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Thursday, September 30, 2004

articles-september 30

Toll booths on St. Regis Mohawk reservation?
Updated: 9/30/2004 6:30 AM
By: News 10 Now Web Staff

It may be free now, but if the St. Regis Mohawk tribe has its way, motorists will have to pay to enter native land. Tribal leaders say setting up toll booths at the entrances to the reservation is well within their rights as a sovereign nation.

"We have to make up the money somewhere, and if we're going to lose this because we do need those funds in order to provide services to the community. I know that's an option that we have. I know it will be inconvenient for a lot of people, but you have to pay a toll on the thruway, and they make money there. So maybe that's something we need to look at seriously," said Chief Barbara Lazore who is with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. full article

Judge dismisses charges against activist

By Eric Newhouse
Tribune Projects Editor

Russell Standing Rock is free again, after a judge on the Rocky Boy's Reservation dismissed criminal contempt charges against him.

But a special prosecutor for the tribe is appealing the decision.

Standing Rock, an activist who is challenging several amendments to the tribal constitution, was ordered to surrender for a mental evaluation last July.

When he didn't, he was charged with criminal contempt and ultimately arrested in Havre. full article

Mission to restore native diet
By Karen Herzog
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

September 30, 2004

Long before french fries, ice cream and snack foods took over, indigenous foods such as corn, squash, beans, salmon, trout and bison fed the country.

Now, a movement is afoot among leaders of American Indian communities to return to such healthy foods of their heritage, and to teach non-Indians about their little understood cuisine.

One avenue for this mission is a three-day Native Food Summit, held recently in Milwaukee.

About 200 tribal leaders, advocates for American Indian culture, food and health, and native food suppliers and business owners from across the country gathered for the summit, where they looked to American Indian chefs, such as Loretta Barrett Oden, to spark a better understanding and enthusiasm for the foods their ancestors knew. full article

Arctic hunter brings carvings to life

Posted: September 30, 2004 - 9:00am EST
by: Matt Ross / Correspondent / Indian Country Today

INUVIK, Northwest Territories - Because of its isolation from human populations, the Beaufort Delta region of the Northwest Territories has an abundance of life.

Combining the wilderness of barren lands of Canada’s far north with the icy water that feeds into the Arctic Ocean, the natural world that survives there is what intrigues carver Derrald Pokiak Taylor. With an intimate knowledge of the land, this artist attempts to portray the vividness of those animals he frequently encounters during what are fleeting moments.

"When I see the animals, I’ll follow them in their natural environment. When the polar bear is on the ice or in the open water, I’ll take the time to watch his movements," said Taylor, 41. full article

Lobbyist for tribes won't answer panel's questions

By Dee-Ann Durbin

WASHINGTON -- A lobbyist who billed American Indian tribes tens of millions of dollars for work on casino issues refused Wednesday to answer questions from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Committee Chairman Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., quoted from e-mails in which Jack Abramoff called his tribal clients "morons," "monkeys" and "stupid idiots." Campbell, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, said he was personally offended and asked Abramoff why he worked with tribes if he felt that way. full article

Honoring Native Americans with Disrespect

BET.com, News Analysis,
Ed Wiley III, Sep 30, 2004
In the nation’s capital, where 20,000 Native Americans converged this week for the most grandiose tribal gathering in U.S. history, several Indian groups are demanding that the city discard an icon they say reminds them of America’s historic hate of their people: The Washington “Redskins” mascot.

After 15 years of development and $219 million in costs, Washington, D.C. introduced a museum on the National Mall Tuesday that recognizes the historic contributions of Native Americans. Ironically, say a wide range of religious, civil rights and Native American, organizations, long after the hoopla of the unveiling dies down, the most resounding roar rising out of Washington will be the praises lifted to a degrading icon. full article

The Harvard Law Professor Who Sat On An Israeli Assassination Target Review Panel

The Jihad of Alan Dershowitz

Law Professor,
Washburn University School of Law

If to dispute well is law's chiefest end, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has honed this ability to a stunning craft. In high-profile cases, such as O. J. Simpson, Doctor Dershowitz, a seasoned criminal law jurist, serves as a media-savvy lawyer determined to defend "the guilty." Less well known, however, is that this advocacy Mephistopheles thrives on inventing unpopular, counter-intuitive, and even unjust exceptions to international law--a subject he normally does not teach. These exceptions--mutually folded in each other's orb---allow the torturing of terrorists, the assassinations of their leaders, and the demolition of their family homes. What is most intriguing is the contempt that Dershowitz has for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and its current President (the Chinese judge) whom he calls a thug, discarding the language of professional courtesy.

Somewhat intrigued by his incendiary views daringly, and sometimes crudely, expressed in books and newspaper columns, I requested to interview Dershowitz, an interview he granted promptly and generously. We both taped the interview, I for no other reason but to save as a souvenir. I came out of the interview with the clear impression that--setting aside the civil liberties concerns that inform his criminal defense rhetoric--Dershowitz concocts these exceptions not merely to embellish his ivory tower but to proactively defend, and sometimes shape, Israeli policies in occupied Palestine. full article

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

articles-september 29

Cesspool Of Greed' D.C-Style
WASHINGTON, Sep. 29, 2004
This Against the Grain commentary was written by CBSNews.com's Dick Meyer.

"In between running a restaurant, starting a private school, and helping his wife raise five children of their own and seven boarders, Jack Abramoff has somehow found time to become one of Washington's most sought-after lobbyists and political strategists,” gushed The Hill, a close chronicler of these things.

Today, Abramoff took the 5th in front of a Senate committee. He did it lots of times actually.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is investigating allegations that Abramoff and a colleague, Michael Scanlon, who once served as House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s press secretary, fleeced several Indian tribes looking for help on casino issues out of at least $50 million. Abramoff and Scanlon were renowned for their ties to Delay; Delay is renowned for trying to make paying clients use friendly, Republican lobbyists.
. full article

Indians told they will win land lawsuit

Ron Jackson
The Oklahoman
BOONE - A Washington attorney Monday told nearly 100 beneficiaries of American Indian trust land that they will win an eight-year-old class action lawsuit against the U.S. government.

"We will win this case," said Keith Harper, whose Native American Rights Fund is representing more than 500,000 Indian trust land beneficiaries nationwide. "We have the facts and the law on our side, and that's everything."

The lawsuit, commonly known as the Cobell case after lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana, was filed in federal court in 1996 seeking two basic remedies: an accounting for individual trust accounts and reform of the government's management of the accounts.

Congress established the accounts in 1887, and the largest number holds the proceeds from mineral and grazing leases on land owned by Indians. Congress, accountants and the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit agree that the accounts have been mismanaged and there's no telling how much money Indians have lost. full article

The National Museum of Ben Nighthorse Campbell
The Smithsonian's new travesty.
By Timothy Noah
Posted Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2004, at 8:24 AM PT

The disappointing new National Museum of the American Indian Last week's opening of the National Museum of the American Indian is shaping up to be the museum world's gaudiest belly flop since the disastrous 1964 debut of Huntington Hartford's anti-modernist Gallery of Modern Art. Edward Rothstein of the New York Times scorned its "self-celebratory romance." Paul Richard of the Washington Post lamented, "The museum doesn't nourish thought." Post city columnist Marc Fisher was blunter, calling the museum "an exercise in intellectual timidity and a sorry abrogation of the Smithsonian's obligation to explore America's history and culture."

The mere fact that Washington, D.C., persists in calling its favorite sports team the Redskins is reason enough to put a National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall. The case becomes overwhelming when you note further that the monuments and museums of Washington, collectively, presume to tell a reasonably complete story about this country; that the Native Americans settled this continent long before anyone else; that they were subjected by later arrivals to mistreatment that we can plausibly label genocide; and that most Americans today have little or no familiarity with the various Native American cultures. I'm glad we finally have a National Museum of the American Indian. But why did it have to be this one? full article

Maya Indians Fight for Rights in Guatemala
Catherine Elton
Guatemala City
29 Sep 2004, 13:51 UTC
Eight years after Guatemala's peace accord laid out ambitious goals for battling the discrimination and exclusion suffered by the Maya Indians, many say scant progress has been made. Now, however, there are many signs that this long-postponed issue may finally be making its way onto the national agenda.

The live music and sleek design of this bar in an upscale Guatemala City neighborhood have made it a hotspot for nightlife. So when a colleague of Maya Indian Maria Tuyuc passed his exams to become a lawyer, they came here to celebrate.

"The bouncer said, 'look, you can't come in. These kinds of places aren't made for people like you, especially not dressed like that,'" she recalls. She says it made her feel totally humiliated. full article

Boundless and Winless Wars

Disrupting America's Fateful Non-Debate on the Roots of Terrorism


On September 11th, nineteen hijackers commandeered four airliners and guided three of them into important symbols of American power with lethal precision. An unsuspecting citizenry, quite unaware of events outside the national purview, suddenly found 3,000 of its countrymen killed at the hands of a few fanatics from a far off part of the world. One would expect that, in a democratic country which prides itself on freedom of speech and press, wide-ranging diversity of opinions, and quality of intellectual debate and scholarship, one of the responses to the horrific attacks would be a rigorous and reflective discussion of why they happened. Three years on, what we have instead is the ceaseless, unchallenged mass production--and consumption--of a core set of noxious lies about September 11th that form the foundation of a perpetual, bloody, boundless, and winless war.

