Aljazeera counters the fantasy of the White House Tribal Nations Conference
By Brenda Norrell
Aljazeera's Inside Story responded to the article, 'The Uninvited: The White House Tribal Nations Conference.' Aljazeera's guest Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, countered the superficial summit, the voice of Obama politics and the fantasy of wealthy politicians.
Ofelia points out that Native Americans still don't have electricity in Indian country, while generators operate next to them.
The Aljazeera program reveals how easy it is for wealthy politicians to support Obama, even in Indian country, and attempt to use the media for influence peddling.
After the program, Ofelia said, "True sovereignty is misinterpreted by the tribal leaders who sit there with their wealth and do not represent the people at home. These tribal politicians like to divert the issues of truth."
Ofelia, preparing for the Aljazeera interview, listened to an earlier interview and the words of Russell Means, also broadcast on Aljazeera.
"American Indians are the Palestinians of America," said Ofelia, who wore a checked scarf in solidarity with Palestine during the interview.
"People need to expand their worlds, and realize how America has altered so many people around the world, and not just the Indigenous Peoples of the United States," Ofelia told Censored News.
"Not all Indians are sitting around waiting for their Cobell checks," Ofelia said.
On the Aljazeera program, Ofelia describes how O'odham live with the daily abuse by US Border Patrol agents on the US/Mexico border. She is an Indigenous rights activist who served as cochair of the Indigenous Peoples Working Group at the Mother Earth Conference in Bolivia in 2010. She was unjustly imprisoned in a migrant prison in southern Mexico while supporting the Zapatistas. She is founder of the O'odham Voice against the Wall.
In the interview with Aljazeera, Ofelia points out that Obama's 30 minutes with Native American leaders at the White House Tribal Nations Conference was far too little time to address the issues in Indian country.
The Aljazeera interview does a good job of revealing how wealthy politicians are clueless about the real conditions for grassroots Indian people .
Patty Talahongva, Hopi, a journalist who covers Native American issues, makes good points about Obama's lack of access to Native media, during the interviews on Aljazeera.
Photo: Ofelia Rivas on Aljazeera Dec. 5, 2012, wearing a scarf in solidarity with Palestine.
A special thanks to Aljazeera for inviting me to be on the program. I'm happy Aljazeera concurred with my recommendation, instead, to have Ofelia Rivas speak as a grassroots person who lives every day with the injustice on the US/Mexico border. -- Brenda Norrell
Ofelia Rivas website: O'odham Solidarity Project
Video: Ofelia Rivas Sacredness of Water at Yaqui International Water Forum Mexico Nov. 2012
Russell Means breaks the silence on Obama
“Every policy the Palestinians are now enduring was practiced on the American Indian,” Means said
Russell Means on Aljazeera 'Thanks Taking'