August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, November 21, 2016

AIM West LIVE Monday, Nov. 21, 2016

Standing Rock on Sunday night. Militarized police attack of water protectors. Photo copyright Josue Rivas

During a panel discussion on mascots and racism, Hernry Guzman Villalobos spoke on organizing against Trump. "The KKK is in the White House," he told the AIM West Conference.

Wounded Knee spoke out for the water protectors,
and offered prayers for the people.

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

SAN FRANCISCO -- AIM West coordinator Tony Gonzales began the American Indian Movement West Coast Conference today with a salute to the Standing Rock water protectors and description of last night's attack by militarized police that left hundreds of water protectors injured. Water protectors were hospitalized and bloody after being shot with rubber bullets and projectiles.
"The water protectors are not backing down," Tony told those gathered. He said, "We salute the elders, men and women who are sacrificing for the benefit of water."
Tony said today the gathering will be emphasizing clemency for Leonard Peltier.
Three years ago, Peltier was released in general population and was jumped and beaten severely. "It was a set up."
Standing Rock Peoples Attorney Speaks at AIM West
On Monday afternoon, Rachel Lederman, of the National Lawyer's Guild and Standing Rock Water Protectors Legal Collective, described the legal team, which represents 500 people now charged with crimes since the water protection of the Missouri River began. The collective recently changed its name from Red Owl Legal Collective to Water Protectors Legal Collective.
Right now, Lederman said Dakota Access Pipeline is ready to drill through the river. She said there is a temporary halt, but Trump is an investor in DAPL.
She said DAPL water protectors who are elderly have been strip searched and caged. Describing the attack on water protectors last night, she said, "Water cannons mixed with mace were used on the people."
Describing the events which led up to the attack on the water protectors last night, she said that law enforcement has the highway blocked.
She said there were serious injuries last night, Sunday night, when the water protectors were hit with water blasts in 20 degree weather.
She said she was there when water protectors were attacked by vicious dogs on Sept. 3. The protectors had walked up the road and were startled to see the bulldozers there where there are burials and sacred cultural places.
DAPL bulldozed the area just one day after those sacred places were identified.
People were bitten by the dogs on Sept. 3, 2016. It was very traumatic, especially for Lakota people.
She said there have been illegal arrests. People were led into a remote area and arrested, including two observers of the National Lawyer's Guild.
She described the raid on the camp on the pipeline route, known as Treaty Camp, and elderly were dragged out of ceremony.
On that day, many people in prayer circles were falsely charged with felonies involving fires.
The elderly were left without enough clothing, left in cold concrete floor cages, strip-searched when jailed. They were driven to jails all over.
One Native man in the audience asked what happens now. A woman has been hurt. He said what happens if someone is killed.
Attorney Rachel Lederman said the attorneys in camp are in need of more attorneys licensed in the state of North Dakota.
She said there are many challenges in representing so many cases.
She said it has been a foolish mistake of the state attorney to charge the people with the charges. The court is even unable to deal with so many cases.
Now, the Standing Rock Camp is having to deal with interference with their Internet connections, she said.
Lederman said the legal team is preparing cases for federal court in North Dakota, including the attack by dogs and recent charges.
She was asked if the UN non-profit report would make any difference. She said it was doubtful if this would make a difference to the courts.
She was asked if Red Warrior Camp, or the women's camp, was being closed.
Lederman said, "I don't think Red Warrior Camp is going anywhere."
She said Obama should stop DAPL before Trump gets in office, and Obama should free Peltier as well.
Water Protectors Legal Collective and National Lawyer's Guild are working on the criminal defense of water protectors. Donate at:
On Monday morning at AIM West, Chairman Valentin Lopez, California Amah Mutsun Sovereign Nation, spoke on the genocide of American Indians in California.
Elias Castillo spoke on California missions, describing the torture and abuse of California Indians, especially women. "They were death camps."
Elias is the author of the book, A Cross of Thorns, The Enslavement of California Indians by the Spanish Missions.
Donna Schindler was introduced by Chairman Lopez, who described the wellness program his people has created. 
Donna is speaking now on wellness and historical trauma. She describes the depression, how the victims in turn become abusers, and why there is so much violence as a result.
She said people "shut down their feelings," to numb out the pain.
She described women who shut down because they were sexually abused, and may not recognize it when their own daughters are sexually abused.
Donna, a psychiatrist, said she worked on the Navajo Nation and worked with survivors of abuse, historical trauma and the racism that exists.
She said it is a racist act to honor the abusers of the California missions.
Jean Whitehorse, Dine', described the abuse of boarding schools for Navajos.
Following Jean's comments, Chairman Lopez said his people don't accept apologies.

