Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 8, 2020

Bulldozing Arizona: Censorship Gags Native Voices

Photo by Kevin Dahl

Silencing investigative journalism in Arizona is for the benefit of the corporations and their politicians

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

There are 22 Native Nations in Arizona and there's almost no investigative reporting on critical issues such as Native American water and land rights.

Further, very few Native investigative reporters are being hired by media in Arizona to cover serious breaking news issues such as the border, demolition of sacred places, destruction of burial places, theft of water rights, destruction of endangered species and migration routes, and human rights abuses by elected tribal governments that are manipulated by the U.S. government.

Even after 40 years of forced relocation, many are unaware that it is the Navajo Nation elected government that signs the leases for coal, water and gas development -- including those that were signed for the longtime destruction of the Peabody Coal lease and the three coal-fired power plant leases.

As U.S. Border Patrol agents continue to abuse O'odham on their homeland, it is the elected Tohono O'odham government that allows the U.S. Border Patrol agents to overtake the land and communities.

Now the State of Arizona is using threats and manipulations in an attempt to seize Native American water rights.

The border wall contractors are now blasting in the path of an O'odham burial place. Already, the protected Saguaro Cacti have been mutilated, endangered species violated, and migration routes of jaguar and Pronghorn blocked.

We had high hopes in the early 1980s that at this point, there would be a full staff of Native reporters at Navajo Times. But now, Navajo Times still employs non-Native reporters, while so many Native reporters are unemployed. The Navajo Preference in Employment Act was passed decades ago.

There's has been widespread deception. Beware of the reporters who have spent their lives in easy chairs rewriting the hard work of those reporters who were present.

Here's the scheme they use: They take others work and rewrite it, and add a quick phone call interview to deceive readers into believing they were present. They usually add a stolen photo as well. There are a number of reporters in Indian country that I haven't seen present on a news story in the past 38 years.

Don't be fooled. Silencing authentic investigative reporters who are present to cover the news is part of the ongoing collapse of journalism, a collapse that allows the so-called elite -- corporations and their politicians -- to enrich themselves, both with money and power.

Arizona Native Nations

1. Ak-Chin Indian Community
2. Cocopah Indian Tribe
3. Colorado River Indian Tribes
4. Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
5. Fort Mojave Indian Tribe
6. Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe
7. Gila River Indian Community
8. Havasupai Tribe
9. Hopi Tribe
10. Hualapai Tribe
11. Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians
12. Navajo Nation
13. Pascua Yaqui Tribe
14. Pueblo of Zuni
15. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
16. San Carlos Apache Tribe
17. San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe
18. Tohono O'odham Nation
19. Tonto Apache Tribe
20. White Mountain Apache Tribe
21. Yavapai-Apache Tribe
22. Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe

Brenda Norrell is the publisher of Censored News. During the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation, she served as a reporter for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today and others. After being censored and terminated as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today in the Southwest, she created Censored News in 2006, which has no ads, grants or salaries. 

1 comment:

J.D. Ruybal said...

With revered observance of a sustained Doctrine of discovery and Manifest destiny; Behold the expansion of colonialism.
Keep in mind, the oligarch armed with the Doctrine of discovery and Manifest destiny, along with unlimited resources, can and has - “hired one half of the working class to kill the other half”(19th century quote). It is so easy to send in the troops. This practice is not new! Today it is intensifying. Best we the people All be wary.