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American Indian Movement of Colorado

Spirituality • Self-determination • Solidarity • Sobriety
Colorado AIM home page

 

September 29, 2006

Please visit our temporary blog at the following address

http://www.colorado-aim.blogspot.com

 

Zionism and Manifest Destiny Redux

The most recent, and currently unfolding, example of Zionist psychopathy in Gaza and Lebanon by the Israeli state warrants a reprinting of Bob Robideau's column from February of this year. We hope that Native people can see the transparent similarities between U.S. policy towards our indigenous nations and the zionist repression of the Palestinian people. For current accounts of the situation, without the mainstream U.S. media bias, visit Al Jezeera at: http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage

Here is the article from our brother Bob Robideau. The original article may be found at http://www.counterpunch.org/robideau02012006.html

February 1, 2006

"God Given Right"
Palestine and Native America
By ROBERT ROBIDEAU

The recent election windfall victory of Hamas has sent shock waves through the United States and the European Union. They swiftly announced their threat to withhold $400 million in aide if Hamas refused to recognize the state of Israel and disarm.

Hamas, which has promoted itself as a militant alternative to the discredited Fatah government, now has to live up to its own rhetoric of providing an alternative to the long suffering Palestinian people.

Mr Zahar, the leader of Hamas who rose to power in 1989, reportedly said, "Spies and thieves must fear us," and "thieves are those who steal our land". As a member of the American Indian Movement, I know full well that the roads into the Americas were paved by thieves. It was A government spy sent to create internal disruption, who set the stage for the execution of Anna Mae Aquash, an icon in Indian country; and while over 150 government police terrorized communities on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota reservation in the summer of 1975, the federal government stole one eighth of the Pine Ridge reservation land.

The state of Israel sets on land that was originally Palestinian but Zionist movements in Europe and the United States claimed that the "land was given to them by God" and their belief that their race possessed some "natural superiority". Euro- Americas pray to "god and country" and teach their future generations to pray homage to the gangsters, outlaws and thieves who stole the country from Indian nations in god,s name.

The European idea that they possessed a "God given superiority" not only had brought them into conflict with the Palestinian people, but also North American Indian Nations in the 1800s.

In contrast, Euro-Americans and Europeans began their westward expansion of North America under the banner of manifest destiny. A belief that they had a "divinely inspired mission" to expand. Euro-American expansion meant the thief and occupation of Native American Indian lands. A big part of William Henry Harrison´s responsibility, who as the Territorial Governor of Indiana, was to obtain title to American Indian lands so that white settlement could expand in the area, asked the Indiana legislature: "Is one of the fairest portions of the globe to remain in a state of nature, the haunt of a few wretched savages, when it seems destined, by the Creator, to give support to a large population, and to be the sea of civilization, of science, and true religion?" Isn't this the Zionist attitude toward Palestine?

The United States continued the European practice of recognizing only limited land rights of Native American Indians who they regarded as "savages" who stood in the way of Euro-American expansion. The same mentality has prevailed with Israel people in their dealings with the Palestinian people.

In the time of Manifest Destiny, this idea was clear and simple, "Indian Removal". The "Indian wars" between Native Indian Nations and Euro-American armies, which are now well recorded, ended in more then 300 treaties that won some tribes large sections of land, but today these lands have all but melted away into the hands of Euro-Americans.

Euro-American's believed that Native American Indians were "destined to melt and vanish before the advancing waves of Anglo-American power..." but the large land sessions won by the Tribes through treaty in fact allowed future generations to survive, even as their lands continued to be lost through one passage after another of Congressional Acts that swindled tribes out of millions of acres of land.

Today Native lands have become checker boarded with Euro-American ownership and continue to be subject to Congressional Acts to defraud Native people of even more land and the natural resources.

The Palestinian people continue to struggle through various groups like Hamas in self defense of their sovereignty and to keep their remaining lands. So too, has North American Indian people continued to struggle to keep what is left of their lands and recover stolen lands.

The Federal Government offers the Lakota Nations 100´s of millions for their sacred Black Hills, but the Lakota people have refused the federal paper dollars, firmly stating, "Our sacred land is not for sale!"

Of the numerous Native American Indian groups that have historically formed to confront the continued Euro-American intrusions into our lives and sovereign rights, the American Indian Movement (AIM) has become best known. Like the PLO, Hamas and other Palestinian liberation groups, we too were criminalized by the invaders and thieves who attempt to undermine our rights as a liberation group with aggression, violence and name calling. As with the Palestinians, we too will not be denied, through threats of violence, our right of self defense.

