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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Resistance without Reservation-revisited

An article appearing in the CBC.

New confrontation brewing at Sun Peaks
WebPosted Aug 30 2004 02:46 PM PDT
KAMLOOPS, B.C. - First Nations protesters are building a protest camp as they renew their fight to block the $70-million expansion of the Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops.

The small group of aboriginal activists say the Crown land is part of their traditional territory, and have been staging protests in the area for the past decade.

It's been two years since the last round of protests ended at the resort – with arrests, and with court orders banning the activists from the resort.,

But those injunctions expired in June. And Neskonlith First Nation organizer Janice Billy says the issues are still there.

"It's the continuing destruction of the land, the ongoing expansion project that we're opposed to, and the non-recognition of our title to the land in this area," she says.

Sun Peaks tourism director Chris Nicholson says he's frustrated by the return of the protesters. And he says the resort is unfairly caught in a dispute between the B.C. government and local First Nations.

"It's got a legal right to exist, and everything that happened was approved in the early 90s by the provincial government," says Nicholson.

The provincial government served a trespass notice on the protest camp on Monday. But Billy says she and her supporters are not planning to back down. article

The article refers to arrests in the defense of Secwepmc Territory. On September 30, 2002, Beverly Manuel, Niki Manuel and Miranda Dick of the Neskonlith Indian Band and Secwepemc Nation were found guilty of intimidation, by a Canadian Court.
The trial is the first in a series that will continue through December as the battle over the larger issue of Aboriginal title in the area unfolds. The Secwepemc Nation, also known as the Shuswap Nation, asserts that the land in and around Sun Peaks Resort is part of their territory.

According to Miranda Dick, the area was included in a land agreement mapped out in 1863 between Chief Niskonlith and Governor James Douglas.

Darcy Alexander, vice president of Sun Peaks Resort Corporation, asserts that Sun Peaks has no dispute with "the great majority of [its] First Nations neighbours." The vice president says the "small, radical group" of protestors has not proved their land claim and without this proof, their claim cannot be resolved. Rather than working to prove their claim, he said, this group of protestors has chosen to protest and stage media events in the Sun Peaks area.

Tania Willard, editor of Redwire, a political urban Native youth magazine, and a member of the Secwepemc Nation, has an opposing point of view. She believes the media frames the events negatively and, furthermore, give little coverage to the controversy when it conflicts with more mainstream concerns, such as Sun Peak's potential benefit from the 2010 Olympic bid.

Neskonlith Band Chief Arthur Manuel clarifies that his band's position with Sun Peaks is not one of outright disapproval, but rather of preventing additional expansion of the resort. Such prevention, Manuel says, requires that constant and deliberate pressure be applied: "If you sleep on your rights, you lose them."

Chief Arthur Manuel said that regardless of the recent court decision, "what really is on trial here is the inadequacy of the federal and provincial governments to deal with the Neskonlith Aboriginal title, our Neskonlith Douglas Reserve of 1862, and their inability to move forward in resolving land claims."

Manuel calls the convictions "part of a strategy on the part of the government to use provincial policies and laws to create an opposition to recognising Aboriginal interests."

"The B.C. treaty process - which most of the bands from the interior do not support - is the latest in the 'my way or the highway' approach of the government," Manuel added.

Nicole Manuel was given 45 days imprisonment and one year probation. Beverly Manuel received a one year suspended sentence, one year probation and thirty hours of community service. Miranda Dick received a six month conditional sentence to be served at Neskonlith Reserve and thirty community hours.

Beverly Manuel is the mother of Amanda Soper. Amanda Soper who had warrants for obstructing an officer and assaulting an officer, was arrested, on February 22, 2003. This incident took place when the RCMP raided 2 camps and pepper sprayed the occupants. Amanda was denied bail in April but was later released in May, spending months away from hew newborn son.

As the Secwepemc have made clear, they are not going away. We'll keep our readers updated.

Stupid white guy tries to make a point.

Mark Risley writes a column, Deep Post, for CollegeFootballNews.com. Under the section titled"The Ten Most Thought-Provoking Events within the Past Eight Months..." he lists the following as number 8.

8) The Chief Illiniwek controversy - Some interest groups think that having an Indian Chief as a mascot is an inappropriate way to represent the university and the American Indian population. Alrighty, then. Not to take sides, here, but isn't the state name derived from a Native American (Algonquin) term, which means "warrior"? As a good friend once suggested, maybe we should just rename the "University of Illinois", and call it "The University of 40 degrees, 6 minutes and 47 seconds North latitude, and 88 degrees 15 minutes 40 seconds West longitude". In other words, let's keep everything in the proper perspective, folks.

Notice how he states that "some interest groups think that having an Indian Chief as a mascot is an inappropriate way to represent the university and the American Indian Population." This is the language used by those who want to diminish Native Peoples as Nations and would rather characterize them as "interest groups." The author has no idea that Native Peoples come from nations that have their own languages, territories, customs, traditions, spirituality etc. He instead believes them to be the equivalent of the College Republicans.

Next, he states that the name Illinois is derived from an Algonquin word for "warrior." A quick visit to the Illinois State Museum website would have informed him of the following.
The Illinois or Illiniwek Nation consisted of several independent American Indian tribes that spoke a common language, had similar ways of life, and shared a large territory in the central Mississippi River valley. The Illinois called themselves "inoca." French explorers and missionaries generally referred to them as "Illinois," but also used some other terms (Eriniouai, Liniouek, Aliniouek, Iliniouek, Ilinois, and Ilinoués).

According to Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit missionary who visited them in 1673, the word "Illinois" meant "the men." However, recent studies of the Illinois language indicate that "Illinois" may have instead come indirectly from the Illinois word "irenweewa," which means "he speaks in the ordinary way." Objibwa Indians of the eastern Great Lakes evidently borrowed this term from the Illinois and used it as a name for them, but in their language irenweewa became ilinwe. French explorers learned the name from the Ojibwa and spelled it "Ilinois" or "Illinois."

I'm not going to claim that the Illinois State Museum is the final authority on the matter, but their explanation should have caused the author to study the origin of the word further.

Risley finishes with As a good friend once suggested, maybe we should just rename the "University of Illinois", and call it "The University of 40 degrees, 6 minutes and 47 seconds North latitude, and 88 degrees 15 minutes 40 seconds West longitude". In other words, let's keep everything in the proper perspective, folks.

Actually, if he were to believe that the word Illinois means "warrior," wouldn't he simply call it the University of Warriors instead of using a geographic description for the state? Also, the issue isn't with the name of the Univesity, it's with the mascot. It seems like such a simple concept to grasp, but it's one that completely passes Risley by.

I do agree that we should keep everything in it's proper perspective. I took Risley's admonishment to heart and, after rereading his column, I changed the original titile from "Mark Risley ruminates about the Illiniwek Controversy" to the one that now appears on the blog.

articles-august 31

IRS Seize Canadian Gas Headed For Reservations

Jane Flasch (Niagara Falls, NY) 08/30/04 -- Officials estimate that taxpayers are being cheated out a half-billion dollars every year by suppliers who haul in gas from Canada to avoid US taxes. This week, IRS agents are targeting gas headed for sale on Indian reservations in a sting operation near the border.

In the early morning fog, armed IRS agents camp out at the Queenston/Lewiston bridge near Niagara Falls, NY. Their targets are fuel tankers filled with thousands of gallons of gasoline. The feds say the St. Regis Mohawk tribe imports this gas from Canada to avoid paying federal taxes. full article

Klamath Salmon Dispute Nears Compromise
Tuesday August 31, 2004 9:46 AM


Associated Press Writer

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) - Two years after more than 35,000 salmon died on the Klamath River due to low water, the different groups fighting over the future of the area are inching toward a so-far elusive goal: compromise.

Groups including American Indian tribes, commercial fishermen and conservationists said Monday they are tired of battling each other and moving closer toward the compromises necessary to find long-term solutions.

About 120 people attended a forum sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson to assess the status of salmon in the Klamath River after the 2002 deaths of between 35,000 to 70,000 fish, mostly adult chinook salmon. full article

Descendants of massacre victims oppose ceremony
Mountain Meadows: Some Indian groups plan healing rites on the site of the controversial event
By Rhina Guidos
The Salt Lake Tribune

Some descendants of victims of the Mountain Meadows massacre are asking American Indians to cancel an upcoming healing ceremony at the site of the tragedy.

On its Web site, the Mountain Meadows Association (MMA) posted Monday its displeasure about plans by several Indian groups to mark this year's 147th anniversary of the massacre. On Sept. 7th, and through the 11th, Indian spiritual leaders plan to gather at the southern Utah location, near Enterprise, where as many as 120 emigrants headed to California were killed by Mormons.

