[R-G] WSDP Acts: FW: On Alcatraz, American Indians and Palestinians offer thanks; etc..
james m nordlund
realiteee1 at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 29 09:01:12 MST 2006
FW: On Alcatraz, American Indians and Palestinians offer thanks
On Alcatraz, American Indians and Palestinians Offer Thanks
by Brenda Norrell
ALCATRAZ ISLAND, Calif.
Thursday, before the first light of dawn, Indigenous Peoples from the
Americas, in solidarity with Palestinians, African Americans and others
struggling against oppression, climbed the hill once again to offer
prayers at sunrise on Alcatraz Island.
With the first streaks of dawn, the Dry Creek Pomo Traditional Dancers
greeted the day, as about 3,000 people gathered to remember those who
have passed on in the struggle for Indigenous rights and called for
solidarity in resistance against colonialism and injustice.
"The strongest prayers are given to the morning star at this time of
day", said Bill Means, co-founder of the International Indian Treaty
Council. IITC and American Indian Contemporary Arts hosted the 32nd
annual Alcatraz island Sunrise Gathering.
Means asked for prayers for the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is now being considered by the
United Nations. Pointing out that the Declaration is the result of 22
years of efforts, Means said there are 400 million Indigenous Peoples
around the world and 100 million live in this hemisphere.
"It is now before the United Nations. This is the minimal standard for
human rights", Means said. "Some of the purest resources and water are
on our land."
Means began by remembering the nineteen Moqui Hopi who were taken from
their homes on the mesas of Arizona and imprisoned at Alcatraz in 1895
for refusing to send their children to government boarding schools.
"We thank each and every one of you for helping turn a prison into a
sacred site", he told those gathered.
Stressing the importance of human rights for the original peoples
living along the world's borders, Means pointed out that Indigenous
Peoples and Palestinians both live with imposed borders.
Means introduced the Palestinian performers, Al-Juthoor (The Roots)
Arabic Folkloric Dancers.
"We are here to show solidarity with our Indigenous Peoples", said
Wael, Palestinian member of the group.
Munyiga Lumumba of the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party
attracted high praise from the crowd when he said, "We are fighting
against the common devil - George Bush."
Lumumba thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his recent words.
"He said it so elegantly, 'Bush is the Devil!"
"Bush is not our president," Lumumba told the crowd.
Welcoming Chavez to return, Lumumba said New York does not belong to
George Bush; New York belongs to the Iroquois and other Indigenous
Lumumba said Chavez, too, has Indigenous blood, while Bush represents
the colonialism of the system oppressing the people for the past 500
People around the world are now marching in solidarity with Indian
people, he said. Praising the inspiration of the virtue of patience
shown by Indian people, Lumumba said, "Patience is a virtue of a
"We want to express our gratitude for all Indigenous Peoples."
Means, remembering those who have given their lives in the struggle for
Indian rights, said, "This struggle does not come without a cost."
Among the speakers was one from Ireland who called for justice for
Leonard Peltier. Another urged prayer and support for the ongoing
struggle for human rights in Oaxaca, Mexico. In Spanish and English,
"Walking Toward the Sun", was offered for the resistance movement in
Oaxaca, Chiapas and throughout the Americas. The Traditional Azteca
Danzantes offered a powerful dance tribute.
Means remembered Richard Oakes, leader of the occupation of Alcatraz in
November of 1969; Ingrid Washinawatok, IITC member killed in Colombia
and Mickey Gimmell, of the Pit River and Wintu Nations and IITC board
member, and a long list of others, beginning with Mad Bear Anderson,
who spent their lives in service and sacrifice.
Jimbo Simmons, Choctaw, member of the staff of the International Indian
Treaty Council in San Francisco, said the sunrise prayer service on
Alcatraz Island was revived in 1974, after the Lakota stand at Wounded
Knee, S.D., and is now held annually.
Simmons said the National Park Service on Alcatraz Island has
recognized the stand taken here by Indians of All Tribes and the
outcome. On the National Park Service website, there is a tribute to
"We hold the Rock."
