Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 6, 2023

U.S. and Canada Among Top Violators of Indigenous Rights: Mining, Militarization and Boarding Schools

Paiute Shoshone elders and mothers defending the unmarked burial place of Paiutes massacred here, are now being sued by Lithium Americas of Canada.

U.S. and Canada Among Top Violators of Indigenous Rights: Mining, Militarization and Boarding Schools

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, August 1, 2023

French translation by Christine Prat

Published today on Indybay

GENEVA -- The United States and Canada are among the top countries violating the human rights of Indigenous Peoples, with mining companies based in the U.S. and Canada linked to assassinations of Native people around the world, Indigenous told the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The United States is responsible for accelerating the crimes against humanity with its endless war, resulting in the deaths of millions of innocent people, which benefits its war manufacturers.

Canada's long history of abuse of Native people includes the mandate for churches to seize Native children from their families and institutionalize them in residential schools, resulting in abuse, torture and murder, and generations of trauma. The Pope confirmed the Catholic Church was responsible for the genocide of Native people in 2022. Currently, Mohawk Mothers in Montreal are monitoring the search for graves at McGill University, the site of a CIA torture site.

During the testimony before the United Nations in Geneva in July Indigenous from Peru said they are being shot by the army from helicopters, under orders from the president, as they march to protect their land from illegal mining and logging. The United States deployed soldiers to support the coup and to be used against the movement being led by Indigenous women.

Currently in the United States, Native lands are under attack by mining companies, in the fake green campaign of mining lithium for electric car batteries. The Paiute Massacre Site in northern Nevada is being dug into by the foreign company Lithium Americas of Canada, violating all federal laws that protect Native American burial and religious sites; endangered and protected species and groundwater. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said she supports the lithium mine now destroying the unmarked burials of Paiute massacred at Peehee Mu'huh, Thacker Pass.

The sacred Black Hills are under threat from mining companies, threatening the water sources, Wakinyan LaPointe, Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud, South Dakota, representing AIM West, told the United Nations.

Wakinyan LaPointe addressing United Nations on July 19, 2023

"Our sacred Black Hills are under threat of destruction by multinational mining corporations and lack of state preventative measures," LaPointe told the United Nations EMRIP, which reports to the UN Human Rights Council.

"There is no greater offender of tribal rights than the U.S. Justice Department," said Lisa White Pipe, Lakota, Sicangu Rosebud council member, representing the Coalition of Large Tribes, chaired by the Blackfeet Nation.

White Pipe said the U.S. government fails to abide by the Treaties and protect Native people. Technical assistance is needed for healing from assimilation and boarding schools, and more resources are needed for reconciliation and public safety.

White Pipe said the US must return lands seized for boarding schools, including the land used for the Rapid City Indian Boarding School in South Dakota.

Lisa White Pipe, Sicangu Lakota, addressing UN Expert Mechanism on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"The United States has failed to address the mass dispossession of Indians of our lands occasioned by the Indian Boarding Schools Policy even though there are federal laws on the books that require reversion of those lands. The Rapid City Indian Boarding School is an example among the hundreds the US-funded and sanctioned. We call on the United States to make these land returns now."

The Biden administration has now joined the foreign mining company Rio Tinto and is fighting the Apache Stronghold in federal court. Rio Tinto plans a devastating copper mine on the Apaches ceremonial place at Oak Flat. The waste dump would be nearby on an ancestral O'odham village. Rio Tinto -- which blew up 46,000 years of sacred Aboriginal teachings in Australia -- was forced to admit widespread rapes at its mines in Australia and South Africa.

Ruth Ann Buffalo

The Genocide of Boarding Schools and Sexual Violence of Oil Industry

Ruth Ann Buffalo, Mandan and Hidatsa, described the sexual violence being carried out by the oil industry in North Dakota and the ongoing effects of the genocide carried out by boarding schools. Speaking on environmental violence, she said private corporate security guards working for corporations are responsible for sexual violence, exploitation, and trafficking.

Buffalo said on her homeland, Fort Berthold in North Dakota, oil development has proliferated since 2010. Private security and militia guards, hired by oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Conoco Philips, are complicit and often involved in sexual violence, exploitation, trafficking, and the disappearance of Indigenous women and girls. "The economic power of the corporations they work for means their actions are often carried out with impunity."
The oppression of the United States military was described by Chagossians who were driven from their homeland island in the Indian Ocean.

"Now we live a life that is not ours," Bernadette Dugasse, Chagossian, told the United Nations. Dugasse's people lived a life of poetry and song before their island was seized for a United States military base, with the help of the U.K.

A representative of AIM West described the militarization of the US-Mexico border, pointing out the violence carried out by local, state, and federal law enforcement, including kidnappings and murders.

Raymond Mattia, Tohono O'odham, was shot nine times by U.S. Border Patrol agents, and died a few feet from his front door. Indigenous children are dying in U.S. Border Patrol custody.

The United States government's surveillance towers are also increasing on the U.S.-Mexico border, he said, referring to the integrated fixed towers constructed by Israel's Elbit Systems, including 11 towers on the Tohono O'odham Nation. The Israeli towers provide live surveillance to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The deadliest countries for human rights defenders are Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Philippines and Colombia, reports the Indigenous Peoples Rights International. Mining and agribusiness are most frequently linked with the attacks and the United States and Canada are among the top countries responsible.

The majority of the companies linked to human rights violations and assassinations of Indigenous Peoples globally are based in Honduras, Guatemala, Canada, USA, Mexico and China, in that order, IPRI said in its documentation presented to the United Nations.

Indigenous women leading the march to protect the earth, and their homelands from illegal mining and logging, are savagely attacked by militarized forces in Puno, Peru. The US is deploying US soldiers to back the coup, and will be used against Indigenous Peoples. Photo courtesy Voices in Movement.

Read more at Censored News original series: UN testimony in Geneva: Expert Mechanism on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, July 17 -- 21, 2023

Part I: Lakota, Eyak -- U.N. Hears of Devastation for Indigenous Peoples, and Stories of Hope

Part II: Peru, Tohono O'odham Russia --Impact of Militarization on Indigenous Peoples: Murder with Impunity from Peru to the Tohono O'odham Nation

Part III Defending Sacred Places and Sacred Rights at the United Nations

Russia's Indigenous share common battle with Shoshone-Paiute: Battling disastrous fake green mining for electric car batteries

Philippines labels defenders terrorists to silence them

United Nations: Black Hills is under threat by mining, water is the defining issue

Mohawk Nation News: McGill security mama tries to attack Mohawk mothers, monitoring CIA torture site in Montreal, Canada, for unmarked graves

About the author

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 40 years, beginning at the Navajo Times, during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. Norrell was a correspondent for Associated Press, USA Today, and Lakota Times. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated in 2006. She created Censored News to expose what was being censored. Today, it is in its 17th year and is a collective, with more than 22 million pageviews. It has no ads, salaries or revenues, and is a service to Indigenous Peoples and human rights.

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