On September 2005 the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) launched a three day aerial attacks killing and wounding Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. An action by the Israel government to demoralize Palestinian victims through acts of terror are common tactics used by occupying forces.

For 30 years Congress has failed to fully investigate their law enforcement agency the FBI´s role in the "Reign of Terror" on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota that resulted in 240 assaults and 60 murders in a 3 year period. It also failed to investigate the gross misconduct of the FBI in the case of Leonard Peltier, a member activist of the American Indian Movement who has now spent 30 years in federal prisons for defending the lives of his people against the violent and aggressive attacks of the FBI. The order to eliminate Mr. Peltier was apparently authorized by the federal government.

If the United States and the European Union fail to buy Mr. Zahar out with "aid money", we can expect that they will use military units with similar powers given to law enforcement agencies here in the United States under the old Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) or the one now known as the Patriot Act to eliminate him in the name of God.

United States history attest to the genocide of North American Indians and most educated Euro Americans and Europeans would agree that a genocide has been committed on this continent in the name of God and riches, but when it comes to the Muslim world the racism is disgusting.

The "Gods" must be crazy to think that their programs of racism and genocide will stop freedom fighters around the world from carrying on with their struggles for liberation and self defense.

ROBERT ROBIDEAU is co-director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. He can be reached at: americanindianm@telefonica.net

Friday, June 30, 2006

2 Native events to check out on July 4 and July 7.

There are 2 upcoming events in Denver that are being held for the native community and visitors who will be in town for the week.

One is a hip hop concert featuring Savage Family and the Culture Shock Camp. The other is an indigenous spoken word/musical performance event.

The Hip Hop Concert will be held on-
July, 4 2006, 9 p.m
The Mercury Cafe
2199 California St, Denver, CO 80201

The Medicine Word Poet performance will be-
July, 7 2006, 6:30 p.m.
The Mercury Cafe
2199 California Street, Denver, CO 80205
Free admission
Show description
Here's a show for Ndns by Ndns! We have a handful of seasoned poets who are scheduled to read. The rest of the evening is for the youth from ages 13-19 to read their work, whether it be a poem or spoken word. Please don't be shy and if you are, remember that most of the people there you don't know anyway! This event is being put on by Medicine Word Poets for the people who are here for the Indigenous Games AND the local Ndn community. Remember you have a voice...USE IT! Let's hear ya holla!

Check out the myspace websites.

Savage Family- Theories of Revolution
Medicine Word Poets-Medicine Word Poets

Check out both shows and support out native artists

Yellow Bird:Open letter to all Indigenous Peoples

This Yellow Bird open letter has been forwarded around email lists but I have not been able to find a link for it. Therefore, I am posting the entire letter until I find a link.

Open Letter to all Indigenous Peoples:

As the United States prepares for its annual Independence Day celebrations, I strongly urge all of our nations to hold critical and independent discussions on why we are committing our young people to serve the U.S. military in its occupation of Iraq.

The recent reporting (including revelations of a cover-up) of the murders, executions, and massacres of innocent Iraqi citizens by United States troops prompts me to ask, "Why are Indigenous (American Indian) soldiers serving in Iraq?" I wonder why our tribal communities have not had critical debates on the immorality of this war, on the lies of the present Bush Administration that got us into this war, and on the spiritual, economic, social, and psychological costs that both our people and the Iraqi people will pay for this war. It is clear from the history of many of our tribes that our people understood the grave costs of war and so took this act very seriously.

Before engaging in war, many of our tribes initiated peace councils and sent emissaries to negotiate goodwill and friendship with the "enemy" in order to avoid war. As sovereign Indigenous nations, we did not do this before or during the invasion of Iraq. We instead let the United States make the decision for us as to whether we should or should not enter into this war. I wonder when was the last time that the United States asked our people for our opinion about war and its costs.

Our history tells us that because war was so destructive on many different levels, many of our tribal nations” before committing to war against another tribe” consulted our elders, peacemakers, women, youth, philosophers, intellectuals, spiritual leaders, children, warriors, and veterans to weigh the costs of war. This is something that many of our nations have not done for some time. Many of us have “outsourced-our-thinking” to the United States with respect to when and why we should or should not go to war. We are sovereign nations with very intelligent and moral people who do not need to rely on this country to interpret for us the meaning and the costs that war will bring to our communities. Most of us already know the answer to this.  And we know that we should decide for ourselves, after careful, deliberate, and intelligent discussions, whether we must commit our people and resources to the wars of the United States.