The right-wing answer as to why the attacks happened was unequivocal: the problem is inherently within Islam and Muslim society, which is warped and defected in various ways. Thus one prominent conservative commentator, Ann Coulter, called for invading all Muslim countries, murdering their leaders, and converting the people to Christianity. The notorious Bill O'Reilly brushed off civilian deaths resulting from American bombs in Afghanistan by offering that they deserved to die anyway since they failed to overthrow the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime. The prestigious rightist journal National Review mused that in the event of a "dirty bomb" attack, America should drop the atomic bomb on Islam's holiest site, Mecca. Upon further contemplation, they reconsidered and offered up the more tasty idea of depositing a nuclear bomb on the capital of every Arab country. full article

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Convoy of Conquest flyer you can download

We have a series of flyers that we will be posting that can be downloaded as pdf's. This is the first.


articles-september 28

No, the Conquistadors Are Not Back. It's Just Wal-Mart.

Published: September 28, 2004

AN JUAN DE TEOTIHUACÁN, Mexico, Sept. 21 - The market in this small town is a warren of streets with canopied stalls and battered storefronts, where one can buy everything from fresh avocados to jeans to a vaquero's saddle.

As they have for centuries, the merchants here ply their trade midway between the ruins of giant pyramids built by the Maya and the stone steeple of the town's main Catholic church, which Spanish monks founded in 1548.

Now another colossus from a different empire is being built in the shadow of the pyramids, a structure some merchants and other townsfolk here say threatens not only their businesses but their heritage. In December, an ugly cinderblock building rising from the earth is to house a sprawling supermarket called Bodega Aurrera, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart of Mexico.

"What's next?" said David García, 27, whose family owns a dry-goods store in the market. "It's like having Mickey Mouse on the top of the Pyramid of the Moon." full article

Gwich’in fight termination and protect Arctic
Vow to save Arctic Refuge

Posted: September 27, 2004 - 3:38pm EST
by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska Natives gathered to counter anti-Indian legislation aimed at eroding tribal sovereignty and toward termination, as Gwich’in vowed to protect the Arctic Refuge from energy development in the pristine wilderness.

"We are under attack as federally recognized tribes from members of the Alaska Congressional Delegation, in particular Senator Ted Stevens," Gwich’in Chief Evon Peter told Indian Country Today.

"Stevens is attaching riders to unrelated Congressional legislation that is slowly stripping Alaska tribes of federal funding and altering our government-to-government relationship. He is carrying out this attack on our tribes without any tribal consultation or negotiation." full article

Fight over landfill may boil down to water fears

By Elizabeth Fitzsimons
September 28, 2004

PALA – People have been fighting against a landfill in Gregory Canyon since the county first proposed putting one there 15 years ago.

Opponents, now led by the Pala Band of Mission Indians, have raised one argument after another for why the canyon was ill-suited for a dump.

There were the garbage trucks on a two-lane highway; an invasion of birds and rodents; the damage to sacred Indian land; and the habitat for a wide range of animals.

Now, the landfill's potential to pollute North County water supplies has become the rallying cry for Proposition B. If approved by voters countywide next month, it could be the death knell for the landfill, proposed for a canyon about three miles east of where Interstate 15 and state Route 76 intersect. full article

Abenaki expect to see recognition bill introduced

September 28, 2004

Associated Press

SWANTON — A proposal is expected in the next session of the Legislature that would grant state recognition to the Abenaki tribe.

Jeff Benay, chairman of the governor's commission on Native American Affairs, said he expected a bipartisan bill to be introduced and he suggested it might give Abenaki the state recognition they need as leverage to obtain federal recognition.

Benay would not say who might sponsor or co-sponsor any recognition bill.

"It will come to the forefront," he said. "It's something that we'll see in the foreseeable future. There was a buzz created over the summer, and we'll see more after the elections in November." full article

Men who stole petroglyphs sentenced to prison

Posted: September 27, 2004 - 3:35pm EST
by: Ryan Slattery / Correspondent / Indian Country Today

RENO, Nev. - Two men convicted of stealing large boulders containing etchings of ancient American Indian rock art have been sentenced to serve short prison terms.

U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben sentenced Carroll Mizell, 44, of Van Nuys, Calif., to four months in prison with two months house arrest, while Reno resident John Ligon, 40, was ordered to serve two months behind bars. The men were convicted in June by a federal jury who found them guilty of violating the Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) for stealing the protected petroglyphs.

The three boulders were removed in August 2003 from the base of Peavine Mountain, located in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest just outside Reno. The petroglyphs, which Forest Service officials believe are at least 1,000 years old, depicted human figures, sheep, archers, wheels and lizards. One month after being stolen, the rocks were recovered in Ligon’s front yard where they were being used for landscaping purposes. full article

Union ignores request to leave mascot and tipi at home
Ponca High principal rebuffed

Sam Lewin 9/27/2004

The principal at Ponca City High School has confirmed that she asked Union High School not to bring their “redskin” mascot and tipi to last Friday night’s football contest.

Union ignored her.

Ponca Principal Linda Powers said her request stemmed from an incident two years ago; the last time Union played the Pioneers in Ponca City.

“ The year before last they brought their tipi,” Powers told the Native American Times. “ We had letters to the editor-including one from a student and one from a member of the community. They both expressed dismay at the lack of respect and said they felt [the mascot and tipi] were not dignified.” full article

Indigenous People have enjoyed only small Gains in past Decade: UN Expert

The International Decade of the World's Indigenous People brought only modest achievements, and indigenous people continue to endure below-average living standards, unequal access to justice and the loss of traditional territories, the United Nations official charged with spotlighting their human rights says.

In a report to the General Assembly, Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen said the "http://www.un.org/rights/indigenous/mediaadv.html"International Decade - which ended this year - had not ended the history of human rights violations against indigenous people. While there have been some advances at the national level, such as the introduction of favourable legislation, Mr. Stavenhagen reports, discrimination is still common in local communities. full article

Jailbirds I Have Loved…
Or "No You Can't Have My Rights. I'm Still Using Them"

by Rebecca Solnit

About a month ago I planned to commit civil disobedience in New York -- there were some Republicans in town, as you may remember -- but circumstances beyond my control put me a few hundred miles further north at the crucial moment, so I did the next best thing: stopped at Walden Pond on my way back to Manhattan. Walden, the book, not the pond, turns 150 this year, but the people at the pond that day were paying more homage to cool water than to cultural history. Most of the swimmers seemed to be locals for whom the site was part of their familiar landscape, not outlanders like us paying homage to the pond and the guy who cultivated beans and contrary thoughts by its side from 1845 to 1847. It wasn't what I expected: The trees shrouded everything up to the water's edge; a secondary thoroughfare full of commuters ran very nearby, so that after paying to park in a large lot you had to dodge speeding commuter vehicles. I didn't mind that it had become a social or a suburban place, for Thoreau, in his legendary sojourn at the pond, never intended to be remote from society for long and reported on the train speeding by his retreat. full article

Bush is History's Top Terrorist
by Harvey Wasserman

As the fourth global-warmed hurricane in two months rips through Florida, we are reminded that George W. Bush is history's top terrorist.

We know, of course, that Bush has slaughtered thousands of Iraqis, imprisoned hundreds without trial or charges, and presided over the torture and sexual abuse of many of them. He is the world's leading recruiter for hate-America terrorists the world over.

Bush's preemptive militarism has paved the way for countless crusades for oil and fundamentalism in the decades to come. He overthrew the elected government of Haiti, resulting in hundreds of deaths. He tried to do the same in Venezuela. Other target nations are sure to follow. full article

Monday, September 27, 2004

articles-september 27

A Continuing Shame

Published: September 26, 2004

Native Americans came in great numbers to Washington last week, partly to celebrate, partly to correct a historic injustice. The occasion was the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall - a vivid reminder of the profound cultural and symbolic legacy of America's indigenous peoples. In the background, however, was a continuing lawsuit, whose purpose is to restore to the Indians assets and revenues that are rightfully theirs.

Specifically, the suit seeks a proper accounting of a huge trust established more than a century ago when Congress broke up reservation lands into individual allotments. The trust was intended to manage the revenues owed to individual Indians from oil leases, timber leases and other activities. Yet a century of disarray and dishonesty by the federal government, particularly the Interior Department, whose job it is to administer the trust, has shortchanged generations of Indians and threatens to shortchange some half million more - the present beneficiaries of the trust.

Many of the beneficiaries hold minutely fractionated interests in land that has been passed down from generation to generation. But no one really grasps the true dimensions of the trust because the value of those leases and royalties is unclear, and because there has never been a real accounting of the money paid into or out of it. What has become clear is that Indians were often paid far less for leases on their property than whites were for comparable property. full article

The shame of a nation
Science & Society
By Bernadine Healy, M.D.

