August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, September 30, 2017

American Indian Movement -- International Film Festival 2017

Photo 'On2017 the Knife's Edge'

                            8th Annual American Indian Movement - International Film Festival
October 10-11, 2017
2969 Mission Street, San Francisco

AIM-West Press Release
More Information:
Antonio Gonzales-415-577-1492

On Tuesday and Wednesday, October 10th and 11th, AIM-WEST presents its 8th Annual American Indian Movement International Film Festival.  The films will be shown both days from 3pm to 9 pm at Answer Coalition Office, 2969 Mission Street (near the 24th Street BART station).  The grand occasion begins at 2 pm with the traditional Mejica Teo-Kalli Dancers, and followed by the All Nation Singers.  The Master of Ceremonies will be nationally known AIM leader Bill Means, and the Bay Area's own radio personality Miguel "Gavilan" Molina.

The Film Festival seized the UN theme of "Indigenous Peoples and Filmmaking" declared at the 2010 International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples held in New York as the spark to launch this as an extension of AIM-WEST's projects.

This year AIM-WEST also honors the "Ten Year Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" (DRIP), adopted by the General Assembly on September 13, 2007.

The ten films selected this year from the front lines of North America, Oceana, Africa, Asia, Scandinavia and Europe for our festival celebrate the struggle for Human Rights and Self-Determination of Indigenous peoples throughout Mother Earth.

Held each year in October, activities focus on "Indigenous People's Day," an alternative to the observance of Columbus Day.  The Film Festival offers a broader interpretation of history than stories typically associated with Columbus Day and colonialism.  The films voice a different vision of what it means to live as Indigenous peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere, Oceana, and beyond.

Films on Tuesday, October 10th
  1. Back to the Circle of Life  by Tony Gonzales (6 minutes) 2017
This short is a tribute to Bill Wahpepah. Tony is from a large family, and after a cycle of foster homes, was drafted into the Army and served in Viet Nam. When back in the States, he is introduced to AIM. Bill teaches him indigenous ways and cultural history. Bill influences Tony’s re-structuring of life’s values. Tony credits Bill as a mentor and unsung hero. Bill Wahpepah is Kickapoo/Sauk-Fox.  (Q&A)
  1. I Am the Indian Voice  Directed by Claus Biegart (26 minutes) 2015
Political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, has been incarcerated since 1975 after receiving two life sentences for a crime he did not commit. The film describes how he was arrested in Canada and extradited to the United States on the strength of false testimony given by Myrtle Poor Bear, a woman who did not know Leonard Peltier. The short includes poetry written by Peltier, and statements from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Ms. Nilak Butler, Dennis Banks, and others who provide insightful perspective on Leonard’s history. (Panel Discussion)
  1. Taking Alcatraz  As told by Adam Fortunate Eagle Nordwall,  Directed by John Ferry (40 minutes) 2015
On November 20th, 1969 a group of Native Americans landed on Alcatraz Island, and claimed it as their own. They stayed for nineteen months. While the media reported every move and the government fought to stop them, families moved in, thousands of supporters visited or sent supplies, and drums beat far into the night. Alcatraz became a symbol of hope, inspiration, and change for Indian people everywhere. (Q&A and Panel Discussion)
  1. On the Knife Edge  Directed by Jeremy Williams (90 minutes) 2017
This film is a father-son story about Guy and George Dull Knife that unfolds over the course of George’s coming of age journey. Told largely through George’s eyes, the film offers a glimpse into the youngest generation of the American Indian Movement. (Q&A)
  1. Abundant Land, Soil, Seeds, and Sovereignty    Directed by Natasha Florentino  (60 minutes) 2017
A documentary about a Hawaiian community on Moloka’i Island challenging the biotech industry’s use of the island to test genetically engineered seeds. Biotech corporations including Monsanto and Mycogen are depleting Moloka’I’s topsoil and fresh water supply, and contributing to dust storms that spread pesticides into the surrounding communities and ocean. The film offers a historical look at the political underpinnings of chemical-intensive farming in Hawaii which contrasts with the rich legacy of traditional Hawaiian land management practice. (Q&A with filmmaker)

