Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 28, 2018

'NCAI lobbying for corporate interests, failing DAPL Water Protectors' by Chairman Frazier

Statement by Harold Frazier
Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Where are the Indians in the National Congress of American Indians?
When the Sioux Nation sent fourteen delegates to represent us at the first convention of the National Congress of American Indians held in Denver, Colorado, in 1944, it was to protect all tribes from the termination and assimilation policies of the United States. Individual tribes were alone and unprepared for the devastation and cruelty of the post-apocalyptic world in which we were thrust.
When NCAI had first began tribal leaders were able to address the problems of their people to the federal government. Sadly, that time is at an end. I have tried in vain to address NCAI and could only do so when vying for an executive position within the organization.
Voting in NCAI is not based on population representation and does not contribute to an accurate voice of Indian country. The system of membership is flawed and based on how much a tribe has in revenue and not on number of tribal members. In a time when Indian country sorely needs an institution like NCAI, it has been reduced to merely another lobbying venue for corporate interests.
Nothing has been more glaringly obvious of NCAI failures than the decision made by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to effectively terminate the Mashpee Wampanoag nation from federal recognition. This tragedy is against the very purpose for which NCAI was created.
Last July, I sent a letter to the director of NCAI asking for an explanation of their “corporate sponsors.” I never received a response from the director or the organization. I cannot get a response from NCAI about how much corporate money is garnered or even something as simple as the list of tribes participating in NCAI.
I cannot get a response from NCAI about how much money it has received from corporation sponsors, such as Wells Fargo, who is a known investor of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has brought hardship on our tribes and pain to my people.
When I see the issues with staff members of NCAI, I cannot help but see the symptoms of an infected institution. Members of many tribes have joined NCAI with the hopes of making a difference in Indian country, as I did and hope I can do for my people.
Those who joined NCAI invested themselves to a cause they believe is bigger than them. I agree with those admirable qualities and know that when people with noble ideologies leave in disgust it is because they have been disenfranchised by the leadership.
Today I am asking the Executive Council of NCAI to remove the director of NCAI for failing to protect staff from bad actors and policies. It is important to protect our tribal brothers and sisters from the wolves and not allow them into our camp to prey on us.
Failure to protect one of us is a failure to protect all of us. I also call for a removal of Executive Board membersfor not allowing a transparent process to address issues and failing to protect the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe from the very thing they have sworn to stop. Let us keep corporate interests out of Indian policies and keep Indians in NCAI.

September 26, 2018

International Human Rights Body Convenes Hearing to Examine the United States Failure to Facilitate the Identification of Missing Migrants

Remembering migrants who died crossing the  Sonoran Desert, at San Xavier, Tohono O'odham Nation. Photo by Brenda Norrell.
French translation by Christine Prat at:
September 26, 2018
Forensic Border Coalition

International Human Rights Body Convenes Hearing to Examine the United States Failure to Facilitate the Identification of Missing Migrants
Boulder, Colorado – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will convene a hearing on the identification of the remains of migrants who disappeared along the United States border. Forensic scientists, human rights experts, and family members of missing migrants will provide testimony and answer questions at the hearing. Representatives of the Unites States government are also expected to be present. The hearing will take place on Friday, October 5th, 2018, at 10:15 a.m. at the University of Colorado Law School.
Every year, hundreds of migrants from the Central America-Mexico-U.S. migration corridor disappear after crossing the border into the United States. The Forensic Border Coalition (FBC), a group of forensic scientists, scholars, and human rights partner organizations, investigates missing persons reports and uses forensic science to facilitate the identification of the human remains of migrants and provide some closure for their loved ones. The FBC requested this hearing to call for increased U.S. cooperation with this effort through a formalized mechanism for large-scale, transnational crossing of genetic information from unidentified remains.
Currently, the cross-border comparison of genetic information from family members looking for a missing loved one with genetic information from unidentified remains found in the U.S. is done primarily on a case-by-case basis—a body is found and is compared against a specific family based on circumstantial information or other attributes. A large-scale comparison— comparing all available DNA information from relatives of missing migrants against all DNA data from unidentified remains found on U.S. soil, has not been done. The FBC will be arguing for the creation of a formalized process to allow such large-scale comparisons, which should yield a significant number of matches and identifications, allowing hundreds, if not thousands, of families to finally know the fate of their missing loved ones.

