August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lakotas keeping it real, building resistance

Lakotas keeping it real in South Dakota, building resistance to protect Mother Earth for future generations


Article by Brenda Norrell
Photos by Kent Lebsock, Owe Aku

Dutch translation NAIS
Lakotas in South Dakota are fighting the modern day monsters -- Keystone XL pipeline, tar sands, megaloads and uranium mining. On Pine Ridge, Lakotas are building, and on Cheyenne River, tipis are going up. On Rosebud, the spiritual camp is ready to resist the threats.
Meanwhile to the north during May, Desmond Tutu will speak on treaties and tar sands at Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, where Cree and other First Nations lands have been poisoned by tar sands mining. Desmond Tutu is urging an Apartheid-style boycott to save the planet.
Meanwhile, on Pine Ridge, Lakotas are literally building.
Kent Lebsock of the Lakotas Owe Aku International Justice Project describes how a suspicious fire destroyed the White Plumes home on Pine Ridge during the intense fight against new uranium mining, but the work never stopped. Now, a new office building is going up.
“A few years back a suspicious fire destroyed the White Plume home out on the land near Wounded Knee Creek. The fire was devastating to the family, the community and to Owe Aku’s work. Priceless ceremonial object, ancestral art and historic documentation was lost. This happened in the midst of fighting one of the largest uranium mining companies in the world and for many weeks Debra White Plume worked tirelessly to recreate the documentation from an ironing board set up in a motel room on the reservation. Things improved, of course, with time, and Alex White Plume rebuilt the family home which is the heart of their tiyospaye. At any given time several grandchildren, a few great grandchildren and guests from all over the world can be found living and working at their house. The ‘office’ has moved to a spare room bursting at the seams with the ‘inbox’ being a corner of Debra’s bed. And the work has never stopped.”
To the north of Pine Ridge, on the Lakotas Cheyenne River land in South Dakota, a spiritual camp is also going up to resist the threat of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Lakota, welcomed all to the Bridger camp to help build, and learn sustainable lifeways.
Braun, who made news recently by halting an oilfield megaload alone, said, “We need you to come down, even its for a day to help build, to man a booth, to help cook, to help in the garden, and to gather wood. If it is for a couple of days or for a couple months, whatever you can do.”
Braun is among the Lakotas fighting the threat of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the ‘man camps’ of oilfield workers bringing drugs, crimes, sexual assaults and violence to Indian communities.
Calling on Lakotas to join the effort, Braun said, “Your communities are on the front lines of this Transcanada attack. They made this line in the sand. We didn’t. We are only responding to what Transcanada is trying to do to our people.”
“They are the ones that want to bring the mancamps near us and put our women and children in jeopardy. These men in these mancamps use facebook to look for young girls as young as 12 years old! You young men especially please step up and come out and help!” Braun said.
The Ogallala Aquifer, a massive water source in the Plains and the source of life for future generations, is threatened by the Keystone XL pipeline.
Read more:
Lakotas Owe Aku: Sometimes Building Means Building
Joye Braun: Proud to be Lakota in the KXL fight at Bridger
Owe Aku International
Also see:
Peabody Coal in top ten list of carbon emitters polluting the planet: Peabody continues to poison Navajo land and the Southwest, investors urged to divest:
For permission to repost this article or photos: brendanorrell@gmail.com

Lakotas Owe Aku 'Sometimes Building Community Means Building'

Sometimes Building Community, Means Building












By Kent Lebsock
Owe Aku International Justice Project
Censored News
Dutch translation NAIS
French translation Christine Prat