"The success or failure of the occupation should not be judged by
whether the demands of the occupiers were realized. The underlying
goals of the Indians on Alcatraz were to awaken the American public to
the reality of the plight of the first Americans and to assert the need
for Indian self-determination. As a result of the occupation, either
directly or indirectly, the official government policy of termination
of Indian tribes was ended and a policy of Indian self-determination
became the official U.S. government policy.
"During the period the occupiers were on Alcatraz Island, President
Nixon returned Blue Lake and 48,000 acres of land to the Taos Indians.
Occupied lands near Davis, California, would become home to a Native
American university. The occupation of Bureau of Indian Affairs offices
in Washington, D.C. would lead to the hiring of Native American's to
work in the federal agency that had such a great effect on their lives.
"Alcatraz may have been lost, but the occupation gave birth to a
political movement which continues to today."
On this day, while Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving, American
Indians and those in solidarity with them, rose at 2 or 3 a.m., and
crossed the bay on ferryboats beginning at 4:30 a.m. The thousands who
came received the gift of blessings and the beauty of the sunrise,
joined by a chorus of seagulls. Following the ceremony, the Oakland
Intertribal Indian Center served turkey and all the trimmings.
The International Indian Treaty Council said Alcatraz, "The ROCK," is a
symbol of resistance and self-determination for Indigenous Peoples of
North America since the take-over of Alcatraz Island in November 1969
by Indian youths and students, led by San Francisco State University
activist Richard Oakes. Mickey Gemmill, John White Fox, Lenny Foster
and many others were with Oakes.
"Alcatraz continues to call us back for spiritual and revolutionary
inspiration and to pray for unity and strength among Native American
communities, our friends and supporters", IITC said.
"This year is a special commemoration and tribute to our good friend,
brother in struggle, land and fishing rights leader, member of Pitt
River and Wintu Nations of Northern California, IITC Board of Directors
member and former Tribal Chairman Mickey Gimmell.
"He will be missed but not forgotten. A more recent passing is that of
John White Fox, a student, activist, photographer, and veteran of
Wounded Knee, Alcatraz and the Longest Walk. His spirit and courage
will be long remembered."
The International Indian Treaty Council said this day, the last
Thursday in November, was a day to remember truth, but not pitiful
"The 2006 gathering at Alcatraz Island brings us all back to what
America talks about during this time each year when immigrant,
undocumented, pitiful, illegal alien pilgrims and Indians sat down
together in peace to praise another season of Thanksgiving. Nothing can
be further from the truth."
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report
Please also see:
Thanksgiving Day 2006
International Indian Treaty Council and American Indian Contemporary
Presents the 32nd Annual Alcatraz Island Sunrise Gathering
"American Indian Thanksgiving Day" November 23rd, 2006
International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) http://www.treatycouncil.org
American Indian Movement http://www.aimovement.org
FW: Nevada Test Site being considered for new consolidated plutonium
FYI. Once again.on Western Shoshone lands.
Today: November 26, 2006 at 7:41:38 PST
Feds plan redo of weapon sites
Nevada Test Site being considered for new consolidated plutonium center
By Launce Rake
Las Vegas Sun
The federal government will head to Las Vegas this week to discuss its
proposed top-to-bottom makeover of the nation's nuclear weapons system,
an archipelago of research and production sites across two-thirds of the
One of the proposed changes could result in plutonium being manufactured
at Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The Test Site is
one of the eight sites in the national research and production system.
The 1,400-square-mile Test Site has been home to 40 years of above- and
below-ground nuclear explosions and other nuclear weapons research. The
Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration wants to
modernize and ensure the reliability of the nation's stockpile of
nuclear weapons, consolidate operations and reduce the number of
warheads in the national stockpile.
The proposal, which could cost billions of dollars, is intended to
result in a safer and more reliable system that is cheaper to run.
One element of the proposal calls for a new manufacturing site for
plutonium, the explosive metal at the heart of nuclear weapons. Nevada
Test Site is one of five sites considered for the new consolidated
plutonium center. The department closed its former manufacturing site,
the Rocky Flats Plant outside Denver, in 1989.
Among the benefits of using the Test Site is its relative isolation and
existing security systems.
