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American Indian Movement of Colorado

Spirituality • Self-determination • Solidarity • Sobriety
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

An AIM Activist's View of Jack Abramoff

January 26,2006

Another Racist Out to Defraud Native Tribes


Historically racism has characterized and justified unscrupulous behavior toward Native Americans. This attitude has kept us in poverty and ill health since the inception of the reservation system.

The long historical racist mentality, accentuated through the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, has allowed countless political types and racist individuals like Jack Abramoff to defraud Native tribes of billions of dollars.

This theft is consistent with congressional double-dealings that manipulate away profit, land, natural resources and enterprising attempts by Native American tribes to make their nations economically and socially independent.

When tribal people stand up in self defense, as they did in the 1970s, when thousands marched across North America on the Trail of Broken Treaties to Washington, D.C., to protest tribal corruption sanctioned by federal policies and congressional acts, we were met with clubs and violence.

Before federal treaties removed tribes from their traditional lands, they lived a rich and abundant life for thousands of years. Since then, congressional acts have kept tribes locked in poverty and ill health to the present day.

The federal government's programs enacted by Congress have whittled away millions of areas of reservation land for profit, and continue an ongoing policy that sanctions thefts of Indian land and natural resources. The gaming industry represents a continuation of congressional manipulations that erode tribal sovereignty and continue to plague the quality of life for Native people.

We have fought the land rush, gold rush and oil rush. Now comes the gaming rush, which has created more corruption in our tribal governments and animosity among Native Americans. Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, and it has only brought money-mongering politicians scurrying in from Washington, D.C., sniffing out casino profits.

Governmental reports alleging that gaming revenue has been used to "reduce poverty and unemployment rates, build schools and hospitals, paved road and construct sewer systems, preserve and revitalize cultural traditions and build responsive and responsible government institutions such as tribal courts" are a smokescreen for the United States to escape its treaty obligations.

If these treaties had been honored decades ago, the Native American communities would have enjoyed the same opportunities and the same standard of living as mainstream America.

The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, with a higher poverty rate than any other progressive nation. Native Americans rank the poorest in health and economy due to federal "Indian policies."

The government has attempted to mask these policies as good and wholesome, but in reality, they are bent towards genocide, ethnocide and land and resource theft in the name of divine "manifest destiny" to spread civilization by territorial expansion and subjugation of American Indians.

* * *

THE AMERICAN Indian Movement fought against tribal corruption in the 1970s, which resulted in us being labeled "terrorist" and wholesale federal attacks on us by their political police force, the FBI, which used its counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) to destroy our legitimate protest movement.

The Church Committee declared that these methods were in violation of the constitutional protections. Despite the Church Committee's findings, the federal government declared war on the American Indian Movement, resulting in over 300 assaults and homicides by a corrupt tribal government that was armed and protected by the FBI, an agency of the Department of Justice.

The USA PATRIOT Act is today using similar methods against us. The federal government justifies such acts through scare tactics that label threats under the name "terrorist." Leonard Peltier, a victim of the COINTELPRO program, has served 30 years in prison to date, and there seems to be no end in sight to his continued incarceration.

Congressional acts are passed to regulate the lives of Indian people into oblivion. One of the most outrageous congressional acts passed was about freedom of religion. Why did we need a special act protecting our religious rights when the U.S. Constitution alleges to protect everyone's religious freedom and rights?

Just as the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) controls the lives of tribal people through corruption, so too does the casino business create and maintain corrupt tribal leadership. Tribal leadership is now using what remains of our sovereignty as a weapon against their own people.

Many American Indians now view the Gaming Act as just another congressional act of genocide, similar to congressional acts like the Relocation and Termination Act. These were attempts to remove Indians from their remaining lands and make them disappear into the melting pot of North America.

Many California tribes, in order to get a bigger share of the profits, have been thinning out their population by arbitrarily kicking hundreds of members from tribal roles and/or denying them enrollment. The Enterprise Rancheria kicked out 75 members, while still other tribes corrupted by the money are kicking out hundreds.

The real kicker is that when these tribal members attempt to appeal these outrageous acts of genocide by their own Nations through the U.S. Department of Justice, tribal sovereignty is recognized. It is clear that institutions of the federal government continue to manipulate tribal sovereignty to the disparagement of Indian people.

Tribes began as sovereign powers, which are recognized by treaties between them and the United States of America. Congress has historically limited tribal sovereignty by passage of such congressional acts as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which are cloaked as progressive economic opportunities for tribal nations, while they are, in fact, designed to take from the tribes' control of their lives, by expressly limiting tribal sovereignty.

ROBERT ROBIDEAU is co-director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. Along with Leonard, his cousin, He was an activist in the American Indian Movement, an organization formed in the 1970s to demand civil rights and defend Native Americans from government violence. He was accused along with Leonard of killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975. Robert was acquitted; in a separate trial, Leonard was convicted and sentenced to prison, where he remains unjustly to this day.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ndn fighting moralist arrested for soliciting a prostitute

From today's Native Times

Anti-gaming religious leader arrested for solicitation
Pastor led charge against tribally owned casinos

Native American Times 1/5/2006

One of the leaders against last year’s effort to allow expanded Indian gaming has been arrested for soliciting an undercover policeman posing as a prostitute.

Oklahoma City police say South Tulsa Baptist Church senior pastor Lonnie Latham was arrested Jan. 3 after he tried to convince the male officer to come back to his hotel room. Officials say Latham asked the cop to engage in oral sex.