Since it's inception over 20 years ago Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way, founded by the White Plume tiyospaye) has worked for the Lakota culture and landbase in forums from the living rooms of Pine Ridge elders to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva. The multi-faceted approach to social change and cultural revitalization is necessary within the tiyospaye (extended family or community) system that is the basic form of social organization amongst traditional Lakota people.  Relatives are not just human beings.  The standing silent nations (grass, flowers, trees), the four-leggeds, sacred water and Mother Earth herself are all a part of the community and being a good relative is the objective within the tiyospaye system. We are now on the frontlines of sacred water protection work, vowing to stop uranium mining in the Black Hills and the KXL Pipeline from entering Lakota treaty territory. It is our duty, responsibility and pleasure to do this work solely as full-time volunteers.
A few years back a suspicious fire destroyed the White Plume home out on the land near Wounded Knee Creek. The fire was devastating to the family, the community and to Owe Aku’s work. Priceless ceremonial object, ancestral art and historic documentation was lost. This happened in the midst of fighting one of the largest uranium mining companies in the world and for many weeks Debra White Plume worked tirelessly to recreate the documentation from an ironing board set up in a motel room on the reservation. Things improved, of course, with time, and Alex White Plume rebuilt the family home which is the heart of their tiyospaye. At any given time several grandchildren, a few great grandchildren and guests from all over the world can be found living and working at their house. The “office” has moved to a spare room bursting at the seams with the “inbox” being a corner of Debra’s bed. And the work has never stopped. 

Owe Aku is well-known now in North America as a driving force behind the alliances bringing together Lakota people, as well as non-Native allies and supporters, to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and the “ironing board” uranium case goes on.


However, Owe Aku has never had an office or even a real desk. Finally, though, the tiyospaye has come together and helped provide a beautiful 20 x 20 office space, complete with a loft for storage and/or a ‘bunkhouse’ for the multitude of visitor's that come to work with Owe Aku. During the first days of construction word spread and grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends would come by and lend a hand.  Some brought supplies. Some donated a few bucks. 

Additionally, many of the boards have been cut on the White Plume’s portable saw mill from the pine trees at Pine Ridge, while many resources have been donated by the White Plume family.   
The exterior is up and now we need help to finish the interior. As always, any donation you can make in any amount is appreciated. Visit our website at www.oweakuinternational.org and click on the pay pal donation link. We know we ask a lot of our supporters and rely on your alliance for everything we do, but we assure you that our hard work and dedication is worthy of the confidence your donations represent. Wopila!

