August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

All Pueblo Council of Governors opposes Escalade development in Grand Canyon

Save the Confluence photo
Hopi and Pueblo cite Escalade Project as threat to religious freedom

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
French translation by Christine
Dutch translation by Alice Holemans NAIS

ALBUQUERQUE -- The All Pueblo Council of Governors voted to oppose the Grand Canyon Escalade project on sacred land near where the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers converge.
The Pueblo Council joined Hopis when the Council passed the resolution opposing the project, stating that the tram and tourism development would violate sacred springs and prayer places and violate the final resting place of ancestors. Already Hopis cited the development as a threat to religious freedom.
Navajos living in Bodaway Gap, on the western edge of the Navajo Nation, have been fighting the project. The Save the Confluence website describes the fragile ecosystem and the threat to the traditional Dine' way of life.
Among the Confluence Partners pushing for the development is former Navajo President Albert Hale. Hale resigned as Navajo president during a financial corruption probe of his office, and exposure in Navajo Times of a public affair with his press secretary, and was quickly appointed to fill a vacancy in the Arizona Legislature by the governor.
In September, Hopi Chief of Staff Marilyn Fredericks, on behalf of the office of Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie, released the following statement, after the Zuni Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo joined the Hopi Tribe in opposing the Grand Canyon Escalade project.
"The Pueblo people have historically come together to join forces against threats to their land, culture and lifeways.
"On Aug. 18 another historical coming together to protect the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River took place in Zuni Pueblo and resulted in unanimous opposition to the Grand Canyon Escalade Project by the Governors of Zuni Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo and the Hopi Tribe. Ongtuppqa, the Grand Canyon, is spiritually significant to the Hopi, Zuni, Acoma and Laguna people.
"Hopi Tribal Chairman Herman G. Honanie, Vice-Chairman Alfred Lomahquahu, Hopi Tribal Council Members George Mase and Lamar Keevama, Zuni Pueblo Governor Arlen P. Quetawki, Sr., Acoma Pueblo Governor Fred S. Vallo, Sr., and Laguna Pueblo Governor Richard B. Laurkie, all voiced their unanimous opposition on behalf of their respective governments.
"In 2012, when Hopi religious leaders voiced their concerns related to sacred sites, the Hopi Tribe enacted Resolution H-113-2012 in opposition to the Escalade Project. The Hopi Tribe called on other tribes, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, National Congress of American Indians, and the National Park Service to join the Hopi Tribe in opposing the commercial development. Since that time the Hopi Tribe has voiced its concerns to the Navajo Council, to Navajo President Shelly and we are actively pursuing all avenues of opposition to the Grand Canyon Escalade Project.
"On June 16 Zuni Pueblo enacted Resolution No. M70-2014-Q066, asserting aboriginal and ancestral ties to the Grand Canyon, their relationship with the Canyon through sacred sites, shrines, springs and pilgrimages to the Canyon and strong opposition to the proposed Grand Canyon Escalade project.
"On August 20 the Zuni Pueblo and Hopi Tribe formalized their opposition by petitioning the All Pueblo Council of Governors to support the coalition of the Hopi Tribe, Zuni, Acoma and Laguna Pueblos in their sincere efforts to protect the confluence against commercial development and wrongful exploitation that threatens traditional cultural properties shared by several tribes who have a direct religious connections to the Grand Canyon.
"Should the Grand Canyon Escalade Project become a reality, several identified sacred shrines will be disturbed or erased. Sacred sites cannot simply be moved or documented under federal regulations called "mitigation." Adverse impact on the animals, plants, water and landscape is inevitable as they are part of life present in the canyon and deserve reverence and respect.
"The Grand Canyon, the Confluence, and the Little Colorado River all have place names that have significance to Native Americans and the general public, described as a "church without a roof" in the New York Times on Aug. 10, 2014. However, it is much, much more to the Hopi Tribe. The geological landscape of the Grand Canyon is part of the aboriginal lands of the first inhabitants of the Colorado Plateau. The Zuni, Laguna, Acoma and Hopi will continue to exercise their religious obligations and pilgrimages to the ancestral sacred sites in the Grand Canyon. Ongtupqa, in its natural state, is certainly eligible as a World Heritage Site and the Hopi Tribe calls on Ann Kirkpatrick and the Arizona Delegation to join the Hopi, Zuni, Acoma and Laguna pueblos to protect this National Heritage Site.
"The entire region of the Grand Canyon and Colorado Rivers continues to be under threats that will forever change the landscape. It is of paramount importance that the Grand Canyon Escalade Project be seen as a very real threat to the religious freedom of Native Americans who view the Grand Canyon as their place of worship," the Hopi chairman's office said.