"We'd hope they'd cancel the plans for this year," said Oregon's Lynn-Marie Fancher, the MMA's board secretary. full article

Workshop focuses on peacemaking as means to justice

By Krystal Spring/Havre Daily News/kspring@havredailynews.com

ROCKY BOY AGENCY - The Chippewa Cree Tribe is one step closer to implementing the traditional Native American justice method of peacemaking on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

The University of Montana's Division of Educational Research and Services sponsored "Excavating Indian Justice on the Rocky Boy Reservation" - a three-day workshop at Stone Child College aimed at teaching participants dispute resolution procedures - mediation tools that rely on the abilities of both disputing parties to reach their own resolution, with the assistance of a trained "peacemaker."

About 15 people attended the workshop, led by UM adjunct professor Art Lusse last week. The mediation training was funded through a federal grant UM received from the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Project. full article

Economic renaissance on the Columbia River

Posted: August 30, 2004 - 5:42pm EST
by: Jean Johnson / Correspondent / Indian Country Today

PORTLAND, Ore. - The "thickest bellies and reddest meat, hands down." That’s what five Northwest fish sellers said about Columbia River spring chinook. And it was a blind taste test that included Alaska’s prized Copper River salmon.  

If that’s the case, then why do consumers practically line up to buy Copper River Salmon for $20 to $30 a pound in the groceries while Columbia River tribal fishers only get from under a dollar to $4 a pound on river bank sales?

Supply. Demand. Marketing. And ice - flaked ice. Even as these variables figure in to a long history of disenfranchisement, they also point to a new era, a tribal renaissance on the Columbia.  

The ice, of course, is critical. And not hard-edged cubed ice that bruises the fish. Buyers want the fishers to use nice flaked ice in which the catch can hold without losing quality. full article

Ancient site in Indiana plundered
Digging did 'extraordinary damage' to village location, archaeologist says; 3 arrested.

By Fred Kelly
August 31, 2004
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. -- The secrets of a prehistoric village that once stood in Decatur County may remain locked away forever after thousands of ancient axes, arrowheads and other primitive tools were dug up and carted away.

Three southern Indiana men have been arrested in the case after conservation officers, following a tip, found the men digging with shovels, picks and garden hoes, said Steve Reinholt, a state Department of Natural Resources field officer.

Investigators found thousands of artifacts in the men's homes worth potentially tens of thousands of dollars, DNR officials said. full article

Traditional medicines a fast growing industry
August 31, 2004, 17:49

Selling African traditional medicines has become one of the fastest growing industries in South Africa with an annual turnover of about R250 million. The market has also emerged as a major employer. It is estimated that there are some 200 000 traditional healers in the country and that 80% of South Africans prefer to take their ailments to these healers.

Mountain plants are just some of the medicines used by traditional healers. They are sold to the public in liquid or powder form for prices ranging between R5 and R30. Ruby Sentsho says she prepares medicines from herbs and other wild plants. She had to employ seven people to keep up with the growing demand. "I think government should give us land where we can plant these indigenous herbs, and the land should be regulated, to preserve these plants," she said. full article

A tea against cancer

Cape Town (South Africa) Aug.31: (GUARDIAN NEWS SERVICE) : Scientists say there are three major ways to cut the risk of cancer. Don’t smoke, don’t become fat, and follow a balanced diet. Now from South Africa comes a potential fourth tip: drink rooibos tea. If you have never heard of it, you are not alone.

Rooibos has been one of the more esoteric products in the herbal-remedy section of health shops, a strange-sounding name to match a strange taste drawn from the needle-like leaves of a plant found only on the slopes of the Cederberg mountains outside Cape Town.

For centuries, indigenous bushmen have sworn by the health-giving properties of the tea. European settlers who picked up the habit agreed there was something special about rooibos - Afrikaans for red bush – and even bathed their children with it. Now science suggests they may have been on to something. New research provides tantalising evidence that the tea can help ward off cancer. Rats and mice that drank it were found to have effective protection against a variety of cancers. full article

What Does America have to Fear from Me?
by Tariq Ramadan
In 20 years of studying and teaching philosophy, I have learned to appreciate the inherent difficulty in defining the truth. Descartes put it simply: "A clear and distinct idea is true," while Kant aptly added the needed word "consistency."

Over the years, I have also learned that in the world of the mass media, truth is not based on clarity but on frequency. Repeated suspicions become a truth; an assumption said three times imperceptibly becomes a fact. There is no need to check because "it is obvious" - after all, "it is being said everywhere."

I was reminded of this lesson during the past few weeks, when, after having been granted a visa to teach at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, by the U.S. government, it was revoked without explanation at the last minute, causing grief for my family and me. full article

Israel's Albatross: U.S. Neocons
by Robert Scheer
With friends like these, Israel doesn't need enemies. The purported Israeli "spy caper" is another sign that the neoconservatives in the Bush administration, who claim to be big supporters of Israel, on the contrary, have increased the risks for the Mideast's only functioning democracy.

As the developing story goes, a neocon Pentagon official allegedly gave classified documents to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby, which then passed them on to the Israeli Embassy.

So far, these are only unproved accusations. It is disturbing that some well-placed officials in the Bush administration have leaked to the media allegations of spying against the Pentagon official and a respected ally. As demonstrated in the phony, Clinton-era China spy case, in which Los Alamos nuclear weapons scientist Wen Ho Lee was smeared, such lurid charges may not stick. But the charges now circulating do call attention to the regime-change ideologues in the Pentagon, whose antics have left Israel more vulnerable than at any time in recent memory. full article

Monday, August 30, 2004

Resistance without Reservation-brief update

This is a brief update about the Resistance without Reservation convergence that took place over the weekend. We'll let you know more as details are forthcoming.

Over 150 people gathered at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, BC to protest the resorts treatment of local native and its illegal expansion on unceded territory.

Activists marched around the main village and listened to speakers discuss the legality of native land claims, protection of the local environment and colonialism.

Native activists also erected a new structure near the site of the golf course expansion. They plan to stay at the structure they are building there. In the past the RCMP have evicted activists from similar structures despite the resort's disregard for recent supreme court decisions regarding development projects on unceded lands in BC.

As of 5 PM Sunday, the RCMP was observing the activists but had made no move to arrest anyone.

articles-august 30

A Neglected Obligation

Monday, August 30, 2004; Page A22

HEALTH CARE for many Native Americans in this country sinks to Third World levels. According to a draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, deaths from alcoholism are 770 percent more likely among Native Americans than the general population; from tuberculosis, 650 percent; and from diabetes, 420 percent. In some tribes, one in two people suffer from diabetes. The Indian Health Service, primary health care provider for more than 1.6 million members of federally recognized tribes, is so underfunded that it spends only $1,914 per patient per year, about half of what the government spends on prisoners ($3,803) and far below what is spent on the average American ($5,065). Funding is so low that to be transferred out of an IHS facility for specialized treatment a patient must be in danger of losing a life or limb.

The Bush administration and Congress could help, but they have been sitting for almost four years on a revamped Indian Health Care Improvement Act. The original bill, enacted in 1976, is the cornerstone law that directs health care resources to Native Americans; it expired in 2001. Congress has been appropriating money year to year since then, but the strategy for providing health care for Native Americans is in dire need of a wholesale update, which the neglected bill would provide. Developed by tribal leaders themselves for the first time, the legislation would authorize Congress, among other things, to help Indian reservations recruit health professionals and specialists, expand preventive and behavioral health programs -- an important step in helping to combat alcoholism -- and give tribes more say in decision making. But only after long delay did Tommy Thompson, secretary of health and human services, finally agree last month to make this act a priority and work with congressional staffers to iron out remaining issues. Mr. Thompson and Congress should be kept to their promise of passing this legislation before the end of this session. full article email=coloradoaim@yahoo.com password=colorado

Column: Tribes, Iraqis have sovereignty issues in common
By JODI RAVE Lee Enterprises

A popular T-shirt in Indian Country these days shows Geronimo and his band brandishing rifles, looking mean and tough. The heading over the picture reads: "Homeland Security." The slogan under the photo: "Fighting Terrorism Since 1492."
It's an obvious play on U.S. policy since Sept. 11 - policy that led, in part, to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. But a more a apt comparison could be made between Native people and Iraqis.
Both are subject to U.S. definitions of sovereignty. And if Native history can be a guide, the Iraqi people should be worried.

A few centuries of Washington-led efforts to eliminate, restore and then chip away at tribal sovereignty have reduced formerly self-governing tribes to quasi-sovereign nations. Their remaining independence is frequently trumped by state and federal interests. full article

Texas appropriate location for American Indian Genocide Museum (Part two)

Posted: August 30, 2004 - 3:17pm EST
by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today
HOUSTON - There was no state that surpassed Texas in the genocide of American Indians. Now, it is here in Texas that the American Indian Genocide Museum is documenting the American holocaust.

"They were run out of Texas," said Steve Melendez, Pyramid Lake Paiute of Nevada, now living in Texas and president of the museum. "We are really sitting on a powder keg here in Texas."

Melendez said the museum is retelling Indian history and hopes it will lead authors to rewrite textbooks without bias. "It seems like the Indian side of the story has never been told. They would rather live in this sanitized view of history."

