Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 29, 2015

Inspiration and Tragedy: Censored in Indian country 2015

Inspiration and Tragedy: Censored in Indian country 2015

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Top photo: Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca

We begin this year in review, by looking at what inspired us in 2015, with a tribute to those who live on their homeland and fight the good fight everyday. We honor the Native American women, youths and young adults who inspired us this year.

Wioweya Najin Win, Lakota at home on Pine Ridge, writes, "In these days of winter fading away while springtime emerges slowly, all I can think about is the smell of the wild raspberries in their full ripeness, their red skin glowing from the sunbeams falling along the banks of Tongue River in the Shining Mountains." Read more from Wioweya (Debra White Plume) and the struggle to defend the land from uranium mining and the tar sands pipeline:

Photo courtesy Nihigaal Bee Iina walkers
The Nihigaal Bee Iina walkers inspired us with their walks to the Four Sacred Mountains and their voices. The Dine’ walkers spoke out against the oil and gas drilling, fracking and coal mining that is destroying the Navajo Nation and threatens future generations.

Apache youth Naelyn Pike, 16, spoke out on the sacred ceremonial ground of Oak Flat, now targeted for a massive copper mine. Describing the United States long war of genocide targeting Apaches, Naelyn said, "The United States tried to strip our identity away." She recalled how her ancestors fought for her survival.
"I still wear my camp dress. I still wear my moccasins. I am Apache. We are coming together. I am going to fight for what is right. If we don't keep fighting for who we are, we are nothing.”
She said this struggle has shown her how strong her people are. "We are a family. We are going to fight and we are going to keep this place sacred."

Photo Deborah Parker
The faces of Lummi youths arriving in Paris for the COP21 climate summit was among the most inspiring photos. Thanks to Deborah Parker for sharing the photos. Lummi youths joined Indigenous Peoples from around the earth. Watch this video of the Canoe 2 Paris flotilla during the Paris climate summit:

Photo Ken Marchionno
As the year came to an end, it was the youth riders of the Future Generations Riders who inspired us, as they rode the trail between the site of the murder of Lakota Chief Big Foot, and the site of the Massacre of Wounded Knee. Thanks to Ken Marchionno and Future Generations Riders for sharing photos with Censored News. More at 300 Miles website

The Truth Tellers

Steve Melendez, Pyramid Lake Paiute and President of the American Indian Genocide Museum, wrote one of our most viewed columns. Melendez writes: "Pope Francis is no Christian, enforce the treaties."

Tribal Chairman Valentin Lopez exposed the atrocities of California Missions, where Indian people were beaten and murdered. Valentin’s talk was at the AIM West Conference:

Speakers at the AIM West Conference honored Darrell Standing Elk, while urging clemency for Leonard Peltier, and exposing atrocities of the US government:

This year, Censored News exposed the Israeli and US pact and the ongoing construction of spy towers on the Tohono O’odham Nation. These surveillance towers now threaten traditional communities and burial sites. The District of Gu-Vo has said ‘No.’ Read the exclusive at Censored News:

Mohawk Nation News continued to expose the truth this year, with historical background and warnings to those violating The Great Law. Read more at

The Tragedy: Tex Hall and Blood Oil

Former Tribal Chairman Tex Hall's business partner now admits the murder-for-hire of two of their business partners. The young KC Clarke's death remained a mystery until James Henriksen recently admitted the young man was bludgeoned to death in his truck shop.
Tex Hall, former chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara in North Dakota, rose to fame as a tribal chairman before destroying the land with fracking, oil and gas drilling. Hall then benefited personally from the oil and gas industry while chairman, with his own private businesses.
What followed was greed and murders in North Dakota and Washington State.
The Ugliest Story Yet from North Dakotas Oil Patch:
When Chairman Tex Hall attempted to distance himself from Henrikson and his crimes, this photo was leaked to Censored News. The photo shows Hall, Henriksen and their families vacationing together.
The Indian country media would not publish the complete story about Hall, his oil businesses and the murders. Hall was a charming favorite of the Indian country media. An expert public relations writer assured Hall's success.
Although the New York Times eventually covered the blood oil and murders surrounding Hall, the New York Times covered the story by stealing others hard work.
Now, apparently the murder of two of his business partners isn't preventing Tex Hall from creating a new business venture, this time with marijuana.
Don't expect to read the real story in any of the media. The national Indian country media doesn't have reporters that actually go out and cover the news. They rely on plagiarism and rewrites. The mainstream media might pass through Indian lands in North Dakota quickly, but the reporters don't stay long enough to get the story right.

Taking on the greenwashers in Paris
Kandi Mossett, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, from North Dakota, and her family and friends are among the victims of Blood Oil. In Paris at COP21 climate summit, Kandi confronted the greenwashers and profiteers. Back home, fracking, oil and gas drilling, and crime have turned her homeland into a scene from a warzone. The land, air and water are devastated and crime threatens the safety of women and children. Watch this video:

Solar profiteers target Southwest

Meanwhile, don't get too excited about the news of the solar power plant coming to the Navajo Nation. The secret deal involving the exploiter and profiteer the Salt River Project in this scheme has not been fully exposed. Salt River Project is the operator of the Navajo Generating Station on the Navajo Nation, one of the dirtiest coal fired power plants in the world.

Salt River Project has entered into a scheme involving carbon credits, but isn't revealing the details. Carbon credits are just a means of allowing polluters to continue polluting.

Meanwhile, the mega solar project in the Mojave Desert, Ivanpah, desecrated Sacred Salt Trail. It was actually constructed by Israel's BrightSource. This was exposed after President Obama claimed the construction was proof of a rebounding US economy.

Senate enabling corrupt tribal leaders to poison the people with fossil fuel extraction

As this year comes to an end, the US Senate wants to make it easier for corrupt tribal leaders to poison the people. The Senate recently passed a bill to expedite fossil fuel extraction on Indian land. Since the national Indian media has not had any reporters covering DC in years, there are no watchdogs. Read this article in the Desmog Blog, which reveals that Indian Country Today even supported this bill by publishing a column in support.

Louise Benally photo by Christine Prat
Censored in Indian country
One of the most censored issues, everywhere  from the COP21 climate summit to the Navajo Times, is the impact at home and globally of coal mines and the three coal fired power plants on the Navajo Nation. Thanks to Christine Prat for interview with Louise Benally at Big Mountain.

There were many more people and events that inspired us in 2015. We conclude this article with Casey Camp Horinek in Paris at COP21.


By Ayse Gursoz

Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca, was a member of the Indigenous Environmental Network's Indigenous Rising Delegation in Paris 

Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca, presented this cradleboard to the people of Paris. The cradleboard represents the future generations.
"We come here with a present for Paris, we know what happened on November 13. We Indigenous people know how that feels to have someone kill the innocent ones. We offer this symbol in memory of lives lost, and we thank you for hosting us on this sacred day."

Read more by Censored News: 'Chasing McCain Away: Brazen Acts of Native Americans in 2015:

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Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 33 years. She began as a reporter for Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She also served as a stringer for AP and USA Today, covering the Navajo Nation and federal courts. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated. As a result, she began Censored News, now in its 10th year with no ads, grants or revenues. After being blacklisted by all the paying media, she traveled with the Zapatistas through Mexico and provided live coverage, without pay, with Govinda at Earthcycles, of Indian country events, including the five month live radio show on the Longest Walk in 2008 and the Mother Earth Conference in Bolivia in 2010.

Article copyright Censored News

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