The FBC's hearing is being supported by over 46 human rights groups and other entities from the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, including the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF), Colibrí Center for Human Rights, South Texas Human Rights Center, The Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State, the Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC)-UC Berkeley School of Law, Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho (FJEDD), Procurador de los Derechos Humanos (PDH) de Guatemala, Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (PDDH) – El Salvador, several committees representing families of missing migrants in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, U.S.-based immigrant and refugee rights groups and more.
Immediately following the hearing, FBC will be hosting a vigil for missing migrants on the University of Colorado campus. Speakers will include families of missing migrants, members of the FBC, and more.
Information on the hearing:
Hearing Name: Identification of the Remains of Migrants Disappeared Along the United States Border
When: October 5th, 2018, 10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Where: "Schaden Commons" room, Wolf Law Building, 401 UCB, 2450 Kittredge Loop Road, Boulder, CO
It is not necessary for press to pre-register for the event. For more Information, see here.
If you are unable to attend the hearing, the IACHR will be broadcasting live on its website.
About the Forensic Border Coalition
The Forensic Border Coalition (FBC) was established in the Spring of 2013. The coalition is comprised of forensic scientists, scholars, and human rights partner organizations working to comprehensively address the significant barriers to identifying the remains of missing migrants found on the U.S.- Mexico Border. The mission of the FBC is to support the families of missing migrants searching for their loved ones and to work to improve problems related to investigating and identifying the remains of those who die while traveling through the dangerous terrain of the southern U.S. border region.

Maya Activist Assassinated in Guatemala


By France 24 -- GUATEMALA CITY (AFP) -

An ethnic Maya woman who advocated for the rights of indigenous people was gunned down by unknown assailants in western Guatemala, her support network and local media said Saturday.

Juana Ramirez Santiago was murdered late Friday in a village near the town of Nebaj, 105 kilometers (65 miles) northeast of Guatemala City, the Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala said in a statement.

Ramirez had received death threats for her work supporting female victims of violence in western Guatemala, the statement read.

September 22, 2018

AIM West International Film Festival Oct. 8, 2018

AIM West International Film Festival Oct. 8
AIM West International Film Festivals featuring "Warrior Women" and more,  in San Francisco, Oct. 8, 2018

September 19, 2018

Native Water Ceremony Shuts Down Enbridge Line 3 Construction at Mississippi River Headwaters

Native Water Ceremony Shuts Down Enbridge Line 3 Construction at Mississippi River Headwaters

Censored News

BEMIDJI, Minnesota -- A tipi blockade and water ceremony, protecting Anishinaabe territory from Enbridge's tar sands Line 3 project, was cleared by police on Tuesday, as Native people were protecting their water and burial places from destruction.
One member of Ginew declared this defense is in solidarity with water protectors on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.
“We’re here today protecting our water, our burial sites and standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters down south who are fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline."
"The Mississippi River begins here in the headwaters, where we are standing right now, and it ends in the Gulf of Mexico, in the bayous, where folks have been fighting against Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) for months, putting their bodies on the line for clean water and safer communities."
"We’re fighting Enbridge here, a different company that is also invested in ETP. Enbridge wants to cross over 200 water ways and drill under the Mississippi River multiple times to construct Line 3. Enbridge wants to put this new poisonous black snake where the river begins and turn this area into an industrial corridor. They want to poison our seed of hope for clean water and turn us into another alley of cancer.”
(Video below) Indigenous water ceremony shuts down line 3 construction on the Mississippi River. This morning the Ginew Collective raised a tipi and blocked a bridge south of Bemidji, Minnesota at the Mississippi River headwaters, where road upgrades are in progress for Line 3 construction. We are here to protect Anishinaabe territory from the destruction of Enbridge's Line 3 tar sands project.