The payment for Indian scalps, including the scalps of Indian children, was written in the laws of Massachusetts. "The Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay," Vol. I, states the rate for Indian scalps began at 50 pounds. The price for the scalp of Indian children under 10 was 10 pounds of silver. full article

Watered down sacred sites bill passes California Senate

Posted: August 30, 2004 - 3:14pm EST
by: James May / Indian Country Today
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Lost in the shadows of recent news regarding tribal compacts and other legislation, the California Senate voted 68 - 4 in favor of legislation that would require developers and landowners to consult with tribes early in the planning process for proposed developments. Other than a few formalities, the legislation is headed to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk for dismissal or approval.

"This was a long-fought bill, and I am proud to have worked alongside so many California tribes to help protect vitally important sacred sites. I encourage Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign this bill," said Senate President Pro Tem and the bill’s author Sen. John Burton, D-San Francisco.

Four Republicans voted against the bill including Sen. Roy Ashburn, Sen. Samuel Aanestad, Sen. Bill Morrow and Sen. Ross Johnson. Calls to all four opponents’ offices were not returned though press reports indicate that they were concerned with private property rights. full article

State too quick to take Native children
The Edge of the Village

Ernestine Hayes
The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act was heralded as a powerful weapon in the fight for Indian self-determination. Before passage of that historic act, it was the custom for American Indian and Alaska Native children to be removed from their families and placed in non-Native homes, echoing the colonialist practice effected by the widespread forcing of Indian children into boarding schools. ICWA was meant to correct those wrongs.

In 1997, Congress addressed the problem created by persistent cases in which children often spent years in foster care. The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act, set as Alaska law in 1998, fixed a 15-out-of-22-month limit for the period a child can remain in foster care before termination of parental rights is initiated. In certain circumstances, ASFA also pays the state a $4,000-$6,000 bonus for completed adoptions. This legislative step has given caseworkers an avenue through which they can now dispense with the special protections intended by ICWA. full article

Eskimo traditions melt away with every generation
Marriages were far more complex than just saying, 'I do'

Sarah Kershaw, New York Times Sunday, August 29, 2004
Gambell , Alaska -- When it became clear that the elders in this isolated Eskimo village on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea approved of the marriage, Clifford Apatiki's relatives did what was required of them: They bought him his bride.

That meant, according to a fast-fading custom among the Siberian Yupiks, a small but sturdy native Alaskan tribe that has inhabited this treeless and brutally windy island since about A.D. 500, that Apatiki's family would spend at least a year coming up with the payment. They called on their relatives, here in Gambell, over in Savoonga, the other Yupik village on this island 38 miles from the Chukchi peninsula in Russia, and across Alaska, to send them things -- sealskins, rifles, bread, a toaster -- a house full of gifts.

When the bride's family accepted the offerings, Apatiki, a skilled ivory carver and polar bear hunter, did what was required of him: He went to work for her family as a kind of indentured servant for a year, hunting seal, whale and polar bear, and doing chores around the house. full article

Concern grows over diabetes in Indians

Jason B. Johnson, Chronicle Staff Writer Saturday, August 28, 2004

About 500 health care advocates from across the nation are expected to gather today near a reservation in Santa Rosa for a daylong conference on combating the spread of diabetes among Native Americans.

Approximately 12 percent of the Native American population nationwide has Type 2 Diabetes, experts say. For some tribes, including the Comanche, Cherokee, Kumeyaay, and Pima, the rate is as high as 50 percent.

The event, organized by the group Taking Control of Your Diabetes, will examine ways to combat the disease, which can lead to blindness, kidney failure and stroke.

"Diabetes is increasing in all populations within the United States, and American Indians have been hit hardest of all populations in this country," said Donald Warne, a Native American and physician at the School of Health Management and Policy at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. full article

Diabetes Rampant Among Native Americans
By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDayNews) -- Sally Van Haren was adopted out of her native San Carlos Apache tribe as an infant and raised by a white family.

"I was always kind of bummed that I missed out on the culture, traditions and language," she said. "When I participated, I felt odd."

Now 36, van Haren has unexpectedly discovered a common bond with the rest of her tribe: diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is rampant among Native American populations, with as many as half of the adults in some tribes suffering from the disease, said Dr. Donald Warne, a clinical professor in the School of Health Management and Policy at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business in Tempe. Warne, who is a Lakota Indian from South Dakota, treats patients on a reservation south of Phoenix that has the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the world.

According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 15 percent of Native Americans in the United States have this disease, which can rob them of their eyesight, their limbs, their kidneys and eventually their lives. They are 2.6 times more likely to have diagnosed type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

That is a radically changed picture from the early part of the 19th century, when health surveys of Southwestern tribes found only one documented case of diabetes, Warne said. full article

Zapatistas Amend Laws on Trafficking Drugs & Immigrants
By Al Giordano,
Posted on Mon Aug 30th, 2004 at 01:35:56 PM EST
Marking the first year since the formation of "Good Government Councils" in Zapatista territory, the spokesman of Mexico's Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials), Subcomandante Marcos, issued an eight-part set of communiqués and progress reports to the national and international public this month.

The communiques (plus translations of each to English by Irlandesa) appear on the newswire at Chiapas Indymedia.

Of certain interest here is the 5th part, titled Five Decisions of Good Government, which is prefaced:

During the first year of the Good Government Juntas, some internal accords were formalized, which were adopted some time ago now, and new decisions were defined. They have to do with conservation of the forests, drug trafficking, trafficking in the undocumented, the movement of vehicles in the regions and state elections for municipal presidents and the state Congress. full article

Tibet activists plea for rights progress before 2008
BEIJING, Aug 30 (Reuters) One day after the Olympic flag was passed to Beijing, activists campaigning for better human rights in Tibet urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to pressure China to improve its record.

At an unlikely news conference in Beijing, host of the 2008 Summer Games, representatives of overseas groups that support calls for more autonomy for Tibet said the IOC should warn China that its right to host the games would be revoked if there is no improvement in its human rights' record.

''The IOC should further establish benchmarks to determine the basis for an eventual reconsideration of the location of the 2008 Olympics in the event of a lack of improvement or further deterioration of the human rights situation in China and Tibet,'' said Paul Bourke, of the Australia Tibet Council. full article

Hear the Wounded U.S. Lion Roar
by William Thorsell
With the ultimately boring Olympic Games behind us, we can turn again to the far more satisfying melodrama of a major political convention -- where winning or losing matters to history.

The Republicans are descending on Democratic New York City almost three years after the humiliation of 9/11. The barbarian invasion meets the decline of the American Empire.

In Denys Arcand's film The Barbarian Invasions, the reference is to 9/11, and more. You could describe the Saudis who flew those kamikaze planes as barbarians, but the historical reference goes back to Rome. The barbarians sacked impregnable Rome, defeated it, and plunged Western civilization into a long night of forgetfulness.

In Mr. Arcand's film, there are many suggestions that, like Rome, our culture has become decadent enough to be vulnerable to barbarians, however unworthy they may be. Most barbarians have the vigour of their appetites, if not the courage of their convictions. The barbarians who savaged America on 9/11 had the courage of their convictions, too. full article

Protecting the President from Dissent
by Christopher Brauchli
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.
— Edward R. Murrow

As the nation eagerly watches to see what techniques are employed at the Republican National Convention to keep protesters out of sight if not out of mind, we are reminded that President Bush's fondness for smiley faces has been a hallmark of his administration.

The only difference between then and now is that whereas until recently the suppression of frowning faces at presidential appearances was effected by removing them from where Mr. Bush might see them, today they are being encouraged to stay at home.

A protester, especially one with a sign, detracts from the president's message that Bush is in the White House and all is right with the world. Examples abound of the great care taken to protect the president from signs of dissent. full article

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Resistance without Reservation-defending Skwelkwek'welt

The Secwepemc Peoples are currently fighting the expansion of a ski resort, built upon and encroaching into their unceded territory and waters. The Secwepemc homeland, of course, predates the construction of the provincial boundaries that now encompass it; British Columbia, Canada.

The ski resort, Sun Peaks, was constructed on Secwepemc land, which they call Skwelkwek'welt. In 1997, the BC government approved a $70 million expansion plan which would add 20,000 bed units as well as ski runs to Mt Morrisey, which was undisturbed. Ignoring the protests of the Secwepemc Peoples, Land and Water BC granted new leases to Sun Peaks in June 2001.

As was written in the invitation to Secwepemc Territories"Sun Peaks resort is built on Secwepmc territories, land that has never been ceded, released or surrendered. The BC government and Sun Peaks therefore has no jurisdiction over the Secwepemc people or our lands. Despite the recognition of the inherent land rights of Aboriginal People as Aboriginal Title in Delgaamukw and despite the Haide decision that requires provincial interests to consult, obtain consent and accomodate Aboriginal interests prior to pursuing development on Aboriginal territories, federal and provincial governments still insist indigenous peoples must prove their Title within the court system rather than abiding by the principle of the Title itself."