French translation by Christine Prat
http://www.chrisp.lautre.net/wpblog/?p=2347

QUAND LA CONSTRUCTION COMMUNAUTAIRE IMPLIQUE UNE RECONSTRUCTION CONCRETE
Par Kent Lebsock
Owe Aku International Justice Project
Publié sur Censored News
7 mai 2014
See original article in English
Traduction Christine Prat
Depuis sa création il y a plus de 20 ans, Owe Aku (‘Bring Back the Way’ – Retrouvez la Voie – fondé par le tiyospaye – famille élargie – White Plume) a travaillé pour la culture Lakota et sa base territoriale dans des forums allant des salles de séjour des Anciens de Pine Ridge au Conseil des Droits de l’Homme des Nations Unies à Genève. Les nombreux aspects du travail pour le changement social et la revitalisation culturelle se situent nécessairement dans le cadre du système de tiyospaye (famille élargie ou communauté) qui est la base de l’organisation sociale des Lakota traditionnels. Les membres de cette famille ne sont pas seulement les humains. Les nations silencieuses (l’herbe, les fleurs, les arbres), les êtres à quatre pattes, l’eau sacrée et notre Mère la Terre elle-même font partie de la communauté et être un bon parent est le but du système du tiyospaye. Nous sommes maintenant sur la ligne de front pour protéger l’eau sacrée, ayant fait le vœu de bloquer l’exploitation d’uranium dans les Black Hills et d’empêcher le Pipeline KXL de pénétrer dans le territoire Lakota défini par traité. C’est notre devoir, notre responsabilité et notre plaisir de faire ce travail uniquement en tant que bénévoles à temps plein.
Il y a quelques années, un incendie à l’origine douteuse a détruit la maison des White Plume sur un terrain proche de Wounded Knee Creek. L’incendie était catastrophique pour la famille, la communauté et le travail d’Owe Aku. Des objets cérémoniels et des œuvres d’art ancestrales inestimables, ainsi que de la documentation historique ont été perdus. Çà c’est produit pendant que nous menions un combat contre une des plus grandes compagnies d’uranium du monde et, pendant de nombreuses semaines, Debra White Plume a travaillé sans relâche pour reconstituer la documentation de la chambre d’un motel de la réserve.Les choses se sont améliorées avec le temps, bien sûr, et Alex White Plume a reconstruit la maison familiale qui constitue le cœur de leur tiyospaye. A tout moment, des petits-enfants, quelques arrière-petits-enfants et des hôtes venus de partout dans le monde viennent y vivre et travailler à la reconstruction de leur maison. Le ‘bureau’ a été déménagé dans une chambre d’amis pleine à craquer et la ‘boîte aux lettres’ est un coin du lit de Debra. Le travail n’a jamais cessé.
Owe Aku est bien connu en Amérique du Nord comme force motrice derrière les alliances qui regroupent les Lakota, tout comme des alliés et soutiens non-Autochtones, pour bloquer le Keystone XL, et la lutte contre l’uranium continue.
Cependant, Owe Aku n’a jamais eu son propre bureau ni même une vraie table de travail. Mais finalement, le tiyospaye s’est rassemblé pour aider à construire un bel espace de bureau, avec des combles pour le rangement et/ou un ‘dortoir’ pour la multitude de visiteurs venus pour travailler avec Owe Aku. Dans les premiers jours de la construction, la nouvelle s’est répandue, et des petits-enfants, des nièces, des neveux et des amis sont venus aider. Certains ont apporté du matériel. Certains ont fait don de quelques dollars.
De plus, beaucoup de planches ont été coupées avec la scie portable des White Plume dans les pins de Pine Ridge, et beaucoup de matériel a été donné par la famille White Plume.
L’extérieur du bâtiment est terminé et à présent nous avons besoin d’aide pour finir l’intérieur. Comme toujours, tout don que vous pouvez faire est bienvenu, quelque soit le montant. Voir notre site www.oweakuinternational.org et cliquer sur Pay pal pour faire un don. Nous sommes conscients de demander beaucoup à ceux qui nous soutiennent et de compter sur eux pour tout ce que nous faisons, mais nous vous assurons que notre travail acharné et notre implication méritent la confiance que vos dons représentent.
Wopila !
Dutch translation by NAIS
LAKOTA'S OWE AKU : SOMS BETEKENT EEN GEMEENSCHAP OPBOUWEN WERKELIJK ‘OPBOUWEN’!
 