September 18, 2018

Ho-Chunk Nation Council Approves Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment

Sandhill Crane

Ho-Chunk Nation General Council in Wisconsin Approves Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment

First Tribal Nation to Advance Rights-Based Constitutional Framework to Protect Nature
Sep 17, 2018

Mari Margil, Associate Director

On Saturday, the General Council of the Ho-Chunk Nation voted overwhelmingly – 86.9% in favor – to amend their tribal constitution to enshrine the Rights of Nature.  The Ho-Chunk Nation is the first tribal nation in the United States to take this critical step. A vote of the full membership will follow.
The amendment establishes that “Ecosystems, natural communities, and species within the Ho-Chunk Nation territory possess inherent, fundamental, and inalienable rights to naturally exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve.”   Further it prohibits frac sand mining, fossil fuel extraction, and genetic engineering as violations of the Rights of Nature.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), with its International Center for the Rights of Nature, assisted members of the Ho-Chunk Nation in drafting the amendment.
Rekumani (Bill Greendeer), a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Deer clan, proposed the amendment.  He explained, “Everything here is sacred. We are all related. We are related to the trees, the birds, the animals, nature herself.  We all have a right to exist and thrive. Mother Earth is a sacred soul, and has rights not to be exploited for someone’s profits.”
Mari Margil, CELDF’s Associate Director stated, “We are honored to assist the Ho-Chunk Nation to become the first tribal nation to advance the Rights of Nature into its constitution.”
Margil added, “With this vote, the Ho-Chunk Nation has taken a critical step to prohibit fossil fuel extraction as a violation of the Rights of Nature.  This comes as the Ho-Chunk see their traditional living lands stripped of trees and plant life, driving away the deer and birds, in order to dig sand mines. Those sands will be shipped elsewhere for use in fracturing Mother Earth.”

Rights of Nature – CELDF
CELDF, and its International Center for the Rights of Nature, has assisted the first places in the world to secure the Rights of Nature in law – including in Ecuador’s Constitution and more than three dozen communities in the United States.  Today, CELDF is working in Nepal, India, and other countries, as well as with tribal nations and indigenous peoples, to advance Rights of Nature laws. This includes work in Australia to secure legal rights of the Great Barrier Reef.
In a time of accelerating climate change, species extinction, and ecosystem collapse, it is increasingly understood that fulfilling a human right to a healthy environment is dependent on the health of the natural environment.  Thus, the human right to a healthy environment can only be achieved if we place the highest protections on the natural environment – by recognizing in law the right of the environment itself to be healthy and thrive.
To learn more, please contact
Censored News

Mohawk Nation News 'What Should Happen to Traitors?'


Please post & distribute.
MNN. July 28, 2018. After and during the Russian Revolution, Japanese invasion of Korea, the Vietnam defeat of the United States, Quisling’s betrayal of Norway in WW2, and throughout history, the traitors were eliminated. Malcolm X advised everyone to weed their gardens.
Read article at Mohawk Nation News 

September 17, 2018

'Onondaga 15 Go To World Court' by Mohawk Nation News


Posted on September 11, 2018


In the case of Jones et al. v. Parmley, et al, No. 17-928, the sovereign Onondaga 15 of the rotinoshonni, Iroquois Confederacy, are instituting proceedings in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, against the United States and its justice system. It is pursuant to Article 45 of the Rules of Court. It will be filed in the registry of the Court in September 2018. 

For us, jurisdiction and sovereignty are based on the kaianerekowa, the law of turtle island, which supercedes the United States court system.  We, the Onondaga 15, request The International Court of Justice at The Hague to review the injustice of the United States court system in this 20 year old case. The Onondaga 15 have proven they can get no justice in the United States court system. Only the kaianerekowa, great law, can provide justice.
Read full article at Mohawk Nation News:
Watch video of New York State Police beating at Onondaga Nation