Native Americans paid tribute to their ancestors last week at the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. A few blocks from the Capitol, the sound of drums, whoops, and chants rolled across the grassy Mall. But if their ancestors were looking on proudly, at the same time they must have been weeping for the countless Indians who have died because the same government that erected a showpiece of a museum has flagrantly ignored its moral and legal responsibility to provide the Native American population with decent healthcare.

Browse through an archive of columns by Bernadine Healy.

The health of American Indian tribes became the government's responsibility long ago, through treaties and other covenants signed in exchange for hundreds of millions of acres of tribal land. After generations of neglect, in 1955 the Indian Health Service took over, creating an independent, single-payer, government-funded system. After half a century, there have been small improvements, but the large picture, as described in "Broken Promises," the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' July draft report evaluating the Native American healthcare system, remains bleak. full article

Mixed emotions: Indian museum evokes varied reaction

WASHINGTON - It's already been consecrated a cathedral, a spiritual marker of the ages, a beautiful Native place, a monument of magnificence.
And the National Museum of the American Indian has been open for only a few days.

Its breathtaking nature - an architectural sensation housing the world's most extensive collection of Native objects - is not disputed.

But as museums go, it is a paradox.

It evokes life. And some say it hides death. full article

Our Voice: Schwarzenegger erred in his rebuke of mascot bill
‘Redskin’ is racist, derogatory term -- has no place in school

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should have done his homework on the origin of the word ‘Redskin’ before nixing a bill that would ban the use of the offensive name on five school campuses in California.

His reasoning, that “Decisions regarding athletic team names, nicknames or mascots should be retained at the local level” -- doesn’t address the very real issue of racism involved here. We’re all in support of local control -- but this is not a local control issue -- it’s an issue of prejudice.

Since it doesn’t look like the governor opened his history book -- or the Google search engine -- before making his decision -- we decided to do the research for him:

At one time in our not so distant past, there was a bounty on the heads of the Indian people. full article

Homecoming for ancestral remains
By Dan Box
September 28, 2004

EIGHT Aboriginal elders will arrive in Sweden today to retrieve ancestral remains taken from communities across Australia in the early 1900s.
The formal repatriation ceremony will mark the end of a process that began last year, when the Swedish Government became the first to volunteer the return of Aboriginal remains to Australia.

Ken Robinson, from the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, said the elders had asked to receive the 15 skeletons in person. full article

Bolivia's Aymara taking justice into own hands

Fed up with the system, peasants stage protests in push for autonomy
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Foreign Service

AYO AYO, BOLIVIA - The blood has been washed away. But the blackened concrete below a broken lamppost in this town's main plaza serves as a reminder of the grisly lynching that took place here.

Before dawn on June 15, Benjamin Altamirano, the mayor of Ayo Ayo, was hanged from the lamppost and set ablaze. An autopsy indicated he had already been beaten to death.

More than three months later, 11 suspects sit in jail, awaiting trial for Altamirano's kidnapping and murder.

But it is hard to find anyone who expresses much pity for the mayor in Ayo Ayo, a poor village of fewer than 700 Aymara Indians on the windswept high plains an hour's drive south of Bolivia's capital, La Paz. full article

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Stop Lewis & Clark has a website

The group of natives who have raised stiff opposition to the Lewis and Clark re-enactment now have a website. We encourage everyone to check it out. www.stoplewisandclark.org

The protest at Pierre, this weekend, was also covered by the Denver Post, which portrayed the protest in a largely favorable light.

Lewis and Clark re-enactors stir Indian debate

By Jim Hughes
Denver Post Staff Writer

Fort Pierre, S.D. - It was 200 years ago that the Corps of Discovery led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first met the Sioux, the native people of the High Plains.

One of the most significant encounters happened here, where the Bad River, known then as the Teton, meets the Missouri River, which the corps had followed upstream from St. Louis. It was tense, according to expedition journals, but fighting was averted. The party that eventually opened up the West for the expansion of a young United States of America continued on.

On Saturday, a group of Lewis and Clark re-enactors heading back up the Missouri to commemorate the bicentennial and descendants of the Teton Sioux who today call themselves Lakota returned to the scene of the historic meeting. full article

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Kaplan's "Indian Country" op-ed-Steve Newcomb's response

For those not familiar with Robert Kaplan, he is one of the ideological guides of the Neo-Conservatives. He is an unabashed advocate of United States Imperialism and proposes policies that would extend and strengthen empire of the United States.

This first op-ed was written by Robert Kaplan and appeared in the editorial section of the Wall Street Journal. In an earlier post, we noted that George Bush had used the term "Indian Country" when addressing the audience gathered for the NMAI opening. "Indian Country" has various legal and political definitions but it also is a term used in the military. Robert Kaplan explains how the term "Indian Country" fits into his ideological framework.

The second commentary is a response from Shawnee scholar, Steve Newcomb.

War on Terrorism
Indian Country
By Robert D. Kaplan

The Wall Street Journal
September 21, 2004
An overlooked truth about the war on terrorism, and the war in Iraq in particular, is that they both arrived too soon for the American military: before it had adequately transformed itself from a dinosauric, Industrial Age beast to a light and lethal instrument skilled in guerrilla warfare, attuned to the local environment in the way of the 19th-century Apaches. My mention of the Apaches is deliberate. For in a world where mass infantry invasions are becoming politically and diplomatically prohibitive -- even as dirty little struggles proliferate, featuring small clusters of combatants hiding out in Third World slums, deserts and jungles -- the American military is back to the days of fighting the Indians.

The red Indian metaphor is one with which a liberal policy nomenklatura may be uncomfortable, but Army and Marine field officers have embraced it because it captures perfectly the combat challenge of the early 21st century. But they don't mean it as a slight against the Native North Americans. The fact that radio call signs so often employ Indian names is an indication of the troops' reverence for them. The range of Indian groups, numbering in their hundreds, that the U.S. Cavalry and Dragoons had to confront was no less varied than that of the warring ethnic and religious militias spread throughout Eurasia, Africa and South America in the early 21st century. When the Cavalry invested Indian encampments, they periodically encountered warrior braves beside women and children, much like Fallujah. Though most Cavalry officers tried to spare the lives of noncombatants, inevitable civilian casualties raised howls of protest among humanitarians back East, who, because of the dissolution of the conscript army at the end of the Civil War, no longer empathized with a volunteer force beyond the Mississippi that was drawn from the working classes.

Indian Country has been expanding in recent years because of the security vacuum created by the collapse of traditional dictatorships and the emergence of new democracies -- whose short-term institutional weaknesses provide whole new oxygen systems for terrorists. Iraq is but a microcosm of the earth in this regard. To wit, the upsurge of terrorism in the vast archipelago of Indonesia, the southern Philippines and parts of Malaysia is a direct result of the anarchy unleashed by the passing of military regimes. Likewise, though many do not realize it, a more liberalized Middle East will initially see greater rather than lesser opportunities for terrorists. As the British diplomatist Harold Nicolson understood, public opinion is not necessarily enlightened merely because it has been suppressed.

I am not suggesting that we should not work for free societies. I am suggesting that our military-security establishment be under no illusions regarding the immediate consequences.

In Indian Country, it is not only the outbreak of a full-scale insurgency that must be avoided, but the arrival in significant numbers of the global media. It would be difficult to fight more cleanly than the Marines did in Fallujah. Yet that still wasn't a high enough standard for independent foreign television voices such as al-Jazeera, whose very existence owes itself to the creeping liberalization in the Arab world for which the U.S. is largely responsible. For the more we succeed in democratizing the world, not only the more security vacuums that will be created, but the more constrained by newly independent local medias our military will be in responding to those vacuums. From a field officer's point of view, an age of democracy means an age of restrictive ROEs (rules of engagement).

The American military now has the most thankless task of any military in the history of warfare: to provide the security armature for an emerging global civilization that, the more it matures -- with its own mass media and governing structures -- the less credit and sympathy it will grant to the very troops who have risked and, indeed, given their lives for it. And as the thunderous roar of a global cosmopolitan press corps gets louder -- demanding the application of abstract principles of universal justice that, sadly, are often neither practical nor necessarily synonymous with American national interest -- the smaller and more low-key our deployments will become. In the future, military glory will come down to shadowy, page-three skirmishes around the globe, that the armed services will quietly celebrate among their own subculture.

The goal will be suppression of terrorist networks through the training of -- and combined operations with -- indigenous troops. That is why the Pan-Sahel Initiative in Africa, in which Marines and Army Special Forces have been training local militaries in Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad, in order to counter al-Qaeda infiltration of sub-Saharan Africa, is a surer paradigm for the American imperial future than anything occurring in Iraq or Afghanistan.

In months of travels with the American military, I have learned that the smaller the American footprint and the less notice it draws from the international media, the more effective is the operation. One good soldier-diplomat in a place like Mongolia can accomplish miracles. A few hundred Green Berets in Colombia and the Philippines can be adequate force multipliers. Ten thousand troops, as in Afghanistan, can tread water. And 130,000, as in Iraq, constitutes a mess that nobody wants to repeat -- regardless of one's position on the war.