Over 50 elders and youth have been arrested attempting to defend their lands. Most of the arrests are for trespassing and 4 youths spent 90 days in jail for defending their lands. They have engaged in peaceful protests that have centered around information blockades and erecting community buildings, which are then destroyed by the authorities. Sweatlodges and ceremonial structures have also been destroyed. (We will be providing more in depth information into the protests, arrests and persecution of the defenders, in upcoming entries.)

Sun Peaks announced, in June 2004, another expansion phase that will total $ 285 million and will develop 10,000 more bed units over the next 10 years. In response, this weekend has been selected as a date for convergence.

We are posting the call for "resistance without reservation" and will keep our readers informed about any new developments.

Resistance Without Reservation"

Sunday August 29th is the day of a gathering called Resistance Without Reservation - Convergence Against Sun Peaks to Protect Unceded Territories. The gathering is organized by Land, Freedom Decolonization Coalition in conjunction with the Native Youth Movement - Secwepemc Chapter, and the Skwek'wekwelt Protection Center.

Posters promoting the event include, "With the 2010 Olympic bid, environmental destruction and expansion on unceded territories will be perpetuated yet further. In the spirit of solidarity movements that honour front-line struggles of communities, rather than organizing actions in the city, it is imperative to escalate the fight against state and corporate colonialism on the territories itself. We stand united in protesting the Canadian governments continued criminalization of the Secwepemc people."

On the surface, it seems to critics that this NYM action is mere militancy - speaking out against Sun Peaks Resort expansion and the British Columbia government's habit of aquiescing to corporate needs, rather than recognizing and respecting Aboriginal Rights. But even well respected First Nation leaders who have embraced the BC Treaty process, will agree with the principles.

The reality as seen through an Aboriginal lens, is that as negotiations drag on, producing only small economic side-deals, more First Nation lands and natural resources become alienated from their owners, and continue to pour billions of dollars into private and public treasuries.

The protestors' drama, while not perfomed in negotiation boardrooms, relies on a script written clandestinely, in the hearts of many First Nation leaders, "Sun Peaks Resort is built in Secwepemc territories, land which has never been ceded, released, nor surrendered. The BC government therefore has no authority over the Secwepemc people or their territories, or over the resources within the land".

Read previous reports, view photos etc.

articles-august 28

Oglala sojourn: Handshakes at Slim Buttes

SLIM BUTTES, S.D. - At Slim Buttes, the circle was of heads of families, working men and women of expressed moral concern and conviction. They had come together to greet visitors and to tell their story. The occasion was a visit to the Oglala tiospayes of Pine Ridge by two Oneida Nation council members and this writer. We were at "ground zero" of a project of substance that has coalesced serious people on the poorest and most economically marginalized Indian community in North America.

Headquartered at a camp on the White River, in the westernmost section of the Oglala Lakota reservation, a vigorous home-grown agricultural homestead development project has sprung up from among the poorest and yet among the most cultured of American Indian peoples. Our hosts were the elders of several tiospayes of the old Oglala - among them the Afraid of Bear and American Horse families as host camp - which together have undertaken a recovery journey to help their next generation grow healthy and thrive. full article

Burial site spurs concern

But American Indian group is told developer, agency are properly handling discovery

A band of American Indians has set up camp outside an archaeological dig to ensure a newly found burial site near the Hiawatha light-rail line in Bloomington is treated properly.

The partial remains of a what is believed to be a Dakota native were unearthed Thursday during an archaeological survey at the corner of Old Shakopee Road and 34th Avenue in Bloomington. The survey was part of the preconstruction review of the 47-acre site to be redeveloped into office, retail and living space near the Bloomington Central Station of the new light-rail line.

"We are paying our respects," said Jim Anderson, the cultural chairman and historian for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. About 20 members set up a vigil outside the site. full article

Bush, Giuliani go after Kerry in Farmington
Dine' VP meets with Bush but Shirley can't?

Staff Writer

FARMINGTON Navajo Nation Vice President Frank Dayish Jr. partook in a little extracurricular political activity Thursday, meeting with U.S. President George Bush to the rest of the tribal government's surprise.

Before launching into his stump speech amid thousands of fans filling the bleachers and infield at Ricketts Field, the president mentioned meeting Dayish and his wife at the Farmington airport, where he arrived aboard Air Force One. The president did not mention what they spoke of, however.

Deana Jackson, spokesperson for the Navajo Nation president and vice
president, said her office was caught by surprise by news of Dayish's visit with Bush and that it hadn't yet confirmed the report. Although Dayish's schedule for Thursday noted a trip to Farmington, Jackson said, where tribal business often takes him, it made no mention of a meeting with Bush.

Whatever encounter Dayish had with the president, Jackson said, was strictly in a "personal capacity." full article

Friendly' Killer Whale Damaging Boats
Associated Press

August 28, 2004, 1:39 PM EDT

GOLD RIVER, British Columbia -- A "playful" killer whale who likes to frolic alongside fishermen has damaged three boats in separate incidents in recent weeks.

Luna, described by fishermen as a friendly 5-year-old whale, has made frequent contact with people and boats in waters off Vancouver Island, about 125 miles north of the U.S. border, since he began frequenting the waters more than two years ago.

Now Canadian officials and an Indian group that believes the animal is the reincarnation of its late chief are working on a plan to protect both Luna and humans. Officials hope to eventually reunite him with his pod of U.S. relatives. full article

Feds may weigh in on peyote case
By Elizabeth Neff
The Salt Lake Tribune

   In June, the Utah Supreme Court OK'd religious peyote use for any member of the Native American Church. As a result, state drug charges were dropped against local medicine man James Mooney and his wife, Linda.
   But federal prosecutors are now going after the couple. Prosecutors may challenge James Mooney's assertion that he is part American Indian.
In an Aug. 20 letter sent to Mooney, founder of the Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church, U.S. Attorney Paul Warner said the court's ruling does not bind federal prosecutors.
"Please be advised that this office is reviewing your conduct for consideration of seeking federal charges," the letter said. full article

Friday, August 27, 2004

articles-august 27

Mohawks challenge IRS
Fight over new fuel tax crackdown

Posted: August 26, 2004 - 7:22pm EST
by: Jim Adams / Associate Editor / Indian Country Today
HOGANSBURG, N.Y. - Warning of a "devastating" impact on the reservation economy and tribal services, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council and Native businessmen are bracing for a major fight against a new Internal Revenue Service campaign to collect federal motor fuel excise taxes.
Mohawk businessmen say they are taking on not only the federal taxmen but also the federal highway lobby and the trade groups for non-Indian convenience stores and gas stations. Although the new regulations, announced July 29, are national, they would have potentially their most severe impact on the St. Regis reservation, also called Akwesasne, which runs along the Canadian border and imports most of its gasoline from the North.

Randy Jock, president of the Akwesasne Petroleum Co-op, said the proposed rules "would have a devastating impact on our economy as we know it." He said the withering effect on the territory’s 18 gas stations could eliminate up to 300 jobs and deprive the tribal government of $1 million a year in revenues, now used to support up to 180 different programs. full article

Nations helping nations

Posted: August 27, 2004 - 10:25am EST

Indian country has to be about nations uplifting each other whenever possible. There is no better way to that end than visiting each other with gestures of good will. Wherever there are elders who reflect the outstanding American Indian traditional greetings and diplomatic language, communication among Native peoples is possible. When good will among Indian nations leads to permanent friendships and alliances, all Native nations benefit.

Unity is a goal and a requirement. It starts with a gesture and a handshake and can lead to mutual understandings and coalitions that last a lifetime. Thus our children can benefit from the thinking of today, from the form we give to our mutual discussions. These are the connections of people to people. These are the best and most useful foundations for both grassroots non-profit and profitable business projects. When they work well, great things can happen. full article

Toxins Accumulate in Arctic Peoples, Animals, Study Says

Sharon Guynup
National Geographic Channel
August 27, 2004
For many, the Arctic is synonymous with a pristine, albeit harsh, environment. So it is an unwelcome irony, perhaps, that the region's indigenous peoples and animal predators are reportedly among the most chemically contaminated on Earth.

Various studies in recent decades have found that animals from polar bears to killer whales, not to mention native peoples like the Eskimos, or Inuit, carry unusually high levels of human-made chemicals in their bodies.

These toxins include industrial pollutants like dioxin and PCBs, which gained notoriety during the 1970s, and newer compounds like those now used as flame retardants and stain guards full article

  Editorial: Indians maintain remain poor under Bush report says
Urban Indians suffer in great numbers report claims

Louis Gray 8/27/2004
The recent report "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003" paints a grim picture of the life and times in Native American communities. The Census generated report shows little improvement and when inflation is factored in, actually shows decreases across the board.

Of course there are those who would tell you that all Indians are busy cashing large amounts of checks from lucrative casino profits. In truth there are few Indians who benefit richly. Mainly, Indian tribes are pouring that money back into their communities and improving conditions for all people.

