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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

articles july 21

Brazilian Indian Leader Karaja Dies at 40

Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Idjarruri Karaja, an activist who worked to include Indian rights in Brazil's constitution, died of complications from kidney surgery, an Indian rights group said Tuesday. He was 40.

Karaja died early Sunday in Palmas, 900 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro.

"It's a big loss for the indigenous movement, of a leader who gave unconditionally to the cause of indigenous peoples," said Jecinaldo Barbosa Cabral, general coordinator of the Indian rights group Coiab. "He's gone, but his example will continue to inspire a new generation of leaders of whom he was a part."

Karaja, who like many Brazilian Indians used his tribe's name as his last, became active in the Indian movement in Brasilia, the nation's capital, at age 17. full article

U.S. Justice Department won't appeal Kennewick Man case

PORTLAND, ORE. - The U.S. Justice Department has joined Northwest tribes in clearing the way for scientists to study the Kennewick Man remains.
Blain Rethmeier, a Justice Department spokesman, told The Oregonian that the agency would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 8-year-old case. The deadline for an appeal passed Monday.

The Umatilla, Nez Perce, Colville and Yakama tribes decided last week against appealing a ruling that anthropologists could study the 9,300-year-old skeleton.

The Umatilla's board of trustees said they would work with other tribes to strength the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which had been the focus of the lawsuit. full article

Senators Block Industry Lobbyist from Lifetime Judicial Post

Action Will Protect Environment, Long-Term Interests of All Americans, Says NRDC
WASHINGTON (July 20, 2004) - The American people won a major victory today when Senate Republicans failed to force a vote on the nomination of former industry lobbyist William G. Myers III to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, said NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

The Senate voted against a proposal to end debate, denying Myers' supporters the 60 votes needed to bring his nomination to the floor.

The nomination of Myers, who has spent nearly his entire professional life representing the narrow interests of Western mining companies and cattle ranchers, generated strong opposition from a record number of Native American tribes and conservation groups. Ninth Circuit judges review federal cases and regulations pertaining to the American West, Alaska and Hawaii. full article

Tribal Elder co-writes book to help preserve language
NORMAN - At an age when many people are content to rest on past accomplishments, Creek/Seminole elder Linda Alexander, 87, still is working to preserve the language and culture of her ancestors.

Alexander, along with two co-authors, has written "Beginning Creek," a college-level textbook on the language and culture of the Mvskoke-speaking peoples, the Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole Indians.

The book was published earlier this year by the University of Oklahoma press. full article

Children coming along or left behind?

Posted: July 20, 2004 - 11:41am EST
by: Jean Johnson / Correspondent / Indian Country Today

PORTLAND, Ore. - No Child Left Behind? Perhaps for students - if there are truly any - who relate to the values implicit in "See Spot run!" and excited mothers in aprons who say things like "Look, look! See, see!" But for those in Indian country, the jury’s still out.

"If you want to see teachers’ eyes roll," president of the Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning in Opelika, Ala., Bobby Ann Starnes said, "just suggest that a group of government-selected programs can ensure that no child will be left behind." Starnes thinks that even the politically-catchy name of President Bush’s education reform agenda "is ridiculous" because inevitably kids will fall through the cracks in the system, just as they have historically.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 reinforces the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, the main federal law regarding K - 12 education. While the ESEA primarily provided aid to disadvantaged students, NCLB makes funding conditional on performance standards set by the federal government.

Standardization is part of the problem because the process often resorts to "methods and materials that are the exact opposite of those known to be effective with Native American children," Starnes continued in her 2003 Phi Delta Kappan essay. "Sit-and-listen, and sit-and-memorize ... The short right answer is what counts ... Thinking, imagination and creativity are very low priorities, if they are priorities at all." full article

WGIP: Martinez claims a second Indigenous Peoples Decade

I would like to begin sincerely by thanking my colleagues for the proposal to continue to be the chair of the WGIP. It is an honor to me, which I gratefully appreciate. I would also like to express thanks for your presence and the content of your statement. I think you have addressed the very most important issue we have before us. Firstly, the continuation of this body’s work. Mainly this pioneer group in consideration of the situation of indigenous peoples of the world is now in the excellent company of the SR and the UN PFII. What I mean by this is that this is something I was already convinced of last year. We put into practice the cooperation between the groups and consolidating our strength to be effective. The HCHR has also drawn out key points. The continuation of this WGIP is essential to future work. She also spoke about the slow process of the WG DDRIP which we drafted in this WGIP and which was adopted by the Sub-commission ten years ago. full article

Aboriginals of Australia: National Indigenous body essential, committee hears
URGENT ACTION

A Senate select committee has heard that it is essential that a democratically-elected national body be set up to represent Indigenous people.