Erica Huggins of Black Panther Party

Erica Huggins of the Black Panther Party will speak now.
"I know there is a lot of pain in the room. It is in our DNA."
"There is something that we can do. We can recognize our innate power." She said we can not wait for something to come from the outside. She said we must understand the power of the spirit.

She said her people experiencing this pain.
"When I listen, I hear slavery."
She said people today are living with post-traumatic slave syndrome.
She said the people have lost the ability to heal.
"We are walking with soul wounds."
"It is multi-generational. We must heal."
She told people to straighten their spines, and breathe.
"Your breathe belongs to you." It doesn't change with whoever is in the White House.
"We are looking for something outside us to change us."
She said we need to look inside, and go to the heart.
She said when she was incarcerated. She was at age 21, a widow and single mother.
Then, she was in solitary confinement.
"I wasn't going to do what they wanted in any way."
"I felt free-er" than she ever had, once she went within in solitary confinement. She knew she wasn't going to go out that way.
She said everyone must take time for themselves, or they will become "like that."
"You can live with compassion. Not pity, not false forgiveness, but compassion."
Seek out the people you have harmed, and make a difference, she said.
"You can do it differently."
She knew she was being lied to in school about people who are black and brown.
She knew she had to surround herself with good company.
She said continue to do your work in the world, while continued to remember the Great Spirit.
Calling for a pause, she asked everyone to send good thoughts to Standing Rock, blessings, or a prayer if you pray, send love, send what heals, she said.
"We don't have to know them. We are them."
Breathe in, and as you breathe out, send it, she said.
She thanked people for their goodness, and their love, and for listening.
She said find moments to pause.
And she thanked people for taking care of Mother Earth, which belongs to all the Indigenous Peoples of North America.

Tony Gonzales spoke on Standing Rock and the water protectors. He reminded everyone of the need to help fund the Water Protectors Legal Collective in Standing Rock Camp, as there are hundreds of water protectors now charged.
Mascots and racism is being discussed by a panel on Monday afternoon.

Shiprock President Duane 'Chili' Yazzie sent us this message:

AIM West Coast Conference      
November 21-22, 2016 Agenda
Monday, November 21:

8 - 8:30 am           Traditional Mexica Teo Kalli Dancers

                             Registration, Sign in and collecting winter goods and supplies to Water Protector camps at Standing Rock Reservation against the DAPL;

9 - 9:15 am           Welcome Prayer and Dedication to Martin Jacques;

9:20 - 9:50 am      introduction:  Antonio Gonzales, AIM-WEST Director;  Welcome, and changes to agenda, logistics, and announcements;

                                                   Solidarity statements from allies and organizations;

9:55 - 10:45 am     Special guest speaker Mr. Valentin Lopez, Chairman, California Amah Mutsun Nation;

                             Panel discussion:  Ms. Donna Schindler, Elias Castillo;

10:50 - 11:15 am  Special invited guest speaker Ms. Erica Huggins, Black Panther Party Solidarity;

11:15 - 11:30 am  BREAK   

11:30 - 12:15 am  Invited guest speaker Ms. Corrina Gould, Indians Organizing for Change;

                            Panel discussion: Wounded Knee, Perry Mattlock, other;

12:15 - 1 pm        Felipe Hernandez, Youth incarceration, violence prevention and restorative Justice;

                            Panel discussion:  

1 - 2 pm               LUNCH

2 - 2:45 pm          Kim DeOcampo:  Mascots and racism in sports, NFL, and in public schools sports team;

                           Panel discussion:

2:50 - 3:05 pm    Invited guest speaker Ms. Rachel Lederman, National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Human Rights Defenders at Standing Rock Reservation and against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) human rights violations;

3:10 - 3:30 pm   Invited speaker Ms. Elizabeth Milos, a report on preparing to travel to support Water Protecters at Standing Rock Reservation North Dakota,  and against DAPL;

3:30 - 3:50 pm   BREAK  (Raffle)

3:55 - 5 pm        Discussion from the floor;

                         Drafting ideas,  plans for 50th anniversary of AIM (1968-2018) submit guidelines to the Grand Governing Council; issues of concern, strategies to propose for action, including international reporting;

5 - 5:30 pm       Closing comments and prayer

****Benefit        6 - 9 pm   Impact Hub, 2323 Broadway Street (24th Street). In support for Standing Rock Reservation!  cover charge, nobody turned away!  

