Monday, January 26, 2015

Boarding School Tribunal releases findings and recommendations

Boarding School Tribunal 2014 by Brenda Norrell
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin -- The Truth Commissioners of the Indigenous Peoples Boarding School Tribunal held here in October have released the findings and recommendations, following three days of testimony by those who survived abuse and torture in Indian boarding schools in the US and Canada. 

The abuse included kidnapping children from their homes and ripping away their language, culture and traditional religion. These boarding schools created generations of trauma for Native families. The exact number of Native children raped and murdered in these boarding schools is not known.

The Commissioners findings stated that the US government should implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the US. Further, it was found that the US government should acknowledge the human rights violations, which occurred through the boarding schools established by the US government.

The US government should work for a new International Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, collaborating with the Indigenous communities across the US and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Commissioners said.

The Commissioners recommended consultative status between the Indigenous communities and the US government. It was also recommended that the Convention on the Rights of the Child be ratified by sovereign, Indigenous nations throughout the United States.

The commissioners recommended that young people, youths to 25 year-olds, be involved in the process of truth-telling and remembrance. Elders were encouraged to not only share their boarding school experiences, but also their stories of resilience, courage, and drive to overcome the challenges they faced.

It was also recommended that a memorial date be set to honor and pay tribute to those individuals who were a part of the boarding schools and who faced discrimination, violence, and even death.

Truth Commissioners photo by Brenda Norrell 2014
Oral history projects and similar Tribunals should be coordinated to gather stories of boarding school impacts in other Indigenous communities across the US. 

The findings include the need to publish a joint testimony including the stories from all Indigenous tribes in the US about the impact of boarding schools on their human rights.

Truth Commission Members were Fasoha (Maldives) , Aneeta Aahooja (Pakistan), Abalo Assih (Togo), Shiran Gooneratne (Sri Lanka), Athar Waheed (Pakistan), Kristi Rudelius-Palmer (University of Minnesota Human Rights Center.) It was organized by the Blue Skies Foundation. Live coverage was provided by Censored News, with livestream and video archives by Govinda at Earthcycles.

The complete statement is below:

Truth Commissioners’ Summary Statement

We have found that the incidences testified to during the Indigenous Peoples’ Boarding Schools Tribunal held on October 22-24, 2014 violated, inter alia, the following articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC):

Velocity of Movement: Civil Rights Movement, American Indian Movement and the Zapatistas

Velocity of Movement: Civil Rights Movement, American Indian Movement and the Zapatistas

By Brenda Norrell

The Civil Rights Movement and the American Indian Movement had this in common: They survived the attempts by the US government's COINTELPRO and other secret ops to eradicate them. They survived the attempts by the media to discredit them.

The US government and its media attempted to vanish these movements by focusing on the shortcomings of individuals in those movements.

But the movements surged forward, as a runaway train, not because of the train itself, or its conductor, but because of the sheer velocity, the sheer force, of the movement itself. It was the movement, the compelling movement forward on the side of right, the side of justice, that made each a force independent of who the conductor was, or whether there was a conductor at all.
When the Freedom Riders rode those buses into Mississippi, they faced death at the hands of white Mississippi police officers in the 1960s. Many Freedom Riders went to prison, forced onto prison chain gangs, others were beaten and murdered. Black and white, those youths rode the buses. Regardless of who was the catalyst, those youths were fearless in the face of death and imprisonment.

AIM facing off with Lewis and Clark re-enactors
Photo Brenda Norrell
The American Indian Movement faced the bullets of the US military at Wounded Knee. They stood their ground on the steps of the BIA building in Washington.

But their certitude was the same, whether the television cameras were rolling or not. On the banks of the Missouri River, the American Indian Movement faced off with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Here was the same impenetrable force that held Wounded Knee. When Carter Camp, Russell Means, Floyd Hand, Alex White Plume and Vic Camp exposed the root of genocide in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and told the re-enactors to leave Lakota Territory, it was with this force of movement. It was that same force of the absolute which corrected the bowels of the history books. Debra White Plume gave the Lewis and Clark re-enactors a symbolic blanket of smallpox.

