Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 1, 2019

Ponca Casey Camp-Horinek honors Rights of Nature and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women at Bioneers

Ponca Councilwoman Casey Camp Horinek delivering keynote address. Photo by Bioneers.
Casey Camp Horinek: Aligning Human Law with Natural Law'

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- Ponca Casy Camp-Horinek spoke on the Rights of Nature, enacted as law by the Ponca Nation in Oklahoma, at the Bioneers Conference think tank. Describing the decades of rape, murder and oppression, she also honored Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Remembering the Ponca women who were raped and murdered by the Calvary, she said this is the same mentality of today's oil and gas industry man camps.

During her keynote address on the Rights of Nature, "Aligning Human Law with Natural Law," Camp-Horinek told those gathered in the packed conference hall, "It's an honor to be here with warriors."

Speaking on the Rights of Nature, she said people are now recognizing what has always been.

“We talk about the rights of nature as though that’s a separate thing from us. How are we to say that we are inventing something new when we are recognizing what has always been? In coming to you today and bringing this sacred water, I believe that we need to take this moment to recognize the interconnectedness to all things, not in the esoteric way, but in the truth and reality of what this human body is made of," she said.

Camp-Horinek shared the Ponca Creation Story.
Honoring those who gathered here as warriors -- which included scientists, artists, authors, youths, biologists, dancers, climate activists, and hundreds of Native Americans, she said, "There is no way backward, only forward."

"We haven't gone so far as to step out of our creature comforts." 

Describing her homeland, she said Poncas have been poisoned and bombarded with oil and gas drilling and fracking.

The Ponca Nation of Oklahoma recognized the Rights of Nature on Oct. 20, 2017, becoming the first Indian Nation to enact a statute recognizing the Rights of Nature.

At Bioneers, Camp-Horinek said, "We can not wait. We must take chances. We must demand a just transition from fossil fuels. We can 'just kick' people out of office. In our community, we do it the kitchen table way. Our decisions are made around the kitchen table."

Camp-Horinek said her daughters go to MIT. Casey said she is a Matriarch in Training.

The strong Warriors, the men, stand like a herd of buffalo in a circle protecting those in the center, she said.

"Take responsibility, gather your family around your kitchen table. Honor yourselves. Honor all of Creation." 

Pointing out that right now human beings are like ticks on Mother Earth, she added, "Don't we want to be honored as a part of all that is."

Camp-Horinek, speaking on the panel on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, felt the palpable sorrow in the room as hundreds gathered, including a large number of Native Americans. Those whose lives had been affected by a missing or murdered Indigenous woman were asked to stand, and many stood to honor their family members and friends.

"I can feel this feeling of oppression and sadness," Casey said. "Reach inside yourselves to get through this."

Emphasizing strength and hope, she said, "Let's call upon the ancestors. They are happy we are here to speak out."

Camp-Horink described how she lives in an area impacted by the extractive industry. She described the Ponca Curse: The Calvary. There were four Calvary men that went after four Ponca women, and then killed the women.

"The Ponca wiped them out and cut off their heads," she said. "This was justice."

Referring to the trailer house man camps of the oil and gas industries, she said, "The man camps, which look like trailer parks, are the same mentality as the Calvary."

Speaking of the Calvary, she said, they picked out women and girls to service the men and held them at gunpoint. Today, the image of Native American women is highly sexualized, even in toys, such as those labeled as Pocahontas, a Native girl who was taken.

"We are strong women," she said. "We need to create balance with the men in our lives."

Bioneers writes, "According to Casey Camp-Horinek, for as long as Mother Earth and Father Sky have blessed all life on Earth with sustenance, there has been a Sacred System honored by all species. Only humans have strayed wildly from these original instructions to live in harmony with all and to recognize our place in the Great Mystery. Now, she says, in this crucial moment, we must find our way back to Balance if we are to avoid the unraveling of the web of life."
Casey Camp-Horinek, a tribal Councilwoman of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and Hereditary Drumkeeper of its Womens’ Scalp Dance Society, Elder and Matriarch, is also an Emmy award-winning actress, author, and an internationally renowned, longtime Native and Human Rights and Environmental Justice activist. She led efforts for the Ponca tribe to adopt a Rights of Nature Statute and pass a moratorium on fracking on its territory and has traveled and spoken around the world.

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