23 May 2006

The Native "Terrorist": Anti-Indigenous Vocabulary in 2006

Please see: http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/yourspace/
for some examples of what is referred to below.

From what I see on this page of letters from viewers, the CBC is doing an excellent job at upholding one side of the debate, particularly the viewpoints of those who continually seem to earn for themselves the right to be called "non-native." They earn that right in imposing themselves on the natives, by referring to their own laws, their civilization, their modernity, their money, their roads, and their Way, always in contrast to that of the natives. Any expression of indignation over being called "non-native" (i.e., white "Canadian") is possibly superficial, or worse, an attempt to take everything away from the natives, even their name.

For a country that prides itself on prosecuting hate crimes, I would imagine that some of the feedback posted on the CBC website comes close to hate speech, except that we in "Canada" tend to only really enforce anti-hate crime laws when it comes to the victims of someone else's holocaust in another continent. Genocide denial is quite tolerated here at home. Indeed, it seems that it is being taught, learned and recited.

I have been reading some letters on the CBC that speak of "our civilization" and how "we" have showered native peoples with modernity and progress. This is typical colonial discourse: without us, the white man, these natives would have all died; we brought them medicine; we brought them proper shelter; we brought them schools; we brought them jams and blankets. I had thought that only in Australia could one still hear such self-serving distortions of history, but that was obviously naive and unfair of me. In "Canada," we like to conveniently forget the Innu ("Canada's" own Tibet) and the countless communities that have been confined to living in filth, disease, unemployment and toxic pollution. We like to forget the unforgivably and uniquely high rates of tuberculosis in First Nations communities, the awful living conditions, the unbelievable rates of suicide. The United Nations--which we always claim to respect--routinely finds "Canada" at fault for grotesque living conditions on reserves that mirror if not rival those of any "third world" state.

Many "Canadian" non-native writers might also consider writing to thank President George W. Bush for providing them with their vocabulary: use of the words "terrorist," "our own home-grown terrorists," "appeasement," "hostages." When such words are used, it's only one option that the writers could be dreaming of, and that would be the total extermination of the natives.

In the past, I have provoked subscribers to The CAC Review to consider how the invasion of Iraq and 1492 mirror each other. I was soundly rebuked by some subscribers, who added to their protest that I was showing disrespect to those Native American soldiers who were risking their lives in battle in someone else's country. Now, the language of anti-terrorism, which sent Natives to fight natives, has been imported back from the grounds of colonial conquest, and is being leveled at native protesters here in North America. How did you not expect to see this discourse come back and tear your hind quarters to shreds? Pity those of us who cling to the dream that colonialism is a thing of the past.

What is Happening in "Canada"?

It is quite plain that the Six Nations protesters had taken down their barricade at Caledonia. The unnecessary, irrational, and provocative counter-barricade by some Caledonia residents has deliberately upset any plans for a peaceful settlement in the short term, which is clearly the aim of those hooligans. After years of pious, self-congratulatory Canadian comparisons to the United States, the way we congratulate ourselves on being a beacon of social justice, it is a relief to see the truth come out. Quite clearly, we are a colonial society with a deep substratum of ignorant, white racism still very much alive. "Canada," whatever that fiction is supposed to mean, reveals itself as an arbitrary construction of illegitmate power and abuse. At this point, anything the Six Nations people do to defend themselves is totally justified.
See http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/05/23/caledonia-monday.html for the latest news from the perspective of the state owned news media, and see also: http://sisis.nativeweb.org/actionalert/.

19 May 2006


"It is difficult to prove that you are among the most oppressed if the Government does not keep records in that regard” said a participant at the Indigenous Session today.

The second day of the fifth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (15-26 May) opened this morning with an interactive dialogue between the members of the Forum and indigenous peoples. Some of the issues discussed:

- Several speakers said that their right to development was currently not fully realized. In fact, in many cases, development could be a double-edged sword for indigenous peoples, robbing them of their land and resources. The invasion of national and international oil, lumber, pharmaceutical and mining corporations led to serious violations of indigenous communities’ rights. In the context of globalization, indigenous peoples were often forced to play the role of bystanders when decisions were made, even though their children would inherit the environmental costs of industrialization projects.

-Several speakers insisted that indicators of poverty and development needed to be adjusted to reflect indigenous peoples’ real situation.

- One speaker drew the Forum’s attention to sterilization of indigenous women without their consent and the use of indigenous people as medical test cases for contraceptive studies.