For those who were ever in the presence of Lakota Chief Frank Fool's Crow, Hopi elders Thomas Banyacya and Dan Evehema, or Muskogee Creek Phillip Deere, there was no question of this absolute power of the invincible spirit. Being in their presence was transforming and emboldened the spirit.

On the Zapatista Caravan through Mexico, this impenetrable force of movement was literally like a runaway train. The Caravan rushed forward so fast that those of us in the buses seldom knew where we were going, or even what city we were in. Leading the caravan of buses rushing through Mexico, Subcomandante Marcos and the Comandantes rallied for justice, autonomy and dignity -- racing ahead of bullets yet to be fired at us.

When we came to Iguala, Guerrero, there was a spirit like non other, an indomitable force. 

Here were the Freedom Fighters, here was Frank Fool's Crow, and here were the Zapatistas of Guerrero. They were the sheer force of unstoppable movement, and there was no doubt the people here were that run away train. They were the velocity itself. 

Photos of 43 disappeared students held
by Zapatistas in 2014.
The Zapatistas of Guerrero, with the blood of the Nahuatl charging through their veins, were each a fortress. Resolute, they were peerless.

Perhaps this is why the police and military disappeared and murdered the students of Guerrero in 2014. They recognized that this spirit of the absolute could never be dissipated, could never be conquered.

But they were wrong. The students were not silenced. 

Do you hear them -- do you hear them now? 

Brenda Norrell has been a journalist in Indian country for 32 years. She began at Navajo Times, during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a freelance writer for AP and USA Today. After being censored repeatedly, then terminated as a staff reporter at Indian Country Today, she began Censored News. She has traveled with the Zapatistas and reported from the Southern border and throughout the west. Censored News is now in its 9th year, with no advertising, grants or sponsors, and 3.7 million pageviews from around the world.

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Dineh Walkers Honor Horse Nation, Receive Shiprock Support

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Dineh Walkers against Fracking, Journey for our Existence, is honoring the Horse Nation as they walk to the Four Sacred Mountains to protect the land, water and air from fracking. 

Celebrating the Dineh walkers who walk in the "Spirit of our Relatives," the Shiprock, N.M., Chapter passed a resolution supporting the walkers and in solidarity to protect the environment. Shiprock Chapter celebrated the efforts of the walkers as they brave the elements, as did their ancestors on the forced Longest Walk. (See below.)

On Monday, the Dineh walkers made it to Barrego Pass.

The walkers said Dineh horses have been removed as fracking threatens the area on the Navajo Nation.

"Horses joined us in our journey yesterday in the Eastern Agency of Navajo. Horses were forcibly removed and vanished despite local residents desperate and thorough attempts to retrieve their livestock. This happened directly before families were approached to sign fracking contracts. It is necessary that we connect the dots here. Nihígaal bee iiná walk is also dedicated to these relatives of ours, the horse nation. We have been making offerings and singing to them along the walk. They walk with us, keep our four legged relatives in your prayers."

On Sunday, walkers said: "Best way to find us today and tomorrow is by taking Prewitt exit off of I-40 (exit 63) head north. Make a right on old Route 66 (East). In one mile head north on Navajo Route 48 for 20 miles until you get to Barrego Pass. We will be taking sweat at the Anderson Residence and will be camped out in Star Pond on top of mesa. Join us if you can. We are getting ready for our decent up Tsodziil." 

Below, walkers are joined by Dineh on horseback.


More Femicide Victims Identified from Border Graveyard

More Femicide Victims Identified from Border Graveyard

By Frontera NorteSur
Censored News
January 25, 2015

Women's/Human Rights News
The parents of Esmeralda Castillo Rincon recently heard sad news about their long-disappeared daughter. The 14-year-old had been missing from her Ciudad Juarez home since 2009, and the parents had waged a long campaign demanding her safe return.

On January 16, however, the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office (FGECH) notified Jose Luis Castillo and his wife, Martha Rincon, that Esmeralda's remains were among those of other female murder victims recovered from the Navajo Arroyo in the Juarez Valley bordering the United States in 2012 and 2013.

San Carlos Apache Nation Spiritual Gathering Oak Flat Feb. 5 -- 8, 2015


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mohawk Nation News: CUBA SI! YANKEE NO!