Tuesday, November 22:

8 am -                          Registration and gathering winter supplies to Standing Rock Reservation North Dakota  (caravan leaving November 26/27);

9 am -                           Opening with Blessing and Mni Wiconi “Water is Sacred " water offering, song and flute;

9:20 am - 9:40 am        Welcome everyone and comments from yesterday;        

9:45 am - 10:20 am      Special invited guest speaker, Dr. Roxanne D. Ortiz, Professor Emeritus, Author, International activist;

10:25 am - 10:45 am    Invited guest speaker, David Escobar, overview on El Salvador and social and Indigenous movements in Central and South America;

10:45 am - 11:15 am    Special guest Michael Flores, on the border issues i.e. the Wall, militarization, and immigration/crossing desert;

                                    Panel discussion:

11:15 am - 11:30 am    BREAK

11:30 am - 12:15          Sampson Wolf, Political prisoners and bay area support for Leonard Peltier;

                                    Panel discussion:  Executive Clemency Campaign, Statue by Rigo 23, and Peltier Week in DC December 4-10;   

12:20 am - 1 pm           Film, to be determined…

1 pm - 2 pm                  LUNCH

2 pm - 2:45 pm             Open assembly discussion in these post election times, assessment of political damage, backlash, is third political parties viable in Indian country, should we prepare for 2020, how? or does it matter?

2:50 am - 3:35 pm        BREAK  (raffle!)  Film   

3:40 am - 4:25 pm        Ms. Isabella Cummings, Environment,

                                    Panel discussion on Climate Change, Extractive Industries, Idle No More, DAPL, REDD, COP 22, Richmond Refineries;

4:30 - 5 pm                 
5 pm                          Announcements and closing Prayer

6 pm - 8 pm               Mr. Len Foster, spiritual adviser to political prisoner Leonard Peltier, Wounded Knee veteran, our Special invited guest speaker on Tuesday at Answer Coalition Office, 2969 Mission Street, SF.

****  AIM-WEST seeks winter supplies for Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota who are challenging the Dakota Access Pipeline, and in support of Water Protectors of the Missouri River.  Caravan departs 11/27/16.

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Standing Rock Water Protectors Seriously Injured, Shot by Rubber Bullets and Projectiles


Prepared by Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council at the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Camps

By Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council
Censored News
Monday, November 20, 2016 3:00 pm

The Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council responded to a mass casualty incident that began at 6 pm yesterday evening. Approximately 300 injuries were identified, triaged, assessed and treated by our physicians, nurses, paramedics and integrative healers working in collaboration with local emergency response. These 300 injuries were the direct result of excessive force by police over the course of 10 hours. At least 26 seriously injured people had to be evacuated by ambulance to 3 area hospitals.

Police continuously assaulted demonstrators with up to three water cannons for the first 7 hours of this incident in subfreezing temperatures dipping to 22F (C) causing hypothermia in the majority of patients treated. Chemical weapons in the form of pepper spray and tear gas were also used extensively, requiring chemical decontamination for nearly all patients treated and severe reactions in many. Projectiles in the form of tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades led to numerous blunt force traumas including head wounds, lacerations, serious orthopedic injuries, eye trauma, and internal bleeding.

Every emergency medical unit from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation responded to the incident and additional ambulances were sent from Cheyenne River Sioux tribe (South Dakota), Kidder County, and Morton County. Three seriously injured patients were transported directly by ambulance from the scene and another 23 patients were transported by ambulance after initial assessment and treatment in camp. Injuries from the mass casualty incident include:
An elder who lost consciousness and was revived on scene
A young man with a grand mal seizure
A woman shot in the face by a rubber bullet with subsequent eye injury and compromised vision
A young man with internal bleeding who was vomiting blood after a rubber bullet injury to his abdomen
A man shot in the back near his spine by a rubber bullet causing blunt force trauma and a severe head laceration
Multiple fractures secondary to projectiles fired by police

The Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council condemns the excessive police violence and calls upon law enforcement to cease and desist these nearly lethal actions. Specifically, we demand the cessation of water cannons in subfreezing temperatures.

Our volunteers performed well under challenging circumstances last night, but we would not have been able to do this without the help of water protectors and local community members who transported patients to our clinic, organized warming spaces, and provided food and tea. We specifically want to thank the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe EMS services for their excellent response and highest quality care in an unprecedented situation. “They were phenomenal. They recognized the severity of what we were dealing with, it could have been a lot worse” said Jazmine, a volunteer physician from the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council.

Donations for the medical and public health response can be made to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer council at

Water is Life, Mni Wiconi


Linda Black Elk, PhD, Ethnobotanist, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Michael Knudsen, MPH candidate, Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council
Noah Morris, EMT
Amelia Massucco, RN
John Andrews, RN
Kristina Golden, EMT, herbalist
Sebastian Rodriguez, RN
Rosemary Fister, RN, MNPHN, DNP Candidate
Rupa Marya, MD, DoNoHarm Coalition, University of California – San Francisco
David Kingfisher, MD, JD, Wichita State University
Jesse Lopez, MD, Heartland Surgical Care
Kalama O Ka Aina Niheu, MD, Aha Aloha Aina
Howard Ehrman, MD, MPH, University of Illinois - Chicago
Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, University of Chicago
Elizabeth Friedman, MD
Vanessa Bolin, ALS Paramedic

Contact: Michael Knudsen, Medic Coordinator and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ethno-botanist Linda Black Elk, PhD –

Water Protectors Attacked at Barricade

 By Indigenous Environmnetal Network
Jade Begay, jade@350.orgCensored News

Cannon Ball - On November 20th at approximately 6PM CST over 100 Water Protectors from the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone Camps mobilized to a nearby bridge to remove a barricade that was built by the Morton County Sheriff's Department and the State of North Dakota. This barricade, built after law enforcement raided the 1851 treaty camp, not only restricts North Dakota residents from using the 1806 freely but also puts the community of Cannon Ball, the camps, and the Standing Rock Tribe at risk as emergency services are unable to use that highway. 