Opposition is coming from former leaders of some of the affected sites
and from public-policy advocacy groups. The Union of Concerned
Scientists is urging people to raise concerns about the proposed changes
to the nuclear weapons infrastructure at a government meeting on the
environmental issues Tuesday at Cashman Center, 850 Las Vegas Blvd.
North. Sessions are planned from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10
Robert Nelson, a senior scientist with the group, said the nuclear
weapons in the stockpile of about 10,000 warheads are already reliable,
negating the need for much of the proposed effort.
"The core nuclear warhead components the Energy Department wants to
redesign and replace are already determined by the nuclear weapons labs
themselves to be essentially 100 percent reliable," Nelson said. "The
misplaced obsession with warhead reliability and the rationale for
continuing to maintain thousands of nuclear weapons on high alert are
part of an outdated U.S. nuclear weapons policy."
In a statement released Friday, the group, which has opposed other
weapons-related proposals from the Bush administration, quoted former
administrators criticizing the proposed changes.
"What is the urgency for spending large amounts of money for a new
production complex without evidence of degradation in the nuclear
explosive package?" said Bob Peurifoy, former vice president and
director of weapons development at Sandia National Laboratories in New
John Duncan, retired Sandia senior manager, echoed the concerns.
"My knowledge of science and over 40 years of experience tells me you
can't do what the DOE says it is going to do," Duncan said. "The old DOE
realized that quality, speed of manufacturing and cost were trade-offs.
You can do two but the third will be sacrificed. The new DOE thinks
better, faster, cheaper is possible. The labs know better, but no one
has the courage to speak up."
Thomas D'Agostino, deputy administrator for defense programs for the
National Nuclear Security Administration, said in April that the Test
Site and its seven sister sites "routinely conduct operations with
substantial quantities of plutonium, or highly enriched uranium, or both
| As such these are some of the most sensitive facilities in the United
The other candidate sites are outside Amarillo, Texas; Los Alamos, N.M;
Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Aiken, S.C.
FW: URGENT / Update on the "Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples" and its adoption (?)
From: Chris Peters [mailto:cp7gen at pacbell.net]
Subject: Declaration Update
Please find below the communique issued Monday by the Indigenous
Peoples' Caucus.. This document should be widely distributed.
Following the communiqué is a letter sent to each of the States'
Missions to the United Nations, providing reasons why a delay to the
adoption of the Declaration would be against the interests of the human
rights standard. I attach the document that was transmitted, for your
information and wider dissemination. I have also set out the document
below in case the attached file does not open.
This communique has been prepared following a clear attempt by some
States to mislead their intentions to prevent the adoption of the
Declaration, by suggesting that a 'consensus' will be achieved through
delaying adoption. While Indigenous Peoples' delegations had made it
clear during previous meetings that no changes to text was to occur,
that no alteration in the meaning or application of the declaration was
allowed, and that immediate adoption was a requisite, we took the view,
at a meeting of representatives of all regional caucuses of the
Indigenous Peoples, that a re-issue of our position in a clear statement
was needed. The following communique was issued.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' CAUCUS
13 November 2006
The Indigenous Peoples' Caucus held an emergency meeting this morning
due to a report that a few States will take procedural actions to derail
the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This report is evidenced by the Government of Botswana's statement
delivered to the Third Committee on 10 November, which contained a
highly inaccurate and prejudicial interpretation of the Declaration
provisions. Upon review of this written statement, we note that Botswana
has adopted the words and views of the governments of Canada, Australia,
New Zealand, and the United States. Their intent appears to threaten the
adoption of the Declaration. In contrast, the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus
acknowledges the overwhelming state support for the Declaration. Though
these many allies and co-sponsors of the Peruvian resolution
recommending UNGA adoption of the Declaration (A/C.3/61/L.18) have made
repeated, unsuccessful efforts for dialogue with all States, Botswana
seems entrenched to do major violence to the text of the Declaration or
to defeat its adoption by UNGA. In response to this development, we
issue this statement.
The Indigenous Peoples' Caucus hereby affirms their global and unanimous
support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as
adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on June 29, 2006.
