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American Indian Movement of Colorado

Spirituality • Self-determination • Solidarity • Sobriety
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Lie of Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is a Lie
by Tommi Avicolli Mecca‚ Nov. 21‚ 2006

Thanksgiving is a lie. Just like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

There's no more truth to the Hallmark moment of Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a feast of squash, corn and turkey than there is to Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag. According to my favorite history text, "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James W. Loewen, it was all manufactured to create a feel-good beginning for this country.

Thanksgiving wasn't invented by the Pilgrims. By the time the Mayflower pulled up at Plymouth Rock in 1620, Native Americans in that part of the country already had a rich tradition of marking the fall harvest with a major fiesta. The day wasn't recognized nationally until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared it a holiday. He had an entirely different motive than honoring the Pilgrims: Morale during the bloody Civil War. America needed a warm fuzzy holiday to make it feel good about itself again.

The Pilgrims were latecomers to the legend, not getting added to the mix until the 1890s.

Of course, some major revisions had to be done to make heroes of those guys. The truth is: When the Pilgrims arrived on the coast of Massachusetts, they found a deserted Native American settlement. Unburied human bodies were scattered everywhere. The survivors had vanished. The villagers had been wiped out by a plague, brought to the "new world" years before by the Europeans. The immune system of the native peoples had no defense against those diseases. Many in Europe couldn't be happier.

Good Christian that he was, King James of England called the death of millions of Native Americans "this wonderful plague." He thanked God for sending it. Other preachers of the day echoed this same sentiment. They believed that God had aided the conquest of the new land by sending disease to ravage the native populations, so that the English could have it. How convenient for them that God was on their side.

The Pilgrims, who were ill-equipped to survive in the harsh environment they found themselves in, immediately took advantage of the situation. They proceeded to rob food (including corn and squash) and pottery from the deserted Native village. They also stole from Indian graves. Within about 50 years of arriving, they had slaughtered most of the native population in the area that wasn't already killed by the plague.

Not the touchy-feelie story you'll see on TV this week.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is a radical, southern Italian, atheist, working-class, queer performer, activist and writer who bakes a mean tofu lasagna around this time of year.
LINK

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Unquiet Grave: A Book Review by Bob Robideau

The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country - A Book Review by Robert Robideau,
Co-Director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country by Steve Hendricks

Steve Hendricks' new book, The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country, is focused on the 1976 execution of Anna Mae Aquash, a Mic Mac from Nova Scotia, Canada.

Anna Mae Aquash was a leading member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1970 to the time of her death and, although known for taking part in the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, she is best known for her involvement with Dennis Banks and Leonard Peltier during the aftermath of the June 26, 1975 Oglala shoot out with the FBI on the Pine Ridge reservation.

Because of her important role in AIM, she became a target of the FBI's Counterintelligence program ("COINTELPRO"). After the exposure of FBI informant Douglas Durham, at the higest levels of AIM, in the summer of 1974 the FBI began to spread rumors that Aquash, too, was an informant. This effort to discredit her and to divide our movement, through what is known as "badjacketing" in the language of the FBI, lead to Anna Mae's death.

I met Anna Mae for the first time in June of 1975, during an AIM convention in Farmington, New Mexico, when I and others were asked by AIM leadership to discern whether or not she was an informant. We reported that we believed she was not an informant. In the passage of 30 years there has not been any evidence to disprove us.

Several books have been written about AIM and the FBI. Twenty six years ago, I was privileged to meet, and work with, noted author Peter Matthiessen. Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse became the first important book written about events involving the federal government and Native Americans that took place between 1972 and 1976.

Peter Matthiessen called Hendrick’s book, "An impressive and important book." Peter also said in a phone conversation with me that there was “nothing new in the book,” I would disagree with Peter. I found new information, some revealing, while other skewed and unacceptable.