Guest column: Colorado River tribes should oppose Escalade Confluence project

By Gertrude Multine

Tuba City, Arizona

Letter to the editor:

An open letter to the Navajo Nation Tribal Council:

I urge you to oppose the Grand Canyon Escalade project that has come to you for approval. Please consider the following reasons for my opposition in your deliberations.

Protester “chipmunks” obstruct work at Utah tar sands mine; 5 arrested

Protester “chipmunks” obstruct work at Utah tar sands mine; 5 arrested

A masked person gives a double thumbs up in front of stopped machine. (hi res)
Press Contact:
Raphael Cordray
Sept. 30, 2014 | For Immediate Release
PR SPRINGS, Utah–Protesters again stopped work at the construction site of the first tar sands mine in the US.  Five people were later arrested and jailed but the campaign to stop the mine said the resistance will not relent until all tar sands plans are canceled.
By moving quickly through the site to obstruct numerous construction vehicles, just a handful of speedy protesters were able to shut down the enormous construction project on a sprawling 213 acres in Utah’s Book Cliffs.
The action took place Sept. 23.
“Direct, physical intervention is necessary to halt the completion of this toxic project,” said one protester. “If just five percent of those people at the People’s Climate March in New York City came to Utah, we could shut down tar sands construction for good–and probably get away with it.”
Two masked people sit with several large construction vehicles halted in the background. (hi res)
A playful video of the action released by Utah Tar Sands Resistance shows protesters donning chipmunk masks, running, dancing and posing for pictures among the many halted machines.
Despite the humor, protesters say Utah tar sands development threatens the safety of drinking water for 40 million people and would cause irreparable damage to the land, including clear-cutting of old-growth juniper, fir and pine forest.
US Oil Sands began major construction of their strip mine in 2014 and hopes for commercial sales beginning sometime in 2015. Hundreds of people have participated in actions disrupting construction work this year, vowing to prevent functioning of the mine. Including the new five defendants, 27 people from Utah and throughout the Americas are facing criminal charges in connection with protest actions.
Construction of the mine is scheduled to end this month due to oncoming winter conditions. Protesters have vowed to return in the spring.
Utah Tar Sands Resistance received the following communique from the “chipmunks”:
The tar sands industry is not threatened by symbolic media actions. Direct physical intervention is necessary to halt the completion of this toxic project. What we did was necessary, but it was not enough. We need more people to intervene to roll back US Oil Sands’ assault on land, water, plants, animals and indigenous sovereignty. We encourage everyone to act to halt construction and note that it is no one’s duty to hand themselves over to the state each time they disrupt dangerous projects. We knew we were risking arrest of ourselves or nearby friends who weren’t even involved in this action, and we do not regret our actions. But please, anyone who is able: disrupt the tar sands industry, halt construction and operations and get away with it! Hundreds of thousands of people Sept. 21 marched in New York City just to have a parade for the media. If just 5 percent of those people came to Utah and engaged in direct action, we could shut down tar sands construction for good–and probably get away with it. Our friends who were arrested were subjected to abuse and trasmisogyny from police and jailers that left all of us in a state of terror regarding the welfare of our trans woman friend who was kept in solitary confinement–where the jailers had ample access to abuse her without witnesses, a regular occurrence for incarcerated trans people. No justice seeker should feel compelled to subject themselves or their friends to this kind of state-sponsored abuse that comes with arrest and jail just to live up to some class-privileged individuals’ problematic views on what types of protest deserve respect. Lastly, the video of the chipmunk work stoppage on US Oil Sands’ strip mine project–occurring on stolen Ute land–demonstrates this company’s blatant disregard for the life and safety of people on the work site. US Oil Sands CEO Cameron Todd made claims in the media that workers stop work immediately if anyone is present on the worksite–a requirement of federal safety regulations. But the video shows what we’ve seen again and again: rampant deviation from this guidance and thus rampant violations of safety regulations. KBR-contracted Stubbs and Stubbs’ reaction to our presence echoes their disregard for the amazing ecosystems of the Book Cliffs and beyond, and the lives that they are systematically poisoning and destroying. 