Along with the U.S. invasion of the lands of our respective nations, the last two major conflicts of the United States, Vietnam and now Iraq, were based on lies created by the U.S. government. Their track record makes it even more imperative that we rely upon our own thinking, experiences, and morality when we enter into discussions on why our tribal nations should compel our people to go to war. The Vietnam lie was very expensive and horrific; it was responsible for the deaths of  58,191 American soldiers and 153,303 wounded. One million Vietnamese combatants and four million civilians were killed for this American lie. The missing in this war includes approximately 2,300 American soldiers and 200,000 Vietnamese. In Iraq, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since 2003. After so many lies told to our people by the United States, do we trust this nation to be honest with us? Do we trust it to care about life as much as we do?

If we are to have discussions about this war, topics must include:

Our belief that all people and beings are related to us so what does it mean to make war on our relatives; The fact that we value all life so,  therefore, war truly must be a last resort; The fact that we value Mother Earth as a living being and the fact that the United States military is contaminating the lands, waters, trees, plants and people in Iraq through the use of biowarfare, landmines, and depleted uranium which will kill innocent people and will poison much of their territory for many years; The fact that we believe in the great circle of life (e.g., what goes around comes around and what we are doing to the Iraqi people is what the U.S. did to our ancestors); What are the effects that all of the killing, maiming, poisoning, and torturing will have upon our people, especially on the psychic and cosmological levels; How the U.S. has treated us in the past and the present, and how it has conscripted our minds and hearts so that we are participating in their same oppressive behavior of another group/race of humans; What other nations has the United States overthrown for its own interests? How many innocent non-U.S. peoples have been killed by this country’s covert operations, and who is it planning to attack in the future? Why? Who benefits most from war and who are the biggest losers? Finally, there are many other reasons that we can discuss and analyze.

It seems that we cannot rely on corporate media or the U.S. government to tell us the truth or to give us the facts about why we should go to war or who we should consider our enemy. John Stockwell, the  highest-ranking CIA official to leave the agency and go public with information about CIA-sponsored activities, once said that the U.S. neither does “bloody, gory operations” in Europe nor does it spend its time attacking these countries. Rather it performs such operations in countries that are filled with people of color who do not have the military strength and resources to protect themselves from U.S. invasions. I am convinced that Stockwell is suggesting that the U.S. government has a clear racist war ideology and readily employs it against people or races that are not white. So, we must use all the available evidence to independently decide for ourselves if and when we should go to war and who is our enemy. An enemy should not be invented because of the color of its skin or religious beliefs.

I believe that it is time for us to demand that our tribal governments call for critical and independent discussions, and we need to tell the United States to immediately call for withdrawal of its military forces from Iraq. Most importantly” and independently of their decision or indecision” we must immediately pull our people out of this quagmire. Countries such as Japan, Honduras, Tonga, Nicaragua, Spain, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, Portugal, and Moldova already have pulled out their troops and many other nations are planning to reduce their troop commitment in the near future. So why are we still in Iraq fighting the U.S.’s illegal war?  It also is time for our tribal leaders and communities to impose a moratorium upon any further enlistments of our young men and women into the U.S. military. The United States has abused our trust and has coerced us to fight its illegal, immoral wars long enough.

Many things about this war trouble me to the very core. One of the most disturbing questions is why does it seem that of all the countries that have been, or continue to be, in this war, it is only U.S. soldiers who are committing the murders of, and atrocities against, innocent Iraqi citizens (the unarmed, the disabled, the defenseless elders, the women, and the children)? Is it because the U.S. is serving in larger numbers?

Is it because the U.S. is serving in more hazardous situations?  Is it because the U.S. is more trigger happy? Is it because of poor oversight and supervision by the upper ranks of the military?  Is it because U.S. troops are a more violent group and enjoy killing more than do other soldiers? Is it because the architects of this war, including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, care more about profit than "just war" principles?  Is it all of the above?

As I write this, two national guardsmen are being investigated for killing an innocent Iraqi man earlier this year; seven Marines and one Navy corpsman were charged with the shooting death of an Iraqi man, whom they had kidnapped from his home, forced into a hole, and shot to death” they then left a stolen AK-47 near his body to make it look like he was firing at them; three soldiers and one non-commissioned officer were charged with killing (in May 2006) three unarmed Iraqis who were in military custody.  And many more Iraqi people have been abused and tortured to death in U.S. custody (especially in the military prisons).  Many of these atrocities have been covered up or are “under investigation.”

