August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Apaches meet with Forest Service at Oak Flat

Apaches at Oak Flat by Sandra Rambler, San Carlos Apache



Oak Flat Photos by Sandra Rambler

On Oct. 11, 2014, San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman, Terry Rambler was joined by tribal member and spiritual leader, Larry Brown and Rice Elementary School teacher, Irene DelaRosa at a coming-of-age ceremony for Tahleeni White at Chi'Chil'Bilda'Goteel (Oak Flat) on land deemed holy and sacred to the San Carlos Apaches and indigenous people.

On Feb. 7, Terry Rambler, Tribal Chairman for the San Carlos Apache Tribe signed a Proclamation to, "Protect Oak Flat Today and Everyday," at the signing ceremony held at Chi'Chil'Bilda'Goteel (Oak Flat) in Arizona where various tribes and organizations also signed the Proclamation.

On Oct. 12, 2014, San Carlos Apache tribal elders,  Gladys Hinton (Bylas) and Dorothy Ross (Gilson Wash) were joined by long time San Carlos Apache Water Rights Attorney, Joe Sparks during the coming-of-age dance for Tahleeni White held at Oak Flat in Arizona.

On Feb. 8, Wendsler Nosie, Sr., former Tribal Chairman for the San Carlos Apache Tribe and now the present Peridot District Councilman, thanked tribal elder, Audrey Johnson (Bylas) and youth, Cedar Bear Kitcheyan (Gilson Wash) for participating in the All Nations Spiritual Gathering and Holy Ground Ceremony held at Chi'Chil'Bilda'Goteel (Oak Flat) in Arizona, where tribal members are camped out and occupying their Holy Grounds.

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: Volcano of Violence


Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women the top of an underwater volcano of violence against Indigenous women

By Thohahoken
Censored News
English and Dutch
(Photo: Students from Laurier University and Six Nations Polytechnic created a project called "Pink Feather Promise" with a mission to support the educational goals of the children of MMIW. They participated in the flashmob at the Lynden Park Mall in Brantford, Ontario on February 14.)

            Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims that an inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) is not necessary, that MMIW is a policing matter and derides calls for an inquiry as 'sociology'.
            I agree with Harper that MMIW is a police matter.
            But not for the same reason.
On Valentine's Day (February 14, 2015) across Canada marches and vigils were staged to convince the Canadian government to call a full judicial inquiry into 1200 murdered and missing Indigenous women (MMIW).
            Near the Six Nations Indian Reserve 60 miles south of Toronto, Indigenous people participated in marches and a flashmob at a nearby shopping mall supported by non-Native people.
            One Six Nations woman who carried a sign at the MMIW march agreed that there was something suspicious about the way her niece died—entered care and without any warning died.
"This is bigger than just the murdered women," she said.  
            The MMIW case is the tip of an underwater volcano of violence against Indigenous women. The anecdotal evidence from Six Nations' people alone points to mistreatment and misdiagnosis by the medical-care system that has lead to deaths.
            Over the years families described how their mother perished, don't know what happened but she seemed fine, went into the hospital and died. There are many stories in the territory that have similar endings.
            In Canada Indigenous health-care has been the responsibility of the federal government. This means that every medical record is in the possession of Health Canada, the federal agency based in Ottawa.
            The Canadian federal government should call for a full RCMP investigation into the medical records of every Indigenous woman across the continent who has died under care since records have been kept.
            There is no doubt that once Indigenous people tell the story about suspicious deaths and have these matched to the medical records an even darker story emerges.

Dutch translation by Alice Holemans, NAIS, thank you!

Vermoorde en vermiste inheemse vrouwen: de top van de ijsberg van geweld tegen inheemse vrouwen.
Door Thohakoken
Bron: Censored News:
Foto: Pink Feather Promise
Vertaald door NAIS:
De Canadese premier Harper beweert dat een onderzoek naar de vermoorde en vermiste inheemse vrouwen (Murdered and Missing Ingigenous Women (MMIW)) niet nodig is, daar MMIW een zaak van de politie is en hij doet de vraag naar een onderzoek af als “sociologie.”
Ik ga akkoord met hem dat MMIW de zaak van de politie is.
Maar niet om dezelfde reden.
Op Sint Valentijn (14 februari 2015) hadden er marsen en waken plaats doorheen heel Canada, om de Canadese regering ervan te overtuigen dat een gerechtelijk onderzoek naar de 1200 vermoorde en vermiste inheemse vrouwen nodig is.