Water Protectors used a semi-truck to remove two burnt military trucks from the road and were successful at removing one truck from the bridge before police began to attack Water Protectors with tear gas, water canons, mace, rubber bullets, and sound cannons. 

At 1:30am CST the Indigenous Rising Media team acquired an update from the Oceti Sakowin Medic team that nearly 200 people were injured, 12 people were hospitalized for head injuries, and one elder went into cardiac arrest at the front lines. At this time, law enforcement was still firing rubber bullets and the water cannon at Water Protectors.About 500 Water protectors gathered at the peak of the non-violent direct action. 


The following is a statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network: 

"The North Dakota law enforcement are cowards. Those who are hired to protect citizens attacked peaceful water protectors with water cannons in freezing temperatures and targeted their weapons at people's’ faces and heads. 

The Morton County Sheriff's Department, the North Dakota State Patrol, and the Governor of North Dakota are committing crimes against humanity. They are accomplices with the Dakota Access Pipeline LLC and its parent company Energy Transfer Partners in a conspiracy to protect the corporation's illegal activities.

Anyone investing and bankrolling these companies are accomplices. If President Obama does nothing to stop this inhumane treatment of this country’s original inhabitants, he will become an accomplice. And there is no doubt that President Elect Donald Trump is already an accomplice as he is invested in DAPL”.




Photos by Josue Rivas:

Minn. Sen. Franken urges Justice Dept. to Protect Water Protectors

Sunday night police attack on water protectors

Sen. Franken Urges Dept. of Justice to Protect Safety, First Amendment Rights of Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors

Monday, November 21, 2016
Franken Calls Alleged use of Water Cannons for Crowd Control in Sub-Freezing Temperatures Excessive, Unnecessary, and Extremely Dangerous; Urges Attorney General to Investigate & Take Action
Sen. Al Franken urged the Department of Justice to take action to protect the safety and First Amendment rights of Dakota Access Pipeline protestors following reports that law enforcement used water cannons for crowd control in sub-freezing temperatures.

In a letter sent today to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Sen. Franken said that he is extremely concerned after hearing reports of dangerous clashes between police and individuals protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline project near Cannon Ball, ND, and said the use of water cannons for crowd control in sub-freezing temperatures is excessive, unnecessary, and extremely dangerous.

"The reported use of water cannons for crowd control in sub-freezing temperatures is excessive and unnecessary, and I urge you to take action to protect the First Amendment rights of protestors, and the physical safety of all involved parties," wrote Sen. Franken in his letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. "Native American populations have struggled for decades under the complex burden of historical trauma, and I have witnessed and admired how these communities have turned to their cultural foundations to build strength against that burden. These tactics against protestors exercising their Constitutional rights threaten to add another layer of trauma to these communities. I urge you to do everything in your power to prevent further escalation of violence."
You can read the full text of today's letter by clicking here 
or reading below.

November 21, 2016

The Honorable Loretta Lynch
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Lynch,

I am extremely concerned after hearing reports of dangerous clashes between police and protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline project near Cannon Ball, ND. The reported use of water cannons for crowd control in sub-freezing temperatures is excessive and unnecessary, and I urge you to take action to protect the First Amendment rights of protestors, and the physical safety of all involved parties.

Video of the incident appears to show that the water cannons were not simply being used for fire control, or even crowd control, but were often directed at small crowds or even individual protestors. Combined with the onset of wintry weather, water cannons are extremely dangerous and potentially lethal weapons, and I urge you to investigate their use on protestors.

On November 14, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that additional analysis of the Dakota Access Pipeline project is necessary and invited the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to engage due to potential impact of a pipeline leak on the Tribe's drinking water supply. In the interim, the Army Corps has made clear that pipeline construction under Lake Oahe - where the Tribe gets its drinking water- cannot occur without a federal easement.

Native American populations have struggled for decades under the complex burden of historical trauma, and I have witnessed and admired how these communities have turned to their cultural foundations to build strength against that burden. These tactics against protestors exercising their Constitutional rights threaten to add another layer of trauma to these communities. I urge you to do everything in your power to prevent further escalation of violence. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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