Devastation of mining and war silenced at Indigenous World Conference

Devastation of mining and war censored, Pacific Islanders withdraw support for Indigenous World Conference
Protest in Toronto of Hudbay mine in Guatemala
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

French translation by Christine Prat
Mining is among the leading causes of murder, rape, assassinations and disappearances of Indigenous Peoples globally.
However the non-profits, especially those at the United Nations, are strangely silent about the fact.
The seizure of land, water and resources for mining, and the violence against Indigenous Peoples defending these, should be a priority at the UN, with coal, uranium and metals mining topping the list.
Another leading threat to Indigenous Peoples is nuclear dumping and the effect of war, especially on women and children. As revealed in this statement by Pacific Islanders, demilitarization was censored at the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples:
Kalamaoka’aina Niheu, of the Pacific Caucus, said, “It is with great sadness and outrage to find at the 11th hour that Paragraph 21 regarding Demilitarization has been removed from the Outcome Document.”
“For this reason, Ohana Koa –Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific can no longer consent to our participation in the High Level Plenary Meeting (HLPM) also known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).”
There is no mention of mining or militarization in the outcome document for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held in New York in September:
The censorship of the voices for peace, and against mining and war, is not new in Indian country.
Louise Benally, Dine' (Navajo) resisting Peabody Coal's coal mining, forced relocation and US militarization, was censored by Indian Country Today when she opposed the Iraq war, comparing it to the genocidal forced Long Walk of Navajos.
Remembering her great-grandfather forced on the Long Walk to the prison camp at Fort Sumner, N.M., Benally said, “The U.S. military first murders your people and destroys your way of life while stealing your culture, then forces you to learn their evil ways of lying and cheating."

In October, Pacific Islanders will block the world's largest coal port in canoes.

Thirty Pacific Climate Warriors from 12 different islands will arrive on Australian shores to stand up to the coal and gas industry. "We are now excited to announce that on October 17th, the Pacific Climate Warriors will use the canoes they have built to paddle out into the harbour of the world’s largest coal port – Newcastle – to stop coal exports for a day."

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Mt Polley Disaster: Action on Oct 1, 2014

Emergency Action Oct. 1, 2014

We are calling upon communities to join us this Wednesday, October 1, at 12 PM for an emergency province wide action in solidarity with the Klabona Keepers to shut down Imperial Metals. Drum, sing, take the streets, rally, sit in, be creative and gather with your networks to stand up against the Mt.Polley disaster and keep Imperial Metals from destroying yet another integral salmon-bearing watershed!

This afternoon the Klabona Keepers in alliance with the Secwepemc lit an estsu kun’desk’āke (Grandmothers Fireplace) at the entrance of Imperial Metals Red Chris Mine to gather the Indigenous and settler communities to unite, and in one voice demand action. This fire is lit under the collective jurisdictions of all Nations connected by the water and the salmon and has been lit to halt the Red Chris Imperial Metals mine operations until further notice out of concern for their community of Iskut, which is located only 18km away from the mine site.

On August 4th, 2014, Imperial Metals Mount Polley mine unleashed billions of gallons of toxic wastewater into the deepest glacier fed lake in the world and into the river host to second largest salmon run in the world. It is common knowledge that sudden and catastrophic failure is a consistent and major risk of all large tailings storage facilities using earthen dams. The bigger the dam, the higher the risk. The Imperial Metals Red Chris mine's storage facility in Tahltan territory is much larger and uses the same structure and technology as the Mount Polley Mine and so it is not a question of if, but when the storage facility would breach and destroy yet another integral salmon-bearing watershed, the Stikine River of the Tahltan territory.

Day 56: Secwepemc Blockade Imperial Metals Mine

Day 56: Secwepemc Blockade Imperial Metals Mine

By Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp
Censored News

On Day 56 of the disaster we are burning. The sacred fire lit by the Secwepemc women on August 18th 2014 at the Imperial Metals Mount Polley Mine site has spread, is spreading. 

We spend the morning at the Klabona Keepers hunting blockade finalizing plans and then acting them out. It's time. After our presentation and meeting on Imperial Metals Mount Polley mine, the Klabona Keepers, the Tahltan elders come to a consensus decision. Now is the time to mobilize.

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