The point was raised at a public hearing on the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in Alice Springs. full article

What chance have they?
Ancestral Domain
Phillipines

Among the poorest in our country are the Lumads or indigenous people. They have always been poor by the civilized standard. But once, they were happy in their poverty by their own standard. Nature gave them enough by which to live and to enjoy life.

Then, the Christian settlers, ranchers and loggers came. Gradually, they were deprived of their hunting and fishing grounds and the forests from where they gathered products for lowland markets.

With the enactment of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, the Lumads could legally claim their ancestral domains owned in common by the tribe. And the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples was established to “supervise and rule over issues of ancestral domains and other rights of indigenous peoples.”

Did that improve the lot of the Lumads? Hardly. It would take time for them to get the approval of and titles to their ancestral domain claims. And once given, they did not have enough resources to develop these.

And worse, their ancestral domains were included in mining concessions, appearing that the Lumads own the skin of the earth, but the bowels belong to the miners. Their only consolation is that under the IPRA, the mining companies have to get permission from. full article

American Exceptionalism
A Disease of Conceit
By RON JACOBS

Any person who is honestly opposed to the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan has got to wonder why the movement that developed against the US war on Iraq before the March 2003 invasion has faltered so badly and now seems to be caught up in the movement to electorally defeat George Bush, even though that means supporting John Kerry-a politician who not only supported the invasion and occupation, but talks openly about widening the war to include the NATO countries and tens of thousands more US troops. One could place the blame on the failure of the movement's politics, always more liberal than anti-imperialist. Or, one could place the blame on the leadership. In both cases, one would find some basis for their argument.

When it comes to the bottom line, though, the underlying cause for the US antiwar movement's current stasis is that most of its adherents believe in one of this country's basic tenets-a tenet that is ultimately religious in nature. For lack of a more descriptive phrase, we'll call this phenomenon American exceptionalism. On a basic political level, this phenomenon is the belief that, for some reason (America's system of democracy, or maybe its economic superiority), the United States system is not subject to the same contradictions and influences as those of the rest of the world. This belief in American superiority finds its foundation in some of our culture's basic religious and cultural constructs. It's there in the first settlers' belief that they were conducting a special errand into the wilderness to construct a city on a hill in the name of their heavenly father and every single president and wannabe always implores this same heavenly father to "bless America" at the end of every one of his speeches. This is no accident.

It is this belief that gave the Pilgrims their heavenly go-ahead to murder Pequot women and children and it was this belief that gave General Custer his approval to kill as many Sioux as he could. full article

Neoconservatives - never apologize, never explain

BY KEVIN HORRIGAN

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I like a guy who won't quit.

I like the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," his arm whacked off with a broadsword, saying, "It's just a flesh wound."

I like Wile E. Coyote.

I like Paul Newman in "Cool Hand Luke," letting George Kennedy beat the snot out of him.

I like Roy McAvoy, Kevin Costner's character in "Tin Cup," who only needs to lay up on the 18th hole to win the U.S. Open but decides to drive over the water to the green. And splashes a dozen balls. "Greatness courts failure," says Tin Cup.

And I like William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, the Rupert Murdoch-owned neoconservative newsweekly. Undaunted by the polls, undaunted by the events of the past year, Kristol forges on in defense of the war in Iraq that he and his neocon pals so desperately wanted. full article

Neocons Revive Cold War Group

by Jim Lobe
A bipartisan group of 41 mainly neoconservative foreign-policy hawks has launched the third Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) whose previous two incarnations mobilized public support for rolling back Soviet-led communism but whose new enemy will be "global terrorism."

The new group, announced at a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday, said its "single mission" will be to "advocate policies intended to win the war on global terrorism – terrorism carried out by radical Islamists opposed to freedom and democracy."

"The committee intends to remain active until the present danger is no longer a threat, however long that takes," said CPD chairman R. James Woolsey, who served briefly as former President Bill Clinton's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director and has often referred to the battle against radical Islam as "World War IV." full article

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