Nabij het Six Nations -indiaans reservaat, 60 mijl te zuiden van Toronto, hebben inheemsen deelgenomen aan marsen en een flashmob in een nabijgelegen supermarkt. Zij kregen de steun van niet- inheemsen.
Een Six Nation- vrouw die een bord meedroeg zei dat de dood van haar nicht uitermate verdacht was- zij werd opgenomen voor verzorging en stierf plots zonder aanwijsbare medische reden.
“Dit is nog groter dat enkel maar de zaak van de vermoorde vrouwen,” zei ze.
De MMIW zaak is nog maar de top van de ijsberg van geweld tegen inheemse vrouwen. De anekdotische bewijzen van Six-Nations volk alleen al wijzen op foute behandelingen en foute diagnoses door het medische zorgsysteem en die geleid hebben tot de dood.
Jarenlang hebben families beschreven hoe hun moeders omkwamen, die zonder te weten wat er gebeurde, maar gezond waren tot ze werden opgenomen in het ziekenhuis en plots en onverwacht overleden.
Verhalen met een gelijksoortig einde, zoals deze komen veelvuldig voor in het gebied.

In Canada valt de gezondheidszorg onder de verantwoordelijkheid van de federale regering.
Dat wil zeggen dat ieder medisch dossier in het bezit is van ‘Health Canada,’ het federale agentschap dat zijn basis heeft in Ottawa.
De Canadese regering moet een volledig onderzoek instellen naar de medische gegevens van iedere inheemse vrouw van over het hele continent die plots gestorven is terwijl ze in de zorg werden opgenomen.

Er bestaat geen twijfel over dat, wanneer eens de inheemsen de verhalen vertellen over verdachte sterfgevallen in de familie en deze onderzocht worden aan de hand van hun medische dossiers, er nog een gruwelijker verhaal zal tevoorschijn komen.

Dan Bacher Photos: March for Real Climate Leadership

Photo of the March for Real Climate Leadership banner at the front of the march by Dan Bacher.

Largest Anti-Fracking March in U.S. History Photo Essay

by Dan Bacher 
Censored News

Over 8,000 Californians, including a diverse group of Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinos, African Americans, Asians, labor union activists, doctors, nurses, clergy, conservationists, environmental justice advocates, students and others, marched through downtown Oakland on Saturday, February 7 in the largest anti-fracking protest in U.S. history. 

People from all walks of life came from throughout California that day in the "March for Real Climate Leadership" to call on Governor Jerry Brown to stop fracking and other extreme energy extraction in the state, stand up to big oil and move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. 

The event began at 11:15 a.m. with a press conference at Frank Ogawa Plaza amphitheater stage at 14th St & Broadway in Oakland, followed at noon by a kick-off rally at the stage. Around 12:30 p.m. the march departed the plaza and headed north on Broadway, east on Grand, then south along Lake Merritt to the Amphitheater. 

The march was led by a big Native American and Pacific Islander contingent holding blue and gold and other colorful signs and banners. A group of Delta advocates, including Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Stina Va, marched with their banners calling for the Governor, the same one who is supporting the expansion of fracking in California, to stop the giant twin tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. 

After the march arrived at Lake Merritt, the rally began with a brief speech by Penny Opal Plant of Idle No More, followed by a chant by Native Hawaiian sisters, a prayer, poetry and a wide array of speakers focusing on the environmental and health impacts of fracking on communities throughout the state. 

The event also featured a flotilla on Lake Merritt with a 25-foot banner rising from the lake; marching bands; a bicycle contingent/bike-powered sound system; and marchers wearing costumes representing animals threated by extinction due to climate change. 

After the rally, the event organizers held an after-party at La Pena Cultural Center at 3105 Shattuck Ave in Berkeley featuring reggae vocalist Bobby Tenna and the Skench Band. 

