August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tommy Rock's Photos: Indigenous protest US EPA radioactive mines

Photos by Tommy Rock, Dine'

Navajo, Lakota and Acoma Pueblo protest US EPA in DC today.
Clean Up the Mines delegation protests abandoned uranium mines, polluted water and high rates of cancer and disease in Indian country.

Mohawk Nation News 'The Russians Remember'

Navajo Nation's non-Indian attorney gives away Utah Navajo water rights

Photo Goosenecks San Juan River, Utah
Navajos urge veto of Utah Navajo water rights settlement ramrodded through the Navajo Nation Council

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News copyright
Dutch translation by Alice Holemans, NAIS

WINDOW ROCK -- The Navajo Nation's non-Indian water rights attorney is once again giving away Navajo water rights. Navajos are urging the Navajo President to veto a water rights settlement for Utah Navajo water rights, ramrodded through the Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday. 

Ed Becenti, Navajo, is urging Navajo President Russell Begaye to veto the Utah Navajo water rights giveaway.

"Another bad water deal for the Navajo Nation is being pushed through by 'our' own water lawyer and 13 Navajo Nation council delegates. They rushed this legislation through in less than a month's time without informing all the community members that it really impacts," Becenti said.

"The deal was rushed through in less than a month with no community education. If this is a good deal for the Navajo Nation, why are they rushing it through?"

The Navajo Nation has employed the same non-Indian water rights attorney, Stanley Pollack, since the 1980s. Pollack has spearheaded the loss of Navajo water rights in the three states of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, where the Navajo Nation is located. The negotiations have involved extensive secret negotiations and closed sessions of the Navajo Nation Council.

Pollack has intervened to prevent the Winter's Doctrine from being used to ensure future Navajo water rights. The Winter's Doctrine would ensure sufficient water to meet the needs of future generations of Navajos.

Becenti said the Utah settlement was approved by less than 3 percent of community members.

"There were no public hearings!" Becenti said not all of the chapters impacted have even been informed about the settlement or given the opportunity to vote.

The Associated Press reports that the Navajo Nation approved the legislation Tuesday. AP refers to it as a "settlement" of the Navajo Nation's claims to water in the upper Colorado River basin in Utah. 

"The bill passed 13-7 Tuesday without any debate and with few people in attendance at the Navajo Nation Council chambers in Window Rock. Lawmakers debated the settlement in executive session Monday and held a work session last week. The settlement would give the tribe 81,500 acre-feet annually of Utah's unused share of water. The Navajo Nation could draw the water from aquifers, and the San Juan River and its tributaries. It also could divert water from Lake Powell, although it has no plans to do so," AP reports.

The pattern of non-Indian water rights attorneys ramrodding Indian water rights settlements has been occurring throughout the west.

Becenti said this deal is a terrible one for the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation, population 300,000, is only claiming 81,500af per year while the Uintah-Ouray Utes, population 1,200, won over 470,000af. 

"The Navajo Nation should claim at least that much," Becenti said. He said the leasing of 57,000af of water per year is valued at over $100 million while the settlement only gives the nation $5 million for water projects.

Update from Censored News:
It seems no one can answer this question: 'Why is a non-Indian water rights attorney still employed by the Navajo Nation after 30 years?'
This is happening all over the west.
Here is one question to ask all those non-Indian attorneys now pushing the so-called 'water rights settlements.'
The question is: 'Does this new settlement prevent the use of Winter's Doctrine in court in the future?'
The Winter's Doctrine ensures Native Americans will have all the water they need for future generations.
The non-Indian attorneys are working to negate the Winter's Doctrine. They are working in the interests of the states, US government and corporations.
Many of these non-Indian attorneys pushing these water rights settlements in Arizona and DC knew each other in Window Rock, Arizona. They worked together when employed by the Navajo Nation and took part in the removal of former Chairman Peter MacDonald. This happened after MacDonald told the United States government that he would use the Winter's Doctrine to ensure water rights.

Read more on Navajos urging veto:

Becenti urged Navajos to contact the Navajo Nation and tell them to VETO legislation 0412-15.
Other executive staff to message:
Staff Assistant's # 928-871-7915

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Indigenous protest abandoned uranium mines at US EPA



Thursday, January 28, 2016

By Klee Benally
Clean Up The Mines, organizer
Photos by Tommy Rock: Delegation in DC

15,000 Abandoned Uranium Mines to be Protested at DC EPA Headquarters

'We are the Miner's Canary': Indigenous Organizations Call for Clean Up of 'Homegrown' Radioactive Pollution Crisis

Editors: Indigenous organizations will make statements and representatives will be available for interviews. Large banners saying "Radioactive Pollution Kills," "Clean Up The Mines" & "Clean Nuclear is a Deadly Lie." Signs with numbers of mines in significantly impacted states.

