muchos abrazos, y mucha fuerza para que puedan salir vencedores.

First Nation Terrance Nelson 'Standing between the White Man and his money'

By First Nation Terrance Nelson
Roseau River Ojibway
Censored News
Chief Arlen Dumas
January 29th 2013

Chief, today is a great day for your people. You may not know it but you have made more impact than all the protests across Canada and any opposition comments made in the House of Commons yesterday. Now you are standing between the White Man and his money. HudBay Mining is a public company raising money based on international investor confidence in Canada's reputation as a safe place to invest. With your actions yesterday you have impacted the rate at which companies in Canada can raise money on the international market. You are going to be under a lot of pressure. The Winnipeg Free Press put your actions on the net and this will have big impact.
Your statement is absolutely brilliant.
In a prepared statement, Dumas said, "We totally reject HudBay’s Environmental Act License Application submitted for the Lalor mine without our consent. As the rightful owner, only we have the authority to approve a license to extract our resources from our territories."
There are over 60 metals and minerals mined in Canada and all are within a First Nation's traditional territory. If all First Nations in Canada issued the same statement as you and if they carried out the action you did, the Americans would be calling Harper immediately. The United States business community provides 72% of all foreign investment in Canada. Canada is an economic suburb of New York City. Toronto is going to be calling AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo  and Shawn will be calling you if this affects the rate the investors demand from investments in Canada.
HudBay does not only mine in Canada, it is a world wide mining company and is mining a lot in indigenous lands in South America. It has gotten in trouble in the past in several countries. What you did yesterday is important to all Canadian business that relies on investment confidence. Here is what the HudBay website has as it mission statement,
Hudbay is committed to producing strong investor returns and creating better futures for communities and employees by finding, building and operating successful mines.
When we blocked CN railway on January 16th near Portage La Prairie, they got an injunction and that court injunction gives us an opportunity to be heard in court as we fight the Title that CN claims to have in our Treaty territory. We don't expect to win in an immigrant court of law but we will leave on the court record our message to our children, our grandchildren and the future generations of our people. CN knows it, their title is the same category as the legal arguments made regarding Terra Nullius, the concept of "empty land", the same type of legal argument as Manifest Destiny and Papal Bull. The immigrants to our lands have been conditioned to believe that they provide all the money that First Nations live on. They are sadly mistaken and Manitobans especially have no clue that the northern First Nations territory sends billions of dollars a year south to subsidize the lifestyle of every one of those people who make hateful comments in the media about "lazy Indians living on the good graces of the Canadian taxpayer".
Terra nullius (pron.: /ˈtɛrə nʌˈl.əs/, plural terrae nullius) is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning "land belonging to no one",[1] which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty. Sovereignty over territory which is terra nullius may be acquired through occupation,[2] though in some cases doing so would violate an international law or treaty. Wikipedia
Canada is an exporting nation and Parliament better wake up to the fact that the indigenous people are getting international attention. Canada's image as a safe place to invest is taking a beating.  If your actions are carried out by all other First Nations in Canada, Business Canada is in serious trouble. Eighty-five percent of the natural resource base in Manitoba is in the north. The First Nations in the north send billions of dollars a year south but live in abject poverty. What you did yesterday sends a strong message to the ones that need to hear it, the rich people who invest in Canada, the one percent of Americans who make up the largest percentage of the foreign investment in Canada.
What you did yesterday takes Idle No More beyond round dancing, protests in the streets and now that the Theresa Spence issue is out of the media, this is what this movement needed. As I said in the 2007 National Day of Action, Standing between the White Man and his money. We know we can stand there because the White Man gets his money from our lands and our natural resource wealth. The immigrants have forgotten who lives on whose good graces. You just gave them a small slap on the face that may awake them to that fact.
 I am attaching a letter I sent to Harper on the impact of Bill C45 on the Treaty. I am going after CN's title in court. If you need any position papers or treaty arguments that can help you in court, I will share my documents with you. I am also attaching Doug Bland's Ottawa Citizen article. Bland is over 70 years old and for years was the one who advised the Military leaders and RCMP. It is guys like Bland that understand that they need to tread softly when confronting First Nations, something the Judges and politicians may need to learn.
I met with Doug Bland and read his Book. He writes in his article
In the Canadian/First Nations context, Canada’s absolute economic dependence on natural resources (by some estimates equal to 30 per cent of the Canadian economy) and the inescapable vulnerability of the transportation infrastructure that moves these resources to the markets in Canada and the United States, gives the First Nations enormous new-found powers.
Chief, the $1.7 trillion GDP in Canada is dependent upon us. Immigrants make no payment for our resource wealth, the government has sucked the poor white people into believing that the First Nations are feeding off the taxpayer. They want to believe that but the government, industry and the Canadian Taxpayer Federation have known all along that they were lying to the people. This is why I am telling you, your actions have far greater consequences than we know today. They will come to you asking you to be "reasonable" I just love the Winnipeg Sun racist articles and editorials, it is making our people mad but it is actions like yours that make the difference. WE need our young people to document the racist comments made in the Canadian media, it will be a permanent marker on record. This is like Mississippi in the sixties, Canadians coming out with their racist attitudes. These beliefs and feelings were always there, now our people are waking up to the reality of what a lot of white Canada believes.