Complete press release at:

This evening will see the opening of the exhibition " Indigenous Peoples: Honouring the Past, Present and Future" accompanied by a cultural programme and reception in the UN Visitor's Lobby at 6.15pm. The art and photographic exhibition consists of display by the ancient Rapanui islanders, along with carving, weaving, quilting, painting, drawing and printmaking by contemporary indigenous artists from different countries, who represent both the traditional approach, as well as a fusion of old and new.
Photographs by the winners of the National Geographic All Roads Film and Photography Festival is also part of the display. This exhibit highlights the work of photographers from Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa, who document their indigenous local communities as they see them.

Complete press release at:

The Indigenous Meeting continues till 26 May and is being attended by hundreds of indigenous peoples and NGOs. If you would like to receive a press kit or want to schedule interviews with indigenous leaders, please call Oisika Chakrabarti, 212.963.8264 or e-mail chakrabarti@un.org.

Media Advisory, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Click the link below to download a complete media advisory for the current UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues taking place:


UN 5th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, cont'd

A very colorful, large and diverse meeting starts at the UN next week Monday (15 May). Over 1200 indigenous people are expected from around the world. They will meet with governments and UN officials during the two weeks of the meeting and demand and discuss basic rights which they are often denied: full participation in decisions that affect them, to be counted in the census at the country level, their women and youth prioritized, development policies to be truly oriented towards their development so that it is beneficial, access to education, adequate health
services, etc.

Below is a list of people who will be available for interviews during the meeting and the media advisory with the key events. Interviews Please note the press conference is on Monday 15, 2.30pm in Room S-226.

If you would like a press kit with backgrounders on key issues, factsheets and press release, please contact Ms. Oisika Chakrabarti at
chakrabarti@un.org or tel: 212.963.8264.


Media may wish to speak to the following experts on indigenous issues. If you are interested in conducting interviews, contact: Oisika Chakrabarti, DPI at 212.963.8264, e-mail

Mr. Phang Roy Assistant President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (ENGLISH): is the Assistant President on Special Assignment for Indigenous and Tribal Issues, IFAD.

Mr. Michael Dodson, Member, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Australia (ENGLISH): is a member of the Yawuru peoples, the traditional Aboriginal owners of land and waters in the Broome area of the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia. He served for 5 years up as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Indigenous Voluntary Fund. Mick has for long participated in the crafting of the text of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United Nation Working Group on Indigenous Populations and in its more recent consideration by the Working Group of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Mr. Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Australia (ENGLISH): is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and the Iwaidja tribal group. He has been involved in indigenous affairs at a national and international level and has worked in the public sector for over 30 years. He is an expert on indigenous education programs and in developing employment and training programs. In the early eighties, Mr Calma worked to establish the Aboriginal Task Force (ATF) which provided second chance education programs for Indigenous people.

Mr. Aden Ridgeway, New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, Australia (ENGLISH): Aden joined the Australian Democrats in 1990 and was elected as a Democrat Senator for NSW in October 1998. He entered the Senate as Australia's only Indigenous Federal politician in July 1999. He was a member of both Indigenous Native Title negotiating teams following the Mabo and Wik decisions and was a member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation for its last two years.

Ms. Hilda Line, Turaga Nation and Tuvanuatu Komiuniti, Vanuatu, Australia (ENGLISH): is a chief of the Turaga nation of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu in the South Pacific, and has been an activist for progressive political causes since she was a teenager. Her name is synonymous with the nuclear-free and independent Pacific movement, with women’s rights, with indigenous rights, and with environmental issues. In 1987, she became the first woman elected to Parliament in Vanuatu.

Mr. David Choquehuanca, Foreign Affairs Minister of Bolivia (SPANISH): is a politician and diplomat and has served as the foreign minister of Bolivia since January 2006. Choquehuanca is an Aymara Indian and has been a long-time activist for indigenous people. He has worked with international agencies and has been an advisor to President Evo Morales, a fellow Aymara,
well before Morales's election to the Presidency.

Mr. Eduardo Aguiar de Almeida, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Brazil (SPANISH, PORTUGUESE, ENGLISH): is an expert on environment. He has been a Consultant with the Brazilian Ministry on environmental issues and has also worked as a journalist.

Mr. Marcos Terena, Comité Inter-Tribal Memoria y Ciencia Indígena, Brazil (SPANISH, PORTUGUESE): Marcos founded the first indigenous political movement in Brazil in 1977, the Union of Indigenous Nations. Marcos has been active in gaining a space for indigenous peoples in the United Nations system. He was one of the indigenous spokespeople at the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples to move forward the creation of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He was also one of the indigenous leaders that worked to move forward the process of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Wilton Lithechild, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Canada (ENGLISH): is the founding member of the Indigenous Initiative for Peace with Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu-Tum and is a Member of Parliament. He has served on the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas as Vice-President.

