Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 8, 2015

Celebrating Native Women's Voices on International Women's Day

Buffy Sainte Marie, Sarah James, Joye Braun and Amalia Astorga.
Celebrating Native Women's Voices on International Women's Day

By Brenda Norrell

On International Women's Day, we celebrate the writers, photographers and voices of the women who have made a difference at Censored News. We begin with Margene Bullcreek, Goshute Shoshone, who passed to the Spirit World on March 1, 2015. Margene, who led the fight against the nuclear dump at Skull Valley, exemplified the quiet resistance that spans the decades and truly makes a difference.
Ofelia Rivas, Margene Bullcreek, Marie Randall, Debra White Plume
and Guarijio dance in Sonora.

It is often the quiet ones who make the most lasting impact. This was proven by long walkers Sharon Heta, Maori, and her daughters; along with Rebecca Duncan from Round Valley and her granddaughters; and Anishinaabe youth Lisa Peake, all who walked across America on Longest Walk 2 northern route. 

It is the quiet ones, like the Dineh grandmothers, including Bessie and my neighbors in the Chuska Mountains on Navajoland, who tell us of the foundation and the connection.

There is a time for peace and quiet, and there is a time for revolution.

A special measure of love and respect goes out to each of you my friends on our travels with the Zapatistas who looked into the eyes of the Mexican military as they jammed their automatic assault weapons in your faces. 

I remember each of you in the highlands, and the jungles, of Chiapas. Still I think of the women who die on the long footpaths down the mountains to the clinics, and the women who are terrorized out of their homes and cornfields by the corporations and military, and I remember swimming in the river at La Realidad.

A special message of love to the resisters in Guerrero -- Nahuatl, Zapatistas, women, children, students, mothers -- and throughout Mexico whose courage shines above the murder and onslaught of their oppressors, armed by the US government.

A special measure of love goes out to the traditional women of Big Mountain, including Louise Benally and her mother, and Roberta Blackgoat, who gave us the words, and the direction to move forward with. 

Marie Randall, Lakota, 94, blocked the tarsands megaloads on Pine Ridge and is a Censored News Hero in Resistance.

There is a gift that comes from authentic journalism that goes beyond the words. It is the gift of being in the presence of great people. I'm remembering Sarah James, Gwich'in, and Casey Camp, Ponca, at the climate summit in Cancun, and with Carrie Dann on her ranch in Western Shoshone country.

Louise Benally, Flood Wall Street, Boarding School Testimony,
and Jean Whitehorse.
In the midst of the struggles, there is also the beauty. Thank you for your friendship and sharing the Comcaac (Seri) ways, our sister Amalia Astorga, who passed to the Spirit World on the coast of the blue waters of the Pacific. 

A special message of love to the Yaqui women in Sonora for your resistance, and your laughter making those thin tortillas over the roaring fires.

Love and respect goes out to each of you my friends and sources on the Arizona border, who lost loved ones -- and searched for and found the remains of others loved ones.

I'm remembering those 112 degrees days when we wrapped ourselves in wet towels to keep from passing out as we looked at US spy towers under construction on the Arizona border, and watched the Border Patrol agents talking on their cellphones in their air-conditioned cars, and buying munchies at Three Points. Meanwhile, the profiteers in the Wackenhut/G4S buses snaked along the border to fill their buses with their cash bounty, migrants, for private prisons.

I'm remembering each of you women who got up before dawn, and scrambled the eggs and made the tamales and tortillas in Chiapas and Sonora. I'm remembering those of you who made breakfast during the cold hours before first light as you walked across the west. There are those, too, who struggle a lifetime and never give up in the battle for art and against racism, like my friend Dineh filmmaker Arlene Bowman.

There are those like Western Shoshone Carrie Dann who become symbols of fortitude, the backbone of resistance. Carrie Dann drove over ice at night alone to meet with the long walkers in 2008, and she flew to Bolivia for the Conference on Climate Change and Protection of Mother Earth in 2010.

I'm remembering, too, long ago, on Wind River. My Northern Arapaho friend describing how she walked out into a snowstorm with her baby in her arms, and found work mending fences, so they could both live another day. She said, "You just do what you got to do."

Women writers write, not because they have readers, but because they have to. 

Josephine Mandamin, Big Mountain, O'odham and Zapatistas,
Long Walkers Lisa Peake and Sage.
Kahentinetha at Mohawk Nation News writes and publishes because because she adheres to the Great Law of Peace.