Please post and distribute. Nia:wen.
MNN. Jan. 23, 2015. In December 1959 a group of McGill University students were sitting in the university cafeteria. We were admiring Life Magazine cover of Fidel Castro. One of the students, a reporter for the McGill Daily, said, “I’d like to go to Cuba and interview him!”. We all said, “We’ll go with you”.FIDEL
Soon we were driving to Florida. One guy had a relative in Miami. We asked to stay over. When he found out where we were going, he threw us out of the house! We slept in the car on the beach. The next day we caught a cheap flight to Havana.
We stayed at the formerly luxurious Havana Hilton Hotel & Casino which was turned into a student’s residence. It was packed with young people from Central and South America. Just us from Canada. None from the US that we saw.
Every evening Fidel Castro and some of his men would come into the lobby and talk to us. He regaled us with stories of the revolution. Fidel kept his promise to his people that he would educate them and give them the best medical care in the world. He had a profound affect on us. Cubans showed that people can stand up and gain their freedom. They kicked out the corporate mob that ran Cuba and had made everybody into slaves.
Bearded cigar smoking, camo-dressed revolutionaries drove us around in limos. Our friend interviewed and became friends with Fidel.
rebels cubaA few days later began the celebration of the year since the revolutionaries had rolled into Havana, kicking out the crooks and arresting those who wouldn’t obey the anti-banker rules. Many traitors were jailed or dispersed. Some were floating on rafts across the channel to Miami. Huge mansions and luxuries were left behind. They could only take what they wore. We saw a lot of jewelry clad autocrats bumming rides to Miami.
Locals were streaming in from the country-side. Poverty of the people was incredible. We had to wait in long lineups for food like everybody else. Fidel was going to speak soon. The prisoners were let out to sit on top of the walls to listen to him. He spoke for eight hours non-stop.
After a week, another person and I decided to return to the mainland. We took a taxi and waited for hours on the road to the airport. It was hopeless. The single PanAm flight from Venezuela made one stop in Havana, picked up passengers and went on to Miami. After waiting for hours, we finally returned to the hotel to get some help. We were told, “You could end up in Cuba for some time, unless you have connections!”
Our backup plan was to flee with the boat people.
Our backup plan was to catch a ride with the boat people.

The McGill Daily reporter said he might be able to help us. Two days later a camo dressed military man picked us up in a huge fancy limousine. He drove us directly through a back road to the airport. The airport was jammed with people trying to get out, ready to pay anything to get a seat on the plane. We were escorted and got on the flight.
Now that relations between the US and Cuba have been normalized, the Cubans in Miami could return and start working in the sugarcane fields or resorts like everybody else. They won’t get back their ill gotten gains they left behind. Everything’s been nationalized and belongs to everybody. We knew in 1959 that the days were numbered for these carpetbaggers who sell out their people.
As Richie Valens reminds us “Para bailar la bamba. Para bailar la bamba. Se necesita una  poca de gracia. ba ba bomba!”
MNN Mohawk Nation News or more news, books, workshops, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go  More stories at MNN Archives.  Address:  Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L for original Mohawk music visit
obama cigar

  Please post & distribute. Nia:wen. MNN. Jan. 23, 2015. In December 1959 a group of McGill University students were sitting in the university cafeteria. W...
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Friday, January 23, 2015

EPA's millions won't bring back Navajo uranium miners

Navajo miners at Kerr McGee mine in Cove on Navajo Nation
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The US EPA announced a settlement that will bring millions to the Navajo Nation in uranium mine cleanups. Those millions will not bring back the Navajos who died from cancer and respiratory diseases after being sent to their deaths by Kerr McGee -- the company that knew the radiation in Cold War uranium mines would kill Navajo miners.

Even as late as the 1990s, in the communities of Red Valley and Cove on the Navajo Nation, just southwest of Shiprock, N.M., in every home someone was dying of cancer or respiratory disease. One Navajo woman in her 80s was living in a home made of radioactive rock, as the Geiger counter showed. 

On assignment for USA Today, I heard how Navajo miners were used as canaries, guinea pigs, in those mines -- sent to their deaths without protective clothing by an industry and a government that considered Navajos expendable. 

At the time, I lived in the Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation, and the strewn radioactive waste was, and remains, spread across the Navajo Nation from uranium mining. Navajos were dying in the communities of Cove and Red Valley. Death was everywhere. Radioactive rocks were everywhere. But even in the tourist popular Monument Valley, radioactive waste was, and is, strewn from uranium mining.