Hendrick’s book exposed further critical information about the FBI’s long and continuing war against the American Indian Movement, bringing into sharp focus the outrageous illegal actions of the FBI. Despite a few new revelations, he does not seriously explore the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities that creted the suspicions within AIM that Anna Mae might be an informant. Instead, Hendricks condemns AIM for the murder. It is believed within AIM that the FBI’s informer and provocateur, Douglas Durham, played a large role in the events that led to the killing of Anna Mae.

Hendricks has shared with the LPDC, the complex web of information he followed through the Freedom Information Act. His efforts exposed hundreds of documents from the FBI’s investigation: memorandums, reports and teletypes, that trace the movements of Anna Mae Aquash prior to her death, which the LPDC has been unable get access to. One very important revelation is that these documents confirm that the FBI knew 30 years ago who the shooters were who killed Anna Mae.

The investigation leads Hendricks into both the AIM and FBI camps, as he goes from one FBI agent to the next and then to members of AIM, prying obvious lies and half truths and emotionally charged expressions that reveal the mutual animosity for each other.

Although, the interplay of word games exposes that there are deep dark secrets being kept by both the American Indian Movement leadership and the FBI, it is clear that Anna Mae Aquash, a Canadian citizen, was threatened and abused by the FBI. She was found shot to death and her body dumped in a ravine.

An FBI-ordered autopsy failed to reveal the bullet wound in the back of her head, leading to more criticism and suspicisons that the FBI might have played a role in the killing (or at least the cover-up). This possibility is not seriously explored by Hendricks.

The indictment of two individuals, John "Boy" Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud 30 years later, when the FBI had gathered sufficient evidence to have brought the case to trial in the 1970’s, has renewed suspicions from AIM and other indigenous communities close to the events of foul play by the FBI.

Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, despite a deal made with the Feds for his cooperation. The trial, felt by many to be a sham, and disguise to cover up the FBI’s real purpose of retrying Leonard Peltier for the killing of their two FBI agents after the federal prosecutors had admitted publicly that the prosecution could not prove that Peltier shot and killed the agents.

The sensational testimony at Looking Cloud's trial, by Kamook Banks-Ecoffey, that Leonard Peltier had confessed to the killing of agents Coler and Williams, was contaminated by at least $42,000 in "moving expenses" and other fees that the FBI had paid Banks-Ecoffey for her testimony. Nevertheless, the slanderous allegations against Peltier lingered in the press for months to follow.

Kamook Banks later married Robert Ecoffey an ex goon, who became an investigator in the case, undoubtedly introduced both Kamook Banks and another AIM member, since expelled after turning informant, John Trudell, to the FBI.

In an hour-long interview with Mike McCormick, on KEXP 90.3 FM, Seattle, Washington, Steve Hendricks made the outrageous and ridiculous charge that the reason why the “FBI, who had the names of Anna Mae’s killers 30 years ago did not prosecute because they feared that their informant, David Hill, may have been too close to the murder.”

Steve Hendricks, unoriginal accusations that David Hill became an FBI informant after being arrested and released for the Mount Rushmore Bombings were first lauded by John Trudell twenty-six years ago, then adopted by Paul DeMain, Editor of News From Indian Country. Without proof, these are unacceptable and dangerous accusations to be throwing around. This behavior,on the part of Hendricks, is irresponsible, and under other circumstances that he, himself, describes in his book, would easily be interpreted as the activities of a provocateur.

It put me on my guard when Hendricks ask that we believe an FBI’s story that they rejected David Hill as an informant because he “knew nothing.” There is more then ample evidence to show otherwise and also that his actions in the 1970s were completely loyal to our struggle. If he had been an informant, arrest would have come much earlier then they did. Those of us in AIM who knew David Hill best are not buying these regurgitated stories and false accusations. Let Hendricks reveal his direct, documentary evidence on this allegation, or he should retract it.

Much of Hendrick’s information about David Hill undoubtedly came from John Trudell, who has labeled many individuals in the American Indian Movement and associates as informants. In my view, for many years, Trudell’s behavior has been that of provocateur.