Door Kent Lebsock – Owe Aku International Justice Project:  www.oweakuinternational.org
Bron: Censored News: www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com
Nederlandse vertaling : A.Holemans voor de NAIS Gazette: www.bloggen.be/natam
Sinds het begin, nu meer dan 20 jaar geleden heeft Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way, opgericht door de White Plume tiyospaye) gewerkt voor de Lakota cultuur van fora vanuit de zitkamers van Pine Ridge ouderen tot de Human Rights Council van de VN in Geneve.
De veelzijdige aanpak voor sociale verandering en culturele heropleving is binnen het tiyospaye(uitgebreide familie of gemeenschap) systeem dat de basis vormt van sociale organisatie onder het traditionele Lakota volk.
Verwanten zijn voor ons niet enkel mensen, maar ook de stille naties (gras, bloemen, bomen), de viervoeters, het sacrale water en moeder aarde zelf maken deel uit van de gemeenschap en een goede verwant zijn is het doel binnen het tiyospaye systeem.
Nu staan we aan de frontlijn van het werk voor de bescherming van het sacrale water, we hebben gezworen om de uranium ontginningen in de Black Hills te stoppen en de KXL pijpleiding niet door het Lakota territorium toe te laten.
Het is onze plicht en verantwoordelijkheid om dit werk te doen als full-time vrijwilligers.
Enkele jaren terug vernielde een verdachte brand het White Plume – huis op het land nabij Wounded Knee Creek. De brand had een verwoestend effect op de familie, de gemeenschap en Owe Aku’s werk.
Waardevolle ceremoniële voorwerpen, voorvaderlijke kunst en historische documentatie is hier verloren gegaan. Dit gebeurde midden in de felle strijd tegen de grootste uranium mijn bedrijven in de wereld.
Wekenlang heeft Debra White Plume op een strijkplank die in een  motelkamer in het reservaat geplaatst was als werktafel,onvermoeibaar gewerkt om de documentatie te recreëren .
Alex White Plume bleef niet bij de pakken neerzitten en herbouwde het familiehuis dat het hart is van de tiospaye. Geregeld zal je er verschillende kleinkinderen, achterkleinkinderen en gasten van over de hele wereld vinden die verblijven en werken aan het huis.
Het ‘kantoor’ is verhuisd naar een kleine kamer die tot barstens toe gevuld is met de “inbox”, lees: een hoek van Debra’s bed. En het werk is nooit opgehouden.
Owe Aku staat bekend in noord Amerika als de drijvende kracht achter de allianties dat zowel het Lakota volk  als niet-indiaanse bondgenoten en activisten samenbrengt om de Keystone XL pijpleiding de stoppen. En de “ironing board” strijd tegen uranium gaat nog door
Owe Aku heeft echter nooit een kantoor gehad, zelfs geen echt bureau.
Uiteindelijk hebben de tiospaye daar verandering ingebracht en geholpen om een mooie 20x20 kantoorruimte te bouwen, compleet met een loft voor de berging van het materiaal en/of een ‘bunkhouse’ voor de vele gasten die vrijwillig komen werken voor Owe Aku.
Tijdens de eerste dagen van de constructie ging het nieuws als een lopend vuurtje rond en kleinkinderen, neven en nichten en vrienden kwamen om te helpen. Sommigen brachten voorraden. Sommigen doneerden een paar dollars.
De buitenkant is nu klaar en nu hebben we hulp nodig voor het interieur.
Zoals steeds, iedere donatie , hoe klein ook wordt in dank aangenomen.
Bezoek aub onze website en klik op de paypal donation link.
Wij weten dat wij veel vragen van onze supporters en vertrouwen op uw bondgenootschap voor alles wat wij doen, maar we verzekeren u dat ons harde werk en toewijding het vertrouwen dat uw donaties vertegenwoordigen waard is.
Wopila
Steun Owe Aku  www.oweakuinternational.org



John Kane, Mohawk 'Lucky 13 for the UNPFII'

