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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

articles-september 21

Mohawk: Indigenous rights must become a priority

Posted: September 18, 2004 - 8:44am EST
by: John C. Mohawk / Columnist / Indian Country Today

Since the beginning of civilization, indigenous peoples have faced incursions, aggression and even genocide in the form of organized aggression from civilized centers. Civilizations were probably founded in situations of economic distress. By about 10,000 years ago, people were organized in groups of perhaps 500 people occupying about 300 square miles, moving from camp to camp, following the food supply through the seasons. But a time came for some when there was not enough food, and there was no place to go without entering into other peoples’ territory and starting a conflict. Some people began to do something interesting: They took control of their own food supply by planting seeds. They didn’t plant their favorite foods. They planted the foods that would grow for them. Soon they had need for the kind of social organization that could store food until the next harvest, and protect the food they had, and organize irrigation, and make up a religion. That’s essentially how civilization was born.

Almost immediately upon success civilizations found they needed more than food, they needed trade. So they looked beyond their territories for other places they could send people to take over so they could obtain things: Wood, ores, croplands. The military they had created to protect themselves was useful in organized armed aggression, and such aggression is always for the purpose of plunder. Civilizations attack and usurp the riches of others in a process that is thousands of years old, is ongoing, and has an elaborate system of rationales. It is also one of the major obstacles to world peace, since indigenous peoples occupy the world’s last forested areas, are found on much of the world’s oil reserves, and occupy the pristine areas of every continent except Antarctica. full article

Indian Housing Deficits Described
Report Says Poor Homes Lead to Health Problems
By Mary Fitzgerald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 21, 2004; Page A19

Rachel Joseph has seen entire Native American families living in just one
room, children huddled in housing so poorly insulated that shafts of light could
be seen through the flimsy wooden walls.

Now a report by the National American Indian Housing Council highlights what
Joseph, chairwoman of the Lone Pine Paiute Tribe in California, has known all
along, that substandard and overcrowded housing contributes to a plethora of
health, social and family problems within her community.

Joseph, co-chairwoman of the national steering committee for reauthorization
of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, says the federal government has,
over decades, failed to address the needs of Native Americans. full article

How a 1677 treaty could snag reservoir in court
The Mattaponi tribe asserts a deal struck with King Charles II's
representatives gives it rights to oppose the Newport News plan.

BY MATTHEW SABO
(804) 642-1748

September 21 2004

The Virginia Supreme Court may soon hear arguments on the validity of a 1677
American Indian treaty in a case that could be a landmark for the legal rights
of Virginia's tribes.

The case could also slow efforts by Newport News to pull water from the
Mattaponi River into a pipeline leading to a 12.2 billion-gallon reservoir.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission recently gave Newport News a permit
to proceed with those plans. An Aug. 31 Virginia Court of Appeals opinion
upheld on environmental grounds the state's approval of permits for the King
William Reservoir that Newport News plans to build. That court ruling forwarded the
treaty issue to the state Supreme Court. full article

Status of medicine wheel OK'd
Associated Press

DENVER (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld the U.S. Forest Service's decision to set aside 23,000 acres to protect the view from a sacred American Indian medicine wheel.

Wyoming Sawmills Inc., a logging company in Sheridan, Wyo., had challenged the agency's decision to create the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark in the Bighorn National Forest, which closed the area to logging.

The company, the main buyer of timber in the forest for more than 30 years, argued that it was hurt economically by the decision and said the protection for the medicine wheel violated the separation of church and state. full article

Native American culture shock

By RUSH BUTTON, In Other Words

Imagine this: You're living a fairly happy life in a beautiful land filled with huge forests and pure-watered rivers and streams. You eat quite well, and basically, you greet each new day in a good frame of mind. You believe in a supreme being who made everything and also take comfort in your belief that there's life after death in a better place. So all in all, life's pretty good.

Then a strange, new people begin pouring into your territory. They have outlandishly light complexions and wield implements to cut timber and till the soil. They carry powerful weapons that are weird and wonderful n and frightful. full article

Threat over Aboriginal artefacts
Australia
By Bridie Smith

Museum Victoria threatened legal action yesterday if the Dja Dja Wurrung Native Title Group refused to drop an emergency declaration preventing three Aboriginal artefacts from being returned to British collections.

A ceremonial headdress and two bark etchings from the 1850s are on loan from the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. They were to be returned after the Etched on Bark exhibition at melbourne Museum closed in June.

However, the Dja Dja Wurrung, from central Victoria, who claim to be the traditional owners of the items, prevented their return to Britain by getting an emergency declaration under federal Aboriginal heritage laws. full article

God Bless Us...or Else
How to Avoid Becoming an Anti-American
By M. JUNAID ALAM

A specter is haunting America--the specter of anti-Americanism. All the powers of patriotic America have entered into a corporate alliance to exorcise this specter: draft-deferrers and women-gropers, grammar-challenged and duel-challengers, oil diggers and grave diggers. It is the duty of all upstanding American citizens to fully understand and identify the leading symptoms of anti-Americanism, so that our homes, homeless shelters, reading chambers, torture chambers, chocolate refineries, weapons factories, and places of worship, such as churches, temples, and Wall Street, are completely free from the poison of anti-war sentiment. The patriotic American must save both himself and others from becoming an anti-American American by learning to be an active, honorable, anti-anti-American American. It is with this pressing obligation in mind that the following signs of anti-Americanism have been compiled and exposed.

The most irksome and identifiable feature of the anti-American American is his flagrant abuse of the First Amendment. He deviously twists and distorts his constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech by exercising this right--at a time when an important event is underway, no less: the war in Iraq, and more broadly, the so-called war on terror. It should be obvious to the reasonable American that, in times of war, speaking one's mind is quite a dangerous and reckless act: there is, after all, only so much free speech to go around, and, as our soldiers are busily bringing it to inferior races via cruise missiles and cluster bombs abroad, there is little left for consumption at home. full article

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