Ms. Qin Xiaomei, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, China (CHINESE, ENGLISH): is an expert on human rights issues. She graduated from Beijing University in 1964 and started working for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1990. In 1997, she was in the office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China. Later, she worked for Chinese Embassy in the Untied States of America. Since 2001, she is with the UN Association of China.

Ms. Victoria Neuta, Colombia (SPANISH): is the Coordinator of the Continental Network's Commission on non-violence, a space for indigenous women to exchange experiences and seek alternatives. Established in 1993 through an initiative of indigenous women from Canada, when they decided to get together to exchange experiences and explore the possibilities of creating a common project for indigenous women from North [words missing in original].

Ms. Liliane Muzangui Mbela (UNPFII Member), Democratic Republic of Congo (FRENCH, ARABIC, ENGLISH): is in charge of the Division for Drafting and Press in the Parliament. She is also a member of the Permanent Authority on Autochtones Questions.

Ms. Ida Nicolaisen, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Denmark (ENGLISH): was nominated by Denmark to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is an expert on indigenous groups in Southeast Asia with whom she has worked for over 30 years. She has also worked in Africa.

Mr. Santiago de la Cruz, Ecuador, (SPANISH): is the Vice President of the Federation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE). He is one of the few aboriginal peoples surviving on the Ecuadorian coast. There are only 7,000 members in his community, who are of great interest to the geneticists.

Ms. Nina Pacari, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ecuador (SPANISH ): has been a legal advisor to the indigenous communities of the Chimborazo province. She has been a active leader and Coordinator in the political work of the indigenous peoples in Ecuador.

Ms. Carmen Maria Gallardo Hernandez, Chairperson of CSW, El Salvador (SPANISH): is the Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of Women. She was the Coordinator for International Cooperation for her country’s Supreme Court of Justice, a post she held since September 2002. Ms. Hernández’s served as her country’s Ambassador to France and Portugal in 1994. In 1992 and 1993, she was El Salvador’s permanent delegate to UNESCO in Paris.

Ms. Merike Kokajev, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Estonia (ENGLISH): is the Director, Division of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She participated in Commission of Human Rights (1999-2004) and UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion of Human Rights (1999-2002). She worked on a draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and on the establishment of a UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (1999-2002).

Mr. Aqqaluk Lynge, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Greenland (ENGLISH): is the President of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and Vice Chair ICC International since 2002. He graduated from Copenhagen Social Hoekskole, (School of Social Work) in 1976. He became the Social Counselor of Aasiaat, Greenland soon after and has also been a journalist for radio Greenland (KNR) for several years.

Ms. Otilia Luz de Coti, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Guatemala (SPANISH): is a member of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues and Political Association of Maya Women. She is also a permanent representative of Guatemala to UNESCO Executive Council.

Mr. Juan Leon Alvarado, Spanish, Guatemala (SPANISH): is an Assistant-Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS). He is the Chair of the Working Group to prepare the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ms. Lucy Mulenkei, Indigenous Information Network, Kenya (ENGLISH): Lucy Mulenkei is a Maasai from Kenya who started her career as a broadcast journalist working on issues of environment and development. Lucy presently runs the Indigenous Information Network in Kenya, which publishes the popular grassroots publication, Nomadic News, focusing on environmental issues and successes affecting pastoralists and hunter-gatherers in Africa. For the past several years Lucy has also been working as a Chair and Coordinator of the African Indigenous Women’s Organization in the East African Region.

Mr. Hassan Id Balkassm (UNPFII Member), Morocco (AMAZIGH, ARABIC, FRENCH, ENGLISH): is a attorney accredited by the Higher Court in Rabat since 1982. He is the President of Tamaynut Association and of the IPACC (Indigenous Peoples African Coordinating Committee); Member expert in the IRCAM (Royal Institute for the Amazigh culture).

Mr. Parshuram Tamang, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Nepal (ENGLISH, NEPALESE): is from Nepal and has been an indigenous activist for over 25 years. He has founded several indigenous peoples organizations both in Nepal and in other parts of Asia.

Ms. Mirna Cunningham, Nicaragua (SPANISH, ENGLISH): is the President of the Centre for Indigenous People’s Autonomy and Development on the North Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. She is an experience indigenous leader and medical doctor on the North Atlantic Coast.

Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Philippines (ENGLISH) : Victoria has been the Convener of the Asian Indigenous Women's Network (AIWN) since 1993. AIWN is a network of 80 indigenous women's organizations in Asia. She is the founder and Executive Director, Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education).