The Indigenous Peoples' Caucus hereby repeats its request that the UN
General Assembly immediately adopt the Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, which constitutes the minimum standards for the
survival, well-being and dignity of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Such
action should take place before the end of 2006.
The Indigenous Peoples' Caucus does not support any proposal for
extensions of time, establishment of committees, working groups or any
other forum for consideration of the illegitimate "concerns" of the
governments of Botswana, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United
States, under any conditions.
The Indigenous Peoples' Caucus hereby demands that the proponents
(Botswana, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States) of any
such proposals cease their self-serving politicization of the United
Nations as well as their abuse of the rules of procedures and
persistence of double standards in the context of the human rights of
The Indigenous Peoples' Caucus supports the United Nations objective to
usher in a new era for human rights within the UN system, to strengthen
human rights as one of the pillars of global order, and the Human Rights
Council's role to establish a non-political approach to human rights for
all peoples and individuals. In light of the appalling human rights
records of Botswana, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United
States in the context of Indigenous Peoples, it is unconscionable that
they have chosen to reject one of the first HRC recommendations for the
approval of a UN human rights instrument specifically addressing the
unique status and rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The world community must acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples worldwide
have expended over 21 years and immeasurable resources to engage in good
faith, transparent, intellectually honest debate and negotiation with
States in order to achieve consensus on the Declaration provisions. The
result has been a fair and balanced text, which takes into account the
concerns of States as well as the rights of others and is consistent
with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.
This current State opposition to one of the first recommendations of the
new Human Rights Council is immoral and without legitimate or
substantive cause. If successful, such action will seriously undermine
and potentially deem irrelevant the whole of the UN human rights regime
for not only Indigenous Peoples but for all humanity.
Finally, the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus notes the irony of State
consensus and support for a legally binding Convention [for the
Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance] while at the same
time in the context of the world's most vulnerable, poverty stricken,
human rights victims, that Botswana, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and
the United States cannot support a non-binding, aspirational Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
United Nations, New York
12 November 2006
U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Human Rights Response:
Why a proposal to delay adoption should not be supported
1. Declaration based on core international principles and values. The
Declaration is based on core international principles and values that
embrace tolerance, peace and respect for the dignity of all cultures and
peoples. In particular, the Declaration is described as a "standard of
achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual
2. Human rights of all must be respected. Human rights are generally
relative in nature and not absolute. Consistent with the U.N. Charter,
the Declaration specifically requires that the "human rights and
freedoms of all shall be respected".
3. Provisions must be read in overall context. Each provision of the
Declaration cannot be read in isolation, but rather interpreted in the
context of the instrument as a whole. To do otherwise, would lead to
extremist and absolute interpretations that could not be justified under
the Declaration or international human rights law as a whole.
Regretfully, the CANZUS group - Canada, Australia, New Zealand and
United States - continues to interpret the Declaration in this
fragmented and erroneous manner.
4. No new rights created. The Declaration does not create new rights. It
elaborates upon existing international human rights standards as they
apply to Indigenous peoples.
5. Rule of law and other core international principles always
considered. Every provision of the Declaration must be "interpreted in
accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human
rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith."
This allows for both flexibility and balance. The reference to "good
governance" ensures that the rule of law within States is fully
considered in every instance without exception. As an aspirational
instrument, the Declaration does not upend the rule of law domestically
6. Broader agreement not possible. As the Chair of the intersessional
Working Group on the Declaration has concluded, along with many States,
additional time will not lead to any broader agreement. This is in large
part because of the obstructionist role repeatedly played by United
States, Australia and New Zealand during the Working Group.
7. Re-opening negotiations likely to kill the Declaration. Re-opening
negotiations on the Declaration is certain to create serious new
divisions and prevent its adoption by the General Assembly. Such an
extreme step would be unconscionable.
8. Harmonious and cooperative relations encouraged. The Declaration
explicitly encourages "harmonious and cooperative relations" between
States and Indigenous peoples. Nine preambular paragraphs and 15
operative articles specify consultations, cooperation or partnership
between Indigenous peoples and States.
