June 24th Day of Action: Tell the World the Truth About Canada’s Record on Indigenous Rights

•April 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Reposted from Defenders of the Land.

Dear Friends & Supporters,

I have the privilege to forward this public Call Out on behalf of the “Defenders of the Land” for support and action regarding Canada hosting the G8/G20 on June 24, 2010.  The Defenders are a movement of independent indigenous bodies that defend Aboriginal and Treaty territories from destructive commercial and industrial development.

The G8/G20 does impact on Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.  Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are the underlying proprietary ownership and jurisdiction of land, water and resources in Canada.  The failure of Canada to recognize Aboriginal and Treaty Rights economically forces Indigenous Peoples to live in poverty.

Canada’s economy has been established on the morally bankrupt and racially motivated concept of the Colonial Doctrines of Discovery and terra nullius, which dehumanize Indigenous Peoples.  These economically motivated concepts, that legitimize stealing of land, water and resources from Indigenous Peoples have been repudiated by Canadian courts, WTO, NAFTA and UN international human rights bodies.

Indigenous Peoples have a legitimate voice to speak on macroeconomic matters that affect the ecological biodiversity that our culture depends on.  Indigenous Peoples have always been consistent in challenging major commercial and industrial developments that affect our way of life.  The capacity of this planet and the capacity of Canada must be considered in terms of what will be left for future generations.   The G8/G20 need to realize there is a limit to growth.

Canadians who respect human rights and want to protect our environment need to realize that Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are the only legitimate means of challenging big government’s and big business’ unconditional monopoly on decision-making.  The G8/G20 framework is the mechanism through which globally structured companies will consolidate money and power at the expense of domestic and Indigenous economies.   The G8/G20 is a top down approach to decision making.

People need to take mores responsibility for the economies we depend on.  The failure of big government and big business to come up with any agreement on controlling their economic activities to reduce “Climate Change” is an alarm bell we need to hear.  We need to be extremely sensitive to the irreparable ecological damage that so called development in sensitive areas like the Far North can have.  Canada has learnt nothing from why the climate in the North is changing.

The Defenders of the Land are working towards building a broad support base for changing the economic parameters of western economies to include Indigenous Peoples in the decision-making and benefit-sharing.  We are experiencing exactly what the planet does when Indigenous Peoples are not included in the decision-making and benefit-sharing.

Indigenous Peoples especially those who practice their traditional life styles have always been a legitimate and dependable voice against rampant development.  Indigenous Peoples and the environment must be factored into the economy if we are to address the loss of ecological biodiversity and climate change that can destroy us.

Please join us on June 24, 2010 and let us make a difference.  Let us tell Canada, the G8 and G20 that we want decisions that are from the bottom up and that include a strong voice from Indigenous Peoples to speak as a counter-balancing voice to big business.  The signatories of this Call Out likeKitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug demonstrate the level of commitment that the Defenders of the Land have to protect our water from mining activities.

We are at a crossroads let us send a strong message to the G8/G20 that we do not support their top down approach to the economy because we are talking about more than jobs and consumerism but addressing our responsibility to our link to the land.  Let us take non-violent action as Indigenous Peoples and Supporters on June 24, 2010.

Arthur Manuel

Continue reading ‘June 24th Day of Action: Tell the World the Truth About Canada’s Record on Indigenous Rights’

Elouise Brown is Coming to Portland This April

•April 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This April, Setting the Record Straight, working in collaboration with other organizers, is facilitating the Portland leg of Elouise Brown’s speaking tour.

For over three years, the community of Chaco Rio, New Mexico, in the Diné(Navajo) Nation, has been blockading the entry to the site of a proposed 1,500 mega watt coal fired power plant.

Elouise Brown is a Diné traditionalist and President of the Doodá Desert Rock Committee. She will be speaking on the dangers posed by coal company, the exploitation of indigenous land by energy companies, and the ongoing struggle to keep the Doodá Desert Rock Power Plant from ever existing.

Wednesday, April 7th
NAYA @ 4:30 PM — 5135 NE Columbia Blvd.
Red & Black Cafe @ 7 pm — 400 SE 12th Ave

Thursday, April 8th
Reed College @ 6 pm in the Vollum Center — 3203 SE Woodstock

Friday, April 9th
KBOO @ 6 pm (Station 90.7 FM)

To print & distribute flyers:

Health Risks and Controversy Remain at Sites in NM and NV

•April 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Reposted from the DooDa Desert Rock Blog, posted by Robyn Jackson.