There are tribes with successful casinos but the poverty which exists in their communities is so pervasive it will take time and education in money management to break the cycle. Today 23 percent of single-race Native families live in poverty. This is a full double the National rate. Native mean incomes dropped 1.6 percent to $33,024. If you took out casino rich tribal incomes and that figure would drop even more. full article

Custody case to be decided in tribal court


PIERRE - The Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Court must decide whether grandparents will continue to care for a 2-year-old boy who is a member of that tribe, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The high court said the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which is intended to make sure tribes play a role in custody proceedings involving Indian children, applies to the case.

The tribal court in Fort Thompson can handle the case without causing undue hardship to family members and other witnesses who all live in the Vermillion area, the justices said.

Court documents refer to the child only by his initials, J.C.D. His mother, a member of the Crow Creek Tribe, and his father, who is white, were students at the University of South Dakota, but both parents had been in trouble with the law. full article

Canadian firm counters tribes' suit over pollution

By Christopher Schwarzen
Times Snohomish County bureau

In an attempt to avoid U.S. Superfund laws, a Canadian mining conglomerate yesterday sought to dismiss a federal lawsuit against one of its smelters accused of dumping tons of pollution into the Columbia River for nearly a century.

Mining conglomerate Teck Cominco, which operates a smelter in Trail, B.C., filed the motion against the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation's lawsuit, which asks the courts to force Teck Cominco's compliance with an Environmental Protection Agency order.

The EPA wants Teck Cominco to clean up pollution in the Columbia River and Lake Roosevelt under Superfund laws. The company is accused of dumping lead, arsenic and other carcinogens into the Columbia. The amounts violated U.S. limits but were legal under Canadian laws. The EPA also is investigating mercury deposits it says are linked to the smelter. full article

Peru's lessons from the past
By Hannah Hennessy
BBC correspondent in Lima

A survivor of Peru's internal war - the bandage covers a machete wound (Image courtesy of Caretas)

Dirty gnarled hands cradle a ragged photograph of a missing relative. An indigenous woman bends over a dead loved one. A farmer stares straight into the camera. A strip of cloth covers one eye and a machete wound.

These photographs are part of Yuyanapaq, which means "to remember" in Quechua, the indigenous language spoken by most of the estimated 70,000 people who were killed or disappeared during political violence in Peru between 1980 and 2000. full article

Artifacts cast doubt on Nicaraguan history

Friday, August 27, 2004 - Page A7

CALGARY -- Simple fragments of ceramics and eerie burial grounds are among the artifacts unearthed in Nicaragua by Canadian researchers who say their findings could change the long-held history of the Central American country.

For generations, Nicaraguan children have been taught that their ancestors came from central Mexico as migrants around 1000 AD, and that in 1300, a second wave made the trek. Both were believed to have brought their Aztec or Nahua culture and language with them. At least, those were the lessons passed on from the Spanish conquistadors who arrived in Nicaragua in 1529.

But Geoff McCafferty, an archeologist at the University of Calgary, said his team of researchers has recovered 400,000 artifacts from what is believed to be the country's ancient capital of Quauhcapolca, yet they haven't detected Nahua roots. full article

"You Won't Be Leaving Tomorrow"

Thirty-One Years and Counting Inside the Belly of the Beast


I send each and every one of you my very warmest greeting from 31 years deep inside of the Belly of the Beast.

As you know, I'm a former member of the original Black Panther Party, and even though government officials claim that there are no political prisoners in this country's prisons and jails, it's simply not true. Having already "served" over three decades in continuous custody in federal prison, I'm one of the longest held political prisoners in the U.S. of A. There are quite a number of us scattered about & but that's a very long story.

Picture this in your mind ... if you dare full article

Between Hope and Terror

Neocon Musings


"These must be strange days to be a neoconservative," writes Martin Sieff in a recent Salon piece, "caught between exultant hope and wild terror; utterly discredited, yet still securely in power; proven totally wrong on Iraq, yet still determined to believeagainst all odds that one more wild throw of the dice will recoup all." Sieff notes that despite setbacks, all the key neocons in the administration retain their posts, and they remain determined to realize their bold world-changing agenda. While many predict their imminent demise, and while I would very much like to believe them, I agree with Sieff that the neocons are fiercely determined, have great staying power, and remain highly dangerous to the world---most immediately, to Iran and Syria.

* * * * *
So let us try to get into the mind of the neocon. Let us just imagine Let's say you're a Straussian ideologue assessing the current status of the broad plan that Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser drew up for the Likud government in Israel ten years ago. (That's the game plan involving "removing Saddam Hussein from power," "rolling back" Syria, and "confronting" Iran. It echoes in the September 2000 "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report from the neocon Project for a New American Century, which refers to defense of "the homeland," conflates Iraq, Iran and North Korea as threats to that homeland, calls for a shift in U.S. forces from west to southeastern Europe and southeast Asia and otherwise anticipates Bush policy.) full article

Thursday, August 26, 2004

articles- august 26

Kunkuamo indigenous leader killed
Aug 26, 2004

The Aug. 6 murder of Kankuamo leader Freddy Arias brings to 261 the number of people from this indigenous group who have been killed in the last two decades, 92 of whom have died in the two-year-old government of President Álvaro Uribe.

Arias, who acted as human rights coordinator of the Kankuama Indigenous Organization, was shot down by unidentified gunmen in Valledupar, capital of the northeastern department of Cesar. full article

Pechanga may expand reservation


TEMECULA ---- Up on a hill behind the Pechanga Resort & Casino sits a cluster of rocks that, when the sun hits it just right, looks like a crouching bear. Folks on the reservation are familiar with that rock, tribal Chairman Mark Macarro said Wednesday, and the tribe has taken steps to make sure those rocks and nearly a thousand acres of sage-covered hills south of the reservation are left undisturbed.

Legislation has been introduced by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Temecula, to transfer more than 990 acres of federal land over to the tribe. Issa introduced the bill in late July and the matter has been referred to a House committee. full article

Native Americans race against diabetes

By Esther Avila, The Porterville Recorder

"Wow!" said 9-year-old Devon Quair when he saw the Indy 500 race car unloaded from a trailer on the Tule River Indian Reservation. Within seconds, the car was completely surrounded by children. "How fast can it go?" "Have you ever crashed?" "Can I get inside?" "How much does it weigh?" Those were just some of the questions the wide-eyed children asked Cory Witherill, the first full-blooded Native American to race in the Indy 500.

Witherill, 31, and his shiny white, purple and red Dallara chassis with an Infiniti engine, that can reach a top speed of 190 miles per hour, was making a pit stop at the reservation Wednesday afternoon to talk with children and adults about his career as a race car driver and talking about diabetes, the fifth-deadliest disease in the United States that has no cure, according to the American Diabetes Association. full article

Navajo and Anishinabe youths take on industry in Climate Justice Corps

Posted: August 26, 2004 - 2:07pm EST
by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Navajo and Anishinabe youths are tackling the political and industrial causes of climate change, after being selected by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative to work in a new environmental justice corps in
their communities.

Roberto Nutlouis, Climate Justice Corps member working at home on the Navajo Nation, said American Indian communities realize that as climate change transforms their environment, it endangers their culture.
While these cultures have been here for thousands of years, Nutlouis said Native communities are habitually excluded from the political process. "It is important to shed light on the unjust politics of climate change. People who contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions - indigenous peoples, people of color, and disempowered communities - are the first to be impacted full article

Circle of learning: Tribal groups keep culture alive through education

By Jennifer Lloyd
Times Snohomish County bureau
Students, teachers and parents sit around a large drum, their vocals and staccato drumbeats reverberating through the Monroe Junior High School library.

The practice is more than just a lesson in rhythm. It's a weekly exercise in culture for these participants in the Skykomish Valley Indian Education program.

Members of the Native Spirit Singers belong to different tribes, but they're eager to learn this Plains Indian drumming as a part of the 24-year-old program in the Monroe and Sultan school districts full article

Native American dwellings found along Tenn. River

August 26, 2004

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Trying to find the UT golf team a new place to practice has lead to a major prehistoric find along the Tennessee River.

Field work has uncovered two Native American dwellings from the 1300's.

Researchers have also identified human remains dating from the same time.

There's even evidence of a small town or village that existed between 400 to 700 years ago. full article

’Bloodshed’ if seabed bill passed, professor warns


One of the country’s top Maori academics says parts of New Zealand will see the same kind of bloodshed as seen in Palestine and Israel if the Government nationalises tribally owned parts of the coastline.

Professor Margaret Mutu, the head of Maori Studies at Auckland University and chairwoman of the Ngati Kahu tribe of the Far North, told the parliamentary committee on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill in Auckland yesterday that Ngati Kahu would stop the bill being implemented in its district.

"The warning by a senior civil servant of the inevitability of civil war if this bill is enacted is not hyperbole," she said in a prepared statement.