In Indian Country, the smaller the tactical unit, the more forward deployed it is, and the more autonomy it enjoys from the chain of command, the more that can be accomplished. It simply isn't enough for units to be out all day in Iraqi towns and villages engaged in presence patrols and civil-affairs projects: A successful FOB (forward operating base) is a nearly empty one, in which most units are living beyond the base perimeters among the indigenous population for days or weeks at a time.

Much can be learned from our ongoing Horn of Africa experience. From a base in Djibouti, small U.S. military teams have been quietly scouring an anarchic region that because of an Islamic setting offers al Qaeda cultural access. "Who needs meetings in Washington," one Army major told me. "Guys in the field will figure out what to do. I took 10 guys to explore eastern Ethiopia. In every town people wanted a bigger American presence. They know we're here, they want to see what we can do for them." The new economy-of-force paradigm being pioneered in the Horn borrows more from the Lewis and Clark expedition than from the major conflicts of the 20th century.

In Indian Country, as one general officer told me, "you want to whack bad guys quietly and cover your tracks with humanitarian-aid projects." Because of the need for simultaneous military, relief and diplomatic operations, our greatest enemy is the size, rigidity and artificial boundaries of the Washington bureaucracy. Thus, the next administration, be it Republican or Democrat, will have to advance the merging of the departments of State and Defense as never before; or risk failure. A strong secretary of state who rides roughshod over a less dynamic defense secretary -- as a Democratic administration appears to promise -- will only compound the problems created by the Bush administration, in which the opposite has occurred. The two secretaries must work in unison, planting significant numbers of State Department personnel inside the military's war fighting commands, and defense personnel inside a modernized Agency for International Development.

The Plains Indians were ultimately vanquished not because the U.S. Army adapted to the challenge of an unconventional enemy. It never did. In fact, the Army never learned the lesson that small units of foot soldiers were more effective against the Indians than large mounted regiments burdened by the need to carry forage for horses: whose contemporary equivalent are convoys of humvees bristling with weaponry that are easily immobilized by an improvised bicycle bomb planted by a lone insurgent. Had it not been for a deluge of settlers aided by the railroad, security never would have been brought to the Old West.

Now there are no new settlers to help us, nor their equivalent in any form. To help secure a more liberal global environment, American ground troops are going to have to learn to be more like Apaches. link to article

This is Steve Newcomb's response. At this point, we have not web link for it but will provide one when it becomes available on the internet.

Indian Country As “Enemy Territory”
Steven Newcomb, Columnist

On September 21, the day some 20,000 American Indian representatives gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, the Wall St. Journal decided publish a column by Robert D. Kaplan, based on the background metaphor Indian Country is Enemy Territory.

Kaplan’s article is entitled “Indian Country.” He uses the term “Indian Country” to frame and illustrate a number points he wants to make about “the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq in particular.”

For example, Kaplan says that as “dirty little struggles proliferate, featuring small clusters of combatants hiding out in Third World slums, deserts and jungles—the American military is back to the days of fighting the Indians.”

Since the United States government and the U.S. military are said to be fighting “terrorists,” another background metaphor Kaplan uses can be expressed as a simile: Fighting present day “terrorists” is like a return to the days when the U.S. was fighting Indians in the “Old West.” Flip the analogy around, and our Native ancestors who resisted the advance of the United States are being compared to present day “terrorists” and “insurgents.”

In a previous discussion of American pathological attitudes and behavior towards Native peoples, this column explained that metaphors are used to think of one thing in terms of another. Kaplan claims that the “red Indian metaphor…captures perfectly the combat challenges …[faced by the American military in] the early 21st century.” Thus, the combat challenges that the U.S. military is facing in the Middle East and in other areas of the world, are being thought of in terms of the combat challenges that U.S. military once faced in its wars against Indian nations during the expansion of the American empire across the West.

In other words, Kaplan is thinking of the U.S. “war against terrorism” and the U.S. “war in Iraq in particular” in terms of the U.S. war against “Indian Country” in the latter decades of the nineteenth century.

There are two main steps to this kind of metaphorical thinking. First, think of features and characteristic of the U.S. war against Indian nations in the West in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Second, imaginatively apply those characteristics to what U.S. military is now attempting to accomplish against its enemies abroad.

To balance our comparison, the word “enemies” is a term that needs to be applied to both the present day context and to the Indians of the past. Thus, there are two conceptual metaphors behind Kaplan’s use of “Indian Country” for his column:
1) Indians Are Enemies, and, 2) Indian Country is Enemy Territory. Enemies are those who are hostile to the way the U.S. defines its interests, some of whom are willing to oppose the U.S. militarily, and the category “enemy territory” is any region where such people live or are located.

To slightly soften his comparison, Kaplan reassures us that the comparison he is making is inspired by the U.S. military’s “reverence for” Indian enemies of old. In other words, Kaplan apparently wants us to know that the U.S. military now has “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe” for the prowess of Indian enemy combatants of the past.

Kaplan sees a number of similarities between the past and the present. In the past, Kaplan says that the U.S. military’s job was to confront a wide “range of Indian groups, numbering in their hundreds.” The varieties of Indians, says Kaplan, “was no less varied than that of the warring ethnic and religious militias spread throughout Eurasia, Africa and South America in the early 21st century,” which, in Kaplan’s mind is the geographical scope of the “war on terror.”

Kaplan also sees that “civilian casualties” was an issue in the past, just as it is in the present. Thus: “When the Cavalry invested Indian encampments, they periodically encountered warrior braves beside women and children, much like Fallujah.”
Kaplan’s use of the word “invested” is certainly appropriate for a Wall St. Journal readership,” but in a military context the term means, “to surround a place with military forces so as to prevent approach or escape.”

Invest also means, “to besiege.” Siege is “the act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place,” but also, “any prolonged or persistent effort to overcome resistance.” Under “lay siege to” my dictionary provides the following example: “The invaders laid siege to the city for over a month.” Thus, Kaplan’s use of the term “invest” has metaphorically framed the U.S. Cavalry of the past as an invading force against Indian villages.

However, Kaplan reassures us that when the U.S. cavalry surrounded Indian encampments, “most Cavalry officers tried to spare the lives of noncombatants,” yet “inevitable civilian casualties” resulted, which “raised howls of protest among humanitarians back east.”

The massacre at the Washita River is a prime example of “inevitable civilian casualties” during nineteenth century U.S. military actions against Indian people. At dawn, on November 27, 1868, the 7th Cavalry attacked the tipi encampment of Black Kettle, a Cheyenne Peace Chief. The attack occurred under the command of Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who was responsible for the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. Custer was under orders from General Phil Sheridan “to proceed south in the direction of the Antelope Hills, thence toward the Washita River, the supposed winter seat of the hostile tribes; to destroy their villages and ponies, to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”

At dawn, Custer’s troops attacked the camp on the Washita. In no time at all, the deadly fire from the soldiers guns cut down 103 “hostiles,” only 11 of whom were warriors. In other words, Custer’s troops killed 92 women and children. “Inevitable civilian casualties” resulted from the U.S. soldiers indiscriminately killing Cheyennes. The soldiers also gunned down several hundred horses. The horse was at the heart of the Cheyennes way of life and economy. The bullets that killed the horses was just another way of firing into the hearts of the Cheyennes.

Custer and his troops returned to Camp Supply where Sheridan was waiting. They marched in a procession, waving the scalps of Black Kettle and other massacred Cheyennes. A band played triumphant music. The soldiers with them 53 captured Cheyenne women and children. Sheridan praised Custer for “efficient and gallant services.”

Elsewhere in his column, Mr. Kaplan refers to “the American imperial future,” which, of course, correctly suggests an “American imperial past and present.” In my view, the metaphor of the American Empire is the frame needed to understand Kaplan’s use of the metaphor “Indian Country,” and to make sense of his comparison between the unjustifiable past actions of the U.S. against Indian nations and the U.S.’s current unjustifiable war in Iraq. Imperialism is its own justification.

His reference to America’s “imperial future,” infers that it was during America’s imperial past that the Plains Indians were, in Kaplan’s view, “ultimately vanquished” by “a deluge of settlers aided by the railroad.” If not for settlers and railroads, Kaplan suggests, the U.S. never could have been victorious in the Old West. He somehow fails to mention the U.S.’s intentional slaughter of the Indian communities, and the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo in order to destroy the food supplies and economic strength of the Plains Nations.

I understand the ending of Kaplan’s article in the following way: because there will be “no new settlers to help” the U.S. realize its “imperial future” in other parts of the world, “American ground troops are going to have to learn to be more like Apaches.” That Kaplan’s comparison here is weak, and ineffectual is illustrated by a photograph of Geronimo and a number of other Apache warriors brandishing rifles, with a present day photo caption that reads: “Fighting Terrorism Since 1492.”

The cognitive model for this photograph is familiar to every Native person who knows the history of what has been done by the United States to terrorize, kill off, and dispossess our ancestors, such as at the Washita River. Kaplan’s analogy doesn’t work because the Apaches were a key part of the resistance to the American empire for some twenty-five years.