Louise Benally of Big Mountain resists relocation, and speaks out about coal mining and the ongoing genocide of Navajos forced on the Long Walk, because she lives this truth and the truth of her ancestors.

Debra White Plume, Lakota, lives on Pine Ridge and drinks the water that uranium mining poisons and the tarsands Keystone XL pipeline threatens. 

Joye Braun, Lakota, blocked the megaload trucks on Cheyenne River Indian lands in South Dakota because she knows the destruction these trucks bring to the water, land and her people.

Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, lives in the traditional O'odham community on the border where border wall builders dug up the O'odham ancestors and built US spy towers, while US Border Patrol agents assault women and children.

For standing up for the rights of nature, and the protection of the air, land and water and the two-legged and four-legged, Josephine Mandamin, Anishinaabe water walker, is remembered on the lands of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara in North Dakota, along with Kandi Mossett. Faith Spotted Eagle is remembered during the resistance in Yankton, South Dakota. 

The strength of the Mohawk women on the southern border, with the Mohawk Warrior Society, became a touchstone.

Rosalie Little Thunder, Lakota, was a voice for the buffalo in Yellowstone.

We celebrate these women, their strength and their words on International Women's Day.

Join us in celebrating all the women writers, photographers, filmmakers, activists, singers, musicians, artists, and translators who make a difference at Censored News. A special thank you to our French and Dutch translators Christine Prat and Alice Holemans.

Carrie Dann and Louise Benally
Photo by Brenda Norrell
Here are some of the Censored News articles and photos by Native American women writers, and interviews with great Native American women who have made a difference.

In Memory of the Missing and Murdered Women of Canada, and the Indigenous Women Assassinated, Raped or Disappeared by Mining and Development around the World.

Listen and remember: Margene Bullcreek, Goshute Shoshone, audio, interview by Earthcycles and Censored News, Acoma Pueblo, Uranium Forum 2009:

Mohawk Nation News, publisher Kahentinetha Horn, news website

Natalie Hand: 'Crying Earth Rise Up' packs Sedona Film Festival, Censored News

Lakota Debra White Plume on Sacred Water, Censored News

Ofelia Rivas, founder O'odham Solidarity Project, website:

Louise Benally censored by Indian Country Today, comparing war in Iraq to Navajos forced on the Longest Walk

Buffy Sainte Marie censored by Indian Country Today, describing how she was forced out of the music industry in the US by President Lyndon Johnson, by Censored News

San Carlos Apache Sandra Rambler 'Traditionally Speaking' on Oak Flats 

Jean Whitehorse, Dineh, speaks out on the sterilization of women by the US government, at AIM West San Francisco. Censored News video.

Raquel Arthur, Paiute, speaking out on the theft of Pyramid Lake water rights 2014. Video at AIM West San Francisco, by Earthcycles and Censored News

Lakota grandmother Marie Randall, 94, blocked tarsands megaloads on Pine Ridge. Censored News Hero in Resistance 2014.

Dineh women Flood Wall Street, photographer Robyn Jackson, Dineh, Censored News

Listen: The Best of the Long Talk Radio, Longest Walk Northern Route 2008: Maori, Mohawk, Dineh, Lakota and more, by Earthcycles and Censored News:

Native American women testify on the abuse in boarding schools in the US and Canada. Madonna Thunder Hawk, Lakota, Yvonne Swan, Confederated Tribes, with more Native American women from across the US and Canada. Live coverage and archives by Earthcycles and Censored News, Green Bay, Oneida land, 2014:
In memory of Amalia Astorgia, Comcaac (Seri)
Photo Brenda Norrell

Censored News is published by Brenda Norrell, a news reporter in Indian country for 33 years. She began as a reporter at Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She served as a freelance writer for AP and USA Today covering the Navajo Council and federal courts. After serving as a longtime staff reporter at Indian Country Today, she was censored repeatedly and terminated in 2006. Censored News was created because of the censorship at Indian Country Today. Censored News is now in its 9th year with no advertising, grants or sponsors, with 3.8 million pageviews.

1 comment:

Angel Wincent said...

Who can worried u,and who can love u so much,who can support u,and who can encourage u in all worries,who can live for u,she is one and only the best mother and the best women in the world....happy womens day...from..
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