'Hweeldi, 1864 -- 1868, The Navajo's Long Walk' by Christine Prat


By Christine Prat
Original in French at:
Censored News

In the second half of the 19th century, the conquest of 'The West' intensified. In 1846, the United States attacked the recently independent Mexico and acquired a huge portion of territory through the Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty of 1848. For a long time, settlers mainly wanted to acquire agricultural lands and were not interested in the rocky desert lands of the Southwest. However, in the second half of the 19th century, people started looking for gold and other resources.
In the 1860's, the American Army had military posts in the Southwest, on the ground that Navajos and Apaches often raided the area. In the region corresponding to present day Arizona and New-Mexico, settlers captured Native women and children as slaves, rather than buy African slaves from traders. Native warriors tried to free the captives and raided the area. However, in the 1860's a rumor spread among white people that there would be gold in the Navajo Territory. One who is said to have believed in the rumor was Colonel Kit Carson. He managed to convince General Carleton that it was necessary to get rid of the Navajos.
The Army attacked the Navajo Territory, while Fort Sumner – named after General Edwin Vose Sumner - was being built, on a site called Bosque Redondo by the Spanish. In the winter 1863-1864, Carson's Army killed, destroyed crops, and rounded up all the Navajos they could. In the Canyon de Chelly, where people hid in caves, the Army destroyed everything that grew, like the peach trees Navajos were so proud of. Some warriors managed to hide in the many caves and canyons of the region. But the thousands of Navajos taken prisoners were forcibly marched for some 400 miles, in the winter, to Bosque Redondo. Many died underway. Especially children and old people died of hunger and exhaustion or drowned while crossing rivers.
At the site where they were to be detained – called 'reservation' but in fact the first concentration camp, with extermination intentions – they were supposed to care for their own needs. They were supposed to plant crops. However, the place was particularly unhospitable, wood was scarce, and the water of the River Pecos was alkaline, thus not suitable to drink, making them sick, and not suitable for irrigation either. A few hundred Mescalero Apaches were also detained in the camp.
Although the soldiers in the Fort were supposed to guard the camp, and certainly to prevent the prisoners to run away, they hardly interfered when Comanches, then enemies of the Navajos and the Apaches, attacked them.
After a few years of bad crops, in which the Army had to provide minimal food rations to the prisoners, which still cost money to the Army, it was decided that it would be cheaper to let the survivors go back home, to a reservation drawn as a rectangle on a map, in the Treaty of June 1st 1868. The survivors were probably 'lucky' that their ordeal mainly took place during the Civil War. It made the Army's budget even tighter, and many militaries of the region had gone over to the Confederates.
The survivors just went back home, where they came from, as they had not learned to recognize an arbitrarily drawn rectangle in the landscape. Since then, the Navajo Reservation has been enlarged several times, but they are not yet back to their whole territory between the Four Mountains.
The story of Hwééldi has been told through the generations. In 2009, Camille Manybeads Tso has been telling the story of her great-grandmother, who managed to hide with her baby and escape the Long Walk, in a movie, "In The Footsteps of Yellow Woman", which has been shown in France, during the Festival AlterNatif in Nantes. In Klee Benally's movie "Power Lines", first shown in the US in 2015 and in Paris in 2016, allusions to Hwééldi run all along the movie.
The pictures below have all been taken on the site of the camp. It has been declared a New Mexico State Monument in 1968. A memorial housing a museum, designed by Navajo architect David N. Sloan was opened on the site in June 2005. The place being now managed by the New Mexico Historic Sites division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the story is probably softened and you can be sure that in reality, it was worse. The site is situated close to Billy the Kid's grave, on Billy The Kid road, and in tourist guides and signs on the roads you will find only "Billy the Kid's Grave". Racists will always prefer a white thief than murdered Natives.