KARTHAUS, Penn. – An international energy developer financed by Wall Street equity firm The Blackstone Group has abandoned plans for a proposed 300-megawatt waste-coal power plant in rural Pennsylvania.

Sithe Global, which is also behind the proposed Toquop coal plant in Nevada and the Desert Rock plant on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, announced Tuesday it was canceling its proposed $600 million River Hill plant near Karthaus, Penn. due to financing difficulties.

Progress on Sithe’s other two coal projects has also stalled as a result of permitting and financing difficulties and intense opposition from local communities who say the potential harm to their air, water and health far outweighs any economic benefits from the plants.

“We have suspected for a long time that the River Hill project was very tenuous at best,” said Randy Francisco, of the Sierra Club in Pennsylvania. “It says a lot about the viability of these dirty coal plant proposals when they can’t get taxpayer bailouts and they can’t make them pencil out even with the backing of a company with pockets as deep as Blackstone’s.”

Anna Frazier, coordinator of the Navajo group Diné CARE, said that Sithe’s proposed Desert Rock plant is also on equally shaky ground after suffering one setback after another over the past year. Desert Rock’s pollution permit was withdrawn by the EPA in Septermber, a permit for the transmission right-of-way needed to get the power to Southwest markets was overturned earlier in 2009, and the Department of Energy denied Sithe a request for $450 million in federal stimulus dollars late last year.

“The Navajo communities of Northwest New Mexico have always been opposed to Desert Rock, so we are encouraged by the cancellation of the River Hill project,” said Frazier. “In an area that is already under siege by pollution from fossil-fuel development, Desert Rock has been a six-year black hole that has wasted millions of dollars that could have been used to bring clean-energy projects to the Four Corners region.”

Sithe’s proposed Toquop plant near Mesquite, Nev., originally proposed as a natural gas-fired plant, also has been on the drawing board for years but still does not have a pollution permit or an approved BLM environmental impact analysis, and last year the project lost rights to water it needs for to operate.

“We’ve been trying to persuade Sithe for years to focus on developing Nevada’s vast solar and wind resources instead of outdated and dirty coal,” said Mesquite Mayor Susan Holecheck. “Hopefully, Sithe’s decision to abandon the Pennsylvania plant is a signal that we can soon put the nail in Toquop’s coffin, too, and get it out of the way for clean-energy jobs and economic development in Nevada.”

Protect the Glen Cove Sacred Burial Site

•March 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This article is sourced to Intercontinental Cry by Ahni.

Yet another sacred site is facing destruction in the United States. The Greater Vallejo Recreation District (GVRD) and the City of Vallejo want to convert the Glen Cove Shellmound site in Vallejo, California, into a community park with its own trail, picnic tables, restroom facilities and parking lot.

The 15-acre Shellmound site, known to the Ohlone Peoples asSogorea Te is the final resting place for thousands of Indigenous People dating back at least 3,500 years. Historically, it was a ” traditional meeting place where services such as burials were performed for over one hundred local California Indian tribes.” Today it is a memory that must be protected.

The “Ohlone [People] say the land’s conversion couldn’t be more insulting, offensive and sacrilegious, particularly because the restrooms would be situated adjacent to the most sacred part of the site, the burial ground,” notes the San Fransisco Chronicle.

“They want to desecrate this sacred land,” says Norman “Wounded Knee” Deocampo, an Ohlone and member of the Vallejo Intertribal Council. “As Native Americans, we need to save what we have left. All we’re asking for is this 15 acres.”

Bu that’s 15 acres too much, as far as the GVRD and City Council is concerned. Nevertheless,Deocampo says the Tribal Council, who is working alongside Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT) and the International Indian Treaty Council, is “Considering a court injunction and are searching for a pro bono lawyer” to stop the conversion plan.

For more information or to learn what you can do to help, please contact protectglencove@gmail.com or call Wounded Knee Deocampo at (707) 557-2140.

There is also a petition you can sign athttp://www.petitiononline.com/GlenCove/petition.html

Stop the Illegal Desecration of Glen Cove!

Preserve the Past – Protects the Future – Save Our Sacred Sites!

“A society that cannot remember its past is in peril of losing its soul.”
– Vine Deloria Jr.

The San Pablo Bay Area was once a thriving multi-national region of many indigenous communities. Before the genocide of the Americas initiated by the arrival of Europeans, the area of Solano County was inhabited by the Coastal Miwok and Karkin (Ohlone) nations. Being cultures of traders, they were but a part of a vast network of merchant cultures that extended across the Pacific Ocean and Central America.