Ms. Tarcila Rivera (Chirapaq), Peru (SPANISH) : is a Quechuan activist who has devoted over 20 years of her life to defend and seek recognition and acknowledgement of Peruvian indigenous peoples and cultures. Her specific contributions to the empowerment of indigenous children and women have resulted in the creation of the Permanent Workshop of Andean and Amazon Indigenous Women of Peru, the International Forum of Indigenous Women of the Americas and the Continental Link of Indigenous Women of the Americas.

Mr. Yuri Boychenko, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Russian Federation (RUSSIAN, ENGLISH) : is the head of a Division, Department on Compatriot Affairs and Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relation. He is an expert on human rights. He has participated in the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and is a member of the Russian Federation delegation at various UN Working Groups on the elaboration of major human rights documents.

Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Russian Federation (RUSSIAN): is the Vice-President of RAIPON since 1997. He graduated from Khabarovsk State Pedagogical Institute in 1984 and became a mathematics teacher in the settlement of Krasny Yar, Primorsky Kray. In 1994, he was appointed the Councillor to the Governor of the Primorsky Kray on Indigenous Issues.

Mr. William Ralph Joey Langeveldt, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, South Africa (ENGLISH): is the National Commissioner for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. He is a member of the Commission for Sustainable Development of South Africa.

Ms. Tonya Frishner, American Indian Law Alliance, USA (ENGLISH): Tonya Frishner, American Indian Law Alliance, USA: Is the Founder of the American Indian Law Alliance, Tonya is an attorney, activist, and recipient of numerous awards for community service. She is an adjunct professor of Native America law.

Mr. Robby Romero, Red Lake Nation, USA (ENGLISH): Robby Romero, Red Lake Nation, USA: Mr. Robby Romero has a native rock band. Romero is a show-biz kid who early on “found himself in the company of filmmakers like Dennis Hopper and Sam Peckinpah.” Romero’s music output has been prodigious. His film, “All the Missing Children and Is It Too Late?” aims to help runaway and abandoned children. Romero also has a line of hand-crafted Pueblo jewellery and lifestyle products designed in partnership with indigenous peoples.

Ms. Noeli Pocaterra, 2nd Vice-President, National Assembly, Venezuela (SPANISH): is from the Wayuu Nation in Venezuela. She is an appointed chair of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and Vice-President of the National Assembly and has become a key player in policy changes for indigenous people in Venezuala. Noeli is also a strong advocate for indigenous children's right and has been instrumental in bringing about positive changes for children at the national and community level by affecting both policy and programming.

United Nations 5th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


New York is the indigenous capital of the world (New York, 8 May) –

For two weeks, New York will be the indigenous capital of the world as more than 1,500 indigenous leaders from all over the world meet at the United Nations for the Fifth Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The Forum, to be held from 15 to 26 May, will feature 52 parallel events, mostly organized by indigenous groups. Among them are screenings of short films by indigenous filmmakers from around the world, sponsored by National Geographicmagazine (15 May, 1:15 pm-2:45 pm); a panel discussion on Native American writers, featuring authors Allison Hedge Coke and James Thomas Stevens (16 May, 1:15 pm-2:45 pm); the opening of the exhibition of contemporary indigenous art, with performances by indigenous performers (16 May, 6:15 pm); and the opening of the indigenous bazaar, with art crafts from around the world (17 May, 3:15 pm).

Poetry readings, book launches and workshops ranging from traditional medicine to environmental protection to traditional knowledge will bring to the fore the dynamic contributions of indigenous cultures. The two-week Forum will bring together Miskitu feminists, Mayan poets, Aymara filmmakers, Sami musicians and Navajo ICT experts.

Meanwhile, in the meeting room indigenous leaders will debate and sometimes clash with government representatives over development programmes and full participation and consent of indigenous peoples in the decisions that affect their lives as well as the health, education and human rights needs of some 370 million indigenous people around the globe.

Several events are organized by New York State’s very own Native leaders and artists. These include New York City's American Indian Community House, American Indian Law Alliance, Flying Eagle Women Fund and North-East Two-Spirit Society.

For full schedule, visit:

Journalists without UN credentials who wish to attend should visit:

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Oisika Chakrabarti,
Department of Public Information,
tel: 212.963.8264,
For Secretariat of the Permanent Forum, please contact:

Mirian Masaquiza,
Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,
tel: 917.367.6006,

Jose Barreiro: "Six Nations: Good Minds Calm Frayed Tempers"

Six Nations: Good minds calm frayed tempers
© Indian Country Today April 27, 2006. All Rights Reserved.
[submited by Jose Barreiro and reprinted with permission. The CAC Review's Creative Commons Licence does not apply to the contents of this post]

The heated confrontation at Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada, widened and deepened in the past week while at the same time showing sign of progress toward resolution. The deeply rooted Native sentiment on the land and against any type of physical aggression against their own people has stiffened the resolve of Six Nations clan mothers, chiefs and warriors after a bungling assault by police forces fanciful that they could arrest the ''trouble-makers'' and lay low the protesters' encampment.

