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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Native news-march 9

Native News-March 9

Bolivia Indian groups vow to 'battle' president

By Brian Winter
9:30 a.m. March 9, 2005

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Bolivian Indians blocked roads with boulders Wednesday and vowed a "face-to-face battle" against President Carlos Mesa, whose quickly withdrawn resignation offer failed to ease turmoil.

Mesa had gambled that the offer, which Congress rebuffed in a dramatic late-night session Tuesday, would generate a show of support and calm widespread street protests against his policies to encourage foreign investment in energy.

However, several leaders of the poor indigenous majority, furious over what they see as the looting of Bolivia's natural wealth, came together to say that Mesa's actions would only fuel more protests that have paralyzed parts of the country.

"We're going now to a face-to-face battle against Mesa's government," said Evo Morales, head of Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS. full article

White Earth members seek ban on genetically modified wild rice
by Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio

Bemidji, Minn. — For the Ojibwe people, wild rice is more than just a plant. Ancient prophecies lured the Ojibwe from their east coast origins to the Midwest, to a place where wild rice was plentiful. Mike Swan is White Earth's director of natural resources. Swan says wild rice is considered a sacred gift from the Creator.

"We give offerings for it," said Swan. "We give thanks when we go out and get some food for our families. We give thanks to... the Great Spirit, for allowing us this. And in our own history, Ojibwe history, we came to this area because of this plant, food that grows on water, which is wild rice."

Tribal members are worried the wild rice that has sustained them for centuries could fall victim to genetic pollution. Winona LaDuke is founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project. Her organization markets White Earth's wild rice internationally.

LaDuke is promoting a statewide ban on genetically modified wild rice. She's teamed up with Slow Food International, an organization that promotes the biodiversity and cultural identity of foods worldwide. LaDuke fears that as scientists tinker with the natural make-up of wild rice, it's only a matter of time before those modified seeds cross-pollinate with natural wild rice. full article

Cubin: 'Devils Tower' in jeopardy
Star-Tribune staff writer Wednesday, March 09, 2005

GILLETTE -- U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin believes the name of the nation's first national monument is under attack, so she introduced legislation on Tuesday to preserve the name "Devils Tower."

Cubin spokesman Joe Milczewski said the action is meant as a warning to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton not to meddle with the Devils Tower moniker. He said Cubin wanted to be in front of a pending proposal by the National Park Service to give the monolith the designation of "Bear Lodge National Historic Landmark."

"This is not a proposal for a name change for the park, a locally controversial subject," the National Park Service stated in an internal brief in January. "The Secretarially-designated Bear Lodge National Historic Landmark will ensure that the Native American name and sacred site values are formally recognized and convey a stronger sense of the cultural significance of the site to all people." full article

Feds approve use of wastewater on sacred site
Tribes vow to protest decision

Sam Lewin 3/8/2005

Leaders of the Hopi and Navajo tribes are blasting a decision to use “reclaimed water” on a sacred site to accommodate a wealthy ski lodge situated in the Arizona mountains.

“Once again the federal government has made a decision that is clearly in opposition to the passionate pleas of Native American nations who hold the peaks as sacred,” Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor Jr. said, adding that the tribal council will review the ruling and “explore what options we have.”

A Coconino National Forest Service Environmental Impact Study prepared for the Arizona Improvement Project approved using wastewater, or reclaimed water, for artificial snowmaking on 205 acres of terrain suitable for skiing. Reclaimed water is wastewater that has been treated and transformed into a product that supporters say is clean, clear, and odorless. full article

Women slowly regaining their rightful place
by Adrienne Fox-Keesic

March 8 is International Women’s Day, established by the United Nations in 1977. The day provides Wawatay News with an opportunity to reflect on the status of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Treaty #3 women and the challenges they have faced and continue to face in contemporary society.

In 2000, Status of Women Canada handed out a draft paper on consultations with Aboriginal Peoples and gender equality to First Nations, Metis and Inuit women who participated in a roundtable about gender equality.

“It caused strong reactions on the part of those present,”the five-year-old report states. “In short, participants agreed the sexual discrimination that women face on a day-to-day basis cannot be separated from the twin legacies of colonialism and racism, which continue to marginalize Aboriginal Peoples and devalue their cultures and traditions.”

When Wawatay News was first published in 1974 under the name “Keesis”, women did not figure prominently in either content or management. While Eabametoong member Elizabeth Waswa sat as a board member for the then fledgling organization, it wasn’t until 14 years later that women began to organize as a collective voice. full article

County aims for healing after racial incident
Residents respond to threats with community meetings

Sam Lewin 3/8/2005

Almost two months after a racist and threatening letter was directed at area Native Americans, those living in the rural California county where it happened say the community has rallied to protest bigotry and hatred.

The case began on Jan. 19 when a member of the Inyo County-based Bishop Paiute Tribe allegedly killed a convenience store employee. Witnesses say Wayne Bengochia, 48, shot clerk David Pettet multiple times. Bengochia is currently being held on $1 million bail at the Inyo County Jail in the small town of Independence. There are indications he was intoxicated at the time

Four days after the shooting an employee at the tribe’s Paiute Palace Casino discovered a letter written in red and bearing the acronym “KKK.”

“Your half-witted bucks have taken another white. From now on, your daughters will be targets. From the ages of five to nine years of age, they will be taken from the reservation, raped and beaten to death, and dismembered,” the letter stated. The location where it was found was especially unsettling: Just outside of the tribe’s day-care center. full article


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