Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 31, 2014

Censored News 2014: Defending the Sacred and Exposing the Exploiters

Censored News Photos

Around the world, the struggle to defend Mother Earth and human rights, and expose the exploiters is maintained by the good hearts as a sacred trust

by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The year of 2014 was a difficult one for many, and the struggles to defend the earth and defend human rights were fought with sacrifice around the world. The most viewed articles at Censored News include the oil corruption and murder probe of business associates of Chairman Tex Hall, of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara. 

Arizona Sen. John McCain's role in the theft of Apache sacred lands for copper mining in Arizona also topped the list. In France, the auction houses in Paris continued to sell sacred ceremonial items of Hopi, Pueblo, Navajo, Lakota and more Indigenous Peoples.

The fight against the Keystone XL tarsands continued in the Plains, with new camps of resistance. On the border, Tohono O'odham exposed the US spy cameras now monitoring traditional Indigenous Peoples and activists on the border. The border surveillance tower contract this year was given by US Homeland Security to the Israeli Apartheid contractor Elbit Systems, which maintains Apartheid security around Palestine.

Censored News provided live coverage, with Govinda at Earthcycles providing the livestream, at both the Boarding School Tribunal on Oneida land in Wisconsin, and the gathering of the American Indian Movement, AIM West, in San Francisco. 

At the AIM West gathering there were powerful speakers on the attempts to steal Paiute water rights; the secret sterilization of Native American women by the US government; and the poisoning of Native foods with genetically modified seeds. Censored News and Earthcycles were the only media present to provide coverage.

Around the world, Indigenous Peoples continued to be murdered, raped and disappeared by mining and energy companies.The Rights of Nature Tribunals in Ecuador and Peru focused on some of the worst violators in the world. The Zapatistas maintained the struggle for autonomy and dignity, bringing this year to an end with the Global Festival of Rebellion and Resistance against Capitalism in communities in Mexico.

In the US, journalism continued to bottom out. Plagiarism became the standard. Stay-at-home reporters, like those at Indian Country Today, continued to rewrite for profit the hard work of others, with a five minute phone call added to deceive readers into believing that the re-writers are actually reporters out covering news stories. These re-writers rely on stolen photos from the web. Just ask the 'reporters' if they were actually present on the news stories they pretend to be covering. 

Advertisers, casinos, politicians, and the private agendas of media owners, continued to control, censor and distort the news in Indian country. The owners of the news website received a multi-million dollar contract from the US government for domestic and international spying.

Censored News global readers continued to grow, with readers in the Ukraine, Russia, France, China, Germany, Poland, Indonesia, Turkey and the Netherlands topping the list in 2014. Censored News welcomes new readers in Argentina, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico.

Most Viewed Articles
The most viewed Censored News article in 2014 was on the resolution to suspend Tex Hall. A similar copycat article appeared in New York Times in December 2014. The Censored News series was in February and March 2014. Thank you to everyone who sent in photos and documents to Censored News.

Censored News most viewed article in December was on the Paris auction selling Hopi, Pueblo, Navajo and Plains ceremonial items. Earlier, Klee Benally, Dineh, confronted the auctioneers carrying out cultural genocide in Paris:

Bringing the year to a close, Censored News readers honored their Heroes in Resistance, with Lifetime Achievement Awards and more:

Our most viewed photos this year were the photos of Robyn Jackson, Dineh, at Flood Wall Street in New York and Ken Marchionno's photos of the Ride to Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Thank you.

Throughout 2014, the struggles focused on protecting Mother Earth, defending water rights, and fighting the exploiters who target Indigenous Peoples lands with the most polluting and deadly industries. The Boarding School Tribunal exposed the murder and torture inflicted on Native American children, with the demand to charge church officials and government officials in the US and Canada with criminal charges.

