By Leonard Peltier for CounterPunch. Coleman, FL – What can I say that I have not said before? I guess I can start by saying see you later to all of those who have passed in the last year. We Natives don’t like to mention their names. We believe that if we speak their names it disrupts their journey. They may lose their way and their spirits wander forever. If too many call out to them, they will try to come back. But their spirits know we are thinking about them, so all I will say is safe journey and I hope to see you soon. On February 6th, I will have been imprisoned for 40 years! I’m 71 years old and still in a maximum security penitentiary. At my age, I’m not sure I have much time left.
By Daniel Lak for Al Jazerra. Afederal Human Rights Tribunal issued a stinging ruling. For decades, the tribunal found, children living on reserves – aboriginal communities mandated by historic treaties between Ottawa and tribal groups – have been denied support, services and funding that every other Canadian child can count on. It’s no surprise. In almost every category imaginable, Canada’s aboriginal people – defined as First Nations, mixed-race Metis and the Inuit of the Arctic – fare poorly against the rest of the population.n Here’s where we find signs of hope. Consider that phrase “taking matters into their own hands”. Many aboriginal Canadians are acting to make change happen themselves, faster than governments and much faster than non-aboriginal society.
By Klee Benally for Clean Up The Mines! Washington, DC – Tommy Rock, a member of Diné No Nukes and graduate student from the state of Arizona stated that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan was extremely similar to a crisis near the Navajo Nation in Sanders, AZ. “The regulatory agencies are responding by sending the Army National Guard to provide bottle water for the community of Flint. However, the small community of Sanders which is also predominantly an Indigenous community that is off the reservation are not receiving the same response from the state regulatory agency or the state legislatures and the media,” stated Rock who worked on a recent study that uncovered levels of uranium in the drinking water system of residents and an elementary school in Sanders that violated the drinking water standard for uranium. Rock continues, “The same can be said about two Lakota reservations. They are Pine Ridge and Rock Creek, Standing Rock Reservation that have not received any assistance from regulatory agencies.
By Klee Benally for Clean Up The Mines. Washington, DC — From January 25-28, 2016 Indigenous representatives from the Northern Great Plains & Southwest will be in the District of Columbia (DC) to raise awareness about radioactive pollution, an invisible national crisis. Millions of people in the United States are being exposed as Nuclear Radiation Victims on a daily basis. Exposure to radioactive pollution has been linked to cancer, genetic defects, Navajo Neuropathy, and increases in mortality. The delegation will speak about the impacts they are experiencing in their communities, which are also affecting other communities throughout the US.
By Renee Juliene Karunungan for Fair Observer – “We had a culture where we preserved wild fruits for when we didn’t have enough food and grains,” says Edna Kaptoyo, a Pokot indigenous woman from Kenya. “My mother did this for our family, but today, these fruits have disappeared.” “Women also use grass to cover our houses. But it has become more difficult for us to find grass, so when the storms come, we do not have anything to protect our children,” she adds.
By Staff of Tele Sur – The armed militia occupation of Native land in Oregon reveals the living history of genocide and land theft against Native Americans. When Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who led an armed standoff against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in 2014, charged into the Malseur Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, he said he was going to return the land from an overreaching federal government to its “original owners” he was not thinking of the Burns Paiute Tribe.
By Staff of WISDC – The state’s most powerful business group and the building industry are supporting a Republican bill that would allow landowners to destroy some Indian burial mounds in order to develop their property. The measure, Assembly Bill 620, would require the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, which catalogs and protects all Native American burial mounds, to issue permits to allow landowners to do an archaeological dig or use radar to determine if mounds on their property contain human remains. Landowners would be not be required to preserve the mounds if they contain no remains.
By Heather Ann Thompson for The Huffington Post – When scores of ranchers donning cowboy hats and rifles began their occupation of a remote outpost in Oregon last Saturday, it was by no means the first time in American history that a group of armed men and women had staged a dramatic occupation out West and made demands of the federal government. The men who recently barricaded themselves in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — a federal building near Burns, Oregon — are there, they say, because they must take a stand against the numerous “atrocities,” committed against them by the federal government.
By Brandi Morin for APTN – Indigenous delegates at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) conference are left waiting outside negotiating rooms in Paris to learn the fate of their rights currently on the cutting board. Those rights related to climate change are in the hands of delegates and trade experts whose main interests lie in economic initiatives expected to be birthed following the signing of an international treaty to prevent dangerous levels of global warming. Negotiations are heading into the final stages at COP21 with the aim of creating a Paris Agreement to replace the failed Kyoto Accord.
By Alex Jacobs for Indian Country Today. John Trudell, noted activist, poet and Native thinker, walked on this morning after a lengthy bout with cancer. His family included some of his last messages to Indian country in a press release. Among them: “I want people to remember me as they remember me.” John Trudell was a Santee Dakota activist, artist, actor, and poet, who led a life dedicated to indigenous human rights, land and language issues. He helped spark a spoken word movement that is a continuation of Native American oral traditions. He walked on December 8 at the age of 69. Born on February 15, 1946 in Omaha, he spent his early years living on the Santee Reservation in northern Nebraska. His father was Santee and his mother was of Mexican Indian heritage. Everything changed in 1969 when Native American students and organizers, Trudell among them, occupied Alcatraz Island from November 20, 1969 to June 11, 1970. That group became “Indians of All Tribes,” and they issued the manifesto, We Hold the Rock…
By Staff. Plymouth, MA – Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression that Native Americans continue to experience.
By S. Brian Willson for Popular Resistance. Let us recognize that accounts of the first Thanksgiving are mythological, and that the holiday is actually a grotesque celebration of our arrogant ethnocentrism built on genocide. Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped! Historian Hans Köning concludes that what sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity to stop at nothing. Cultural historian Lewis Mumford declared, Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him.
From NativeVillage.org. California – From November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, Native Americans took over and held Alcatraz Island as Indian Land. The Occupation of Alcatraz Island” was led by the Native American group, Indians of All Tribes (IAT). The take-over lasted 14-months and ended when the Indians were forcibly removed by the federal government. Indians of All Tribes claimed the island by citing the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Sioux. The treaty returned to Native peoples all retired, abandoned and out-of use federal lands. When Alcatraz penitentiary closed in 1963, the U.S. declared the island as surplus federal property. So Red Power activists reclaimed it. On March 9, 1964, Richard McKenzie and other Sioux occupied Alcatraz for four hours.
By Staff of Indian Country Today – Today is the three-year anniversary of the start of Idle No More. Follow Idle No More. Join the movement.