Friday, September 24, 2004

"Why commemorate genocide?"- Resistors to oppose L & C, in PIerre, SD, this weekend

We have no link for this, yet, but will post it as soon as possible, along with the proper attribution.
Natives to protest Lewis and Clark at Pierre this weekend

Freedom Thinking Native Nations Protest the “Dawn of Genocide of
Lewis and Clark"

While a stone-faced Thomas Jefferson looks on from atop Mt. Rushmore, modern-day Lewis and Clark wannabes and a few descendants are
commemorating Jefferson's initial plan of cultural genocide, by
trekking up the Missouri River through Indian territories.

A large contingency of American Indian resistors are planning to
again confront and denounce the on-going celebrations of the Lewis and
Clark Commemorative Expedition this weekend at Ft. Pierre, SD.

An initial confrontation took place on September 18th at Chamberlain,
SD, where the Expedition had docked for weekend festivities. Rresistors
made known their stand that the re-enactors should turn their boats
around and leave Lakota country, while emphasizing the enormous
emotional impact this reenactment is having on many native people. In a
written statement released Monday, September 20th, the Expedition crew
stated that they will proceed upriver.

The group of sovereign resistors included tribal headsmen, grandmothers, students and young children with a common theme..."Why commemorate genocide?"

The group scoffed at historians statements concerning the "minimal or
negligible impact" that Lewis and Clark had on Indians. The resistors
believe that under the guidance of their commander, Thomas Jefferson,
Lewis and Clark's maiden voyage forged the gateway to the dawn of genocide for Indian nations.

While the Expedition contends that it has support from tribal
leadership along the route, the resistors believe that, just as the
original crew had done, this organization merely dangled some shiny
coins before the elected leaders to get them on board for this
money-making adventure.

The genocide of the native nations continues, the Indian spirit of many natives has been killed by the genocide of America toward indigenous people as demonstrated by the colonized thinking leading tribal organizations, governments and people to welcome and celebrate with Lewis and Clark Commemoration.

The resistors are encouraging all native peoples to decolonize their
viewpoints on this issue and join them in their pursuit to stop this

A caravan of Lakota people will arrive in Ft. Pierre, SD the weekend
of September 25-26, 2004 to again protest the "Dawn of Genocide" that
the Lewis and Clark Expedition represents to freedom-thinking native

For more information contact Alex White Plume 605-455-1142, Floyd
Hand 605-867-5762, Vic Camp 605-455-1122

Anti-racist faces 6 years in prison for actions in opposing a racist parade

New Port Richey is the site for an annual Chasco Fiesta Parade. Each year, the parade includes a float dubbed the "Krewe of Chasco float" which is made up of white guys in native headresses and other Hollywood Indian garb.

Last March, 62 year old Daniel Callaghan(Irish), of the Society of Citizens Against Racism, ran in front of the float with a PVC pipe on his arm and attached himself to a bolt. In short, he locked down.

Callagan went on trial to defend against charges of disturbing a lawful assembly, obstruction of a highway,disorderly conduct and battery on a law enforcement officer;the last charge a felony. The felony charge carries the possibility of a 6 year prison term.

This is what the prosecutors contended in regard to the felony charge.

Prosecutors say Callaghan disobeyed officers' orders to get out of the road. Officers testified that when they tried to unbolt Callaghan from the street, he slammed the plastic pipe down on highway patrol Trooper Eric Madill's hand, causing minor injury.

``He was doing that intentionally because he didn't want us to get in there and unhook that thing,'' Madill testified. full article

Yesterda, a jury found Daniel guilty on all charges.

The jury of three men and three women found Callaghan guilty on all four charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct, obstructing a highway and disturbing a lawful assembly. Callaghan, a retired Marine who now sells rare books on the Internet, barely reacted to the verdict.

When sentenced by Circuit Judge Michael F. Andrews next month, Callaghan could be given more than six years in prison.

"He risked everything so he could have the right to stand up for what he believes in," defense attorney Steve Bartlett said. "You have to admire him for that."full article

When sentenced next month, Daniel faces 6 years in prison.Six years in prison for a scratch on a cops hand? The prosecutor felt that little scratch was more severe than the legacy of racism that Daniel was protesting.

"The only scar left is the scar on Trooper (Eric) Madill's hand," Tremblay said, improvising on Bartlett's argument that American Indians have been wounded by the continued misappropriation of their culture.

Bartlett, who said an appeal will be filed, said Callaghan had tried various means to stop the krewe, including talking with members of the group and seeking an injunction. Only after that failed, Bartlett said, did Callaghan hatch the plan to derail the parade.

The stunt was designed to uphold public morality, Bartlett argued, by calling attention to an offensive display. The jury apparently thought otherwise.

Asked if the conviction were a setback to efforts to protest the krewe, Bartlett said his client's actions would eventually be seen as just, not unlike those of other historical defenders of civil rights.

We believe that Daniel Callagan will be judged by people of conscience to have been on the right side of history. We'll end this post with a letter from Daniel, in which he asks for people to continue the work he started.

Letter from Daniel Callagan
Dear Friends,

A jury of six New Port Richey citizens
found me guilty on all counts, in my stopping the
Krewe of Chasco float during the March 20, 2004
Chasco parade. For stopping the parade for 5 minutes,
and allegedly causing a tiny scratch to Officer
Madill's hand in the process of arresting me--a
scratch he said he treated himself with pressure,
causing no scar and nothing requiring medical
treatment. Officer Madill also stated that he
couldn't say I did the injury deliberately, and that it
might well have been an accident. So I may go to
state prison approximately one year for every
minute of the civil disobedience--so much for
justice in Florida.

I expect there is rejoicing among those who
promote and belong to the Krewe of Chasco, and
clearly, my efforts to end this Red Minstrel show
are seriously handicapped for the next several
years. I will do what I can, but I can do very
little now. It is up to you to continue our efforts to
end this last vestige of racism toward American
Indians. Please, don't fail.

Semper Fi,
Dan Callaghan,
President-Director, SCAR.
7108 Daggett
Terrace, New Port Richey FL

American Indian or Native American?-

Slate.com has a regular feature called "the explainer." As the name states, the column gives attempts to answer questions that might be on the mind of it's readers. Some recent columns have tackled such questions as "How to renounce your citizenship""Why are killer bees so slow" and "Why do we get Labor Day off?" Today, slate gives some reasons for the simultaneous,opposing, and at times confusing, use of the terms "American Indian" and "Native American."

This is how slate describes it.

Despite the wave of political correctness in the 1990s, during which "Native American" was often trumpeted as a more sensitive phrase, American Indians remain split on which term is preferable. A 1995 Department of Labor survey found that close to 50 percent of American Indians were perfectly happy with that label, while 37 percent preferred to be known as Native Americans. Those who prefer the former often do so because "Native American" sounds like a phrase concocted by government regulators—note, for example, that one of the community's most radical civil rights groups is the American Indian Movement. Those who prefer Native American, on the other hand, often think that "Indian" conjures up too many vicious stereotypes from Western serials.

Though either term works when referring to the general population, individuals often prefer to be identified according to their tribal affiliation. It would be considered good form, for example, to refer to writer N. Scott Momaday as, "N. Scott Momaday, a member of the Kiowa tribe," rather than, "N. Scott Momaday, an American Indian." Full article

By some accounts, the term "Native American" was created by the Census Bureau, which is one reason that some Indigenous Peoples object to it. Another reason is that anyone born in this country will often lay claim to the term "Native American."

The origin of the term "American Indian" is not altogether clear either. As the article later notes, one objection to that label is that it includes the term "Indian," which can lead one to believe the person in question is actually from the country of India.

Slate also misunderstands a term, as it is used by bush, in that the use of "Indian Country" has a legal and political grounding.(The Wall Street Journal recently ran an editorial titled "indian country" which will be the subject of a later entry) This is the paragraph containing the gaffe.

Perhaps the biggest goof is to drop the American from American Indian, as President Bush did at the ceremony while waxing poetic on how "the sun is rising on Indian country." Native Americans/American Indians often dislike this simplest of monikers, as it can lead to confusion about whether a person is a tribal member or an émigré from the Indian subcontinent.

To most Indigenous Peoples, Bush's use of the term "Indian Country" would be considered correct as it has the legal and political dimensions attached to it.

There should be a correction made as to the description used for the American Indian Movement. Slate refers to the American Indian Movement as the"community's most radical civil rights groups." The American Indian Movement is not a civil rights group, per se, but rather an organization dedicated to the liberation of Indigenous Nations and Peoples. The defense of civil rights certainly falls within that objective, but it is not the primary goal that the American Indian Movement pursues.

Arrests of Skewelkwek'welt defenders condemned by Council of Canadians

Letters of support for the Skwelkwek'welt defenders, along with condemnations of their arrests, continue to be sent. The latest one is from the Council of Canadians.

Council of Canadians Condemns Arrest of Indigenous Activists at Sun Peaks

September 23, 2004
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA: The Council of Canadians joins the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the Skwelkwek'welt Protection Centre and national and international supporters in condemning the arrests of three Indigenous protestors on Tuesday, September 21 at the Sun Peaks Ski Resort in Kamloops, BC.

