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Thursday, July 08, 2004

articles-july 08


Regulators affirm decision to allow coal mine expansion

DALE WETZEL
Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. - State regulators have affirmed a decision to allow a 17,000-acre expansion of North Dakota's largest coal mine, saying the plan included sufficient protections for American Indian graves and cultural artifacts.

The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes had challenged the permit, which the state Public Service Commission first granted in April. The tribes argued they were not notified about the approval of a cultural resource protection plan that is part of the document.

The Defenders of the Black Hills, a Rapid City, S.D.,-based organization that represents American Indian interests, also had asked North Dakota regulators to reopen the mining permit debate. The commission held a June 9 hearing to consider the arguments. full article

Goshutes protest handling of Range Creek

By Greg Lavine and Michael Yount
The Salt Lake Tribune

    The Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians on Wednesday issued a statement questioning whether the land transfer of property in eastern Utah containing ancient Fremont Indian sites violated U.S. historic preservation laws.
    Leon Bear, chairman of the band, and Melvin Brewster, tribal historic preservation officer, said the transfer of land, from private to federal to state ownership, violated the National Historic Preservation Act, the Indian Sacred Sites Act and the Native American Grave and Repatriation Act.
    "It was done in complete silence and secrecy as if native Indians of Utah do not exist," the pair said in the statement. full article

Leonard Peltier Support Group calls for boycott of PayPal and eBAY

by the Boston Area Leonard Peltier Support Group
Leonard Peltier

Last week both the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and the Boston Area Leonard Peltier Support Group received notification from PayPal, our website credit card verification and payment processing service, that our accounts had been closed. Neither the defense committee nor the Boston support group is currently able to receive donations via the internet.

This disruption is having a direct impact on our ability to fund the work of the committee. Therefore, the Boston Area Leonard Peltier Support Group is calling for a boycott of PayPal and its parent company, eBAY. full article


Bush Signs Measure to Pay Western Shoshone for Land

Most tribe members favor the settlement, but others vow to press fight for ancestral territory.
From Associated Press

July 8, 2004
LAS VEGAS — Some Western Shoshone tribe members pledged Wednesday to refuse federal payment for their ancestral land after President Bush gave final approval to paying more than $145 million to settle a decades-long land dispute.
But an apparent majority of the 6,000 eligible tribe members support the measure, contending that seeking the return of millions of acres is not realistic and the money would help buy basic necessities.
"The needs of our people are simple. Most of our homes don't have telephones, 98% don't own computers," Nancy Stewart, co-chairwoman of the Western Shoshone Claims Steering Committee, said after the House passed the bill in June.
"I'm not taking the money," said Carrie Dann, a tribal member active in the Western Shoshone Defense Project in Crescent Valley. "That land is sacred to us. This Earth is our mother. It's not for sale." full article


Another Attack on the Arctic

By BRUCE BABBITT

BARROW, Alaska — Thwarted by the public in its efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, the Bush administration and the oil companies are now quietly turning their attention to the balance of the Arctic region of Alaska, all the way west to the Chukchi Sea, within sight of Siberia. In advance of its efforts, the administration has jettisoned environmental safeguards and is now threatening the traditional-use rights of the Alaska Natives who have hunted caribou and waterfowl along the Arctic slope for thousands of years. full article

Montagnards: Behind the razor’s wire; Montagnards of Vietnam
excerpt
The decisions of Phnom Penh to allow humanitarian aid to the Montagnard refugees and to open two offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri have exposed the Hanoi’s attempt to sweep aside the crisis in the Central Highlands by terming the asylum seekers as “illegal immigrants.” Since the violent crackdown of the peaceful and democratic protests on 2-6 February 2001 in the Central Highlands, the flow of the refugees have been consistent, indicating deteriorating human rights situations.

Hanoi attempted to subdue the ethnic minorities through repression and humiliation. A court in Central Daklak province of Vietnam sentenced eight indigenous Ede people, majority of whom are Christians, on 25 December 2002, the Christmas Day, for organizing the demonstrations in Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces in February 2001. Alleged group leader Y Thuon Nie, 30, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, while the other seven men were given eight years each at the one-day trial. They were also given four years of house arrest after their jail terms. They were accused of "organizing illegal migration to Cambodia" and "undermining state and Communist Party policy" and contacting former members of the guerrilla group FULRO, Front Unifie de Lutte des Races Opprimes, to "sow disunity" among the hill tribes in the Central Highlands.

On 31 August 2002, around 30 Ede indigenous people were arrested for allegedly planning to hold a protest in the Sao village under Madrak district of Dak Lak province of Central Highlands on 2 September 2002, the Vietnam's National day. full article

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