It was not to be, and within half a day Canada was reminded that the peoples of the old Haudenosaunee Confederacy unite under stress and self-defend in ways most ingenious, straightforward and stark. By day's end, roads around the encampment site were blockaded, bridges were temporarily shut down and across southern Ontario rail lines were immediately threatened so that important train runs between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal were suspended.

Canadian authorities know, but still do forget, that when they deal with Six Nations people - particularly if the populous Mohawks are engaged - police assaults can trigger an intense, decentralized response among warrior societies. Just the protest at the railroad lines by Tyendinega Mohawks 350 kilometers (217.4 miles) away ''delayed service for thousands of passengers yesterday, and shipment of goods worth tens of millions of dollars,'' according to the Toronto Star newspaper. The railways protest ended April 22 after only a day's paralysis; but as this edition goes to press, the Kahnawake Mohawk warrior society is holding the Mercier Bridge in Montreal at bay, while Akwesasne residents leaflet motorists on the international bridge at Cornwall. Both of these bridges have been shut down by Mohawks before.

The warrior response is not always pretty or romantic. Often it bubbles with anger nearly impossible to contain. But it is a real and organic action/reaction based on a long historical memory. While one local paper described them as ''the so-called clan mothers,'' the circle of elder women who hold wampum and select chiefs and other officials for Six Nations longhouses can still cause great movement among their peoples.

Undoubtedly, the Six Nations traditional councils and longhouses are too often contentious, within and among themselves, on interpretations of the Great Law of Peace and on what courses of action to coalesce around. But some issues, most emphatically those relating to land, treaty rights and freedom from police aggression, particularly for elders and children, activate large numbers of Haudenosaunee people, extended relations that connect through impenetrable and unbreakable familial and clan ties.

Expectedly, the heat of action and youthful energy will recede to allow the Six Nations negotiating team, guided by the clan mothers and now led by the Confederacy chiefs in collaboration with band council representatives, to sustain what provincial and federal authorities describe as ''marathon talks'' held through the weekend of April 22 - 23.

These talks have apparently produced some breakthroughs as the Indian delegation grew in sophistication and unity and Canadian authorities contemplated the depth of sentiment and breadth of potential action on the Native side. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper, Ontario Cabinet Minister David Ramsay emerged confident the dispute ''can be resolved peacefully,'' after the opening talks.

For the traditional side, the core longhouse governments of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in Canada, there was a victory just in having been recognized as lead negotiators by the band council government. The long tribal memory is keen on the details of Canadian ''regime change'' on Six Nations Reserve in 1924, an incident that reverberated in Europe as the League of Nations was petitioned by traditional chiefs of that day, notably the greatly respected Cayuga chief, Deskaheh.

It was Deskaheh who between 1921 and 1924, as ''Speaker of the Six Nations,'' first traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to make the case over land, jurisdiction and the right of a ''small nation of the world'' to survive and to govern itself according to its custom and tradition. Deskaheh was denied an official hearing at the League of Nations but continued on a speaking tour that garnered great attention and support for the Six Nations cause. Nevertheless, Canada attacked then as well, imposing the Federal Indian Act, exiling Deskaheh, dispersing the traditional government and installing an elective system that 80 years later is called the Six Nations Band Council and governs day-to-day affairs and services on the reserve.

The band council is here to stay, 80 years later, and is not nearly as nefarious as its origin. Yet a strong moral and, many contend, legal authority still rests with the traditional longhouses, which are culturally central to the communities.

For elected Chief David General and most of his council to defer authority to the longhouse government on the land claims negotiation is the biggest political change in nearly a century.

As Hazel Hill, not a clan mother but an elder longhouse woman leader who was wrestled to the ground by five police officers during the April 19 assault, told the Star: ''It's monumental. It's big. I can't even explain the enormity of what's happening.''

The hope is that the unity of Native leadership now in talks with Canadian authorities will sustain and deepen.

Already, the resolute stand has brought Canada to the dialogue it long avoided, and the reality of purposeful negotiation has brought the beginning of common approach to a community divided into elective and traditional systems.

One big obstacle to good relations is the standoff itself, which sees the camp occupants worried about a police assault and, in response, keeping important roads around the reserve blockaded. This is highly provocative and building intense anger among many non-Native local residents who are calling for force against ''the Indians.'' Interestingly, at least according to Haldiman County Mayor Marie Trainer, local residents still support the Native quest of land claims justice, reported CBC Newsworld.