Top Issues

Theft of Indian water rights by non-Indian attorneys, Congressmen and corrupt tribal officials
This is why we need more whistleblowers: Former Sec. Interior Ken Salazar resigned after this memo was leaked, exposing the scheme to steal Navajo water rights in Congress. It wasn't the Navajo government that halted the theft -- it was the Dineh people. Non-Indian attorneys, Congressmen, and corrupt tribal officials have been in this game for a long time. The states and US are desperate for Indian water rights to keep unsustainable cities and dirty coal-fired power plants operating.
Many Native American tribes in Arizona have already signed the so-called "water rights settlements" presented by their non-Indian attorneys. Currently, Paiutes are fighting to save water rights to Pyramid Lake in Nevada. Here's one of the rights that states and the US fear the most: Water rights guaranteed under Winter's Doctrine. It ensures water rights for future generations on Indian lands and the water mongers want those rights waived. In Sonora, Mexico, the Yaqui Traditional Authority has maintained a water rights blockade on a major highway on their land as Mexico steals their water.

Coal-fired pollution on Navajo Nation
With President Obama's announcement in China that the US will cut power plant emissions, the question remains: Will the Navajo Nation take action? The coal-fired Navajo Generating Station is one of the top polluters in the world. Will the Navajo Times cover this issue? The power plant uses coal that Peabody Coal rips from Black Mesa in Arizona. Peabody Coal's genocidal scheme to remove Navajos from Black Mesa is the real motivation for the so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute. The dirty power plant provides electricity primarily to southern Arizona, and the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. Another dirty coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation is the Four Corners Power Plant in New Mexico.

Indian country news infested with plagiarizers and profiteers
National Indian country news is dominated by plagiarizers and profiteers. The victims -- besides those who do the original work and pay the expenses themselves -- are the readers. For years, Indian Country Today armchair reporters have been staying home and plagiarizing. When they don't want you to know who is doing the plagiarizing, they put as the byline at the top "ICTMN staff."
Further, the owners of received a multi-million dollar contract from the US for domestic and international spying this year, with an office at the US Pentagon. What this means for readers is this: There aren't really reporters present on news stories and reporting the facts. Just ask those reporters if they have been present on the news stories they pretend to be covering.
Read Censored News: "Media Pimps: Hollywood isn't the only place where people sleep their way to the top."

Homeland Security gives US border security contract to Israeli firm, includes US spy towers on Tohono O'odham land
Homeland Security gave the border security contract this year to the Israeli defense corporation Elbit Systems, responsible for Apartheid security on the Palestine border. The contract includes the US spy towers on sovereign Tohono O'odham land. See Censored News exclusive coverage of those spy towers on O'odham land: Tohono O'odham government approves 15th spy tower, more land for US Border Patrol:

Bill Gates profiteering from private prisons
The power and money mongers are profiteering from the imprisonment of migrants, American Indians and other people of color in private prisons. The US system fills these prisons with the aid of the media hysteria about the border, and police officers targeting people of color.
Both GEO and CCA are prison for profit vulture corporations. Bill Gates is among the top investors in GEO and G4S.

Truth about cartels and the murdered and disappeared
While remembering the dead and 43 disappeared students in Guerrero, Mexico, remember that it was the US ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) who provided the cartels with assault weapons. Project Gunrunner began in Texas in 2005, according to US documents, and continued based in Tucson with Fast and Furious and Operation Wide Receiver. There was no outcry in the US when it was people in Mexico being killed, including innocent women and children. It was only when a US Border Patrol agent was killed with one of those weapons in Arizona that there was a public outcry. Indigenous Peoples in Mexico and along the border are victims of the heavily-armed cartels. The so-called drug war is just one more of the United States wars created with the aid of spin and fabricated news reports. Meanwhile, the US Border Patrol agents continue to be arrested for smuggling drugs, and continue to shoot through the border and kill citizens of Mexico.

Boarding School Tribunal
Reporters in Indian country were a no-show for coverage of the Boarding School Tribunal in Green Bay, Wisconsin in October. See the original series by Censored News, with videos by Govinda at Earthcycles. Yes, we were there.

Thank you to our translators: Christine Prat for French translations, Alice Holemans at NAIS for Dutch translations, and welcome to Selina Berger now translating Censored News articles into German.

Censored News, now in its 9th year, has no advertising, grants or sponsors. It was created by Brenda Norrell, a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, after being censored and terminated by ICT. She has been a reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She began as a news reporter with Navajo Times, while living on the Navajo Nation for 18 years. She served as a freelance reporter for AP and USA Today while living on Navajoland and wrote for regional newspapers and magazines.

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