9. Over 20 years of discussion. There have already been more than 20
years of discussions on the Declaration among States and Indigenous
peoples in U.N. Working groups. This makes the Declaration one of the
most discussed and studied declarations in U.N. history. All revisions
by the Chair were based on prior discussions.
10. Any "procedural" resolution for delay would be highly detrimental.
It is shocking and disturbing that there could be an amendment or
resolution to re-open negotiations on the Declaration. Such a proposal
is not procedural since it could destroy the Declaration.
11. Misleading strategy already attempted at Human Rights Council. Last
June, Canada tried and failed with a similar strategy at the first
meeting of the Council. In its Statement on June 27, 2006, Canada quoted
its Minister of Indian Affairs as saying issues could be resolved by all
parties "in a few more months". This claim was knowingly false and
misleading. Just the day before, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper
indicated in writing the need for a "two-year negotiation mandate".
12. CANZUS group of States politicizing rights in the Declaration. Based
on their own domestic agendas, a few Western States are actively
encouraging other States to delay the adoption of the Declaration under
the guise of seeking "improvements". In so doing, the CANZUS group is
continuing to politicize Indigenous peoples' human rights. Such actions
severely undermine the Council and current U.N. reforms.
13. For the past 8 months CANZUS group has avoided all consultations
with Indigenous peoples. The CANZUS group already had the past eight
months to consult with Indigenous peoples within their own respective
countries on any State concerns with the Declaration. Yet none of these
States engaged in any consultations with Indigenous peoples. None of
these States genuinely seek to "improve" the Declaration.
14. Canada violating its constitutional and international obligations.
Despite its constitutional obligations to consult Indigenous peoples,
Canada has opted to vigorously and unilaterally oppose the Declaration
through procedural and other strategies during the past eight months. As
a Human Rights Council member, Canada is failing to "uphold the highest
standards in the promotion and protection of human rights . [and] fully
cooperate with the Council", as required by the General Assembly.
15. Essential for survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous
peoples. The Declaration promotes equality and non-discrimination for
all. The Declaration is essential for the survival, dignity and
well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world.
16. Strengthens international human rights system. Adoption of the
Declaration by the General Assembly supports the vital work of the Human
Rights Council and strengthens the international human rights system as
Issued by the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus - November 12, 2006
Chairperson, Indigenous Peoples Caucus at UN
Email: les.malezer at faira.org.au
Cell: +1 (917) 774 7436
The Church Center
777 UN Plaza
IITC Office, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel: +1 (212) 682 3633 ext. 3123
Fax: +1 (212) 682 5354
FS&csz=New+York%2C+NY++10019&country=us> 746 9th Avenue, Apt. 3FS
New York, NY 10019
iamkent at verizon.net
FW: PG&E Apologizes for Damage to Sacred Site & Medicine Lake Victory
Good news - spiritual areas gaining ground.
Western Shoshone Defense Project
P.O. Box 211308
Crescent Valley, NV 89821
wsdp at igc.org
Historic apology over sacred site
PG&E will remove a treatment plant on desert land Indians see as a path
to the afterlife.
By Marc Lifsher
Times Staff Writer
November 10, 2006
SACRAMENTO - The top executive of California's biggest utility Thursday
apologized to an Arizona Indian tribe, promising to atone for the
company's desecration of a sacred site the tribe considers a portal to
Chief Executive Thomas King said Pacific Gas & Electric Co. "regrets the
spiritual consequences to the tribe" when it built a $15-million water
treatment plant in the Mojave Desert, west of the California-Arizona
The site known as Topock Maze once covered more than 50 acres of
sage-dotted desert. There on a bluff above the Colorado River, an
ancient pattern of lines inscribed on the desert floor marks the pathway
to heaven for Indians who live nearby.
On Thursday, at a historic gathering, tribal members, other Native
Americans, state officials and utility executives announced they had
reached an unprecedented agreement.
The Indians dropped their lawsuit against the utility, and PG&E
apologized and said it should have paid closer attention to the Indians'
spiritual beliefs before building the plant. It promised to be more
sensitive and to relocate the plant eventually away from the maze.