It behooves the Indian activists to fully cultivate this lingering support and turn it in a positive direction.

Deskaheh, the ancestor chief who called on the world for support of Six Nations causes in 1924, wrote a letter to his people from his European mission. He requested from them a longhouse meeting back home, where ''you must combine all the good people ...to ask [the Creator] to help us in our distress of this moment and you must use Indian tobacco, in our usual way we ask help from our Great Spirit.''

Deskaheh specified that the tobacco-burning must be done ''very early in the morning, so that our God may hear you and the children.'' We join Deskaheh's insightful call for the positive thought, so that good minds may prevail on behalf of our future generations.

Please visit the
Indian Country Today website for more articles related to this topic.

10 May 2006

Oka Project: Demonstration, Montreal, May 18

We've been trying to stop this mine for years. Got any ideas?

*please post and forward*


Demonstrate at Niocan’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders

WHEN: May 18th, 2006, 9:30am
WHERE: Best Western Hotel, 3407 Peel (corner Sherbrooke)
WHAT: Demonstrate Against Niocan’s Annual General Shareholder’s Meeting *****************************************************************

Refuse Niocan! Resist Environmental Racism! Reject Canadian Colonialism!

Niocan Inc., a Montreal-based mining corporation, is nearing the final stages of approval for their "Oka Project", a toxic niobium mine to be developed within traditional Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) territories.

Community members have taken a clear stance on this issue - they said the destructive project would not be tolerated! In addition to the outright violation of the centuries old claim the Kanien’kehaka people have to this land, the mine also poses serious environmental threats - the release of ionizing radiation which will contaminate the air, soil and water.

Niocan assured their shareholders they only invest and develop in politically stable regions. In solidarity with the Haudenosaunee Peoples from Six Nations to Kanehsatake, we gotta let the investing-class know: "The myth of political stability is over!" Investing in developments on stolen native lands has a price - and that price is the risk of bankrupcy Henco Industries is currently facing. The decolonization movement is growing and coast-to-coast People will rise up in solidarity with Kanehsatake!

bring noisemakers, placards, banners and your anti-colonial determination!


Last May, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks Thomas Mulcair announced that Montreal-based mining company Niocan Inc. would have to provide more substantive environmental study results before he would issue the necessary certificate of authorization to move ahead with the company's niobium mining project on unceded Kanien:keha'ka (Mohawk) territory.

In a letter to shareholders on November 30, 2005, Niocan stated that the company is "reassess[ing] the hydrogeological studies to date and to propose a plan of action to provide answers to the questions raised by the professionals at the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parcs (MDDEP)." The report also reiterated Niocan's commitment to "move ahead with vigor and determination on the Oka Project."

The report to shareholders cited the recent Oka municipal elections as proof of community support for the project, stating: "the mayor and four councilors that support the Oka Niobium Project have been re-elected. This is further evidence of the support of area residents for the project." This, despite a press release issued last May 16th by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) stating: "the commission learned through the public consultation process that the land on which the mine is located is subject to claims... [and] most public consultation participants are very concerned about the mining project, to which they did not consent."

Niocan’s former Chairman and CEO René Dufour said "the Mohawks have nothing to do with this." But Dufour couldn't be more wrong. The land on which the proposed mine would be built has never been surrendered to the Canadian government, and thus neither Niocan nor the Quebec (an equity investor in the project to the tune of $427,000) have any legal right to continue with this environmentally devastating project. This is yet another gross example of the blatant violation of Native sovereignty in Canada. More studies and assessments will mean nothing. They simply cloud the real issue, which is one of violation of Mohawk land claims by the governments of Canada and Quebec and the huge corporations they keep close to them.

Currently, Niocan is awaiting a certificate of authorization from Claude Bechard, the newly-appointed Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment & Parks to give the project the go ahead. Niocan is confident the certificate will be granted.

If you can not attend the May 18th demo, please phone/fax or email your objections to Claude Bechard at:

Phone: (418) 521-3911
Fax: (418) 643-4143
E-Mail: ministre@mddep.gouv.qc.ca

Sample Letter,

Attention: Mr. Claude BÉCHARD

We are writing to you to express our absolute opposition to Niocan Inc.'s proposed Oka Project.