Washington, DC — On Thursday, January 28 at 12:30 PM, representatives of Indigenous organizations from the Southwest and Northern Great Plains will protest radioactive pollution caused by 15,000 uranium mines posing a toxic threat in the US. The demonstration will be held at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters. The groups charge that the EPA has been negligent in ensuring clean up of abandoned uranium mines that severely threaten public health, lands, and water ways.

What: Indigenous organizations and supporters protest for clean up of   15,000 uranium mines abandoned throughout the US. 

When: Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 12:30 PM.

Where: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Who: A delegation of Indigenous People from the Southwest and Northern Great Plains including; Clean Up The Mines, Defenders of the Black Hills, Diné No Nukes, Laguna and Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment & Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, & Indigenous World Alliance.

Why: In 2015 the Gold King Mine spill was a wake-up call to address dangers of abandoned mines, but there are currently more than 15,000 toxic uranium mines that remain abandoned throughout the US. For more than 50 years, many of these hazardous sites have been contaminating the land, air, water, and national monuments such as Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Each one of these thousands of abandoned uranium mines is a potential Gold King mine disaster with the greater added threat of radioactive pollution. Representatives will also address how and why "clean nuclear" is a deadly lie.

"Native American nations of North America are the miners' canaries for the United States trying to awaken the people of the world to the dangers of radioactive pollution", states Charmaine White Face from the South Dakota based organization Defenders of the Black Hills.
South Dakota has 272 Abandoned Uranium Mines (AUMs).

Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted as approximately 75% of AUMs are located on federal and Tribal lands. A majority of AUMs are located in 15 western states with the potential to impact more than 50 million people.

The Clean Up The Mines! campaign is focused on passing the Uranium Exploration and Mining Accountability Act through Congress. The legislation would ensure clean up of all AUMs.


California Rally for Clemency for Leonard Peltier

Media Contact:

Corine Fairbanks
American Indian Movement Southern California

Carolfrances Likins
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace

On Feb. 6, 2016, on the 40th anniversary of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier's arrest, a broad coalition of organizations will hold an important event in Los Angeles to demand the immediate release of Native American political prisoner, Leonard Peltier.
"Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."
10th Circuit Court of Appeals

WHO: A coalition of solidarity scholars, educators, community organizers and activists is organizing the event. The list includes American Indian Movement Southern California (AIM), Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP), Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER), International Action Center (IAC), Idle No More Los Angeles, and Native American Caucus SEIU local 721.
KPFK Radio is a proud media sponsor.

In addition to attached flyer highlighting speakers and performers added the following-

Key Speaker: Danny Blackgoat, Dineh Black Mesa- Retired Educator, Activist, Long time advocate for Leonard Peltier

Kat High- Cultural Education and Environmental Education, former Director of the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, board member Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation, CISA, American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California, videographer & recording engineer

Julia Bogany is a Elder of the Tongva Nation/ Gabrielino Band of Mission Indians. Board President to the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation, educator, director and activist for over thirty years fighting for equal rights for all Native Americans.

Matt Sedillo, Indigenous Poet, and a two-time national slam poet, grand slam champion of the Damn Slam Los Angeles 2011 and the author of For What I Might Do Tomorrow published by Caza De Poesia 2010

Julio Rodriguez The Conga Poet- Puerto Rican-Panamanian, Conga player,writer, poet and lyricist since 2010.

WHAT: In solidarity with international actions to demand clemency and freedom for Leonard Peltier on this date, a full day is planned in Los Angeles, with speakers, musical performances, traditional Native singing and drumming, a children's corner, and food. Over 15 community-based organizations are planning to participate to bring awareness and education in how the incarceration of Peltier indirectly affects the issues that neighborhoods and communities are facing today. "Today, even behind bars, Peltier is recognized internationally as an advocate for human rights and the environment," says Corine Fairbanks, Director of the American Indian Movement Southern California. "Ironically, this is what he was standing up for when he was arrested."

This is a family-oriented, free event; donations will be appreciated and happily accepted at the door. Tribal elders and spiritual leaders will be ending the day with a Candlelight Vigil and Prayer ceremony at 8:30pm.

WHEN: Saturday, February 6, 2:00 – 9:00 PM

WHERE: Chuco's Justice Center, 1137 E. Redondo Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90302

WHY: Peltier, declared by Amnesty International to be a political prisoner, has been incarcerated for 40 years. He is in bad health and has been denied proper medical treatment. Education, awareness and signatures are needed to pressure President Obama to grant clemency to Peltier before the end of his presidency.

"It is not just about ending an unjustness to one individual," stated Carolfrances Likins of the ICUJP. "Leonard was targeted by the FBI for defending his people and the land from energy companies. Our solidarity with Indigenous people, and the defense of the environment, needs to include his freedom."

For up-to-date information on event, copy paste here for event page:

For information about his case:

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