Many different tribes utilized the benefits of the once-thriving Northern California chaparral, estuary, and wetlands, respecting the diverse yet delicate ecosystems to preserve them for future generations. The Coastal and Bay Miwok, South Pomo, Wappo, Patwin-Wintun, North Yokut, and Ohlone nations had over 500 shellmounds that were located and recorded by the late 18th century, most of them being thousands of years old. The practice of consciously caring for the land allowed these cultures and ecosystems to thrive. For thousands of years, the ecological balance was maintained, and what is now known as California remained a beautiful, pristine environment.

As Europeans systematically conquered and enslaved California natives, so too were the villages, shellmounds, and ecosystems exploited and desecrated over the years of colonization. Most of these shellmounds were permanently destroyed along with thousands of years of archeological, anthropological, and spiritual history. In the past 20 years, the few remaining shellmounds and burial sites have been destroyed by shopping mall construction, suburban housing tacks, or other corporate-commercial developments. An infamous local example is the Bay Street Mall located in Emeryville, built over a place of ancestral worship with archeological reports proving that it contained vast burial grounds of the Ohlone nation (hence “Shellmound Drive”). Not only are the physical remnants of these ancient peoples destroyed, but so is the respect and awareness regarding our indigenous ancestors.

The 15-acre Glen Cove Shellmound site (registered CA-SOL 236) is one of the oldest known shellmounds in the San Pablo Bay. Known as “Sogorea Te,” this site was first documented in archeological records in 1907 by an archeologist from the University of California and, according to a 1988 report by Novato Archeological Resource Service, is at least 3,500 to 4,000 years old. Many of the sacred items unearthed from the site in previous years remain illegally housed in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley which houses over 13,000 ancestral remains and over 200,000 sacred objects. At the Vallejo site, intact skeletal remains and cremations have been documented along with mortars and pestles, arrowheads, spear points, eagle claws, bear teeth, bird-bone whistles, and many ceremonial feather/shell jewelry ornaments. It is literally the many layers of generations that actually form the shellmound; it is a sacred site, the final resting place for the ancestors of many different California tribes.

The Greater Vallejo Reaction District (GVRD) and the City of Vallejo are currently developing a
park with trails, parking lot, and amendments that would effectively degrade and destroy this site. Garlon 4, an herbicide, will also be sprayed, saturating the delicate ecosystem with synthetic chemicals.

Preserving and protecting this sacred place in the way those who created it means it is a de facto legal right under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and is an essential part of Indigenous cultural survival. The desecration of the ancient Glen Cove Shellmound and surrounding burial site and the theft of remains and sacred items is criminal. This ignorance, greed, profit, and power over others, through the abuse of the departed is a crime against humanity. The $1.5 million dollar project is simply an attack by developers who see the land as a direct, intravenous line to their bank accounts. Unfortunately, because of the implications of losing money, many developers choose instead to ignore any artifacts and bones found at a development site. In a bankrupt city, with rising rates of violent crime, schools closing, and homes foreclosed, we can think of better places this money should have been channeled to.

Every day, we see the blatant abuse and destruction of our Sacred Sites. Because all humans are indigenous to the Earth, it is up to all of us to protect and preserve the resting places of our Ancestors and other sites that are a rich part of our cultural, spiritual, and traditional heritage. We live in a time where our natural landscapes are fast disappearing, our Sacred Sites are violated, our water and skies poisoned by carcinogenic pollution, our wildlife forced out of their natural habitats while big-box stores, housing developments, and black pavement cover and imprison the land; all in the name of progress.

The Color of Fear: Movie Showing

•February 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello everyone!

Setting the Record Straight is screening the Color of Fear on March 7, 2010 at the Deli at 6 p.m. There will be a discussion afterwords to discuss the film and participants reactions to it. Bring your friends, family, and community!

This is an free educational event. Anyone is welcome to participate. To read our safer space policy, please read the conduct guidelines that can be found here.

DOODA (NO) DESERT ROCK RELIEF AT US EPA ENVIRONMENTAL APPEALS BOARD PSD PERMIT DECISION

•February 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This article was found at DooDa Desert Rock Resistance, posted by the admin.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 25, 2009

DOODA (NO) DESERT ROCK RELIEF AT US EPA ENVIRONMENTAL APPEALS BOARD PSD PERMIT DECISION

“We are relieved to hear that the US EPA Environmental Appeals Board finally granted the agency’s request to take back the clean air permit for the failed Desert Rock Power Plant. It confirms our position that the initial permit grant was ill-considered and premature,” said Elouise Brown, President of Dooda Desert Rock. The organization, a grassroots Navajo effort to block a third coal-fired power plant in the Four Corners area, continues to resist and have a very active encampment for almost three years.
“The appeals board decision confirms our belief, echoed in the British news magazine The Economist, that Desert Rock is dead. Recent efforts in Congress to freeze the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to deal with carbon dioxide as a pollutant shows that Big Coal also recognizes that polluting energy is on its way out. We have a specific reason for gratitude at the return of the permit,” Brown said.