The story currently receiving the most press is the November 2005 massacre of the twenty-four innocent civilians (including women and children) in Haditha by U.S. Marines. This mass killing is being  in compared to the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam. A “Washington Post” article reported that "Aws Fahmi, a Haditha resident said he watched and listened from his home as Marines went from house to house killing members of three families, recalled hearing his neighbor across the street, Younis Salim Khafif, plead in English for his life and the lives of his family members. ˜I heard Younis speaking to the  Americans, saying: “I am a friend. I am good,” Fahmi said. But they killed him, and his wife and daughters.’  The girls killed inside Khafif's house were ages 14, 10, 5, 3 and 1”(Saturday, May 17, 2006).

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a former Marine who maintains close ties with senior Marine officers despite his opposition to the war stated, "Marines overreacted . . . and killed innocent civilians in cold blood."  Murtha already has called for the withdrawal of the U.S. military from Iraq and has called the war "a flawed policy wrapped in illusion" (Larry Downing, Reuters, Nov 18, 2005).

There are many reasons why we must immediately get our people out of this war:

War is not a moral act. The occupation, torture, mutilation, killing, and murder of innocent Iraqi people are acts of immorality. Our people should not be complicit in atrocities. The invasion of Iraq was based on lies. Iraq was accused of having weapons of mass destruction by the Bush administration; it did not. Iraq was accused of having ties with Osama Bin Laden; it did not. Our people should not be complicit in lies. The war against Iraq does not meet the standards of a "Just War" that evolved among "civilized" societies. Our people have enough struggles and battles, and should not be complicit in unjust global activities on behalf of the United States. The war on Iraq was for "regime change" which is not legal under international law, Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. Our people should not be complicit in lawlessness.

After two decades of wars, invasions, and sanctions, Iraq did not have the military power to pose a clear and present danger to the U.S. before or after being invaded in 2003. Our people should not be complicit in oppressing and occupying a nation that never attacked us. Many people in the U.S. and throughout the world oppose this war. Our nations should exercise their right to voice their opposition to U.S. military operations, conflicts, wars, and occupations. The U.S. soldiers who have murdered Iraqi civilians must now stand trial. Several of them could receive the death penalty. Will more death and life sentences follow or will the deaths of innocent Iraqis be ignored or covered up? Do we want our men and women involved in situations that might conclude in such trials or cover-ups? Our people should mentor their young into just and moral activities that benefit their nations, while encouraging conflict-resolution when possible.  This war is creating new "terrorism" and retribution that will be directed at the U.S. for its invasion of Iraq and its torturing and killing of innocent people. Our people should not contribute to U.S. creation of hatred. There is no end in sight for a U.S. military exit out of Iraq. Many sources report that the U.S. is establishing permanent military bases in Iraq which would keep troops in Iraq for many years. Our people should not contribute to the expansion and maintenance of U.S. militarization, colonization, and occupation.  Invading Iraq is extremely financially costly and takes resources away from many badly needed priorities at home. At present, it costs nearly one billion dollars a week to wage this “War on Terrorism.” Our people should not be complicit in U.S. activities that waste money.

Billions of dollars have been authorized by the U.S. congress to be used for occupation and reconstruction. There is evidence that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been lost through waste, abuse, and fraudulent billing. In a June 8, 2006, article published in “The Baltimore Chronicle,” Dave Lindorff reported that twenty-one billion dollars "has gone missing without a trace in Iraq." Who is responsible for this? I am reminded that our people are fighting for, in part, accountability of billions of lost dollars in the Eloise Pepion Cobell, et al. v. Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior lawsuit in the United States. Our people should never be complicit in U.S. theft, fraud, and dishonesty. The U.S. is supposed to be rebuilding Afghanistan but it is not; rather, it is targeting most of its focus and resources on Iraq.  Our people should not contribute to unilateral U.S. policy and doctrines.

Despite billions of U.S. dollars spent in Iraq after its invasion, very little promised rebuilding of the Iraqi infrastructure has been accomplished. Our people “who are familiar with broken promises and treaties” should never be complicit in the lies of the United States.