"These arrests show that the Gordon Campbell Liberals are willing to use police force to keep BC open for business as usual', says the Council of Canadians?" BC-Yukon Regional Organizer, Tara Scurr. "The provincial government is willing to openly defy a Supreme Court of Canada ruling for dealing with Aboriginal interests in traditional territories in order to allow the Sun Peaks expansion to occur in time for the 2010 Olympics".

On September 6, Sun Peaks Resort took Secwepemc protesters to court and was granted an injunction and enforcement order to remove them from occupying Phase II of the expansion site. Rather than stepping in to protect Aboriginal Title and Rights as mandated by the Canadian Constitution, the Attorney General of British Columbia appeared in court to support the Sun Peaks motion to obtain the injunction. The provincial government is willing to facilitate corporate control over Aboriginal territories at the expense of Canada's national and international obligations.

Chief Nathan Matthew of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (SNTC) stated in a joint press release with the Skwelkwek'welt Protection Centre, "there will be conflict between the Secwecpemc and the federal and provincial governments as well as developers until the federal and provincial governments live up to their legal obligations and implement the Delgamuukw and Haida Supreme Court decisions through good faith negotiations rather than through narrow, sharp dealing decisions that result in direct action and the criminalization of the Secwepemc people".
The Council of Canadians works with grassroots activists throughout Canada to protect the commons and will continue to support a community-led process in Secwepemc Territory that seeks to uphold judicial and constitutional obligations that affirm Aboriginal Title and Rights. We are encouraged that a solid working relationship between the SNTC and the Skwelkwek'welt Protection Centre has emerged to work for the protection of these rights.

We will continue to inform our members about the efforts to exercise Aboriginal Title and Rights in Secwepemc Territory. We ask that the Canadian government stop the criminalization of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada who exercise their rights and to instead strengthen the mechanisms by which Aboriginal Peoples can assert their Aboriginal Title and Rights.

Tara Scurr, BC-Yukon Regional Organizer, 604.688.8846
or Laura Sewell, Media Officer: 1.623.233.4487 ext. 234

Tohono O' odham testify before Civil Rights Commision about Border Patrol harassment

This article appeared in today's web edition of "Indian Country Today." It details some of the harassment that's endured by the Tohono O" odham, at the hands of the Border Patrol.

Following the article are some photographs taken on the Tohono O' odham reservation. The first is a watch tower that the Border Patrol has placed on the reservation. The second is a photo that Tohono O' odham can relate to;being followed by the border patrol on their own lands. The last photo is of a "detention camp" where they hold those who cross the border.

Civil Rights Commission hears indigenous peoples at border

Posted: September 24, 2004 - 1:04pm EST
by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today
NOGALES, Ariz. - The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights heard reports of the abuse of indigenous peoples by U.S. Border Patrol agents, now under Homeland Security, and the climate of fear in America that has increased militarization, intimidation and racial profiling at the international border.

"Personally my life is in danger for making this statement," Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O’odham, told the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s Arizona State Advisory Committee during two days of hearings in Nogales.

Because there is a swarm of tribal and federal agents around O’odham, Rivas said O’odham fear for their lives when coming forward with the truth. "Many of the tribal members will not report abuse because of the fear of reprisal."

Describing a climate of oppression on Tohono O’odham lands in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, Rivas said O’odham are denied unrestricted free passage across the international border, which dissects O’odham lands.

O’odham are halted while attending annual ceremonies in Mexico and the United States, during pilgrimages to sacred sites for offerings and when collecting ceremonial items. Forced to carry documents and subjected to frequent stops, searches and the threat of deportation, she said O’odham cannot freely collect medicinal plants or conduct personal business.
Rivas said O’odham civil rights and religious rights are violated by U.S. Border Patrol agents on traditional routes crossing this border. Full article

articles-september 24

Indian Affairs minister tells skeptical native leaders better times are ahead

Wed Sep 22, 9:19 PM ET


NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. (CP) - Canada's latest Indian Affairs minister - the seventh in the past 15 years - got a rough reception Wednesday at a meeting of B.C. aboriginal leaders, despite his assertion that aboriginal people are high on the Liberal government's agenda.

Andy Scott told delegates to the First Nations Summit convention the government was committed to improving the lives of aboriginals across the country and reaching treaties in British Columbia, where few formal treaties were signed after the province entered Confederation.

"This government has raised the aboriginal agenda to an unprecedented level of importance," Scott said in a speech on the Squamish reserve.

The minister reminded the delegates that Prime Minister Paul Martin said he wants his term to be remembered for progress on four issues: health care, children, cities and aboriginals. full article

Thinking in Indian: National Geographic sounds alarm on global warming

Posted: September 24, 2004 - 12:09pm EST

Even for the editor of the prestigious National Geographic Magazine, it was an act of daring. No matter that a mammoth amount of scientific research clearly documents the reality of global warming and its impact on climate, National Geographic Editor Bill Allen knew he was risking something by publishing stories on a subject about which, he writes, "some readers get mad ... we’ll get letters ... some will even terminate their memberships."
Unquestionably one of the world’s largest and most respected research institutions, the National Geographic Society takes its scientific documentation seriously. National Geographic prides itself on the finely detailed vetting process it demands of every paragraph it publishes in its magazine. And when a fact is wrong they provide acknowledgment. full article

Navajos, Hopis close to settling longtime land dispute

The Arizona Republic
Sept. 24, 2004 12:00 AM

More than 700,000 acres of the western Navajo Reservation have been in limbo for nearly 40 years, caught up in a land dispute with the Hopi Tribe over access to religious sites.

Construction, including extension of water and electrical lines, has been banned in the area, leaving thousands of families, mostly Navajo, without running water, lights or modern appliances.

But now, through the efforts of tribal leaders, lawyers and negotiating teams on both sides, there is hope of a settlement. full article

Feds may stick Gallup for $350,000

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK - Gallup city officials said Wednesday that a meeting on Tuesday with U.S. Department of Justice officials went well.

Gallup Mayor Bob Rosebrough said that by the time the meeting ended, city
officials had a better understanding of the allegations that have been under investigation by the civic rights section of the federal agency.

City officials still don't know, however, who has been making allegations
against the city alleging discrimination in hiring or employment but Rosebrough said federal officials have indicated that they will make more information known in the next few days at least about what departments are involved.

Documents provided to the Navajo Times show that federal officials are
looking at the city paying $350,000 to reimburse Native Americans who claim that they have been discrimination against, either by not being hired, not being promoted or being harassed by supervisors. full article

Attorney: Chippewa Cree activist's imprisonment is rights violation

Tribune Projects Editor

An Indian activist has been jailed in violation of his civil rights, his attorney charged Thursday.

Russell Standing Rock was arrested Wednesday in Havre and transferred to the Rocky Boy jail, where he's being held without bond, family friend Jodee LaMere said.

"This seems to be another situation in which they can do as they wish with no regard for due process," said Standing Rock's attorney, Ken Olson of Great Falls.

But Chief Judge Dwayne Gopher said the jailing resulted from a second criminal contempt of court charge filed against Standing Rock, a spokesman for the Chippewa Cree Grassroots People, an activist group that opposes several changes to the tribal constitution. full article

New Indian Museum in D.C. doesn't impress Navajos

The Associated Press
FARMINGTON, N.M. - Members of the Navajo Nation who traveled to Washington, D.C., for the opening of the new American Indian National Museum said they were disappointed.

"There was not even a place for our Navajo dignitaries to be seated," Navajo Council Delegate Evelyn Acothley said. "There was no information about the reserved seats for tribal leaders." President Joe Shirley Jr. "had to ask to be included."

Museum spokesman Thomas Sweeney said officials worked through the Navajo Nation Washington office to get invitations out to Navajo leaders. full article

Thursday, September 23, 2004

4 directions, one hope

This article, about the 4 directions all nations march, appeared in today's edition of the Boulder Weekly

Four Directions, one hope
Transform Columbus Day to complete the four-year ceremonial cycle in opposition to colonialism

by Pamela White

If Bartolomé de Las Casas were alive today, he’d be dumbstruck to see Americans celebrating Italian explorer and slave trader Christopher Columbus as a hero. De Las Casas, a Catholic priest and Spanish missionary to the Americas, was a contemporary of Columbus’ and is perhaps best known for his vigorous opposition to Columbus’ treatment of Indigenous Americans.

Writing in the 1540s, De Las Casas described in graphic detail the violence heaped upon Indian peoples by Columbus and his Spanish followers, including murder, enslavement, the torture and dismemberment of children and the rape of Indigenous women.

"We can estimate very surely and truthfully that in the 40 years that have passed, with the infernal actions of the Christians, there have been unjustly slain more than 12 million men, women and children. In truth, I believe without trying to deceive myself that the number of the slain is more like 15 million," de Las Casas writes in A Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies.

Despite de Las Casas’ eyewitness accounts–and a wealth of factual information proving that Columbus was not the first European to come upon the North American continent–Columbus has been honored with his own special day each October since the city of Pueblo began observing Columbus Day in 1905.