When National MP Dr Wayne Mapp asked her if she seriously believed civil war was inevitable in Ngati Kahu’s district if the bill was passed, she said: "I think that is clearly stated in this paper, which is authorised by Ngati Kahu." full article

Mexico: Guerrero's Indigenous Communities Report Lack of Teachers

(Washington, D.C., August 25, 2004) - The Mexican state of Guerrero should ensure that all children have full access to primary education, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Guerrero Governor René Juárez Cisneros. The school year begins this month across Mexico.
Human Rights Watch has received credible reports that children in several indigenous communities in the state's La Montaña region have been unable to attend primary school due to an absence of teachers where they live.  
"Guerrero should do all it can to make teachers available to all the state's children," said José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "When a community lacks teachers, its children are denied their fundamental right to an education and often condemned to lives of poverty and marginalization." full article

No Peace for Indigenous Peoples in Burma

The United Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) reported on August 5 that killings, torture, sexual harassment, and other human rights violations against indigenous people in Burma have continued, despite recent peace negotiations with insurgent groups.

The Karen National Union (KNU), the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Shan State Army-South (SSA-South), and small armed opposition groups in the Mon State are actively opposing the Burmese government’s policies against indigenous peoples. In December, the KNU and the KNPP entered into a cease-fire, but fighting continues throughout the country due to the longstanding history of mistrust between the Burmese government and its indigenous people. For some indigenous groups, the only form of outside contact has been through violent interactions with the Burmese military. full article

Bush is No Sun Tzu

War Rules


"All's fair in love and war."
-popular saying

"All's fair in love and war" is usually taken to mean that nothing's fair in love or war, that anything goes, and regular rules don't apply. Concepts like 'crime of passion' and 'fog of war' indicate reduced responsibility. You may do things in the extreme states-like have and revenge sex, and kill-which you cannot do otherwise. Honor killing to avenge sexual misconduct or shame is sanctioned in some societies and war is sanctioned in most.

What are the rules of war? For us, the Geneva Conventions-distinguish combatants and civilians, and care for the wounded, prisoners of war, victims of armed conflicts. Also don't use asphyxiating or poison gases, expanding bullets, or bacteriological weapons. (Forbidding land mines continues to be debated in international forums.) The great Chinese warrior Sun Tzu suggested in the sixth century BCE that there should be some limit to the waging of war. The idea of 'rules' suggests limit and control and reason. In practice the rules are often ignored or waived as stopping war is more difficult than starting it. The Marine appetite to 'get some' is not easily converted to 'humane care.' The soldier you shoot who dies is enemy dead; the sniper you wound who languishes is your humane responsibility. In the US Civil War, Confederate Officer Henry Wirz was executed for murdering Federal prisoners of war. Robert MacNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, mused in the film "The Fog of War" that the civilian bombing of Tokyo he planned in World War II, would have been a war crime if we had lost the war. full article

What Would Machiavelli Do? The Big Lie Lives On
by Thom Hartmann
There is nothing new about the Swift Boat ads.

German filmmaker Fritz Kippler, one of Goebbels' most effective propagandists, once said that two steps were necessary to promote a Big Lie so the majority of the people in a nation would believe it. The first was to reduce an issue to a simple black-and-white choice that "even the most feebleminded could understand." The second was to repeat the oversimplification over and over. If these two steps were followed, people would always come to believe the Big Lie.

In Kippler's day, the best example of his application of the principle was his 1940 movie "Campaign in Poland," which argued that the Polish people were suffering under tyranny - a tyranny that would someday threaten Germany - and that the German people could either allow this cancer to fester, or preemptively "liberate" Poland. Hitler took the "strong and decisive" path, the movie suggested, to liberate Poland, even though after the invasion little evidence was found that Poland represented any threat whatsoever to the powerful German Reich. The movie was Hitler's way of saying that invading Poland was the right thing to do, and that, in retrospect, he would have done it again. full article

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Indigenous Mural-University of Southern Colorado

This is the first Indigenous Mural at the University of Southern Colorado. We are told that more are soon to follow. Congratulations to those who made this possible. Colorado AIM members should see if they can spot a familar symbol in the mural.

articles-august 25

Thorpe, the great: What he achieved at 1912 Olympics still astounds today
Eddie Chuculate

"Thanks, King."

Jim Thorpe at the 1912 Olympics after King Gustav V of Sweden declared him the greatest athlete in the world

As the champion of the decathlon is crowned today at the Athens Olympics, it's time to reflect upon the winner of that multidiscipline event at the 1912 Stockholm Games: Jim Thorpe, the Sac-and-Fox Indian from Oklahoma.

There'll never be another athlete like him. Sure, a few guys have played a couple of pro sports, but Thorpe won Olympic golds in both the pentathlon and decathlon, was an NCAA All-American at halfback, played major league baseball and pro football, and probably would have made an outstanding grappler. His manager with the New York baseball Giants, John McGraw, created a clubhouse rule to protect the other players from injury: "No wrestling with the Indian."

He accomplished all this, apparently, without much practice. According to a Sporting News article, Thorpe sat in silence as other U.S. athletes trained on a makeshift track while aboard an ocean liner bound for the games in Sweden.

Review team raps U. of I. on Illiniwek issue
August 25, 2004

URBANA, Ill.-- A three-member team from the association that accredits the University of Illinois chastised the school Wednesday for failing to resolve the controversy surrounding its use of Chief Illiniwek as the symbol and mascot for athletic teams on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

However, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools did not sanction the campus. Another team will visit the campus in the 2006-2007 academic year to see whether progress has been made, the report said. full article

Management of ancient sites turned over to Utah state parks

By: PAUL FOY - Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- When an influential lobbyist got a retired congressman to push for funding to buy a private Utah ranch, they expected the land to be thrown open for public hunting and recreation.
But since the discovery that the land was filled with the ruins of an ancient civilization, the plan to open the ranch to unrestricted public access has taken a turn.

State officials confirmed Tuesday that Utah's park agency is taking over management of Range Creek canyon, grabbing control from a pro-hunting wildlife division of the same department.

The switch appears designed to satisfy archaeologists worried about looting in a canyon largely untouched since Native Americans left stone pit houses, granaries and rock art there more than 800 years ago full article

Report explains Bonneville's desperate water appeal

Posted: August 24, 2004 - 11:29am EST
by: Jean Johnson / Correspondent / Indian Country Today
PORTLAND, Ore. - What part of ‘no’ doesn’t the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) understand? Maybe the same part of the answer that every other interest group contending for the American West’s scarce supply of water hears. ‘No’ for the other guy, but surely not for us. No for the Columbia River tribes and the salmon, for not for the BPA. The for-profit federal agency as more money at stake. And more power.
Power is what drives the BPA - the lowest possible rates for the power it markets to the region’s public utilities.

That’s why BPA wanted to significantly reduce the amount of Columbia River water it spills over its dams this August. Water critical for getting young salmon out to sea. Water critical for supporting the recovery of the basin’s salmon runs. Water the BPA wanted to use to generate power. Water that would purportedly allow the agency to reduce users rates by 10 cents day. The state of Oregon joined the Columbia River tribes and environmental groups in opposing the BPA’s proposal, and in late July, District Court Judge James Redden of Portland ruled against the BPA. full article

Documentary explores experiences of urban Indians
By MELANIE DABOVICH, Associated Press Writer August 24, 2004

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Helen Waukazoo was scared to get on the elevator at her new home, a hotel in San Francisco. She had no idea where the large metal contraption was going to take her.
Coming from the Navajo reservation near Crownpoint, the young woman had never seen an elevator, much less a hotel or even a big city.

Living away from her family, rural homeland and traditional Navajo culture, Waukazoo had to survive in a frightening, foreign new world.

Now, Waukazoo provides support to fellow American Indians as executive director of San Francisco's American Indian Friendship House. But she can never forget the traumatic experience of being forcibly removed from her family at age 13, sent to a government boarding school and relocated in the 1960s to the Bay Area to work.

Waukazoo's experiences and those of other Indians living in urban areas are the focus of "Looking Toward Home," a 90-minute documentary exploring the history of relocation and issues affecting urban Indians. full article

Bolivia Heats Up Once Again
A "Communal Justice" Killing and the Imprisonment of a Landless Movement Activist Shake the Country

By Pablo Francischelli
2004 Narco News Authentic Journalism Scholar

August 24, 2004

La Paz, BOLIVIA: An unusual murder, a clash of cultures, and an upheaval in the social movements mark a new socio-political moment in Bolivia. On June 14, Benjamín Altamirano, mayor of the small town of Ayo Ayo, was kidnapped, tortured, assassinated, and burned. His body was then displayed in a public plaza. The town’s entire population, most of them ethnic Aymaras, took part in the act, which was explained as part of the tradition of communal justice. Since these events took place, several leaders of local social movements have been imprisoned, despite the lack of any concrete evidence against them. Among the most prominent of these detained leaders is Gabriel Pinto, regional head of the Bolivian Landless Movement (MST in its Spanish initials). Pinto’s August 12 imprisonment has the potential to set off a series of acts of resistance by social movements across the country. full article

The Death Squads of Colombia
Uribe's Boys


"The judgment of History will recognize the goodness and nobility of our Cause."[i]

--Salvatore Mancuso, military commander of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)

Salvatore Mancuso delivered these triumphant words in a July 28 address to the Colombian Congress. He and two other commanders of the AUC flew to Bogotá in a Colombian Armed Forces plane, as part of their negotiations with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez's administration. The AUC is a right-wing paramilitary federation responsible for murdering tens of thousands and terrorizing millions of Colombian civilians, often using unspeakably gruesome means, and working together with Colombia's armed forces.