Protecting the maze is crucial to the survival of the 1,100-person Fort
Mojave Indian tribe, tribal Chairwoman Nora McDowell told the crowd. "We
have a responsibility not only to the past and present but to the
future," she said. "It wasn't easy getting a corporation to understand,
to recognize and to accept this."
Attorneys for the tribe, guests at the ceremony and even PG&E called the
agreement and the utility's apology a first. Company spokesman Jon
Tremayne said he could not recall PG&E ever making an apology of "that
Alison Harvey, director of the California Tribal Business Alliance, said
she was struck by "the incredibly touching display on both sides" and
"the fact that the PG&E executive officer was prepared to come forward
and participate in that way."
A clash of beliefs
The tribe, whose reservation covers parts of Arizona and Nevada near
Needles, Calif., considers the ancient pattern of lines as the
destination of a soul's lifetime journey.
But that belief clashed with PG&E and state environmental regulators in
the last decade as they moved to address problems in the area caused by
a massive plume of polluted groundwater under a natural gas compressor
Fearing the plume could contaminate the Colorado River and endanger
drinking water supplies for 22 million people in Southern California and
Arizona, the state and utility pressed ahead with plans despite the
In early 2004, the state and the company began installing test wells and
pollution control equipment in the area of the maze without consulting
the tribe. Work on the plant began in late 2004, and it began operating
in July 2005.
The tribe sued in Sacramento County Superior Court, claiming San
Francisco-based PG&E and the California Department of Toxic Substances
Control violated state environmental laws by not exploring alternatives
to building a 7,000-square-foot treatment plant.
The legal battle ended Thursday with apologies from PG&E and tears of
joy from tribal leaders. CEO King and the Schwarzenegger
administration's top toxics regulator joined Chairwoman McDowell to
announce a settlement.
More than a dozen women in full skirts and colorful shawls danced and
chanted as an Indian elder purified the event with smoke from burning
sage and an eagle feather.
The agreement calls for no payment of damages. It commits PG&E to remove
the treatment plant as part of a final plan to clean up groundwater
tainted by hexavalent chromium - the same toxin found under a similar
PG&E facility in Hinkley, Calif., made famous by the film "Erin
The legal settlement also deeds ownership of the maze to the tribe and
pledges that the Indians will be consulted before doing any new
The existing plant will remain in operation, treating polluted water,
until a replacement can be built away from the maze.
The accord - signed by the tribe, PG&E and the state - required the
utility to make a "public statement" that it "regrets our failure to
sufficiently understand the tribe's belief, and apologizes."
The comments by PG&E's King at the ceremony, however, were "truly from
the heart" and were "deeper than just a press conference," company
spokesman Tremayne said.
A model for other states
The words of state Toxic Substances Control Director Maureen Gorsen also
went far beyond the legal boilerplate spelled out in the settlement
"This is a change in the way we do business," Gorsen said in an
interview. "It's the left brain and right brain and the heart working
together instead of just being an engineering decision."
Gorsen called the agreement a model for other states and the federal
government in "learning how to cooperate with the tribes." The agreement
allows the two sides to collaborate to protect the river from potential
contamination without doing harm to the Fort Mojave's culture and
The project, which PG&E said had cost "tens of millions of dollars"
since 1998, is needed to treat at least 198 million gallons of water
laced with hexavalent chromium that the utility dumped into the ground
from 1951 to 1969.
The chemical compound, a known carcinogen, was used to prevent corrosion
and retard the growth of mold in a cooling tower at a compressor station
that pushes natural gas through a major pipeline to Southern California.
At least one monitoring well has found concentrations of hexavalent
chromium only 60 feet from the Colorado River. Both the state and PG&E,
however, stressed that the treatment plant was pulling the plume back
from the river and that no toxins had been detected in the Colorado.
Tribal attorneys were pleased with Thursday's announcement. "This is a
recognition that these places are worthy of respect and protection,"
said Courtney Coyle, who specializes in cases involving Native American
Coyle noted that the settlement of the Fort Mojave lawsuit was the
latest in a series of legal victories for Indians.
Years battling in courts and in the media are starting to pay off for
the tribes, said Christopher McLeod, a Santa Cruz County filmmaker and
an activist for protecting sacred sites.