Latham told area media he was “set up.” full article

Message from Youth of the Peaks

To Youth, Parents, Elders:

To the Flagstaff City Council:

To the Arizona Snowbowl:

To the Flagstaff Police Department:

As Youth of the Peaks we wish to send greetings and good health to you! Welcome to 2006!

It is customary during this time to make a New Years resolution, to clear up bad feelings, mend relationships, and commit to new beginnings. With this New Year, we would like to once again ask Arizona Snowbowl to resolve to respect our sacred mountain, our culture, our people, and our community! The San Francisco Peaks are sacred to 13 indigenous nations and are an integral part of everyday life and worship. When Indigenous peoples pray at this sacred mountain, they pray for all of humanity. All of humanity is affected if the mountain is desecrated.

The Youth of the Peaks strive to build a world founded in justice, dignity, and peace. We strive to live life with more dignity, more respect, and more happiness. We are young people committed to learning about our cultures and traditions. We wish to know the songs, dances, ceremonies, stories, and knowledge that our elders can pass down to us. How can we understand this knowledge, honor and respect it if the sacred mountain is being desecrated?

We recognize and commend the Flagstaff Police Department for its own steps towards positive transformation. We look forward to seeing the new look (khakis and Polo shirts) and pray that with this change in clothes also brings a more positive approach towards youth and the diversity of our communities. We would like to offer our services in any way towards building a more culturally sensitivity department. We feel that it would be appropriate for indigenous elders and teachers to share with you cultural taboos, reflections on racism, colonization, culture and traditional histories.

We ask the Flagstaff City Council to make a New Years resolution to honor sacred sites and to listen to the voices of the Indigenous peoples of this land. We ask the City Council to please say No! to selling reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl. By doing this you will show the world and the people of this community what it means to have respect for the diversity of spiritual practices rather than compliance to cultural destruction for the dollar. Yet, a healthy economy can also support cultural diversity. Flagstaffs economy is driven by indigenous people from the labor to shoppers. If the City of Flagstaff sells this reclaimed water to the Arizona Snowbowl it will have a hand in desecrating one of the most sacred sites to 13 indigenous nations. What message will that send to the Indigenous peoples of this land who are a major economic base to Flagstaff? What message will that send to all peoples of faith in this community? This is a time for healing and reconciliation, not furthering of injustices.

We wish to thank our parents for their continued support. We ask our parents to continue giving us the love we need to maintain our efforts to protect our culture. This is a cross-generational movement built on families supporting one another and passing the torch to their children to continue to work for a better world. Again, we thank our parents for their support; we could not have made it through the past few months trials and tribulations without the love and care of our parents. We invite all families to join our efforts.

We further wish to thank our Elders for their continued support. For spending time to teach us to grow as people and maintain our strength. We attempted to honor all that our elders have given us by hauling wood for many of them. We will continue to show our appreciation by maintaining these types of humble efforts. We want our elders to know that we are here to listen to you, to learn about our cultural and traditional knowledge. We know we need the guidance our elders provide. Protecting our sacred mountain, preserving our culture, defending the health of our Earth, and strengthening our community can only be achieved with the blessings and teachings of our elders. We want to learn more about our traditions and culture. We want our elders to know that we are here to help support them. We want our elders to know that our commitment to them will never cease and it will only grow.

As Youth of the Peaks, we strive to see the bigger picture. We see that we are ALL Youth of the Peaks; we are all of these sacred mountains, of this holy land. We are sustained by it. By the water it provides, the food it produces, and the air that we breathe, this land is what keeps us alive. We see that across our nations many people are struggling, including young people. There is a lot of pain. We face language loss, violence, alcoholism, drugs, hopelessness, suicide rates, feelings of loneliness, and loss of land. The Youth of the Peaks has become of family of families and a community of communities working together to heal these wounds. It has provided a place where we are loved and cared for and can work positively in our communities.

To the Youth the time is now it is a New Year, and a new day is coming. We can choose how to live our own lives. Resistance comes from within. It is time to listen to our own voices, our own stories, our own histories, and be guided by our parents and elders. We call for your support to start working locally. We will be starting Youth of the Peaks chapters across the Southwest encouraging local struggles by connecting to a broader Youth Movement, with the same values that we have expressed of dignity, respect, justice, sustainability, and protection of sacred land. Our struggle is yours, and yours is ours. We are artists, food growers, students, teachers, workers, filmmakers, and revolutionaries. We wish to build a world where many worlds can fit. It is not just Snowbowl there is a whole world out there struggling for respect, dignity, and protection of the sacred. Everyday there are struggles we must all go through. We have to transform our world so we have a stronger voice. It is possible to say that we are in the process of creating new histories. We have an ongoing connection to this mountain, land, and culture and it has been disrupted. As Youth of the Peaks, we want to continue our way of life that has been passed down to us so that we are able to carry it on for future generations.

A new voice is emerging from the Southwest, United States. It sweeps in from the peaks, from the sacred mountains, from the high deserts, and fills the cities, towns, and reservations with hope and a new sense dignity. It writes of a new story and of a new day - of the youth, the dignified, the indigenous, the marginalized, the women, the farmer, the worker, the exile the different. A Youth Movement is here that is creating a new story, a story of healing, a story of hope.

Happy New Years! from the mountains of the Southwest,

The Youth of the Peaks (the ones in camouflage)