Films on Wednesday, October 11th

  1. Give Us Our Skeletons  Directed by Paul-Anders Simma (49 minutes) 2001
This is a movie focused on Nillas Somby, an indigenous Sami man who retraces his family ancestry, as he searches for the skull of his ancestor, Mon Somby. The film narrates three parallel plots. The first is Nillas Somby’s story of how he became one of the most celebrated protesters during the Alta Dam Protests between 1979 and 1981 near Kautokeino, Norway. The second story examines scientific racism through racial classification that was considered as accepted procedure by Scandinavian scientists from early 19th century until the 1950s. The third segment deals with Nillas Somby’s emotional struggle bringing Mons Somby’s skull home for proper burial. (Panel Discussion)
  1. Awake  Directed by Myron Dewey (89 minutes) 2017
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota captures world attention through their peaceful resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the U.S. Government’s plan to construct a pipeline through their land. Honor the Treaties! Mni Wiconi! Divest now! No Dapl! (Q&A and Panel Discussion)
  1. Road Trip to Niger  Directed by Benedicte Schoyen (70 minutes) 2017
Three individuals take a four week journey into a poor, hot, and very remote place that is unlike anything most Westerners would experience. The film takes the audience on an incredible journey where no one is allowed to travel without special permits and security team. They make friends with nomadic tribe members for whom owning a cow determines life or death. They travel with rebellious Tuaregs, who have been fighting the dictatorial government forces for years in the desert. (Q&A)
  1. Libya’s Quiet War: The Tuareg of South Libya  Directed by Rebecca Murray    (26 minutes) 2016
In remote southwest Sahara, the indigenous Tuareg tribe were used and discriminated against by former strongman Muammar Qaddfi. They fight for their place in a post-revolutionary Libya. Living deep in the desert near rich oil fields and lucrative trading routes hundreds of miles from Libya’s capitol, the Tuareg find themselves impoverished and isolated on this prized land. Nowhere is this felt more than in the oasis town of Ubari. The Tuareg are pitted against former neighbors who are backed by government and international interests in a proxy battle over assets and power.
  1. Back to the Circle of Life  by Tony Gonzales (6 minutes) 2017

This short is a tribute to Bill Wahpepah. Tony is from a large family, and after a cycle of foster homes, was drafted into the Army and served in Viet Nam. When back in the States, he is introduced to AIM. Bill teaches him indigenous ways and cultural history. Bill influences Tony’s re-structuring of life’s values. Tony credits Bill as a mentor and unsung hero. Bill Wahpepah is Kickapoo/Sioux and Fox. (Q&A)

  1. Sittwe Directed by Jeanne Hallacy (20 minutes) 2017
This is a documentary about two teenagers affected by conflict in Burma’s Rakhine state. Phyu Phu Than , a Rohingya Muslim girl and Aung San Myint, a Buddhist were both displaced by violence in 2012. Interviews filmed over two years explore their ideas about each other’s communities, their aspirations for education and the possibility of political reconciliation. The film was due to premiere in Yangon at the Human Rights, Human Dignity Film Festival but was banned by government censors. Languages: Rakhine, Bengali, and Burmese with English subtitles. (Q&A with filmmaker)                                                                                                                                          
After the showing, there will be food, refreshments, vendors, and a raffle. We request a donation for admission, but no one will be turned away. Thank you.

10-11, join AIM-WEST, in hosting its 8th Annual American Indian

Twitter -- Not All Critics are Russian Hackers

Police violence at Standing Rock, gassing water protectors
Twitter setting dangerous precedent of police state

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Twitter now believes that you are "un-American" and a Russian with a fake account, if you criticize Trump or the Clintons.
Meanwhile, Censored News links have been blocked by Twitter since September of 2016, when we first exposed police violence at Standing Rock, with photos of police and Dakota Access Pipeline security.
Also in 2016, Censored News posted Hillary Clinton's dragnet of Indigenous activists, as she spied on activists, everyone from the Mapuche in Chile, to the Mohawks in Canada, as revealed in Wikileaks State Department data link when Clinton was Secretary of State.
Censored News also published Hillary Clinton's ties to arms deals, and Bill Clinton's deals for uranium mining on Indigenous lands globally, with money flowing back to the Clintons, as exposed by a hacker of the Clinton Foundation.
Censored News isn't a Russian hacker. In fact, we couldn't hack our way out of a paper bag. We do well just to post on Blogger.
Twitter has never told us why it blocks Censored links. Instead, Twitter blocks our links with an array of excuses.
It sets a dangerous precedent for Twitter to assume that anyone critical of either Trump or Clinton should have their links blocked, as in our case, or their accounts deleted, as in the case of the mystery folks who might, or might not have been, interfering in the U.S. election -- an election between two people who did not need any help in vilifying themselves.
Also in 2016, Censored News exposed the game President Obama played -- that public relations chess game, when Obama repeatedly offered hope that Dakota Access Pipeline would be halted, after the Obama administration approved the pipeline. All the while, Obama refused to halt the police violence inflicted on water protectors, even when Cheyenne River Lakota Chairman Harold Frazier personally pleaded with Obama to halt the police violence.
So, just to let you know, we are not Russian hackers. Unfortunately we don't know how to hack, or do much on the Internet. But we do know how to publish those gems of truth and facts that come our way.
Thanks to all of you. Best, Brenda, Censored News.

Censored News is now in its 12th year of publishing news of Indigenous Peoples and human rights. With 17 million page views, there are no ads, grants, sponsors or salaries.