"The portal to the afterlife is a very serious place and has been that
way for thousands of years," he said.
"It's historic that PG&E would acknowledge that and do the right thing."
marc.lifsher at latimes.com
******2nd Story - Medicine Lake victory
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2006 4:40 PM
Subject: Press Release for Medicine Lake Highlands
> For more information on press release contact the Advocates for the
> Protection of Sacred Sites:
> Mark LeBeau 916.801.4422; Radley Davis 530.917.6064; James Hayward
> 530.604.9478; Morning Star Gali 510.601.6406; Chris Peters
> 707.825.7640; Jimbo Simmons 415.641.4482; Bradley Angel 415.248.5010;
> Tom Goldtooth 218.751.4967
> 9th Circuit Court stops geothermal energy development at sacred
> Medicine Lake Highlands!
> Huge Victory for Pit River Nation and Native and Environmental Justice
> Pit River Country, CA-Native Americans and their supporters have
> scored another victory in the effort to protect the Medicine Lake
> Highlands from the establishment of a geothermal power plant by
> Calpine energy corporation on lands held by the U.S. Forest Service
> (FS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Since genesis the Highlands
> have always been sacred to the Pit River, Wintu, Modoc, Shasta,
> Klamath, and other Native nations. Many of the families in these
> nations are the traditional caretakers of these lands and it is their
> responsibility to protect them. Numerous strategies have been used to
> accomplish these goals, including securing investor divestment of
> shares from Calpine, exposing the company's illegal energy
> price-fixing scheme, and staging a massive protest at the company's
> headquarters in San Jose earlier this year. In addition, the Pit River
> Nation and various Native sacred sites protection and environmental
> groups sued the federal government and Calpine in an attempt to stop
> the development which will cause irreparable damage to the natural
> environment and Native cultures of the area. We invite all Native
> nations working to protect their sacred places to use any of the
> strategies we have employed, if such approaches would be beneficial to
> your efforts.
> When the plaintiffs lost in federal court in 2004, the judge
> indicated that federal agencies had complied with all applicable
> environmental and historic preservation laws and did not violate the
> federal trust responsibility to the Pit River Nation. However, these
> laws and the trust responsibility in particular are not to be taken
> lightly. The federal government has a unique relationship with Indian
> nations derived from the U.S. Constitution, treaties, Supreme Court
> doctrine, federal statutes, executive orders, and presidential
> directives. Federal agencies have a duty to consult with Indian
> nations on proposed projects and services that may impact upon their
> socio-economic and governmental wellbeing. When federal agencies
> issued leases to energy companies to build geothermal power plants in
> the Highlands, neither the FS nor the BLM consulted with the Pit River
> The plaintiffs appealed the ruling and in a unanimous decision,
> the 9th Circuit Court on November 6, 2006 reversed the lower court
> decision. Judge Clifford Wallace indicated that the federal agencies
> neglected their fiduciary responsibilities to the Pit River Nation by
> violating the National Environmental Protection and the National
> Historic Preservation Acts and that the agencies never took the
> requisite 'hard look' at whether the Highlands should be developed for
> energy at all. As a result, the court rejected the extension of leases
> that would have allowed Calpine to develop the geothermal plant and
> the district court is now directed to enter summary judgment in favor
> of Pit River consistent with this opinion.
> The federal government could appeal the Circuit Court decision to
> the Supreme Court. In preparation for this potential outcome, the
> Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Sites is asking you to write
> Dirk Kempthorne, Department of Interior Secretary, and urge him to
> ensure that the FS and BLM (two agencies under his jurisdiction) will
> not appeal and will abide the current rule of law on this issue. The
> following letter could be used for this purpose:
> Department of the Interior
> 1849 C Street, NW
> Washington, DC 20240
> Dear Secretary Kempthorne,
> I am writing to strongly urge you to oppose appealing the decision of
> the 9th Circuit Court in Pit River v. USFS/BLM. Two federal courts
> have already spent a great deal of time and other resources reviewing
> the case. In a unanimous decision, the Circuit Court ruled that the
> federal agencies neglected their fiduciary responsibilities to the Pit
> River Nation by violating the NEPA and the NHPA and that the agencies
> never took the requisite 'hard look' at whether the Medicine Lake
> Highlands should be developed for energy at all. As a result, the
> court rejected the extension of leases that would have allowed Calpine
> energy corporation to develop a geothermal plant. Another appeal would
> further drain tax payer dollars and detract agency staff from carrying
> out their normal functions. The DOI and its agencies need to abide by
> the current letter of the law in this case.