“When the air permit was initially under consideration the San Francisco Region 9 US EPA office found a study that indicates that the two existing power plants are adversely affecting the health of Navajos in the Shiprock Area. Cold weather and the Hogback formation pull pollution down into Shiprock and that causes Navajos to seek medical treatment for respiratory illness at rates far higher than the rest of the population in the Four Corners area. Children and the elderly are affected at a rate of ten times the rest of the population. The EPA warned the Bureau of Indian Affairs about the situation and told it to act, but it did nothing. We want something done about existing health risks now.”
“While we believe that the power plant is dead, the debate continues. There are many issues to address, including the fact that ordinary Navajos would get no economic benefit from the plant because local infrastructure was ignored in planning. At minimum, we want the health issue addressed first, and in a way that satisfies us that the health of Navajos is being protected. If anyone doubts what is going on in Shiprock, just drive north toward Shiprock on a cold day.”

Dept. Rules Against Native Rights, says Eagle Rock isn’t Sacred

•February 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This article was found on Intercontinental Cry by Ahni.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, has shamelessly and underhandedly given its final approval for Kennecott’s proposed Eagle Mine project, a nickel and copper sulfide mine on the Yellow Dog Plains.

In issuing the approval, the MDEQ overstepped the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s treaty rights, and dismissed a 2009 ruling by Administrative Law Judge Richard Patterson, who found that Eagle Rock is a place of spiritual importance to Keweenaw Bay Community and should be protected.

Judge Patterson, in his ruling, stated that both Kennecott and the MDEQ “did not properly address the impact on the sacred rock outcrop known as Eagle Rock” and suggested that they move the mine’s entry point somewhere “away from the rock”.

The MDEQ unilaterally decided that the judge’s ruling was unnecessary “…because it pertained to Eagle Rock as a place of worship. They believe that a place of worship must be a building and therefore negates comments that were not in favor of the mining company,” explains the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, who works along side the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and others opposed to the mine.

However, the MDEQ did much more than dismiss the ruling and deny the sacredness of Eagle Rock. First, it handed the matter down to a Senior Policy Advisor, who made the decision on his own and just two days before the MDEQ was formally dissolved.

Cynthia Pryor, Campaign Director for the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, comments:

“What just happened here? The DEQ, as party to a State of Michigan Administrative Contested Case process, just unilaterally bypassed both the legal process and Administrative Law Judge Patterson in making a sweeping declaration and finding of law. This sweeping “judgment” was made not by Judge Patterson, not by past DEQ Director Stephen Chester, not by the interim DEQ Director Jim Sygo, but by a Senior Policy Advisor within the DEQ. This was done as a final DEQ action on the matter – on the day before the DEQ was to be dissolved and the new DNRE Director was to take office.

“How blatant can this be? This is the dramatic action of a DEQ that hopes as a last ditch effort to resolve the Kennecott issue and allow this mine on the Yellow Dog Plains – before their authority is superseded by a new agency. Delegation of DEQ Director ‘final decision’ on the matter, was given to Senior Policy Advisor Frank J. Ruswick, Jr. two weeks ago. There was no known correspondence from Judge Patterson to the DEQ, Kennecott or the petitioners during this time frame. But out of the blue, a day before DEQ dissolution, this DEQ policy advisor made a judgment, ruling and order granting Kennecott both a Part 632 mining permit and a ground water discharge permit AND vacating a remand order made by then Director Stephen Chester concerning Eagle Rock as a “place of worship”. A policy advisor of the DEQ became a Judge and a DEQ Director and has so ruled – and we must accept that?

This is an egregious act that now will absolutely require appeal to a higher court and should require an appeal to the new DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries and the Governor of this state. We should not sit by and accept such action as the accepted mode of “lawfulness” in this state.

For more information, please visit: http://savethewildup.org,http://lakesuperiorminingnews.nethttp://yellowdogwatershed.org

What You Can Do

To lodge a complaint against the MDEQ’s shameful move, contact Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909

PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 – Constituent Services
FAX:(517) 335-6863
EMAIL: http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-21995-65331–,00.html

 
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