According to organizers, the nationwide movement against fracking and extreme energy extraction gained "tremendous momentum" in December, when, persuaded by years of organized public pressure and crystal-clear evidence that fracking is a serious public health risk, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide ban on fracking. As pressure mounts on Gov. Brown to follow suit, protesters from across California directed even more attention his way with the March for Real Climate Leadership. 

Just two days after the protesters marched through the streets of Oakland, documents released by state regulators revealed that thousands of oil and gas wells and hundreds of illegally operating oil industry waste-disposal wells are injecting fluids into aquifers in violation of state law and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. 

“Gov. Jerry Brown must immediately ban fracking and halt the use of illegal injection wells in California,” said Adam Scow, California director of Food and Water Watch, on behalf of Californians Against Fracking. “This fiasco shows that the state simply cannot handle the massive toxic wastewater problem produced by fracking and oil and gas development. It shows that the state has not complied with the minimum protections required by federal law. All unsafe and illegal injection needs to stop immediately.” 

The documents were released at a time when California's fish, waterways and environment are in an unprecedented state of crisis. The Delta smelt, the indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Bay-Delta Estuary, is near extinction, American River steelhead are in collapse and Central Valley salmon are imperiled, due to abysmal management by the Brown and Obama administration's of the state's rivers and reservoirs during a record drought. 

To make matters worse, as fracking is polluting aquifers throughout the state, Governor Jerry Brown is rushing the construction of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, the most environmentally devastating public works project in California history. The construction of the massive tunnels under the Delta would hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and a host of other species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. 

It essential to understand that the expansion of fracking in California, the twin tunnels, the federal plan to raise Shasta Dam and the draining of northern California reservoirs during a record drought are all part of a larger plan, the "Brown Water Plan," as Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe describes it, to privatize the public trust, water and natural resources in California. Fracking is part of a larger neo-liberal strategy to plunder California and the planet. 

For radio coverage of Saturday's march, go to: For more information is available, go to:

§San Benito County activists
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Anti-fracking activists from San Benito County, including Danny Morales, and his sister, to his left, Margaret Morales Rebecchi, joined the march on February 7. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Pre-march rally
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

After a press conference, the rally organizers held a rally in the plaza. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Front of March
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

A large Native American and Pacific Islander contingent led the march. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§March against fracking
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Over 8,000 people marched to stop Brown's plan to expand fracking in California. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§End Climate Colonization
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

The End Climate Colonization banner at the march. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Mariana Islands Solidarity
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Solidarity with the Mariana Islands! Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Marshall Islands
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Marshall Islanders proclaim, "Our Tides Are Too High, So We Rise." Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Pacific Islanders
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

A group of Pacific Islanders in the March for Real Climate Leadership. Photo by Dan Bacher.

by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM from Sonoma County in the march. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Treaty Council
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

The International Treaty Council marches against fracking. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Ohlone Land
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

The Ohlone remind people that they are on Ohlone Land. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§March near Merritt
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

The march gets near Lake Merritt. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Penny Opal Plant
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Penny Opal Plant of Idle No More at the rally. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Prayer by Rena Abon-Burch
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

The rally began with a prayer. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Defend Mother Earth
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Defend Mother Earth banner at the rally at Lake Merritt. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Kanaka Maoli Chant
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) sisters chanting at the Climate Leadership Rally. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Carson Represents
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

The struggle against Big Oil in Carson continues. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Rally at Lake Merritt
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

A view of the rally at Lake Merritt. Photo by Dan Bacher.

§Richmond Residents
by Dan Bacher Friday Feb 13th, 2015 12:03 PM

Richmond residents, including Andres Soto (center), discuss their successful campaign to defeat the Chevron candidates in the 2014 City Council election. Photo by Dan Bacher.

'Crying Earth Rise Up' Lakotas battle contaminated water and uranium mines

Crying Earth Rise Up Examines the Human Cost of Contaminated Water 
& the Fight to Prevent the Expansion of Uranium Mines
Distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association on April 4

         By Vision Maker Media
         Censored News
Elisha Yellow Thunder (Oglala Lakota) waits with her daughter, Laila, during a dialysis session.
Photo by Suree Towfighnia. 
Lincoln, Neb: Crying Earth Rise Up, a one-hour documentary premiering this April on Public Television, is a community-engagement project addressing the impact that modern uranium extraction has on the land, water, and communities. 