This project would entail destructive practices on traditional Kanien'keha'ka (Mohawk) land - territory that they have laid claim to for centuries and continues to be disputed. Thus far, no efforts have been made on the part of the government or Niocan Inc. to consult with the people of Kanehsatake in regards to this mine. Despite Niocan's claims, the community remains adamantly opposed to the project. Regardless of the company's assertions that the Oka Project will result in a dramatic infusion of capital and jobs into the local economy, this operation is not environmentally, economically or culturally sustainable for the Kanien’keha’ka people. The Socio-economic study carried out by Niocan's auditors, KPMG, contained no recognition of these matters. The fact that the Quebec government has a $427, 000 equity investment in the project is not lost on community members and allies; nor is the fact that mining operations have historically targeted Indigenous lands and perpetrated violence, displacement and environmental racism.

We would also like to reiterate the environmental concerns that have been raised by members of both the Kanehsatake and Oka communities. Despite the BAPE's dismissal of the amount of radioactive material which will be released during the excavation, essentially, there is no established safe limit of ionizing radiation. Consequently, neither Niocan Inc. nor the government can guarantee the project will not have adverse health effects on those living in the area. Locals are already exposed to the highest national levels of radon gas - a well established carcinogen. Secondary to previous mining activities, radiation levels in some homes in Oka already exceed the relatively lax Canadian safety standards. There is no documentation as to what these levels are in Kanehsatake.

Besides release into the air, waste from the operation will be released into the local water system; the water table will also be used to supply the project. The far-reaching effects of all of these derangements on the local agriculture and way of life cannot be understated. Furthermore, the materials left behind in slags and tailings after the projected 17 year operation will continue to negatively impact the environment and future generations. In April 2000, 62% of the Parish of Oka voted against Niocan's project.

Approval of this project would result in serious violations of Kanien'keha'ka treaty rights and the rights of all local residents to health and security.

Therefore, in alliance with the communities of Kanehsatake and Oka, we demand that Niocan Inc.'s Oka Project proposal be rejected by your office.

IPSM-l mailing listIPSM-l@lists.resist.ca

06 May 2006

Announcement: Liga Taina Ke Forum

5 de mayo de 2006

Estimados colegas y compañeros,

Es un verdadero placer volver a saludarlos. Están cordialmente invitados al próximo foro de la Liga Taina-Ke El tema principal del foro es la conservación y protección del patrimonio natural y cultural de Puerto Rico. Los organizadores de este foro estamos convencidos de que, independientemente de cuáles sean las causas de los problemas de nuestro país, todos tenemos que unirnos para cambiar el patrón de desarrollo desparramado, destructivo, insensible e insostenible.

No existe duda que nuestra sociedad posee las capacidades necesarias para lograr metas comunes. Tenemos que unir fuerzas para construir modelos tallados a nuestras limitaciones geográficas y medioambientales, idiosincrasias culturales y situación geopolítica.

A este fin se dirige el foro – canalizar y aprovechar los medios intelectuales, financieros, políticos y culturales para apoyar el desarrollo de comunidades sostenibles en Puerto Rico. El objetivo es lograr compromisos de las agencias (federales y estatales) para que apoyen esta iniciativa, y que eliminen las barreras existentes. También necesitamos la participación de múltiples actores y sectores sociales y culturales - sobre todo la comunidad.

Te invitamos a que participes en este foro abierto dándonos tus comentarios y sugerencias - para lograr la Boriken que todos deseamos y soñamos.

Día: 13 de mayo de 2006
Lugar: Anfiteatro de Ciencias Naturales - CN 142
Hora: 9:00am

Agencias Invitadas:

US Forest Service
Autoridad de Tierras
Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña
Colegio de Agrónomos de PR
Autoridad de Carreteras de PR

Otros Invitados:

Grupos de Areito Taino:
Esencia Tabonuco – Melvin González
Guatu- Macu a Boriken – Martín Veguilla

Diversos representantes de la Comunidad Taina en Puerto Rico

Agradezco infinitamente su interés, consideración y cooperación en esta iniciativa. Si necesitas cualquier información adicional favor de contactarme al 787-671-0455 (celular), 787-764-0000 / Ext. 2479 / 3626 (Departamento), o al siguiente correo electrónico (lynemelendez@yahoo.com).

Si aun no lo han hecho, los invito a que visten el nuevo sitio de La Liga Taina-ke: http://www.tainakepr.blogspot.com/

Carlalynne Meléndez, PhD
Catedrática Auxiliar
Facultad de Ciencias Sociales
Universidad de Puerto Rico
Recinto de Río Piedras

04 May 2006

Taino Wins Miss Indian World 2006-2007

See image at:

Extract from:
Thousands attend Gathering of Nations Pow Wow
By Erny Zah The Daily Times
May 1, 2006

"One singer, Al Santos, took pride in the fact that the powwow lived up toits name this year, The Gathering of Nations.