FW: Native American land plagued by environmental damage, speaker says
Native American land plagued by environmental damage, speaker says
by Scott Brinckerhoff - November 6, 2006
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, two guest speakers recounted
Wednesday night the tribulations of the Lakota Sioux and the Black
the hands of early United States governments.
Author and activist Charmaine White Face described the Lakota as a proud
people determined to hold onto their heritage. James Madison University
Professor Joe Opala offered a similar assessment of the Black Seminoles,
descendants of slaves brought to the New World from Sierra Leone.
Opala's story was primarily a history lesson about the little-known but
prominent role the Sierra Leoneans played in the Deep South in the early
mid-1800s, while White Face presented an urgent call for action to halt
environmental damage caused by the U.S. government on Lakota lands.
That damage, she said, is now spreading across the country.
White Face said the United States has "smothered" an 1868 treaty that
supposed to have established her tribe's land as a sovereign nation in
Black Hills of South Dakota.
Instead of honoring the treaty, she said, the government has allowed
extensive open pit mining of uranium and other elements, to the
detriment of vast
aquifers and the air itself.
As described by White Face, the decline of the Sioux nation is
It once covered 14 states and three Canadian provinces and included
sub-nations, of which the Lakota are one.
The Sioux economy revolved around buffalo, which were decimated by
who went on to mine sacred Lakota lands, unleashing radiation.
"People are being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation," she told
White Face cited the case of Bullhead, an Indian village built along
Dakota's Grand River.
People there are dying of thyroid and other cancers at an alarming rate;
babies are often stillborn; and calls for help from the state and
governments have gone unheeded, she said.
Her message: "We are all related."
Educated as a biologist, White Face noted that aquifers cover massive
of the continent, rivers empty into one another, radioactive dust is
by the wind, and poisons in the soil nourish grass and feed crops that
eventually work their way into the food people eat.
White Face urged the audience to support efforts by her group, Defenders
the Black Hills, to compel governments to clean up residue at hundreds
mines and to encourage the United Nations General Assembly to pass an
peoples human rights resolution that would include her tribe.
Opala, who spent 17 years in Sierra Leone, starting as a Peace Corps
the 1970s, has spent much of his career studying the people who became
as Black Seminoles and their language, called Gullah.
Like White Face, Opala described a native people whose treatment at the
of white Europeans was shameful.
Brought to the United States from Sierra Leone as slaves, a million are
estimated to have died crossing the Atlantic.
Those who survived lived in Georgia and South Carolina and brought with
extensive knowledge of rice growing, which became a vital part of the
But the slave traders also brought new diseases with them from Africa,
including malaria and yellow fever.
The Sierra Leoneans were far more resistant than the whites, and in
slaves began to outnumber whites.
They also began to escape, Opala said, and Florida - dominated at the
by the Spanish - welcomed them.
The slaves aligned with the Seminole Indians of Florida and became known
the Black Seminoles.
They distinguished themselves as fierce fighters who conducted an
guerrilla war from 1835 to 1842 against the United States Army in the
wilderness of Florida.
The Army had been charged with returning the Black Seminoles to bondage,
since slavery was the law of the land, and the idea of having "free"
Florida did not sit well with the government - even though many of these
"slaves" had in fact been born free.
The Black Seminoles fought the Army to a standstill, and ultimately
treaty that allowed them to live in peace in Oklahoma and other
In modern times, Opala has accompanied Black Seminoles from the United
to their ancestral home in Sierra Leone, where he said the U.S.
is always amazed to find familiar music, food, language, and culture.
Check out Yahoo! Messenger's low PC-to-Phone call rates.
Want to start your own business?
Learn how on Yahoo! Small Business.
More information about the Rad-Green