The rebuilding of Iraq is not happening. Many U.S. firms that went to Iraq to perform reconstruction services have been accused of "bilking" funds intended for reconstruction. In an April 16, 2006 news story, the “Boston Globe” reported that "American contractors swindled hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi funds." For instance, in March 2006, a Rhode Island-based company called, The Custer Battles, was found "liable for $3 million in fraudulent billings in Iraq." Stories such as this are outrageous and numerous. Many of these companies had/have ties to the current Bush administration, especially Dick Cheney, the current Vice President of the United States. Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. Halliburton has made hundreds of millions of dollars from this war and occupation. Our people should not be complicit in helping the rich, like Cheney, get richer.

We must no longer allow our nations to remain in the fog of war, participating in the U.S. continued colonization and destruction of the world. What this country has done” and continues to do” to the Iraqi people is unconscionable and must stop. The U.S.-led war in Iraq is wrong, immoral, illegal, unjust, a lie; it is about profiteering for a very small, corrupt, elite sector of the U.S. population. Our people, many of whom occupy some of the lowest levels of decision making in the U.S. military, are considered expendable and are being used for cannon fodder so that the rich, especially in the United States, can become richer.

We must realize that many of the people in the highest levels of the United States government suffer from an addiction to war, power, and colonization. Many, but not all, Indigenous Peoples have become co dependent in this addiction as demonstrated by not holding public meetings and councils that question the U.S. invasion, and by allowing our people to participate in this unjust, illegal war that is creating suffering for untold numbers of innocent Iraqi people. In the Fall of  2004, the academic journal Wicazo Sa Review published a paper I wrote entitled “Cowboys and Indians: Toys of Genocide, Icons of American Colonialism.”? In that article, I stated that "it took me some years to understand that colonialism is a sickness, an addiction to greed, power, and exploitation....Colonialism has taught many Indigenous Peoples to be silent, passive, compliant victims who participate in, excuse, enable, or ignore the colonizer's addictive behaviors. Left unchecked, colonialism has continued to flourish, devastate, and suppress Indigenous Peoples, keeping them in a the perpetual role of 'the Indian,' causing many to say, do and think things they never would if their minds and hearts were free from American colonial rule." Today this addictive behavior or the drug of choice of this country is its illegal, dishonest, and brutal invasion of Iraq. I urgently ask each and every Indigenous Person to quit enabling the addictive behavior of the U.S.

In this same article, I also wrote that there are "antidotes to colonialism that Indigenous Peoples can and must employ: courage, intelligent resistance, development of a counterconsciousness and discourse, and a fierce critical interrogation of American colonial ideology." It is incumbent upon our peoples to employ these antidotes in order to condemn and get our people out of this war. We must commit all of our intellectual and truth-seeking energies to this objective and not let any one, Indigenous or non Indigenous, hijack our need for such critical and independent discussions. A key democratic principle of our peoples was our willingness to allow our people dissent from popular opinion so that we might consider all of our options. We must not let accusations that our "honor and courage as warriors is on the line" prevent us from deciding to leave Iraq” and the U.S. military. After generations of service in the U.S. military” and its numerous wars” our people have repeatedly proven that we are brave and courageous beyond compare. However, our ability to think morally, critically, and independently about our participation in this war is another matter that we now must undertake ever so seriously. 

Maybe, just maybe, if we act using our traditional Indigenous forms of morality that value truth, intelligence, honesty, life, and dignity” and refuse to be a enabler to the U.S. addiction to greed, war, power, and colonization” we can help it overcome its unhealthy, destructive obsession for war, conquest, and killing of others. And, as it recovers from this addiction, maybe we also can help it overcome its two greatest phobias: dikephobia (the fear of justice) and hypegiaphobia (the fear of responsibility). I pray that that you will take this open letter (or a statement of your own) to your tribal leaders and communities and immediately begin the important critical and independent discussions that will promote and act upon the well-being of all of our people.

All the best,
Michael

Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CANADA ORDERS EXTRADITION OF GRAHAM FOR AQUASH MURDER

Thursday, June 22, 2006 | 8:29 PM CT
CBC News

Federal Justice Minister Vic Toews has ordered the extradition of former Yukoner John Graham, who is wanted in the United States for the 1976 murder of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. Aquash was shot in the back of the head at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Graham, who now lives in Vancouver, was a member of the American Indian Movement, as was Aquash, at the time she was killed. He was arrested for the murder in December 2003.

In 2005, the B.C. Supreme Court decided that Graham should be sent to the U.S. to face the charges. The extradition order issued Thursday by the federal government follows that up.

