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Friday, September 03, 2004

articles-september 03

Ransom: Mohawks have a right to thrive, not just survive

Posted: September 03, 2004 - 9:47am EST
by: James W. Ransom / Chief / St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council
All across Indian country, the undeniable right of tribal governments to provide for the well-being of their membership is under attack and, in some instances, is being systematically eroded by external agencies. The most recent encroachment into Native lands comes in Mohawk territory where the Internal Revenue Service is attempting to impose a regulation that would force custom agents to begin collecting a federal excise tax on the importation of fuel from Canada into our Native community.

It seems that all too many federal, state agencies and a slew of other organizations have lost sight of the primary role tribal governments provide - to ensure that Native peoples remain culturally and economically viable as distinct groups of people. These responsibilities include being able to provide and guarantee economic development opportunities where no others exist. This is even more important in remote regions of the country, like ours, that are termed "economically depressed" and are currently experiencing high unemployment rates. It is in these unique areas where the role of tribal governments is enhanced through the delivery of essential programs and employment opportunities its businesses provide to tribal members and the surrounding communities. full article

Court backs agency ruling on reservoir
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Friday, September 3, 2004

The Virginia Court of Appeals this week affirmed a state agency's decision to permit a proposed reservoir in King William County.

However, the court referred the related question of an Indian tribe's treaty rights to the state Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the State Water Control Board acted properly in granting Newport News a permit in 1997 to build the proposed reservoir on Cohoke Mill Creek and supply it with water from the Mattaponi River. full article

Ontario reserves demand inquiry into mercury poisoning
Last Updated Thu, 02 Sep 2004 23:59:51 EDT

GRASSY NARROWS, ONT. - Aboriginal leaders in northwestern Ontario are calling for a public inquiry after an international health expert said people living in the area are still showing effects of mercury poisoning.

Dr. Masazumi Harada, a world-renowned neurologist, said Thursday that the conditions of people exposed to mercury three decades ago have stayed the same or worsened.

During the 1970s, a paper plant dumped tonnes of mercury into the river systems that run through communities home to the White Dog and Grassy Narrows First Nations. full article

First Nation passes its own drug laws

WINNIPEG - The Fisher River First Nation has introduced a new bylaw that would increase the legal penalties for drug-related offences.

People who live on the Interlake-area reserve have seen the local drug problem escalate to addicted children and gang attacks motivated by the drug trade.

To deal with the problem, the band council passed a bylaw in June that makes it illegal to make, sell or possess narcotics – on top of Criminal Code offences for the same crimes. full article

Tribal cop involved in fatal shooting is target of lawsuit
Killed 17-year-old on reservation

Sam Lewin 9/3/2004
A tribal police officer being investigated for shooting a teenager to death is also the target of a separate probe into a civil rights violation.

Norman Boney Junior, 17, also known as “Manny,” was shot twice in July by Walker River Paiute Indian Reservation tribal police officer Walter Valline in the Las Vegas town of Schurz. He died at the scene. A later examination showed Boney was hit in the neck and the right side.

Valline is being sued for violating the rights of a motorist during a traffic stop in Crescent Valley in August 2003, according to the Lahontan Valley News. The suit alleges Valline assumed the motorist had been drinking and illegally searched his vehicle. The motorist was let go a short time later. Valline was working for the Eureka County Sheriff's Office at the time. full article

Canadian Indians May Sue to Block Arctic Gas Pipeline, CBC Says

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Canada's Deh Cho Indians will sue over construction of a natural-gas pipeline that would link fields in the Northwest Territories with the North American pipeline grid, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The Deh Cho will file a suit in Northwest Territories Supreme Court this afternoon to stop an environmental assessment of the line because they don't have adequate representation on the panel that's carrying out the study, the CBC said, citing a news release from the Deh Cho.

Deh Cho want two representatives on the panel, CBC said on its Web site. The Dene National Assembly, another group of Northwest Territories Indians, supports the Deh Cho, the public broadcaster said, without citing a source. full article

Memorial to be built near birthplace of Geronimo
Mary Alice Murphy
Sep 2, 2004, 17:35

A memorial will be built near Geronimo's birthplace near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument as a joint effort of Geronimo's family, Harlyn and Karen Geronimo of Mescalero; the Forest Service; the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway Committee; and the Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce.

A workday is planned Saturday, Sept. 18, beginning at 9 a.m., to build a river-rock holder for a bronze plaque, which is being designed by J&J Signs to incorporate a photo of Geronimo, a Bedonkohe Apache leader of the Chiricahua Apache.