Dans la seconde moitié du XIXème siècle, la “conquête de l’Ouest” s’est intensifiée. En 1846, les Etats-Unis avaient attaqué le Mexique, indépendant depuis peu, et acquis une énorme portion de territoire, par le Traité de Guadalupe-Hidalgo de 1848. Avant, les colons voulaient surtout s’emparer de terres agricoles et avaient peu d’intérêt pour les terres rocheuses et désertiques du Sud-ouest. Cependant, dans la seconde moitié du XIXème siècle, les gens commencèrent à chercher de l’or et autres ressources minérales.
Dans les années 1860, l’Armée Américaine avait des postes militaires dans le Sud-ouest, sous prétexte que les Navajos et les Apaches faisaient des razzias dans la zone. Dans la région correspondant aux états actuels d’Arizona et du Nouveau-Mexique, les colons capturaient des femmes et des enfants Autochtones comme esclaves, ce qui revenait moins cher que d’acheter des esclaves Africains. Les guerriers Autochtones essayaient de libérer les captifs et faisaient des razzias dans ce but. Cependant, dans les années 1860, la rumeur s’est répandue parmi les Blancs qu’il devait y avoir de l’or dans le Territoire Navajo. Un de ceux qui crurent en cette rumeur était le Colonel Kit Carson. Il réussit à persuader son supérieur, le Général Carleton, qu’il était nécessaire de se débarrasser des Navajos.
L’Armée dirigée par Kit Carson attaqua le Territoire Navajo, tandis que Fort Sumner – nommé en mémoire du Général Edwin Vose Sumner – était construit, sur un site appelé Bosque Redondo par les Espagnols. Au cours de l’hiver 1863-64, l’armée de Carson tua des Navajos, détruisit les récoltes, et captura tous les Navajos qui n’avaient pu leur échapper. Dans le Canyon de Chelly, où les gens se cachaient dans des grottes, l’Armée détruisit tout ce qui pouvait pousser, entre autres les pêchers dont les Navajos étaient si fiers. Certains guerriers réussirent à se cacher dans les nombreuses grottes et canyons de la région. Mais des milliers de Navajos furent faits prisonniers et forcés de marcher sur environs 650 km, en hiver, jusqu’à Bosque Redondo. Beaucoup moururent en route. En particulier les enfants et les personnes âgées, moururent de faim et d’épuisement, ou se noyèrent en devant traverser des rivières.
Sur le lieu où ils devaient être détenus – appelé ‘réserve’, mais en réalité le premier camp de concentration de l’histoire moderne, avec intention d’extermination – ils devaient produire pour assurer leur survie. Ils devaient planter des céréales et autres produits alimentaires. Cependant, l’endroit était particulièrement inhospitalier, ils manquaient de bois, et l’eau de la rivière Pecos était alcaline, non-potable, la boire les rendait malades, et ne convenait même pas à l’irrigation. Quelques centaines d’Apaches Mescalero furent également détenus dans le camp.
Bien que les soldats du fort soient supposés surveiller le camp, et bien entendu, empêcher les prisonniers de s’évader, ils fermaient les yeux quand des Comanches – alors ennemis des Navajos et des Apaches, et au besoin collaborateurs – les attaquaient.
Après plusieurs années de mauvaises récoltes, durant lesquelles l’Armée devait fournir aux prisonniers des rations minimales, ce qui coûtait tout de même de l’argent, il fut décidé que ça coûterait moins cher de laisser les survivants rentrer ‘chez eux’, dans une réserve dessinée par un rectangle sur une carte, dans le cadre du Traité du 1er juin 1868. Les survivants ont probablement dû leur salut au fait que leur enfer ait eu lieu pendant la Guerre de Sécession. Ça réduisait énormément le budget de l’armée pour d’autres actions, et beaucoup de militaires de la région avaient choisi le camp des Confédérés, “les Sudistes”.
Les survivants rentrèrent chez eux, c’est-à-dire d’où ils venaient, n’ayant pas appris à reconnaître un rectangle abstrait dans le paysage. Depuis, la Réserve Navajo a été agrandie à plusieurs reprises, mais ils n’ont toujours pas récupéré leur Territoire ancestral, entre les Quatre Montagnes.
L’histoire de Hwééldi a été racontée de génération en génération. En 2009, Camille Manybeads Tso a raconté dans un film, “In the Footsteps of Yellow Woman”, l’histoire de son arrière arrière-grand-mère, qui avait réussi à se cacher avec son bébé et à échapper à la Longue Marche. Le film est passé en France, dans le cadre du festival Alter’Natif, à Nantes. Le film de Klee Benally, “Power Lines” – sorti aux Etats-Unis en 2015 et à Paris en 2016 – est d’un bout à l’autre parsemé d’allusions à Hwééldi, évènement crucial dans l’histoire de tous les Navajos.
Les photos ont toutes été prises sur le site du camp. Il a été déclaré Monument de l’état du Nouveau-Mexique en 1968. Un mémorial, qui héberge un musée, a été conçu par l’architecte Navajo David N. Sloan. Il a été ouvert le 4 juin 2005. Le site est actuellement géré par le Service des Sites Historiques du Nouveau-Mexique, qui dépend du Service des Affaires Culturelles du Nouveau-Mexique. Donc, les histoires ont probablement été quelque peu ‘adoucies’, croyez bien qu’en réalité, ça a été pire. Le site est proche de la tombe de Billy The Kid, et se trouve sur la Route Billy The Kid. Dans les guides touristiques et sur les panneaux indicateurs, vous ne trouverez que “Tombe de Billy The Kid” comme indication. Les racistes préfèreront toujours un voleur blanc à des Autochtones assassinés.
Christine Prat