In disregard for the Reign of Terror, accelerated by the counter intelligent activities of the FBI to destroy AIM from 1973 to 1976 resulting in 60 murders, Trudell, in a interview with Indian Country Today recently charged that it was “…The explosion of militancy [ of AIM ] surging from many sources. In that summer of 1975, you had the shootout in Oglala, the killing of Joe Stuntz, the killing of the two FBI agents, you had the bombing at Mount Rushmore , there was a series of bombings at Pine Ridge in the fall. And the operative in my mind, as I consider it, was mostly in that group, hyping up the violence. Annie Mae had gravitated to that most active group and as the government tracked them, she was amongst the people that were accused of doing these things.”
SEE: http://www.leonardpeltier.net/reignofterror.htm

Despite Hendrick’s admission that Paul DeMain, “… will not disclose his sources,” he still regurgitates and validates DeMain’s accusations that accuse David Hill of being in a house where it is alleged the order to kill Anna Mae came. If DeMain’s sources are so good, why weren’t they called to testify at the Looking Cloud trial?
SEE: http://www.leonardpeltier.net/peeledapple.htm

There has been an ongoing effort for the past 30 years, without success, to get the U.S. Congress to investigate the Reign of Terror and culpability of the FBI, as sanctioned in a memo entitled "Para military activity in Indian Country," which was issued because of the 1973 Wounded Knee confrontation with the United States government.

Thirty years of investigations by the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee has contributed much to exposing criminal activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who, under the Nixon administration, was given Presidential authority to destroy the American Indian Movement and others dissent groups through the counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) a predecessor to today’s Patriot Act.

Hendricks references, but does not explore the important connections between the FBI’s domestic Conintelpro period to that of President Bush’s Patriot Act today. The Leonard Peltier and Anna Mae Aquash cases have inspired two other books to be written by Ward Churchill and Jim Vanderwall, Agents of Repression and The COINTELPRO PAPERS, but Hendricks barely mentions them.

It is evident that Hendricks agrees with the FBIs condemnation that Peltier shot the agents, but he concludes that Peltier should be freed because he has served 30 years in prison, and because of the illegal methods used by the FBI to gain the convictions. Hendricks then writes that if he were to ‘meet Leonard Peltier that he knew that he would not like him.’ These pronouncements left me wondering about Hendricks motivation for writing the book.

Steve Hendricks has not just written a book with a single purpose in mind. His web site, http://www.stevehendricks.org/, is indicative of a plan to create a long career from the tribulations, sufferings, sacrifices and struggles of our past and continuing wars with the United States. I hope that this is not true.

Hendrick’s book, The Unquiet Grave, despite its coverage of much information already written in other books, and its other shortcomings, deserves to be read by all who have an interest in learning the dynamics of this story, and how the story continues to be played out today.
Robert Robideau
Co-Director Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bob Robideau Comments on Columbus Day

October 10, 2006

The Historical Debt to Native People Has Still Not Been Paid
The Myth Keepers of Columbus

By ROBERT ROBIDEAU

In 1993, 500 years after European invaders of the Americas had brought the first Native Americans to Europe in chains, my plane landed in Barcelona, Spain, I had been invited to the International Cultural Symposium to speak on behalf of Leonard Peltier . The day after my arrival, I took a walk down their famous Rambler to the Placa del Portal de la Pau where I ran head long into a monument of Christopher Columbus. Built for the World Exhibition in 1888, the iron column is an impressive 197 feet tall and weighs 205 tons. On top the column stands a 26 foot statue of Columbus with head sculptured high, positioned to face out over its outstretched arm, with finger pointing over the Mediterranean sea and out to the distant horizon toward the Americas. As I moved around its base I discovered a series of relief's depicting the "new lands." What I saw was not the innocence that had been carved, but instead the first stages of colonization, the rape and plunder of the land and people of the Americas.

The popular fallacy is that Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. At age 14 he became a sailor, shipwrecked off of Portugal in 1470, he remained until his idea to sail west to India, known then as "Hindustan," was financed by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain in 1492. He reached the Bahamas on October 12th, visited Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti), where he left a small colony before returning to Spain on March 15th, 1493 bringing with him 6 captive Taino people, taken from the Caribbean islands, who were presented to Ferdinand and Isabella in the royal court of Barcelona as proof of his travel. A painting that today hangs in (government building) show the Taino people at the feet of the king and queen in servile postures of slaves. The 6 Tainos never saw home again, their spirits still linger in the streets of Barcelona.