The latest AUC proposal turned out to be pretty straightforward: not only should the government pardon their crimes, Mancuso argued, but the whole society should celebrate their heroism. "The reward for our sacrifice for our country, for having freed half the country from the guerrillas and having prevented another Cuba or the old Nicaragua establishing itself on the nation's soil, cannot be to send us to prison."

A human rights defender named Dilia Solano was dragged from the Congress shouting, "The victims' blood cries out. Peace can't come at the cost of impunity!"[ii] Solano had been seated next to the daughter of the late Senator Manuel Cepeda, who was murdered by the paramilitaries. full article

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Resistance to War, Occupation, and Empire-Ward Churchill speak in Vancouver

Below is the text of a speech given by Colorado AIM member, Ward Churchill, on August 8, 2004. Ward is a member of the Colorado AIM Leadership Council and is a highly sought after speaker. I would list some more of Ward's accomplisments but we try to avoid shameless promotion here at Colorado AIM.

Resistance to War, Occupation and Empire
On Sunday, August 8, Ward Churchill was the keynote speaker at the 15th annual Under the Volcano: Festival of Art and Social Change, Celebrating Peoples Resistance to War, Occupation and Empire, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Siyo, oseeju. Hello my relatives, it's good to see you here. And isn't here a beautiful place, and isn't this a beautiful day? It is my honour to be here in this corner of illegally occupied America along with you. Before I go into what is it I have to say, I have to bring you greetings from the elders of the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee, my people, and from the Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement of which I am a part, and from Gwarth-ee-Lass, otherwise known as Leonard Peltier, who today as I speak to you continues to sit in a cage at the federal maximum security prison at Leavenworth, Kansas; not for anything anyone including even his prosecutor at any point in the past twenty years has been prepared to say that they actually believe he did. But rather as a symbol of the arbitrary ability of the federal government of the United States to repress the legitimate aspirations to liberation of indigenous peoples within its claimed boundaries. And there's a difference between a claim and a reality, and that difference is why Leonard is there.

The difference between that claim and that reality is why I say that this is illegally occupied land. British Columbia was never ceded by the indigenous people who own it; it is still their land. It is burdened under the oppressive weight of colonial laws. But we're all here to oppose a vast variety of things. We're to embrace one another, we're to embrace this day, we're to embrace this festival, but we embrace in opposition, we embrace in opposition to imperialism. We embrace in opposition to racism; we embrace in opposition to ageism, and classism and sexism. We've got lots of 'isms' and they're accompanied by 'ologies' and we're opposing the lot. And we do it in a random fashion, don't we? Each of us has our own little pet project, our own little organization, and we run off and that's the most important thing in the world and we don't understand the nature of our opposition, to what it is we oppose. So let's see if we can get a little clarification on the table here about how this process works. full article

articles-august 24

 500 Tragic Years of Mayan Life, Shown in an Exhibition of Outreach and Hope

GUATEMALA CITY, Aug. 22 - Guatemala is known by most of the world for the soaring pyramids of the ancient Maya and the colorful weavings of their contemporary descendants. Folkloric images of the Maya Indians have been used to help attract tourism to a nation that was until eight years ago ravaged by a three-decade civil war. But within Guatemala, the Maya are often treated with no such respect.

Many Mayan leaders say they are disappointed with the scarce improvements in opportunities for the Maya, who make up roughly half of Guatemala's population and who most keenly suffered the war's wrath.

But now a traveling exhibition titled "Why Are We the Way We Are?," which opened in Guatemala's capital last week and will continue until June of next year, is trying to prompt a long-overdue national dialogue between the country's dominant nonindigenous population and the Maya. Created by the Guatemala-based Center for Mesoamerican Research with the collaboration of some top American museologists, the show has rallied support from business groups, media and government itself, elevating it to nothing less than a national event. At the exhibition's inauguration, Vice President Eduardo Stein of Guatemala hailed it as a "watershed in history. full article

Genocide in Texas

Posted: August 24, 2004 - 10:41am EST
by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today

REDLAND, Texas - It is a history that the United States buried, along with the Indian women and children. But there is an invoice for the smallpox blankets given to Indians to eradicate them and a printed record of the scalp laws with payments of 10 pounds of silver for the scalp of an Indian child.

Steve Melendez, Pyramid Lake Paiute and president of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston, said the genocide of American Indians is a fact of history that must be recorded accurately in history so Indian nations can heal and racism in America can be countered.

Melendez said the invaders of this continent carried out systematic genocide to eradicate Indians and it continues today, with the recent theft of Western Shoshone land in Nevada by the United States government.
Melendez spoke on genocide at the commemoration of the massacre at Neches, near Tyler in northeast Texas, where the Texas militia murdered 800 Indian men, women, children and elderly on July 16, 1839. full article

Chile: Mapuches Convicted of “Terrorism”

(Washington D.C., August 23, 2004)
The recent sentencing of four Mapuche Indians and a supporter on terrorism charges is a grossly exaggerated response to unrest in southern Chile, Human Rights Watch and the Indigenous Rights Program at the University of the Frontier’s Institute of Indigenous Studies said today.

By using the harshest possible legal regime against the Mapuches, the Chilean government is unfairly lumping them together with those responsible for the worst crimes, like mass murder. It is deeply unfortunate that the authorities have made prosecutions for terrorism the main plank of their strategy for containing violence in the South." full article

COLUMNIST DORREEN YELLOW BIRD: Politicians show a sad ignorance about Indians

President Bush may be charismatic, as I said in my previous column . But he doesn't seems to know much about American Indians. That seems short-sighted of the president of the United States.

Bush was, after all, speaking at a conference for Journalists of Color (UNITY) in Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago. He should have had good answers for questions that he knew were likely to be asked of him by a panel of Native Americans, Hispanics, blacks and Asians. He has, after all, unlimited staff to write and research for him.

Mark Trahant, editorial page editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and a member of the Native American Journalists Association, asked the president, "What do you think tribal sovereignty means in the 21st century, and how do we resolve conflicts between tribes and the federal and the state governments?" The president's response was, "Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign. You're a you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity." His response was short and he changed the subject from sovereignty to information about Indian schools. "We've spent $1.l billion in reconstruction of Native American schools," he said.

Perhaps politicians' lack of knowledge about American Indians isn't unusual. full article

Wilkins: Indigenous voices and American politics
David E. Wilkins / Professor of American Indian Studies / University of Minnesota

As a polarized American electorate uneasily traverses the time between the recently concluded Democratic National Convention and the pending Republican bash, one small yet extremely diversified segment of the American electorate - the 562 federally-recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native nations - find that their governments and their citizens may play an important, if minor, role in the 2004 presidential election.

This despite the fact that Native nations are not an integral part of the U.S. constitutional order since that document only addresses the federal and state governments and mentions Indian tribes only tangentially. Interestingly, since tribes were not involved in the U.S. Constitution’s creation, they are generally exempt from its major provisions and also are denied the protections that states enjoy. Stranger still, individual tribal citizens were unilaterally enfranchised by federal law in 1924 and, like other Americans, enjoy basic constitutional rights and privileges. full article

Lands struggle ends with park handover

AS the sun descended over the sprawling campsite in the Unnamed Conservation Park, the sense of excitement and celebration was overwhelming.
For more than 300 Maralinga Tjarutja and Pila Nguru Aboriginal people, last night's ceremony among the red dust, mulga and spinifex marked the end of a 50-year struggle for land rights.

Forced more than 1000km from their land as atomic bomb tests scarred Maralinga in the 1950s and 60s, the indigenous people never lost sight of their goal to return to their home.

Last night, their tenacity and determination was rewarded as the State Government officially handed back 21,000 sq/km of land – a strangely named park the size of Sicily. full article

Black and Indian Power

The Meaning of Hugo Chávez


To the sputtering fury of a Bush administration who has repeatedly conspired with Venezuela's elite to drive Hugo Chavez from power, the Black Indian President of this oil-rich nation has scored a decisive 59% victory over a recall effort. Chavez now sits more comfortably than ever atop a fourth of the world oil supplies -- equal to that of Iraq -- and he supplies a fifth of US oil needs. In addition, he is current leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC. George W. Bush would prefer his friends in Saudi Arabia rather than Chavez set global oil prices. US attacks on Chavez caricature him as a tyrant in the class of Saddam Hussein, or a Marxist, or a ferociously anti-American clone of Castro. Actually, his populist uprising springs from multicultural grass roots that pre-date the foreign invasion of the Americas that began in 1492. full article

Anti-Terrorism Tip: Quit Spying on Nonviolent Activists
by Jeff Cohen
They're at it again.

FBI agents in recent weeks have been visiting and interrogating dozens of young activists believed to be planning or considering protests at the Democrat and Republican conventions. The New York Times exposed the FBI's home visits and intimidating interviews last week in a report headlined "FBI Goes Knocking for Political Troublemakers" -- those last two words tell us more about Times bias than about the activists in question.