Graham's lawyer Greg Delbigio says Graham will launch a joint appeal on both the extradition order and the court decision. Delbigio said he expects a court date for the appeal will be set Friday. He will also ask the B.C. Court of Appeal that Graham be granted an extension of his bail.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Colorado AIM Supports Western Shoshone Against Bomb Test

MERCURY, Nev. - The ''Divine Strake'' detonation has been halted, but Western Shoshone continued their protest at the Nevada Test Site over Memorial Day weekend to demand respect for Western Shoshone land rights at the site, as stated in the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863.

Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmother, was among 45 people arrested after they crossed the boundary onto the Nevada Test Site in an act of civil disobedience. Security from the site and Nye County sheriff's deputies arrested them and placed them in a holding facility.

''Enough is enough,'' Dann told the crowd before being arrested, which resounded the ''Ya basta!'' (''Enough is enough!'') battle cry of the Zapatistas fighting for indigenous rights in Mexico.

Glenn Morris, attorney, university professor and member of the Colorado Chapter of the American Indian Movement, was arrested. Morris told officers that they were in violation of the Treaty of Ruby Valley and the U.S. Constitution. Other members of Colorado AIM participated in the rally, but were not arrested.

''This is treaty land,'' said several Western Shoshone as they were arrested. Non-Western Shoshone received permits to be on the land from the Western Shoshone Nation Council.

Julie Fishel, attorney and advocate for the Western Shoshone Defense Council, and Steven Newcomb, Indian Country Today columnist, were among the 30 women and 15 men arrested.''It doesn't have to be hostile, it can be done in a good way,'' Fishel told Indian Country Today. She said it was the first time she was arrested and as an attorney considered the choice carefully. She said her decision was based on the lawlessness in this country and the United States' refusal to honor decisions of the United Nations, while continuing to violate Western Shoshone and indigenous human rights.

Western Shoshone spiritual leader Corbin Harney, Tom Goldtooth, of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Tupac Enrique, of Tonatierra in Phoenix, led the day's events, which centered on tradition and respect for mother earth. Several hundred people attended the protest and march to the Nevada Test Site. The 45 arrested were cited and released.

The 700-ton explosion named Divine Strake was halted after Western Shoshone filed a lawsuit in federal court and 42 national and international organizations joined forces, including environmental justice, environmental, political, nonproliferation activists, peace activists and indigenous groups.

The ''Not so Divine Strake Protest'' turned into a victory celebration for Western Shoshone, environmental activists and downwinders May 28 at the Nevada Test Site. Downwinders, those who could be affected by the release of radioactive particles from previous blasts, celebrated in Western states including Utah, Idaho and Montana. (Exerpt from article by Brenda Norell, Indian Country Today, 5 June 2006.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

be back next Tuesday

Others may be updating the blog in the next few days but as for me, I'll be back next Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bear Butte update

Here are a couple of paragraphs taken from an update email from the Bear Butte International Alliance.
Today Attorneys Bruce Ellison of Rapid City, as well as James G. Abourezk of Abourezk Law Offices, P.C. and Thomas Van Norman, Sr Tribal Attorney Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Legal Dept. representing Meade county resident plaintiffs filed a Writ of Mandamus at the Meade County Court House. This is a legal appeal asking a Judge to
compel the commissioners to allow the historical first referendum petition that was filed on May 2, 2006 go to a vote. Meade County Commissioners on May 4 unanimously determined that the question/petition of Jay Allens Sturgis County Line malt liquor
license was an administrative action therefore not eligible for the ballot.
You can sign up for updates by visiting there site at BBIA

Six Nation updates

Just checking back in with some Six Nation updates. The Six Nation protection barricades were taken down today. An earlier goodwill gesture to take them down was met with an attack by a mob of Caledonians. The Six Nation defenders, in a show of magnanimity, once again removed their protection barricades today and all roads around Caledonia are now open.

To get more details, visit the following websiteSix Nations Solidarity

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Now is the time for protest-Bear Butte

One of the key organizers in the struggle to protect Bear Butte, Deb White Plume, wrote the following guest column, which was posted on the Native Times.
This column is regarding a decision by commissioners in South Dakota’s Meade County to approve the alcohol application of Jay Allen, who proposes to build a large bar, asphalt parking lot and amphitheater near Bear Butte.....