Lucky 13 for the UNPFII


By John Karhiio Kane, Mohawk
Censored News

On May 12, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) will begin its 13th session at the United Nations in New York City. The session will run for two weeks and cover a broad range of topics.
The event is not open to the public. Only confirmed and registered NGO and IPO representatives are allowed to participate. However, as a UN accredited member of the media, I will be there, too. Yeah, that's right. Two Row Times columnist and radio show host John Kane will be there having the conversations that may or may not be welcome.
Now I'm not among the starry-eyed devotees of the UN. I am a skeptic although I appreciate the good intentions of such a body and even the nice words assembled in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). But intentions are not actions and the UNDRIP clearly identifies itself as the minimum standards that the world holds for the rights of Indigenous peoples. And while I understand the most common denominator for the nations of the world would almost have to accept a minimum standard, this Mohawk certainly doesn't.
Of course, the U.S. and Canada, the last UN nations to conditionally endorse the Declaration, could not even accept this minimum standard at face value but rather suggested they could only support the "aspirations" of the document provided that its articles do not conflict with U.S. or Canadian law, which kind of misses the point. Uh...if your laws conflict with the UNDRIP, which they certainly do, as well as your policies, propaganda, altered history, religions, schools and state sponsored racism, then you obviously are not really supporting what the rest of entire world has endorsed.
So why go? Simple. Shame.
I have made it my mission to encourage conversations on Native issues. The more conversations that are had, the brighter the spotlight shines on those issues. If it is nothing else, I see the UN as a grand stage for conversations. But because the U.S. and Canada fail miserably by almost any standard for compliance with the UNDRIP and because they have no intentions of complying, our best recourse is the "court of public opinion" and shame on that grand stage.
One of the biggest mistakes we make in fighting for our inherent rights is treating them as gifts from our oppressors. Our rights are neither "treaty rights" nor are they UN Declaration rights. They are unalienable, inherent and original. Treaties may acknowledge them or even suggest protection of them but they do not grant them. The UNDRIP makes no claim to be the origins of our rights either. This declaration simply reiterates much of the UN Declaration on Human Rights with certain other obvious international standards such as "free, prior and informed consent" from people affected by the actions of another. The UNDRIP recognizes rights. It does not establish them.
Our job begins with asserting our inalienable rights based on our inherent sovereignty. The language in their treaties may be used to demonstrate and remind those that would violate our rights how many times they acknowledged their limitations and just how little we ever really ceded to them regarding our rights and liberties. The same goes for the UNDRIP. But unlike all those treaties that our people were coerced into, for access to our lands, the Declaration is not a quid pro quo or a this for a that. It is simply a minimum standard. But it is pointless if it is unknown or never cited.
So while our job begins with asserting our rights, it is also incredibly important to specifically cite how and where our rights are being violated within the context of the UNDRIP and our inherent sovereignty. We need to make the violators of those rights painfully clear of the international standards they are ignoring and alert the international community of the violations and impacts, as well. There are 46 articles and a preamble loaded with affirmations, acknowledgements, concerns, beliefs and specific points of recognition to which we should hold the non-Native governments and do so with every intent of leveling shame and embarrassment on these U.S. and Canadian hypocrites.
The opening day of the UNPFII, among other issues, is scheduled to cover sexual health and reproductive rights. With more than 1,000 missing and murdered Native women in Canada alone and the highest rate of childbirth mortality rates on the continent, how can the U.S. and Canada not be shamed?
The second day will focus on the impacts of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. This can't be just a study of past atrocities but must include the ongoing ones, as well. The U.S. codified this racist doctrine in 1823 and it is still cited to this day to diminish everything from claims to our stolen lands to our right to trade and develop our own economies. This can't just be about condemning ugly history as though it's all better now. It isn't! The suggestion that our "discovery" by Christian nations equated to conquest is not just wrong today. It was just as wrong when the house of cards that is "federal Indian law" was built on it then. The UNDRIP should assist us in securing more equitable remedies, not just for past grievances but current conflicts, too. The U.S. and Canada can keep their "houses of cards" but if they don't want it toppled they should keep us out of it. There is no shame in fairly and respectfully resolving conflict but any nation claiming superiority based on race or religion should be truly embarrassed.
Redress, land disputes and land claims, Indigenous children and Indigenous youth, and actual implementation of the UNDRIP are other scheduled topics for discussion. And I will take every opportunity I can to bend the ear of anyone that will listen to address the most critical issues to our people — poverty today and bleak prospects for the future.
All the access to sacred sites in the world can't fix poverty and self-esteem. All the special days, decades and declarations the world over will not secure a future for our unborn faces. We don't need world courts or international sanctions. We need real international relations that support our trade, our travel and our autonomy. We need interface between the voices that call for our right to be respected and protected, and those whose laws fly in the face of those calls.
Let's see what a little "Let's Talk Native...with John Kane" at the UN stirs up.
– John Karhiio Kane, Mohawk, a national expert commentator on Native American issues, hosts two weekly radio programs — “Let’s Talk Native…with John Kane,” ESPN Sports Radio WWKB-AM 1520 in Buffalo, N.Y., Sundays, 9-11 p.m. EDT and “First Voices Indigenous Radio,” WBAI-FM 99.5 in New York City, Thursdays, 9-10 a.m. EDT (“First Voices Indigenous Radio” programs are archived in perpetuity at www.firstvoicesindigenousradio.org). John is a frequent guest on WGRZ-TV’s (NBC/Buffalo) “2 Sides” and “The Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter” in Albany. John’s “Native Pride” blog can be found at www.letstalknativepride.blogspot.com. He also has a very active "Let's Talk Native...with John Kane" group page on Facebook. 