In his delirium Columbus thought he landed in Paradise. He wrote in his journal that Taínos had beautiful, tall, slender olive bodies. They wore short haircuts with a long hank at the back of the head. They were clean-shaven and hairless. According to Columbus the Taíno tongue was "gentle, the sweetest in the world, always with a laugh."

Friendly relations did not last long, many Tainos were beaten and murdered. The Spanish brought diseases with them that the Tainos lacked immunity to. The weapons that the Spanish were far superior to the Tainos. An estimated fifty thousand Tainos perished within two years of Columbus landing. The Spanish jammed more then five hundred Taino prisoners into a boat for Spain. They became homeless in their own land. They were devastated by abuse, starvation, and disease. Life was never the same for Indians of the Americas after 1492. Puerto Rico, an Island once occupied by Tainos were almost wiped out within two decades.

With the arrival of Columbus begin the onslaught of genocide in the Americas that Europeans only whisper about. The legacy of Columbus has kept Native Americans at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder. Population surveys of the Americas estimates that at the time Columbus stumbled onto the Americas 100 million people inhabited it, a count far greater then that of all Europe in those times. More then 10 million resided in the United States, today less then a million remain in the United States. Many tribes have long become decimated and extinct.

The myth that continues to be propagated is that Native Americans were savages and the civilization brought by Europeans saved them. Reality is that the foods, medicines and political structures of Native Nations in the Americas not only saved Europeans from constant famine in Europe but also taught them much about freedom and democracy, later adopted by the forefathers of Euro Americans. The model of Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee, also known as the League of Peace and Power) enabled the United States to form in part its constitution which, thanks to President Bush's Patriot Act, is well on the road to become myth. Today, the myth of democracy, has become a perverted tool to dominate, subjugate and colonize other countries around the world such as Iraq and Palestine.

The United States held their first celebration of the "discovery of America" in New York, on October 12, 1792. At that time the only statue of Columbus in existence was in New York. In 1876, Italian Americans of Philadelphia erected a statue of Columbus in Fairmount Park. In 1905 Italian Americans in Denver, Colorado were the first to observe Columbus Day. It was not until September 1934 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it national holiday. Finally, Columbus Day became a federal legal holiday in 1971 after lobbying from the National Columbus Day Committee. Columbus Day or "El Dia de la Raza" has brought a wave of dissent across the United States and Canada by many Native Americans who feel that it perpetuates a myth that breeds bias and racism toward them.

Since 1970 Native Americans have gathered to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving in remembrance of the genocide of millions of Native Peoples, theft of Native lands and the relentless assault on Native cultures since Columbus open the flood gates to European invasions of the Americas. It is curious that Columbus Day is, except for religious holidays, the only historical event which all Pan-American countries celebrate.

Since 1989 the Colorado AIM chapter has lead a protest against the Columbus Day Parade in Denver declaring, "As the original people of this land, we cannot and will not, tolerate social and political festivities that celebrate our genocide. We are committed to the active, open and public rejection of disrespect and racism in its various forms---including Columbus Day and Columbus Day Parades." For these last 17 years they have tried to educate the general public about their feelings for Columbus Day; they have protested, blockaded and gone to jail for their efforts to stop this parade of indoctrinated myth keepers.

The issue of Columbus and Columbus Day is not easily resolvable in a society spoon feed on its propaganda of myths and historical lies that propagate the idea that Europeans were a superior race of two legged homo sapiens that came to save the Indians from their barbaric ways. The Europeans who came and settled invented and schooled the myth that they had created the New World by their imaged "discovery, " just as they had come to create the creation myth of its origins known as the "Bearing Strait Theory." Native Americans just had to have come from somewhere, but not the western hemisphere.