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DAPL Donates $15 Million Payoff for Police Abuse of Water Protectors at Standing Rock

Photo Rob Wilson

In an egregious act of a private corporation paying for police brutality, Dakota Access Pipeline gives North Dakota $15 million

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Dakota Access Pipeline has given the State of North Dakota $15 million for bringing in police who carried out excessive force to ensure the construction of its pipeline at Standing Rock.
Those police and National Guard -- orchestrated by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier and TigerSwan mercenaries -- shot peaceful water protectors with rubber bullets and tear gas, blasted them with water cannons in freezing temperatures, beat them, and imprisoned them in dog cages with numbers written on their arms as was done by the Nazis.
Now, in an egregious act of a corporation paying for the abuse of peaceful protesters, and the violation of their civil and human rights, which resulted in serious injury, the State of North Dakota has received its payoff from the private corporation Dakota Access Pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners in Texas.
Native Americans and their allies are protecting the Missouri River, the source of drinking water for millions, from the oil pipeline, which was approved during the Obama Administration, and propelled forward by the Trump Administration.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says Dakota Access donated $15 million to North Dakota's Department of Emergency Services “to help reimburse the state for the money it spent responding to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.”
The donation was wired to the Bank of North Dakota Thursday and will be used to pay down the loans taken out the Department of Emergency Services (DES), KFRYTV reports.
Los Angeles Times reports, “The state has arranged for a bank credit line of up to $43 million to cover policing costs, including $5 million just added this week. Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, who heads the North Dakota National Guard, has said costs shouldn't go past that figure.”
Meanwhile in North Dakota, the biased media continues its support of these criminal acts by the State of North Dakota, Morton County and police.
In international news today, The Intercept reports on DAPL surveillance for police over Standing Rock water protectors.
The private oil pipeline corporation worked with police using a privately-owned yellow helicopter and used this stalking, with prosecutors, as evidence against them in court.
Below: Today's The Intercept. A police officer shoots at a drone at Standing Rock.

Leonard Peltier Legal Update Sept. 30, 2017


By International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Censored News
Dear Friends and Family,
I want to thank you for all the generous donations that have come in for Leonard’s legal team, almost 9,500 dollars in the last 2 weeks. It is wonderful and shows what we can do to help Leonard’s lawyers to move forward. Which means we must continue to raise funds to make this happen. I want to share with you part of the strategy the lawyers have put together to gain Leonard’s freedom!
From the desk of the attorney:
_There are three paths to consider in an effort to obtain Leonard’s release. The first is a renewed petition for habeas corpus on the grounds that Leonard’s incarceration is unconstitutional. There are many obstacles here, both legal and logistical. New grounds (not previously raised in any appeal) would have to be discovered to be able to file a petition that is meritorious and would be considered by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. As a practical matter, locating the complete records all of previous appeals may be difficult as it appears that over the years they have been distributed to different attorneys. It might become necessary to obtain them from the court clerks directly but there is no guarantee they will be available. _
_ Secondly, after consultation with experts in the area of federal parole, it may be possible to renew Leonard’s petition within the next two years. This may be the most promising path as it would provide the most opportunity to present the factors related to racial discrimination, the illegal FBI counter-intelligence operations in the 1970’s against AIM, the coercive and underhanded tactics of the FBI during the investigation leading to Leonard’s arrest and conviction, his health issues and the sufficiency of his sentence at this point. _
_ Third, is the possibility of a “compassionate release” based on his declining health. This is an administrative issue handled with the Bureau of Prisons. Again, I have spoken with experts in the area who advise that generally, compassionate releases are intended for prisoners with terminal illnesses. I am happy to say that Leonard in my view is far from the end of his days, however, he does have significant health issues, and that combined with the time he has been incarcerated this may be a sufficient basis._
As I mentioned above, other than general guidelines that apply to all inmates there are no definitive regulations regarding the granting of a compassionate release from which we can determine that Leonard does, or does not, qualify. Each situation is weighed on a case by case basis. Leonard’s medical condition does make a release on this basis possible, although the hiring of outside medical experts may be necessary as his present condition will undoubtedly be open to interpretation for any consideration of compassionate release.
I am including the URL link to an article that will provide additional information regarding efforts to pressure the Bureau of Prisons to expand its granting of compassionate releases.
I hope this information will help you see the urgency of our request for donations to Leonard’s legal team.
On the medical front, Leonard is recovering slowly from the heart surgery as lock downs, visits canceled and the new elder unit has him stressed. His grandson Cyrus & his son went to visit Leonard (Thanks to the Rosenberg Fund for Children) last weekend. Cyrus checked before he left to make sure visiting was on “YES, they said” but when Cyrus got to the prison on Saturday morning he was told visit were canceled for the day and he should call Saturday night to see if they would be open on SundaySunday, it was closed, he called Sunday night for Monday, visits were canceled yet again. Both Cyrus, his son and Leonard missed a chance to be a family for the weekend. Leonard was very upset as he say’s “time is too short for me, and to not see my great grandson is very upsetting.”
Leonard has very few pleasures in life, the most important is his visits with family and friends. It is imperative for us to continue to push his struggle forward. We need to stay focused and dedicated in order to right this grave injustice.
With Respect and Thank you for your support for Leonard's struggle for freedom,

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