"For him, the powwow did that in two ways: First, Otter Trail, Santos' drumgroup, won fourth place in the 'Southern Challenge' drum contest, and second, the new Miss Indian World, Violet John, is part Taino, an indigenous tribe that came from the Caribbean Sea islands.

"Al Santos is also a Taino. 'I about had a heart attack when she introduced herself,' Santos said. 'I thought maybe they said something other than Taino.'

"The recognition of a small tribe in the singing contest and in Miss Indian World means a lot, Santos said."

02 May 2006

Post-Tribal Stress Disorder

In the Spirit of the Ancestors:
Reconciling Post Tribal Stress Disorder

by Patrisia Gonzales
Column of the Americas
© May 1, 2006
[reprinted in The CAC Review by kind permission of the author]
[the original article, and many others like it, can be found at: http://hometown.aol.com/xcolumn/myhomepage/]

I once heard an Ojibwa woman tell a group of Chicanos working on indigenous liberation that our ancestors did what they had to, to survive.

Our indigenous ancestors survived by passing as Mexicans or mestizos, or being defined away as mestizos by governments. And many married mestizos. As a result, the Mexican community is a pan indigenous community comprised of native peoples of both Mexico and North America. Indigeneity became private and individualized in families. They survived by hiding the indigenous knowledge so deeply that some of us could no longer recognize it. Some were taught to forget and to fear and disconnect from our place in the natural world and the power of nature within our own hands. There was no need for the Inquisition once forced conversion could be regulated by the community itself. Choctaw scholar Karina Walters says that part of historical trauma was established through forced conversion and separating people away from their original instructions, the ancestral agreements and covenants about how to treat each other and how to honor their responsibilities to the natural world.

I believe that among those defined as mestizos many suffer from PTSD or Post Tribal Stress Disorder. I use this term to refer to the suffering and afflictions that result from de-Indianization. Invariably, there is someone who remembers in their family that they are Indian. Or they will recount how one of their grandparents told them to never forget, "we are Indian." But like historical trauma, not all suffer the soul wound of de-Indianization.

Part of their historical trauma is the void where there should be remembrance of the names of our ancestors and nations. They are the other “disappeared” of the Americas, by the processes of social control. Some argue that mestizos are like a brown clay pot, emptied of a native spirit that was claimed by impositions. Others argue mestizos indigenized Spanish culture and that it is, in fact, only a shallow topsoil that covers indigenous Mexico, which is indigenous in the spaces also claimed as mestizo or urban. We are another kind of Indian that does not fit into the current boxes on identity.

Many scholars concur that Mesoamerica's indigenous legacy remains in traditional agriculture and Mexican traditional medicine - and protective factors against disconnection. Zapata asserted that the land belongs to those who work it -- Mexicans still work the land and have relationships with this natural world. But many are taught to deny their Indianness, to even hate it. A Kickapoo elder once recounted to me how a group of Mexican kids in Coahuilla, Mexico, got mad when he proclaimed to them, "you're Indian."

Those people identified as mestizo, Hispanic, or Latino suffer from a particular kind of historical trauma. They are told that they are both the oppressed and the oppressor. Many Mexicans are largely Indian by heritage and do not descend from Spanish colonialists, and when they do, it may be through rape or forced marriage, such as with one of my Kickapoo grandmothers. It is hard to determine who is the “we/they,” who of the relatives were/are the mestizos who benefited from controlling “the Indian.” The Mexican (read Bolivian, Ecuadorian etc.) community has been in a constant process of de-Indianization and each family has its own particular relationship to that process.

In my work, I identify some symptoms of PTSD:
  1. Anehlos -- a feeling of longing and that something is missing.
  2. Cracked mirror -- a feeling that something wants to break through, or break open and that your sight is refracted from cracks in perception, with some parts distorted and others clear.
  3. Rejection -- feeling rejected by Latinos and mestizos as being too Indian and by some Native Americans as almost or maybe Indian, but then again not really (while others welcome you as cousins, brothers or sisters.)
  4. Loss -- mourning the loss of ancestors, nations and the spiritual teachings that were wrested away and in which you had no say or control.
Fortunately, there are numerous native elders working with, or in, these communities as people resist de-Indianization, particularly the more recent indigenous migrants from the southern hemisphere. Some people argue that mestizos and Latinos should accept their historical conditions, that they have no right to renew or strengthen their indigeneity. Yet, that goes against the spirit of self-determination. If we could hear them speak in the spirit world, would they not ask for their children to return? to fight? to renew knowledge in the spirit of their ancestors? To do otherwise, is to accept colonization, something no community, native or not, can justify as an acceptable human condition. To proclaim their Indianness, someone once said, is the biggest paradigm shift since the Spanish debated whether Indians had souls.

© 2006 Column of the Americas

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