Brenda Norrell's Comments
TUCSON, Ariz. Indigenous Peoples from Peru say that while their countrys leaders have endorsed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the international level, at home the federal government is preparing to forcibly claim Indigenous lands for mining.
Indigenous Peoples are now struggling to protect their territories from a proposed law that would claim the right to appropriate Indigenous territories based on the Peruvian governments claim that it is a matter of national interest.
Speaking out against mining, Quechua leader Miguel Palacin of Lima, Peru, said Andean Peoples from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina have organized to protect Indigenous territories in this region. Palacin is coordinator of the Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indigenas (Andean Federation of Indigenous Organizations.)
This group is working to protect Indigenous Peoples' rights, Palacin said, speaking through a translator, at the Western Mining Action Network Conference 2007, held in Tucson on Sept. 28 29.
Palacin said the concept of Indigenous territories does not only refer to the lands of Indigenous Peoples, but also to Indigenous' languages, cultures, values and clothing. Indigenous territories include the right to autonomy and self-governance based on Indigenous Peoples own legal systems and principles.
By Brenda Norrell
CARACAS, Venezuela American Indians from the north joined with Indigenous from around the world in Venezuela to unite in the struggle for Indigenous rights and opposition to colonial oppression.
The delegations included members of the International Indian Treaty Council, American Indian Movement and tribal members from the Tohono Oodham and Mohawk Nations in the United States and Canada.
Robert Free Galvan, Native activist from Seattle, said it was a rare opportunity to sit with Indigenous Venezuelan leaders as the country passed a new law recognizing Indigenous languages.
During international gatherings, both formal and informal, the delegations from the north urged their Venezuelan allies to vote Yes to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Galvan, who earlier spearheaded the delivery of low cost oil from Venezuelas CITGO to Indian communities in North America, said the latest American Indian delegation to Venezuela, which follows several delegations, continues the commitment to create strong bonds between Indigenous in the north and south.
Indians met with the Venezuelan people, government and communities to build awareness, solidarity and strong bonds to help each other with their struggles."
However, four countries -- Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand -- voted against it.
While Indigenous Peoples around the world are celebrating this victory, they are also examining what the Declaration means for the future. Especially in Canada, Indigenous Peoples are voicing reactions to the governments who voted against Indigenous rights.
Official comments from Indian leaders, and links to news articles, are posted at:
The "Project Censored 2007" awards are out and most of what was censored in Indian country was ignored. American Indian readers of the Censored blog say these topics were the most censored during the past year:
--Silencing of traditional and grassroots' voices by those in power
--Nuclear, uranium and coal genocide of Indigenous
--Border deaths and abuse of Indigenous; racism in border news reporting
--American Indian delegations in Venezuela
--Zapatistas' meetings at US/Mexico border
The silencing of traditional and grassroots' voices by those in power includes tribal leaders and councils who have silenced the voices of spiritual leaders and other people in their communities. Those in power continue censoring these voices in the tribally-owned news media; by court actions; local political oppression and access to tribal services.
Explaining the role of "puppet tribal governments in the United States," Hopi traditional elder Dan Evehema said it best, when he was 104 years old, before his death. Speaking through a translator, Evehema said the elected Hopi government was a "puppet government of the United States."
Evehema said the elected tribal government was never recognized or endorsed by the traditional Hopi elders, who maintained constant support for Navajos at Big Mountain and elsewhere on Black Mesa in Arizona, and the Navajos' right to remain on the coal-rich land that the United States government attempts to forcibly relocate Navajos from.
Opposition to the militarization of the borders in Indigenous territories, including the US/Mexico border wall and the United States spying on private citizens, is a focus of the summit.
The foundation of the discussion will be the sacred duty to protect Mother Earth.
Indigenous rights of passage, Indigenous deaths in the borderzone and the universal rights of Indigenous Peoples will be discussed.
The United States' new border crossing requirements will be on the agenda, with Indigenous pressing for the recognition of tribal identification cards, as opposed to U.S. passports, for American Indian tribal members.
Land and water rights and human rights in the Americas will be the focus of sessions.
Special invitations are extended to the spiritual leaders, chiefs, tribal leaders and other Indigenous Peoples from Alaska, Canada, Central America and South America.
The first planning session for this year's summit was held on Friday, August 31, with Tohono O'odham from Arizona, O'odham from Mexico, Salt River Pima, Navajo and Hopi/Pueblo tribal members attending.
Tohono Oodham Mike Flores is organizing the summit.
The San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation passed a resolution on July 10, 2007 to host the summit again this year.
Watch for updates:
Zapatistas extend a warm welcome to Indigenous Peoples, delegates and commissions. Non-Indian supporters are asked to serve as volunteer workers at the summit.
Oodham in Mexico Lt. Gov. Jose Garcia explained the reasons for the summit, which is hosted by the Oodham in Mexico.
This meeting is an opportunity for Indian tribes to learn why the Zapatistas rose up, and learn what has happened since that time to bring about the unity of the people, Garcia said.
Garcia said the Zapatista movement is well-known in southern Mexico, but Indigenous in the north are still learning about the movement.
Still, the racism and bigotry towards Indigenous Peoples knows no boundaries, he said.