Many of us attending the April hearing urged the commissioners to take courage and vote for the environment, creation, and the coming generations. We urged them to stand against the powerful raging money machine that often drives small towns into making disastrous, regrettable decisions. As elected officials, the commissioners must be aware that the decision to allow Allen the one tool he needs to make a profit from his endeavor will result in great suffering for the people who need and cherish Bear Butte, as well as environmentalists who respect Bear Butte for the special place that it is.

Aren’t the 60 bars already in the area enough?

Lakota people could have celebrated a decision to protect and preserve the sacred mountain. That was not to be, and the commissioners approved Allen’s alcohol-license application. The power was there for the commission to enact an honorable decision, yet without any discussion, the vote was unanimous to approve

Our work is not done; we will continue to resist the desecration of Bear Butte. We will continue to make a stand for our right to pray for our sacred mountain when we camp there with other tribes and our supporters beginning on the Fourth of July. Native Times column
There are now several support groups that will be travelling to the Bear Butte camp. To join one of the support groups or to start one, visit the following sites.
Protect Bear Butte
Defend Bear Butte
Bear Butte International Alliance
Owe Aku

""Do they think the Shoshone people don't matter?"

Residents on the Duckwater Reservation began what will be a series of actions against the "Divine Strake" bombing within traditional Shoshone territory. The blast date has been postponed and is scheduled for June 23.
Darlene Graham, a resident of the Duckwater Indian Reservation in northeastern Nye County, said she never understood why her 32-year-old brother died of throat cancer back in 1983. He didn't smoke.

Graham suspects the testing of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site in the 1950s killed her brother. The family grew their own vegetables and butchered their own cattle, she said, on ground that could have been contaminated. She raised her nephew and niece.

"They told me I could apply for compensation for my nephew and niece after my brother passed away," Graham said. "I filled out all my paperwork and they said it was the wrong type of cancer. Because of my brother I'm doing this protest. What's happening on our land."

The protest includes overall issues of Indian rights, including the Treaty of Ruby Valley, which dates to 1864.

"Seventy million acres is Shoshone land we're still fighting for," said Johnnie Bobb of Austin.Pahrump Valley Times article
The Shoshone citizens interviewed in the article are skeptical of the government assurances that the blast will be safe.

Arvilla Mascarenas
"I don't understand why everything that's happening down at the test site is happening," Mascarenas said. "Why do they want to set off this 700-pound blast? It's going to bring up everything from the soil below from the nuclear blasts they set off in the '50s. It's going to be floating in our air again. We're going to have more people getting sick.

"Do they think the Shoshone people don't matter? They say it's not going to be dangerous but still they want to be testing this stuff. If it's going to hurt our people here, why do they want to set it off? Do they want to kill more people?"
Several Native organizations and allies will be having a day of action on May 28. The Western Shoshone Defense Project has more information for those who may want to attend or hold solidarity events in their communities. WSDP website

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jack Random asks-What would Crazy Horse do?

In this entry, Jack Random examines some of the misconceptions in the immigration debate
We are not a nation of justice – justice least of all. If we were a nation of justice, we would honor our debts. We would make just reparations to natives and African Americans who were compelled to migrate as slaves. What the nation owes to the Lakota1 and Cherokee2 alone amounts to more than what we will ultimately spend to destroy the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq – more even than our national debt, a debt that is deeper than the skies over Bear Butte are wide.

We are not a nation of justice. We are a nation of exploitation. We have conspired with corporate governments throughout the hemisphere to exploit labor and extract resources. We have created a free trade zone without factoring wages into the equation. Though it seems complex, it is not that difficult to understand. It follows the fundamental laws of supply, demand and profit taking. Corporations will seek all means of maximizing profits, including cutting the cost of production. Jobs will move to where the costs are least. Labor will move to where jobs pay living wages. Wherever possible, good paying jobs will be replaced by low paying jobs and no wall or barrier will prevent these laws from being carried out. In the corporate mind, it is a cold calculation: cost versus benefit.essay link

"we can’t and should never have trusted this process”

The Native Times reported on the Supreme Courts refusal to review the Cayuga land case
The current makeup of the United States Supreme Court is being called the “most anti-Indian court in the history” of the country as justices refuse to hear a case featuring an Oklahoma tribe as a co-plaintiff.

The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma and the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York had hoped justices would review a June of 2005 ruling against their land claims that was issued by the New York-based U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeals court ruling turned what had been victory for the tribes into a defeat: It overturned a 1994 decision that awarded the tribes $248 million in damages, with a judge agreeing that the state illegally took their land.