It’s not surprising that Denver, as the capital of the state where Columbus Day got its start, is Ground Zero in the resistance movement to Columbus Day. Since 1990, when the city’s Columbus Day parade was resurrected after a 30-year hiatus, American Indians and their supporters have stood together to oppose the event, culminating in a demonstration and more than 150 arrests in 2000.

Since 2001, those efforts have centered around the All Nations/Four Directions March, an event sponsored by the Transform Columbus Day Alliance, a coalition of more than 80 groups representing a broad spectrum of American society.

"The Four Direction march was a four-year pledge to try to indicate to Denver, to the parade organizers, to the state of Colorado, that there is an alternative to hateful and acrimonious cultural celebrations and that people of all communities, of all nations, of all races can come together in a mutually respectful way and celebrate their presence in our homeland," says Glenn Morris, a member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado.

A Four Directions March is an American Indian healing ceremony, in which marchers converge at central location–in this case Cuernavaca Park–from the four cardinal directions. The ceremony typically involves drumming, singing and prayer. The four directions are sacred to most Indigenous peoples, and each is associated with a color–yellow, white, black and red–which, in turn, have become associated with the four "races" of humanity–Asian, Anglo, African and Indian.

"The Transform Columbus Day Alliance isn’t just about being naysayers," Morris says. "It’s not just about being against. It’s about what we’re for, what we aspire to as a community, as a city, as a country."

Like many American Indian ceremonies, a Four Directions march doesn’t occur year to year, but rather takes place in a four-year cycle. Once the commitment is made, the four-year cycle must be completed. The fourth march is slated for Friday, Oct. 8, in Denver.

As this four-year cycle draws to a close, organizers say there is an air of celebration.

"There is a strong sense of accomplishment," says Gail Bundy of the Red Earth Women’s Alliance, one of the event’s sponsors. "When we started, everybody told us we couldn’t do it."

But for each of the past three marches, more than 2,000 people have participated, bringing drums from every culture to join together with the host drums brought by various American Indian groups.

The atmosphere of unity and celebration that pervades the All Nations/Four Directions March is a sharp contrast to that of the Columbus Day Parade itself, which looks nothing like a traditional parade with floats, balloons, clowns and marching bands. Dubbed the Caravan of Conquest by the Transform Columbus Day Alliance, the parade features a small testosterone-heavy cortege of men on motorcycles, in Humvees, limousines and big trucks, who rev their engines, honk their horns and shout epithets as they pass American Indians and other protestors.

"Technology can be used for progressive and humanizing efforts and endeavors," Morris says. "And instead, what they do is they use gas-guzzling limousines and Humvees and motorcycles to drown out and silence the voice of the original people from here… This is not about the celebration of Columbus. This is a celebration about the war for the Americas, and they are the victors and we are the vanquished."

Morris says that coming together in a positive way has produced unexpected results over the past four years. Among the alliance’s achievements are the passage by the city of Denver of the nation’s first resolution to oppose the USA PATRIOT Act and the exposure of illegal surveillance conducted by area law enforcement of nonviolent activist groups and the opening of the "spy files" to public scrutiny.

He says media coverage of the issue has improved over the course of the past four years, with newspapers demonstrating a willingness to address atrocities committed by Columbus and his followers. During a recent appearance on the Peter Boyles Show, Morris says he saw proof that the public’s perspective has changed, as well.

"Every single caller prefaced his or her remarks by saying, ‘I know Columbus was a bad guy, but…,’" Morris says. "Years ago that wouldn’t have happened. People would have said, ‘Columbus is a national hero. You should recognize that.’ And so this campaign, I think, really has had an effect on the way people have been forced to reexamine the historical record about Columbus himself and about his legacy."

Bundy says she’s also seen a shift in the way members of the alliance address social issues and disagreements.

"Typically when you get in discussions, you get into who’s right and who’s wrong. But when you start talking in terms of balance–what’s in balance, what’s out of balance–we find we’re looking at problems in a completely different way," she says.

The lesson they’ve learned, she says, is that forming good relationships with other people is more important than the outcome.

"People who may never have had reason to work together are working together and enjoying it," she says. "It’s in those relationships and that understanding of how we are, indeed, all related that the real strength of the transformative work begins."

Bundy says the focus now is on completing the four-year cycle. What the alliance will do after completing this march has not been decided.

"What we’re really doing is touching hearts and hopes, because we all really want to believe that we all can live together."

Four Directions details

The fourth All Nations/Four Directions March will take place on Friday, Oct. 8. Participants should meet at one of the Four Directions gathering places by 5 p.m. The march begins at 5:30. People are encouraged to wear the color associated with the direction they choose to start from. The gathering places are:

West (black) – Viking Park at Speer and Federal

North (red)–Globeville Landing Park, 38th Avenue and Atkins Court

East (yellow)–Blair-Caldwell Library, 24th and Welton

South (white)–Fishback Landing Park, 700 Water Street (east of Ocean Journey)

For more information, go to www.transformcolumbusday.org.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

articles-september 23

Feds blamed for Chemawa student’s death

Hold Indian Affairs officials accountable, inspector urges

The Associated Press
September 23, 2004

PORTLAND — Senior Bureau of Indian Affairs officials ignored warnings that jail cells at American Indian boarding schools could prove lethal and they should be held responsible for the death of a 16-year-old girl at a Salem school last year, a federal inspector testified.

Earl Devaney, the Interior Department’s inspector general, told the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that the Department of Justice should take action against senior Indian Affairs officials for the death of Cindy Gilbert Sohappy, who died after she was incarcerated while drunk.

“There were senior people in the BIA who knew about this years before,” Devaney told The Oregonian after the hearing in Washington, D.C. full article

Native Americans Urge Congress to Pass Health Bill

Sep 22, 2004 Washington

On the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington Wednesday, and just a day after the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall, Native American leaders called on members of Congress to address the urgent issues facing Native American people. The rally was organized by the Native Congress of American Indian , the largest and oldest Native American organization and brought together tribal leaders, and state and federal elected officials. The health crisis affecting American Indians topped their agenda.

Native Americans are plagued with the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in the world, a mortality rate from alcohol that is more than five times greater than the general population's and a suicide rate that is almost twice as high. full article

Indians are more than relics
Op/Ed - USATODAY.com
Thu Sep 23, 6:24 AM ET

Add Op/Ed - USATODAY.com to My Yahoo!

As an act of atonement, the National Museum of the American Indian, which opened its doors this week on the National Mall in Washington, is surely more meaningful than the proposed "National Apology" to Native Americans that Congress is considering.

At least the museum, with its rough limestone facade and immense, eye-catching overhang, has substance. And the building, as well as the enormous collection of artifacts it contains, respects Indian history and culture enough to preserve and celebrate it.

In contrast, the apology is unlikely to make its way out of the Senate this year. And even if it does, its acknowledgment of the federal government's "history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies" does nothing to alter the neglect and cavalier disinterest that characterize the federal relationship with Indian tribes.

Based on data collected by various federal agencies, the list of inequities is long: full article

Goldberg Reacts to Schwarzenegger Veto
Plans to continue the fight
Jennifer Tedlock 9/23/2004
Jackie Goldberg is “disappointed but undaunted” by the recent veto of her mascot bill by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Goldberg, the outspoken author of the bill, originally wanted a ban on all Native American mascot names. The final bill, however, referred only to the “redskin” name. She explained that she was disappointed that, after all the changes made to get everyone on board, Schwarzenegger would veto it.

“I expected more,” Goldberg told the Native American Times. “It’s such a mild piece [now].” full article

Tribe voices land-trust concerns to committee
9/23/2004 10:41:22 AM
Associated Press
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe wants a state legislative committee to step into a federal court case about how American Indian land is placed into trust.

Lawyer Steve Emery represents the tribe and says if the state wins its appeal, the only trust actions that could take place might require acts of Congress. He spoke Tuesday at the State-Tribal Relations Committee.

Driving the issue is a 14-year-old case involving the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and its purchase of 91 acres of land near Oacoma, south of the Lower Brule boundaries. The Interior Department agreed to place the land in trust, which removes the property from the tax rolls. full article

Thousands of indigenous people march
IPS, ALAI.  Sep 23, 2004

After marching for four days, some 60,000 members of indigenous groups arrived in the western city of Cali on Sept. 17 to demand respect for their right to life, freedom and autonomy and to be left out of the armed conflict among guerrillas, paramilitary groups and government forces.

The march was called by the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) and the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN).

The massive indigenous protest – called "Minga for Justice, Joy, Freedom and Autonomy" began on Sept. 13 in Santander de Quilichao in Cauca department, some 120 kms (75 miles) south of Cali. Minga is a quechua word that means "collective work for the benefit of everyone. full article

Three Years and Counting?

How Time Flies


When John Lee Hooker died three years ago, my friend Joe said, "I KNEW the heroin would get to him sooner or later!" It was a good joke, because John Lee Hooker died at the age of 83. It's like the joke about how Osama Bin Laden and the Mullah Omar 'can run, but they can't hide'. It's three years now, and it looks like both of them have done much more hiding than running.