We need to learn to survive in this modern world, as society progresses. Indigenous are affected by these changes in many ways.
This is why were asking non-Indigenous to have courtesy and allow Indigenous this time to come together and voice opinions and concerns.
Maria Garcia, organizing food for the Zapatistas' North American Summit, said hard-working kitchen helpers are needed for food preparation and cleaning duties. Helpers should arrive at the site on Sunday evening, Oct. 7, for assignments.
By Brenda Norrell
SASABE, Ariz. -- The Wackenhut Corporation, whose buses wait along the border to be filled with migrants for deportation, is actually owned by a foreign corporation.
Wackenhut is a subsidiary of the Danish security corporation G4S (Group Securicor) in Denmark.
Privatizing the deportation of migrants, Wackenhut/G4S took over these duties from the U.S. Border Patrol.
The executive director of the watchdog group Private Corrections Institute, Ken Kopczynski, exposed the privatization of the migrant deportation at the US/Mexico border.
Meanwhile, another corporation, GEO Group, Inc., is building migrant prisons for profit. In the year 2007 alone, GEO Group won contracts for a prison in Eagle Pass, Texas; an immigration detention facility in Jena, La. and a detention facility for U.S. Marshals service in Laredo, Tex.
After the Jena, La., immigration detention facility reaches full occupancy with 1,160 inmates in 2008, GEO expects $23.5 million annually in revenues.
Texas has some of the most notorious migrant prisons.
Read more on the profiteering behind the border hysteria: http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/
Human rights groups and Arizona residents say the Minutemen are unwelcome armed vigilantes.
One volunteer searching for people dying in the desert Tuesday sent this report of the Minutemen, who are out in full force in the areas of Green Valley and Arivaca.
"They park at Continental and the frontage road in Green Valley on a regular basis and yesterday they met in numbers in the parking lots of the Amado Mini Market, The Longhorn restaurant and the Cow Palace."
Already, some area businessmen have chased Minutemen off their property with shotguns.
On the road to Arivaca from Nogales, the buses labeled "Wackenhut" are usually parked near the Cow Palace and Longhorn restaurants, and along highways in all directions, waiting to be filled with migrants. Wackenhut, now Geo Group, is part of the new U.S.-hired security at the border taking over duties of the Border Patrol.
Human rights volunteers said the Minutemen's presence at this time is an overt attempt to dis-empower and discourage Arizona residents from mobilizing against permanent checkpoints along I-19.
"Our communities south of Tucson need to pass an ordinance against the Minutemen vigilantes like Austin, Texas did recently," one volunteer said.
Yaqui and O'odham reached out to the world's Indigenous Peoples, urging them to come to Mexico and let their voices be heard about the struggles in their own regions.
The meeting took place at Rancho el Penasco, south of the Arizona border, where the North American Continental Summit will be held Oct. 8 -- 9.
A delegation of a dozen Yaqui from Vicam Pueblo included Gov. Loreto Ramirez Mapoumea and Vicam Pueblo Mayor Florentino Buitimea Yoquihua.
"We are in solidarity with one another, and we want to be in solidarity with all of the Indigenous Peoples," Gov. Ramirez said during the reunion and planning meeting held Friday, Aug. 17.
The North American Continental Summit, Oct. 8 9, is one of four regional conferences. There are also Indigenous summits being held in Oaxaca, Oct. 45, Atlapulco, Oct. 6 7 and Michaocan, Oct. 6 7, 2007.
Those culminate with the Intercontinental Indigenous Summit/Encuentro de Pueblos Indígenas de América, Oct. 11 -- 14 in Vicam Pueblo near Obregon.
O'odham in Mexico Lt. Gov. Jose Garcia thanked the Yaqui delegation for coming and the spirit of unity they are working in.
"I think the most important thing is working together in unity. They talked about respect, which is sometimes only a word," Lt. Gov. Garcia said, emphasizing the respect shown by the Yaqui delegation.
Read more on the Censored blog:
MAGDALENA DE KINO, Sonora, Mexico Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas will return to the U.S and Mexico border region to host a subsidiary conference prior to the Intercontinental Indigenous Summit in Pueblo Yaqui, to support Indigenous struggles for their land and liberty.
The Magdalena gathering in the north, Oct. 8 9, will be one of four regional gatherings during the month of October, with three other regional conferences to be held in Oaxaca, Oct. 4 -- 5, Atlapulco, Oct. 6 7 and Michaocan, Oct. 6 7, 2007. Those regional Indigenous gatherings precede the Intercontinental Indigenous Summit in Yaqui Pueblo near Obregon, to be held Oct. 11 -- 14.
Oodham in Mexico Lt. Gov. Jose Garcia welcomed all to the gathering at Rancho el Penasco, the eco-tourism site south of Magdalena, where Marcos and the Zapatistas met with Mexicos northern Indigenous tribes during 2006 and 2007.
This is an opportunity for Indigenous everywhere to come together and get to know one another better, Garcia said, after the EZLN made the official announcement Aug. 15. People can come together and learn more about the Zapatistas.
Garcia said while the Zapatista struggle is well known in southern Mexico, tribes in the northern part of Mexico still want to learn more.
The Zapatistas in the south are facing the same struggle as we are in the north, the same struggle that Indigenous are facing everywhere.