But justices on the Supreme Court without comment refused to review the appeals court case, delighting the tribes’ opponents. native times article
Clint Halftown,Cayuga, was quoted in the article.“The Cayuga people are disappointed but not surprised,” said Clint Halftown. “Our history has taught us to expect little, and today’s decision confirms what we always expected — that we can’t and should never have trusted this process.”

Many native people have always viewed the settler legal system as a dead end option for seeking redress. That awareness is beginning to build and spread rapidly in all segments of ndn country. There is a growing disillusionment even amongst tribal bureaucrats who have invested years of their lives in pursuit of justice in the U.S/Canadian judicial system.

The land reclamation at Six Nations offers some valuable lessons for those who would rather push the issue today instead of letting it be drawn out over decades and eventually dismissed.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"Rezervoir Dogs"-returning after chasing off some would be barricade breachers.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Looks like Donaldson gets the point.

Okay, who pissed on Joe Donaldson's car?
Mayor Joe Donaldson got a nasty surprise after attending a candidate's forum where his support of snowmaking at the Arizona Snowbowl was a point of contention.
Vandals had littered his car with toilet paper, and placed a urine-filled commode on top.
Donaldson took it as an extreme example of opposition to using reclaimed Flagstaff wastewater to make snow on the nearby mountaintop. azstarnet

"Our lives are more precious than gold"

Indian Country Today recently featured the Newmont protest on their website.
Indigenous join global protest of Newmont gold mining practices

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - Western Shoshone and Colville tribal members protested in early May at Newmont Mining Corp.'s annual shareholders meeting, uniting with indigenous from Peru, Indonesia and Ghana to create a protest over the pollution and scarred land resulting from gold mining.

''Our lives are more precious than gold,'' read the sign of Mark Tilsen, of Porcupine, S.D., who was among those protesting April 25 at Newmont's annual meeting, held this year at Inverness Hotel, south of Denver.

Western Shoshone Carrie Dann protested and demanded that Newmont halt the destruction of Western Shoshone lands for gold mining in Nevada.

''The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination agreed with us last month and has told the United States to 'freeze' any efforts to privatize our lands, and to 'stop' any new mining projects or other resource extraction and exploitation,'' Dann said. link to article
(IP3).
Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAP Photo/Ed Andrieski -- Stop Newmont Alliance and American Indian Movement members protested Newmont Mining Corp. at its annual meeting in Englewood, Colo., on April 25. Pollution and scarred lands resulting from Newmont's gold mines around the world prompted the protest, which included indigenous from Peru, Indonesia and Ghana.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe banners and signs in the photos were created by the hardworking members of the Indigenous Peoples Power Project

The tireless IP3 members worked late into the night, swapping ghost stories and breaking to sled down the nearby slopes. The banners completed, they were delivered to the protest site and positioned at the exit routes so that the Newmont shareholders coulnd't ignore their message.

Much respect goes out to the IP3.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mapuche suspend hunger strike

Jailed Mapuch activists have agreed to suspend their hunger strike.
After 63 days on hunger strike, four jailed Mapuche rights activists agreed to temporarily suspend their protest on May 14 after reaching an agreement with Chilean legislators. In exchange for an end to the fast, the government promised to give urgent attention to a proposed law allowing supervised release, introduced by Socialist Party (PS) senator Alejandro Navarro. Navarro and fellow PS senator Jaime Naranjo helped broker the agreement, with mediation from Temuco bishop Manuel Camilo Vial and from lonko (Mapuche community leader) Jose Cariqueo. full report

Surprise, surprise-natives back protest

This from the National Post.
Canada's Aboriginals overwhelmingly back the long-running Six Nations demonstration in Caledonia and predict the number of similar land-claims protests is about to rise, a new survey has found.

According to a poll conducted for the National Post, 62% of natives believe protesters in the Hamilton bedroom community and in eastern Ontario -- where natives briefly blocked a rail line in sympathy last month -- were right to demonstrate. That compares with just 12% who said the demonstrators were wrong.

"We're talking about a margin of 5-1 and civil disobedience is involved," said Conrad Winn, president of polling firm Compas full article

The support for the Six Nations and reclamation actions in general is most likely higher than this poll indicates.

Protect Bear Butte-new website

There is a new website to support the efforts to protect Bear Butte. There are suggested actions and an address for those who want to make donations. Pay a visit to the site and help protect Bear Butte. Protect Bear Butte