With Al Qaeda and similar terrorists bent on murdering as many ordinary Americans as possible, why would the FBI divert resources and personnel to protesters and nonviolent civil disobedients?

It's the ultimate question. But it's not a new one: In the fall of 2001, with Al Qaeda on the verge of attacking us, why was the FBI so passive about leads that might have thwarted the attack -- yet so aggressive in hounding prostitutes in New Orleans and medical marijuana suppliers in California? full article

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sorry for the lapse in entries

We've been having a lot of problems with our blog provider, beginning 2 weeks ago. Until today, we were unable to log into the account. We will most likely not be posting entries, on a regular basis, until the end of next week. sorry for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

articles august 03

No" to Nader "Yes" to Peltier
Left wing party nominates Indian activist for President

Sam Lewin 8/2/2004

The California Peace and Freedom Party has nominated jailed American Indian activist Leonard Peltier as its presidential candidate this year.

The move was a blow to independent candidate Ralph Nader. Nader spoke at the party’s convention this weekend, the day before they officially nominated Peltier. Nader needs 153,000 valid signatures by August 6 to put him on the presidential ballot this November. Kevin Akin, chairman of the California Peace and Freedom Party, said delegates decided to bypass Nader because Peltier’s candidacy is “very important.”

“The Peace and Freedom Party convention meeting the weekend of July 31-August 1 nominated Natice [sic] American activist and long-time political prisoner Leonard Peltier as the Party's candidate for President of the United States. Peltier, who has been in Federal prison for 26 years, will appear on the California ballot along with vice-presidential candidate Janice Jordan of San Diego, a single mother, a long-time activist against the prison-industrial complex, for immigrant rights, for the freedom of Leonard Peltier. She brings to the ticket her history of commitment to the Peace and Freedom Party's call for socialist democracy, the rights of labor, an end to all U.S. intervention abroad -- including immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq,” states the party’s website. full article

Peace and Dignity Journey runners unite

Posted: August 02, 2004 - 10:21pm EST
by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today

BABOQUIVARI PEAK, Ariz. - Tohono O’odham elders on horseback and young runners packed in vans, joined the Fourth Annual Peace and Dignity Journey, as runners arrived after crossing 5,000 miles from Chickaloon Village, Alaska on their way to Panama.

Near the international border, William Antone of GuAchi District was among Tohono O’odham elders traveling with runners from the sacred mountain of Baboquivari Peak, home of I’itoi the Creator, to tribal headquarters in Sells, Ariz.

"There are a lot of prayers and offerings on this whole journey. The main thought of this run is strengthening our spirituality. There are a lot of young people taking part and they will be the ones to carry on. They are our future leaders," Antone said.

Pamela Anghill of GuVo District, mother and college student, was waiting for runners at the Tohono O’odham capitol in Sells when she learned that women are being honored by the run.

"What a blessing for the women to be honored. I am honored that this is for me," Anghill said. full article

The other American history

State to give students a broader picture of Native Americans
By Tiffany Erickson
Deseret Morning News

As a boy Virgil Johnson loved Kit Carson. To him Kit Carson was a great cowboy, an outstanding Indian scout and an American legend.

But later as Johnson, a Native American himself, grew up and learned of other accounts of Kit Carson from different perspectives in American Indian history, Kit soon fell off the pedestal.
Kit also moved a lot of American Indians out of their area and, as a government agent, like some other early frontiersmen, he helped make a lot of promises to the tribes that were broken, Johnson said. "Once I found out the truth I didn't think he was that great a person."
Now Johnson is a history teacher at Granger High School in Granite School District. For years he has taken extra time to research Utah and U.S. history to make sure he provides his students with information on historical events from multiple perspectives rather than just a textbook account — something Johnson said is generally written from a European perspective full article

Water settlement would bring water to Navajo homes
By Jim Snyder/The Daily Times
Aug 3, 2004, 09:48 pm

FARMINGTON — Abigail Yazzie, a Navajo, remembers as a child regularly drinking water meant for cattle, horses and sheep. The water was pumped from the ground into a trough by a windmill. It turned her teeth brown.

She didn’t know any better at the time. Her reservation home, located a couple of miles away, had no running water. A generation later, Yazzie, who earned a master’s degree, goes back to visit her dad’s house. It still has no water. Thousands of Navajos across the 27,000 square-mile reservation live this way.

Yazzie was among those who spoke Monday evening at a public meeting at the Farmington Civic Center on why the Navajo Nation needs to obtain its own water rights.

The meeting was chaired by the Interstate Stream Commission, the Navajo Nation and the state engineer. It was held to disseminate information on the revised draft for the proposed Navajo Nation water rights settlement on the San Juan Basin and to hear public comment. full article

Appoint natives, Ottawa urged
Permanent spot on top court proposed
Lawyers to debate issue in Winnipeg

A branch of Canada's largest legal organization is urging the federal government to guarantee aboriginal people a permanent place on the country's highest court.

While Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has ruminated about appointing an aboriginal person to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Bar Association's aboriginal law section wants Ottawa to go much further.

In a resolution to be presented at its annual meeting in Winnipeg later this month, the association is asking the government to ensure "all three founding peoples of Canada" — English, French and aboriginal — are continuously recognized in appointments to the court. It could mean changing the Supreme Court Act to do so, says a key proponent. full article

Judge to take banishment case
Two women sue tribe after being kicked out

Sam Lewin 8/3/2004

A federal court has ruled it has jurisdiction over a case involving a California Tribe that banished two of its members from the tribal rolls.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in the case are hailing the decision as a landmark.

“ The significance is that it sends a signal to this tribe, and other tribes in California and all over the nation, that if tribes want to disenroll and banish their members, which we think they have the right to do, that they need to provide basic procedural protection for their members,” attorney Leah Castella told the Native American Times.

Castella works for Bingham McCutchen, the San Francisco law firm that argued on behalf of two women kicked off of the reservation. The case involves the Tachi Yokut, a gaming tribe based in Lemoore, CA, that operates the lucrative Palace Indian Gaming Center near Fresno, a Class-III gambling establishment that generates over $100 million a year. The tribe currently has 700 members. full article

More land for the military than for Hawaiians (Part Two of Two)

Posted: August 03, 2004 - 8:24am EST
by: Winona LaDuke / Guest Columnist

Special to Indian Country Today (Part Two of Two)

"Except as required for defense purposes in a time of national emergency, the government shall not deliberately destroy any object of antiquity, prehistoric ruin or monument ..."

- Makua lease provision held by the U.S. Military

The new Stryker/Military Transformation proposal by Senator Inouye will exacerbate the already desperate situation of many Hawaiians, who comprise a good portion of those without permanent housing and at least half of the present prison population.

"All of the Hawaiian poor come to Wainaie, all of the homeless come to Waianae," said Sparky Rodrigues. "If the military comes in here with their cost of living allowance with the Strykers’ new expansion, then rent will go up, and they’ll bring in 30,000 people. Property values will go up. More Hawaiians will be forced onto the beach as homeless, and they are going to be criminalized. full article

Senators honor exiting Campbell
By Mike Soraghan
Denver Post Washington Bureau

Tuesday, August 03, 2004 -

Washington - Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell has named plenty of post offices in his day. For senators, it's like brushing your teeth.

Now, Colorado colleague Wayne Allard is turning the tables on that legislative prerogative - proposing to name a post office after the state's senior senator.

It's part of Campbell's steady march into retirement. Another senator has already proposed naming a lake near Durango after him.

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., proposed dubbing the reservoir in the Animas-La Plata project "Lake Nighthorse."

Campbell has been one of the key supporters of the $500 million project.

The post office, too, would be in Durango. full article

Our "Manchurian Candidates"
by Sean Gonsalves

Having given the NAACP the cold shoulder, President Bush did find it in his compassionately conservative heart to address a National Urban League gathering.

It was during his Urban League speech that the president alluded to the popular myth that gets trotted out whenever there's a national election approaching: The Democrats take 'the black vote' for granted but 'they' don't really have blacks best interests at heart.

With the exception of Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Thomas Sowell, and Clarence Thomas, I bet just about every black person in America thinks that's hilarious. Me? I'm wiping the tears from my eyes as I write this.

Oh sure, Mr. Bush acknowledged that things ain't perfect in the Grand Old Party, and so forth and so on. But seriously, how dumb does the Republican leadership think black folks are? full article

High Time Bush Defines the Enemy
by Ronald Bruce St John

Immediately after 9/11, President Bush addressed the American people, defining policy in the simplest terms. “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” In declaring a War on Terrorism, he defiantly stated his intent to pursue nations providing aid or safe haven to terrorism, suggesting every nation had a decision to make on the issue.

Three years later, the White House has yet to define clearly what constitutes a terrorist organization. The failure to do so has increasingly contributed to the administration’s limited success in making America and the world a safer place. Filling the gap, individuals and groups are adopting their own definitions of terrorism with worrying, potentially disastrous results. full article