This simple fact is more important than whether or not the US is winning its nebulous war on it abstract enemy, 'terror'. No amount of pith-helmet frothing about the 'criminals' or 'murderers' responsible for 9-11 can obscure the political nova they created. In one morning they turned the pride of New York into poisonous, smoking dust and savaged the military centre of the United States. They provoked the greatest rage the most powerful country in the world had ever felt, and have evaded the intelligence services of the entire Western world for three years: not cowering, but hitting back, all the time. If that isn't being able to hide, then what is? full article

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Adrienne's letter to the editor

Today's edition of the Rocky Mountain News has a letter to the editor submitted by Adrienne Benavidez. This is the only letter, concerning the columbus convoy of conquest, that the RMN has printed, though many more have been submitted. We will be posting the non-published letters over the next few days.

City leaders should condemn celebrants

I read with interest the recent News story about the award of a parade permit to organizers of yet another Columbus Day parade. My interest was piqued, not because the permit was issued, but because of the relentlessness of the organizers of such a spectacle.

The organizers continue to pursue a "parade" despite the fact that after four years there are no revelers, there are no spectators. The organizers still haven't been able to comprehend that Columbus' torture of millions of indigenous people he encountered when he arrived in this continent and his institution of the transatlantic slave trade aren't the kinds of things most people celebrate. Every group has had its own historical figures who have committed less-than-noble acts, but not every group insists on raising those figures up for special accolades.

Sure we can argue that the parade organizers' right to have such a gathering is protected by the First Amendment as it was the Klan's right to rally at the state Capitol in the early 1990s. But is it right? I don't think so. We can say this is only an Indian issue (and maybe their Latino sympathizers who acknowledge their Indian heritage), but how long before we realize this is a human issue?

If we are to end this, I call on all people of moral conscience, especially the mayor and members of City Council, to give voice to their personal opposition to this spectacle of hate and racism. Mayor Wellington Webb made such a statement opposing the Klan and we should expect no less from our current elected leaders. full article

Adrienne Benavidez

Skwelkwek'welt defenders arrested

For the past month the Secwepemc People, along with other indigenous and non-native allies, have returned to their traditional homelands to defend against the expansion of the Sun Peaks ski resort. Sun Peaks claims the area as it's private property despite the fact that they Secwepemc never ceded the area to the Canadian Government, nor have they sold it to any individual. The Secwepemc had attempted to negotiate against the expansion and recently returned when it became apparent that the expansion was going forward. This letter is from Arthur Manuel, a long time defender.

Sun Peaks Arrests September 21, 2004

Dear Friends:

It was a very sad day today, I was at the Kamloops Law Courts listening to an appeal regarding previous arrests, and during the brake I listened to my messages and one was from the RCMP telling me that they were on there way to Sun Peaks to execute the enforcement order. Apparently they felt that nothing was being accomplished for their advantage between our talks with the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.

I therefore left to Sun Peaks and made it before the police acted on the enforcement order. Our people and our non-indigenous supporters packed their personal belongings, I then made arrangements to bring my truck to the camp location. Janice Billy also drove her vehicle to our camp area. We then loaded our vehicles with our stuff and waited the police to come down the hill. They did and they read out to four people the court order and proceeded to arrest people. The first person left and therefore was not arrested. The remaining three were arrested and brought to Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

One person did give there name and was released immediately. Two of our people would not give their name. One person who was identified this evening by another prisoner not related to this situation. But one person is still in custody and is in the process of taking a fast.

It is very clear that the courts system and police force do not take us into consideration. The legal system is basically corrupt and is set up to steal our land and use it without even thinking about what we feel about our land. The system only thinks about what the settler or investor feels toward our land.

That kind of thinking is from Pre-Delgamuukw or before Aboriginal Title was judicially recognized because that kind of logic cannot work now, despitethe fact that British Columbia judges still think it can. In this case they looked at Frank Quinn's $36 million dollar condo and townhouse sales and said that he was suffering irreparable harm, but they did not take into consideration that he was building those condos and townhouses on our land. I know we are actually suffering a bigger loss than Frank Quinn because we lose our land through third party alienation, and he gets to sell it and become a millionare, but we lose our culture and land. That is a real ripp-off.

I know judges are scrambling to try and rethink how to keep the economic status quo and sound legally logical but I really think they cannot. The fact we own the land means that certain things are going to change. I suppose we need to keep the pressure up and hope that more indigenous peoples here in BC get with the fact that now is the time for change and put pressure on the system.

We own the land, they cannot deny that, they can only get us to extiguish our rights, but if we stand up we can defeat them. It is all a matter of belief in our rights that counts. I saw that today in the strength of our men who stood up to a century and half old system of genocide. The use of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for politcal purposes by using them as an armed force to settle outstanding Aboriginal Title issues about Sun Peaks expansion.

Clearly the federal and provincial government policies have failed therefore they are using armed force to allow Frank Quinn, Darcy Alexander and Sun Peaks to go on their merry way in an Secwepmec free zone inside our Secwepemc territory of Skwelkwek'welt.

We need your help to boycott Sun Peaks and Delta Hotels. Also get after the federal and provicial governments to get their policies in line with recognizing our Aboriginal Title now.

Arthur Manuel

Photos of the arrests

The Defenders are calling for a National Day of Action on Thursday, September 22, 2004. They are asking that people join in their demonstration or support it by boycotting Delta Hotels or any other Fairmont Subsidiary. The Press Release and Flyer can be viewed by clicking on this LINK

articles-september 22

Team Name Belongs in A Museum

By Courtland Milloy
Wednesday, September 22, 2004; Page B01

Watching and reading media reports about the recent football game between Washington and New York, along with stories and photographs about the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, I was struck by the clash of images: of real Indians and of gung-ho Redskins fans impersonating Indians.

"Redskins Lose to Giants," read one headline, while another, about the museum, quoted an Indian as saying, "We're Finally Being Recognized."

During a tour of the museum, which opened yesterday, I felt that many exhibits had been set up simply to introduce American Indians as human beings. In a region that is host to one of the most potent stereotypes in professional sports, that was no small order. full article

Schwarzenegger refuses to sign Redskin bill
Vetoes bill that would ban word

Sam Lewin 9/22/2004
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would prevent state public schools from using the “Redskins” moniker.

"Decisions regarding athletic teams' names, nicknames or mascots should be retained at the local level," Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message.

The legislation attempted to ban use of a word considered derogatory by many Native Americans. Had Schwarzenegger signed the bill California would have been the first state in the union to put a ban on mascot names. full article

Report: B.C. close to signing aboriginal treaties

VICTORIA (CP) - Two British Columbia treaty pioneers are confident the
province is on the verge of signing its first modern-day land-claimtreaties with up to five First Nations.

Former NDP premier Mike Harcourt and Jack Weisgerber, a former Social Credit aboriginal affairs cabinet minister, said Tuesday it's taken years of talks, but the lengthy process will soon yield deals. But how soon still appears to be a matter of debate, said the two former political foes at a news conference highlighting the release of the 11th annual report of the B.C. Treaty Commission.

Harcourt and Weisgerber serve on the commission, the organization that
oversees B.C. treaty talks.

All sides in negotiations are pushing for a breakthrough signing in time for the coming May 17 provincial election, but it could also take years, said Harcourt, who was premier when the current treaty negotiation process was introduced in 1993. full article

BIA acknowledges sloppy bookkeeping with Indian prison funds


Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - The Bureau of Indian Affairs accounting procedures are
so archaic and ineffective the bureau is unable to account for $28 million
specifically budgeted over the past five years for improving its prison system,the agency's top official admitted Tuesday.

David Anderson, the assistant Interior secretary in charge of the bureau,
told a Senate Finance Committee hearing that because of the haphazard accounting practices - much of the accounting was done by hand - officials have no idea how nearly 90 percent of $31.5 million in supplemental funds doled out since 1999 was spent.

Anderson, who was named to his position in February, said he has spent a
considerable part of his time attempting to bring the bureau "into the 21st
century. We still have a long way to go. We're not there yet. ... We have been behind the times for many years. full article

Indian jails likened to Iraq

By John Heilprin
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Indian jails are "a national disgrace" in which 11 people have died and hundreds have tried to kill themselves or escaped over the past three years, federal officials say.

Senators said they were deeply troubled by the report of the situation from the Interior Department's top watchdog, and they likened the jails to the U.S. military's mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Earl Devaney, the department's inspector general, painted a grim picture for the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. His report, capping a year of investigation, found at least 11 fatalities, 236 suicide attempts and 632 escapes since the Bush administration took office in January 2001. full article

Political Dissonance
by Sherri Byrand
My mother's Alzheimer's disease has greatly worsened; it is unbearable to see how this once quick-witted woman is now being deceived by her own brain.

In one moment she was crying, "I'm sick because I need to get out, but your dad won't take me anywhere."

When I asked where she wanted to go, she exploded, "It's too damn hot to go anywhere. Your father always wants to take me out. But it's too damn hot."

She has no idea of her complete self-contradictions, the utter lack of logic she is displaying. Her grammar is perfect, but the ideas are rooted in confusion at best, delusion at worst. full article