What good does Columbus Day contribute by celebrating racist propaganda and myths that perpetuate genocide in institutions of education. Nazi Germany is perfect example of where such false, racist and opportunistic ideas lead. The most popularly believed myth of scholars is that native Americans were Jews. Louis Hennepin, in his New Discovery of a Vast Country in America wrote, "These savages originally sprung from the Jews," because they lived "in a form of tents, like as did Jews" and they are "subtle and crafty as Jews."

The first thought that crept to mind was that the encounter with the statue of Columbus must represent some sort of warning and I had better watch my step. Sure enough in 1996 I was teased back to Barcelona, Spain where I began a new life out of the reach of the FBI and the emergence of fascist rumblings in the States.

Europe too, I felt, had a historical debt and there was social need to transmit that Indian cultures had not been completely destroyed. We still existed despite 500 years of genocide and so I founded an AIM museum to bring awareness of it to Europeans so that they would not forget.

Robert Robideau is Co-Director of theLeonard Peltier Defense Committee.
He can be reached at: robertrobideau@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Message from Leonard Peltier -- FREE PELTIER!

September 13, 2006

Crazy Horse in Chains
30 Years in Prison and the Struggle Continues
By LEONARD PELTIER

Well here it is another year. Another birthday. This one makes me 62 years old. Also this makes it my thirty plus years in prison. I believe it was right after I was illegally convicted in Fargo, North Dokota when I wrote a statement telling everyone that my freedom would only come after the masses had demanded it. But first we would have to unite and organize, to reach them.

So far we have been unable to do so. Yes we have reached millions who have signed my petitions we have circulated throughout the world asking for my release. True most of those good peoples are from Europe, but we have also made a lot of gains here in the United States. At one time we had fifty five (55) members of Congress sign a letter for a new trial or my release.

Fifty-five members is historical. No other prisoner in history has ever been able to accomplish this, nor has anyone else, individually I mean, and there are other accomplishments we have made and won here in the United States.

Still I sit in prison not because I am guilty of the alleged crime I was illegally convicted of but because we still are unable to reach the masses here in America. The reason for this is not because the American people do not care or want to help, but because we have been unable to reach them.

Personally I believe the majority of them do care and want to help. We sense this from the ones we are able to reach. We are moving forward very slowly in this freedom campaign of mine. The reason is we just do not have the financial resources to move forward at the pace we would like to be.

This is the real and only reason that we have not been able to reach the people in the United States. Nothing is free here in America, not justice or the media. So although there is still no light at the end of the tunnel for me or my freedom, we continue struggling forward. I continue to search for the hope and strength I need to survive.

I continue to pray and hope that one day I will get the support I need from the American people and one day I will still be able to walk out of prison. So my hopes and spirits are still high at my 62 years of age. I continue on this continued struggle.

We are still finding bits and pieces of new evidence to file new appeals on. Those of you who have followed my case closely I can imagine are thinking How can this be, as there has been so many constitutional violations already. But the same old problem exists. The courts continue to cover up the continued criminal acts of my conviction committed by my prosecutors.

Your help is needed, Give what you can to FreedomWalk.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Six Nations Warriors Request Support for Winter

TORONTO (CP) - Aboriginal protesters occupying a former housing development site in Caledonia, Ont., are asking for donations to help them make it through the winter.

The Six Nations protesters, who have occupied the land since February, are calling for building supplies to help them finish constructing the 11 houses on the disputed territory.

Janie Jameson, spokeswoman for the protesters, says no one wants to see the half-built houses "rot away" when they could be used for shelter during the winter.

She says protesters also need non-perishable food and warm clothing to help them maintain their occupation, which she says will only end when the land is returned to the Six Nations people.

But Jason Clark, of the Caledonia Citizens Alliance, says residents are at their "wit's end" and can't contemplate the occupation - which has been marred by barricades and violent clashes - lasting into the winter.

He says it's time both levels of government stepped in to end the occupation.

For more information, contact: www.reclamationinfo.com

Thursday, July 13, 2006

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.