Produced and directed by Suree Towfighnia of Prairie Dust Films with consulting producer Debra White Plume (Oglala Lakota), the name of the documentary comes from a belief of the Lakota that Mother Earth needs to be cared for through good stewardship of the land and caring for its natural resources.
The project follows Elisha Yellow Thunder (Oglala Lakota), a young mother and geology student. Elisha is fully aware of the contamination dangers posed by the uranium mines to the vast and precious Ogallala Aquifer. During Elisha's first pregnancy, she drank contaminated water. Today, her nine-year-old daughter, Laila, continues to suffer from serious, life-threatening birth defects and medical abnormalities. Elisha is determined to identify the source of the contamination in an effort to protect her water supply, as well as that of her Lakota people.
Debra White Plume is a grandmother and tireless leader in the fight to protect her people's water and land from corporate polluters. Debra is the lead plaintiff in a case challenging uranium mining on Lakota treaty territory and speaks out about the issue from her own community on the Pine Ridge Reservation to the steps of the White House in Washington, D.C.
The narrative arc of the film follow's Elisha and Debra's parallel search for answers to the questions, "Why are there high levels of radiation in our drinking water? And, how can we protect our families and community against this threat?" They are supported by members of the tribe, environmental activists, and a host of others who have filed a case to prevent the mine's expansion in the region. Balancing the story are local residents and the mine company itself, who claim that the town would fold if the mine were shut down.
As this struggle looms over the Great Plains, Crying Earth Rise Up stands in defiance to contemporary uranium mining assertions of minimal impact on land and water. When nations discuss "green and clean" alternative energy, uranium and nuclear are often touted, however, the discussion never includes the long-term impact of mining.
"We live in a world where 40% of our energy comes from nuclear sources, so uranium mining impacts all of us. Flipping a switch powered by nuclear energy makes you wonder where that uranium comes from," explained Suree Towfighnia.
The practice of in situ leach mining (ISL) involves combining groundwater with a leaching solution, then injecting the solution through plastic pipes into uranium reserves located below or within the water table. The uranium in the groundwater is pumped to the surface to be drawn out and dried into yellowcake. After this process, some of the leaching water becomes radioactive sludge and must be stored at a uranium tailings facility for disposal. The remaining groundwater is then treated by cleaning it through reverse osmosis and re-injected back into the aquifer.
"With 70% of the world's uranium resources being located in the lands of Indigenous people, this topic is especially relevant and pressing to Native communities. Crying Earth Rise Up aims to increase awareness about the timely and critical need to protect water," said co-producer Courtney Hermann.
Bruce Ellison states in the documentary, "Until companies can prove that mining is safe, they shouldn't be allowed to operate in our communities."
Crying Earth Rise Up--which received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media--is an offering of the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA). This documentary will be available to Public Television stations nationwide on Saturday, April 4, 2015, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. This program is suggested for scheduling for Earth Month in April. For viewing information in your area, please visit
About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships, and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media--to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit

About the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)
NETA is a professional association that serves Public Television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Since 1967, our reason for existing is to connect Public Television people and ideas, by providing quality programming, educational resources, professional development, management support, and national representation. For more information, visit
Additional Information Regarding Crying Earth Rise Up:
Run time: 56:46
Credits: A Prairie Dust Films Documentary.
Crying Earth Rise Up is a co-production of Prairie Dust Films and Vision Maker Media.
Major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Vision Maker Media. Additional funding provided by Seventh Generation Fund, Honor the Earth/Headwaters Foundation for Justice, and the Indigenous Environmental Network/Western Mining Action Network (WMAN).
Listen to Suree Towfighnia and Debra White Plume's Producer Profile:
Film Pages:
Official Film Website:
Film Facebook Page:
Prairie Dust Films Website:
Vision Maker Media:
DVD Distributor:  Vision Maker Media
 1800 N 33rd Street
  Lincoln, NE 68503