The memorial dedication will be held in early October.

"We put oral history and written history together to find the birthplace," Harlyn Geronimo said. "We made a trip up the canyon to the confluence of the Middle and West forks of the Gila River, where history said my great-grandfather was born. full article

LA Development Unearths Indian Grave Site, Controversy

Developers Promise Reburial Near Original Site

LOS ANGELES -- It was inevitable that crews building a massive housing development near west Los Angeles wetlands would unearth American Indian remains.

The ground had yielded bones before, but the extent of the latest find turned one corridor of a multibillion dollar project into a multimillion dollar archaeological dig.

Now about 400 remains of Gabrielino-Tongva tribal ancestors, the original inhabitants of the Los Angeles basin, are packed in boxes in a locked trailer near where they rested for hundreds of years. Delayed for 10 months by the excavation, the just-completed drainage channel built through the burial site will carry runoff from 6,000 properties to the Pacific Ocean less than a mile away. full article

Global Warming Thaws Arctic, Divides Governments

Sept. 3, 2004 — By Alister Doyle

OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming is set to accelerate in the Arctic and bring drastic change for people and wildlife in coming decades, according to a draft report that has opened cracks among nations in the region about how to slow the thaw.

"(The) Arctic climate is warming rapidly now and much larger changes are projected," according to the conclusions of the international study, compiled by 600 experts and due for release at a conference in Iceland in November.

Rising temperatures will disrupt life for people, bringing more storms and destabilizing everything from homes to oil pipelines. Melting glaciers could raise global sea levels and spoil habitats for creatures like polar bears, it says full article

Tough justice or soft touch in Koori Court?
September 4, 2004

The concept of black justice is winning over many, but others still aren't convinced. By Jewel Topsfield and Marc Moncrief.

Shannon Atkinson was drunk when he threatened his partner's mother with a carving knife. "I'm going to carve you up. Come on, I'll kill you," he shrieked in the small hours of the morning.

Neighbours managed to wrestle the knife away but Atkinson grabbed another one from the kitchen and flung it at his mother-in-law, the blade snapping as it ricocheted off a steel fence behind her head.

Six months later Atkinson finds himself in the Shepparton Koori Court before a magistrate, flanked by tough-talking Aboriginal elders "Aunty" Merle Bamblett and "Uncle" Colin Walker.

"I think you've got a problem with drink. We're all big men when we drink," Walker says, stony-faced. full article

S.F. Woman Hauled Away for Interrupting President

by Carla Marinucci

NEW YORK — -- It was more than a shock to end up on the floor of Madison Square Garden, five rows from the president, with a protester on top of me -- and security guards struggling to contain her.

But that happened Thursday night at the front of the California delegation section when -- in the middle of Bush's speech -- June Brashares, 40, of San Francisco, an activist with Code Pink, stood up on her chair and unfurled a banner that read, "Bush lies, people die.''

Just minutes before, the blue-suited Brashares had been in the crunch of delegates and press in the aisle when former Gov. Pete Wilson graciously offered his seat with a prime sight line to President Bush. Brashares was wearing an alternate delegate pass, and I stepped aside to let her sit down. full article

Be Prepared for the Fearmongers

by Scott Blackburn
Let's exercise a thought experiment for a moment. Sept. 11, 2001 was just a normal day and not a tragic historical event, we do not have a presidential election in less than three months, Bush's only lead in the polls is not in regard to the fight against terrorism, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq never occurred. Let us further pretend that Homeland Security was still formed for some reason. Today is Sept. 1, 2004. In eight days Homeland Security will announce that September is "National Preparedness Month." Does it seem odd to announce a national month long campaign nine days into that very month? Does that sound prepared? Does that sound like a month? Last time I checked the calendar, September has 30 days. Twenty-two days isn't even a month on a lunar calendar. Politics aside, it is still odd.

Let's get back to reality. To make ready beforehand is to be prepared. Homeland Security put out their press release on Aug. 10 so they have been in the planning stage for quite sometime. It's not likely that they came up with the idea on Aug. 9 of this year. In looking at the calendar (.pdf) put together by the America Prepared Campaign for this month, there are events planned before Sept. 9, so why, according to the American Red Cross, is there a "planned nationwide announcement on September 9 by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Tom Ridge declaring September as 'National Preparedness Month'"? It is all too obvious just how prepared they really are. full article

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