Peabody coal in top 10 global polluter list poisoning the planet

Navajo Generating Station on Navajo Nation near Page, Ariz.
Peabody coal in top 10 list of carbon emitters poisoning planet globally

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Dutch translation NAIS

BLACK MESA, Arizona -- The top global carbon emitters have been identified. It comes as no surprise that Peabody Energy is number 10 on the global list, poisoning the planet.

Peabody continues to poison the Navajo and Hopi homelands in the Southwest. The coal ripped from Black Mesa fuels the Navajo Generating Station on the Navajo Nation. The coal-fired power plant poisons Navajos, Hopis and others in the Southwest so that the cities of Phoenix and Tucson can squander electricity and the water that the electricity moves through the state. This was made possible by way of corrupt Arizona Congressmen, corrupt attorneys, corrupt Navajo politicians and the failed media that chooses to tap dance to advertisers and politicians rather than report the truth.

The Carbon Underground's new list identifies the worst carbon polluters on the planet and urges investors to divest.

The Carbon Underground 200 identifies the top 100 public coal companies globally and the top 100 public oil and gas companies globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves.


Fossil fuel divestment campaigners have released a hit list of 200 companies from which investors should remove their money.
The new Fossil Free Index identifies the 200 largest public fossil fuel companies, based upon the potential CO2 emissions embedded in their reserves. These reserves are growing, as companies continue to explore for new sources of fossil fuels.
- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/05/01/campaigners-release-hit-list-of-200-largest-fossil-fuel-companies/#sthash.iVoexqzc.dpuf
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Also see this week in the news: Stanford student movement inspires university to divest from coal
http://ecowatch.com/2014/05/07/stanford-divestment-coal/

Joye Braun: Proud to be Lakota in the KXL fight at Bridger

Joye Braun: Proud to be Lakota in the KXL fight at Bridger

Joye Braun halting a megaload recently
By Joye Braun, Chyenne River Lakota
Censored News

CHEYENNE RIVER, South Dakota -- Had a FANTASTIC visit on the way home last night with Joseph White Eyes. He has some IDEAS peeps! You should listen to him. 
I love it when I get to visit with people like this. I do believe we need to be more economically independent as a NATION of Lakota, so yeah I do believe in gardens, family gardens, community gardens, wind power, solar power, and water power, and all that good stuff. 
We decided that yeah we will put in a garden while we are at Bridger, utilize all that cow dung around the place as fertilizer and the chicken poo from the chicken coop, and compost too to add amendments to the soil down there.
Yes we are in this for the long haul peeps. You see since the President Obama has to wait for Nebraska to make some kind of decision because their governor tried to bypass the Nebraska constitution, Obama and Kerry have to wait until November to make some kind of decision on KXL.
So we will be in Bridger praying and working on sustainability and education. I want to put up that booth alongside the highway and get some signs up inviting tourists to stop in and visit with us and learn. We got so much to do people! I seriously hope you all are considering coming down to help, because we need help!
We NEED YOU!! we need you to come down, even its for a day to help build, things, to man a booth, to help cook, to help in the garden, to gather wood. If its for a couple of days or for a couple months, whatever you can do. We need the people of Cherry Creek and Red Scaffold and Takini to come down and support us.
I know May is a hard month. It’s busy with graduations and all kinds of stuff going on, but consider it. Your communities are on the front lines of this transcanada attack. They made this line in the sand. We didn’t. We are only responding to what transcanada is trying to do to our people.
They are the ones that want to bring the mancamps near us and put our women and children in jeopardy. These men in these mancamps use facebook to look for young girls as young as 12 years old! You young men especially please step up and come out and help! There were two young men from Red Scaffold last night that came out to Afraid of Hawks. I was so impressed with them. These are the kinds of warriors we need to step it up!! SO happy when I get to meet our people like this! just makes me glad to be LAKOTA!!

The Cheyenne River spiritual camp resisting the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline has immediate needs for a chainsaw, axes and wheelbarrow. Contact Joye at: floyd.braun@gmail.com