Crew Bios:
Suree Towfighnia is a director, producer, director of photography, and documentary educator from Chicago, Ill. She directed Standing Silent Nation (, a feature that chronicles a Native American family's struggle for economic empowerment by growing industrial hemp on their sovereign Reservation lands. A co-production with Vision Maker Media, it was broadcast on POV and garnered many awards in competitions and festivals. More recently, it has been the centerpiece of outreach and community engagement pushing for legislative change. Her thesis documentary, Tampico, about a low-income Latina street performer, won the Studs Terkel Award for Community Media. As an educator, Suree works in youth media and teaches master classes in documentary making for universities, non-profits, and internationally at EICTV in Cuba. She began the Lakota Media Project (LMP) in 2003 to train Lakota girls and women dedicated to telling their own documentary stories. Suree has been dedicated to working on social justice documentaries and community engagement since 1997. 
Courtney Hermann is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and educator from Portland, Ore. Her most recent independent films include Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012) and Standing Silent Nation (2007). Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012) enjoyed a World Premiere in summer 2012 at dOCUMENTA13, in Kassel, Germany, and is currently in film festival and DVD distribution. Standing Silent Nation (2007), which aired nationally on PBS's Emmy®-Award winning documentary series, POV, was favorably reviewed by The New York Times, and won the Audience Award at several film festivals, including the Sedona International Film Festival. The film was featured daily at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. in July 2008. 
Debra was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. She has been involved in Lakota cultural preservation and revitalization work her entire adult life, including work to protect Treaty Rights and Human Rights. She has been an active community organizer around such issues for 40 years, from the grassroots level to the United Nations, where she participated in the drafting of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples and Issues. She lives along the banks of Wounded Knee Creek with Alex, her husband of 30 years, where they raise horses and provide stewardship to the small buffalo herd kept for spiritual and cultural purposes. Debra earned undergraduate degrees from the Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 
Sharon Karp has edited documentaries for over 40 years, beginning with the original Kartemquin collective. Among her award-winning films are the Emmy®-nominated Silent Pioneers, Chicago Film Festival Silver Hugo Winner; The Chicago Maternity Center Story; and Return of Navajo Boy, a Sundance Film Festival official selection. Her most recent projects include Standing Silent Nation, a Pare Lorenz nominee; The Innocent, winner of the Crystal Heart Award for documentary feature, about people wrongly sentenced to death; and Burnt Oranges, winner of the Cine Golden Eagle Award, about state terrorism in Argentina during the 1970s. Sharon is the owner of Media Monster in Chicago, Ill., which provides full-service production and editing services.
Since 2002, Rosebud White Plume has studied documentary film theory, technique and production under the tutelage of Prairie Dust Films. As a mother of six, Rosebud is inspired to use media to preserve her way of life through documenting stories and issues that present alternatives to the limited representations of her people by mainstream media. Lakota Media Project (LMP) is Rosebud's outlet for creative energy and professional development.

Reuben is a father/musician/poet/organizer/humanist from the Gila River Nation near Phoenix, Ariz. He documents stories of love and circumstance gathered from the places he's seen or lived. As an emcee (Che Christ), he uses his storytelling skills to bring messages of social justice and respect for all peoples through positive hip-hop music. Reuben teaches writing workshops with youth in urban centers and in Native communities. He collaborates on events that use film, art and music to celebrate contemporary activist movements. As a member of Prairie Dust Films, Reuben works as story consultant, writer, sound recordist, artist, and post-production assistant on feature documentaries.
An initiative of Owe Aku and Prairie Dust Films, the LMP began in 2003 to mentor Lakota youth and women on documentary filmmaking. LMP creates projects that complement social justice and activism work happening on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The work of LMP on different issues benefits the Tribal Nations' population and beyond, through the distribution of educational materials about Native issues from a Native perspective with a Native voice. Although LMP suffered a devastating loss when they lost almost all their equipment, footage, and archives in a house fire in 2007, the stories exist in the minds of participants and their activism continues. Little by little the work goes on. The Lakota Media Project is collaborating on Crying Earth Rise Up. They work on production, editing, and music. 

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