Nearby to Cove and Red Valley, in Shiprock, Gilbert Badoni (on right) showed me the radioactive rocks strewn in his backyard where his children played.

In the photo, Badoni, Navajo from Cudei, shows a poster of his family in a Southwest Colorado uranium mining camp. All the members of his family developed cancer or lung disease, including his late father who died of cancer. Gilbert, as a child in lower left in the poster, said the US government used Navajos as guinea pigs in those Cold War uranium mining camps.

On the Navajo Nation, and in the Pueblos, it was not just the miners who died. The radioactive dust covered the families food, the plants eaten by their livestock, and the clothes that their wives washed by hand. Generations were poisoned.

Today, the monster industry Kerr McGee who sent Navajos to their deaths, then attempted to avoid compensating miners, and Anadarko, the other monster company who poisoned the Southwest, entered into a settlement with the US EPA.

Even now, with this long legacy of death, new uranium mining companies target the eastern Navajo Nation. Today's millions will provide clean up for only a small portion of the unreclaimed mines that remain on Navajoland.

There is no victory in this settlement for cleanup, but here is today's statement from the US EPA:

 $2 billion in funds headed for cleanups in Nevada and on the Navajo Nation from historic Anadarko settlement with U.S. EPA, States

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced the settlement reached with Anadarko and Kerr-McGee is now final, allowing funds to be disbursed for cleanups across the country.

The settlement secures payments of $5.15 billion to resolve claims that the defendants fraudulently transferred assets in part to evade their liability for contamination at toxic sites around the country. Of this total, approximately $4.4 billion will be used to clean the environment. This is the largest sum ever awarded in this type of a bankruptcy-related environmental settlement with the federal government. 

“Communities from the Navajo Nation to Henderson, Nevada are finally getting the funding needed to take crucial steps toward cleaning up toxic legacies that pollute their environment,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “After decades of trying to avoid their environmental responsibilities, Anadarko is today paying billions of dollars to immediately fund these and other critical environmental cleanups.”

“This recovery will lead to cleanups across the country that will undo lasting damage to the environment, including contamination of tribal lands, by Kerr-McGee’s businesses,” said John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This result emphatically demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to environmental justice for all Americans, and it fulfills the Department’s promise to hold accountable those who pollute and those who try to foist their responsibility for cleanup on the American taxpayer.” 

An estimated $1.1 billion will be paid to a trust responsible for cleaning up a former chemical manufacturing site in Nevada that led to perchlorate contamination in Lake Mead. The site is located within the Black Mountain Industrial complex near Henderson, Nev. Fifty to 100 pounds of perchlorate are still seeping into Lake Mead every day, and the funds will allow that state’s Department of Environmental Protection to clean up the remaining underground sources of contamination.

The Henderson site is the largest perchlorate groundwater plume in the country. By way of the Las Vegas Wash, the plume has contaminated Lake Mead, which feeds into the Colorado River, a major source of drinking water in the Southwest. Perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel and fireworks, can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones, which are needed for prenatal and postnatal growth and development, as well as for normal metabolism and mental function in adults.

More than $985 million is expected to be paid to the U.S. EPA to fund the cleanup of approximately 50 abandoned uranium mines in and around the Navajo Nation, where radioactive waste remains from cold-war era Kerr-McGee mining operations.  Additionally, the Navajo Nation is expected to receive more than $43 million to address radioactive waste left at the former Kerr-McGee uranium mill in Shiprock, New Mex. The EPA is currently meeting with the Navajo Nation and the State of New Mexico to plan work to occur there later in 2015.

Kerr-McGee mined over 7 million tons of ore on or near the Navajo Nation from the late 1940s through the 1960s in the Lukachukai area, and from the 1950s to the 1980s in the Eastern and Ambrosia Lake areas. The Kerr-McGee Corp. was founded in 1929 as an energy company involved with oil and gas exploration and production, and uranium mining.  The company left abandoned uranium mine sites, including contaminated waste rock piles, in the Lukachukai Mountains of Arizona, the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, and in the Ambrosia Lake/Grants Mining District of New Mexico.

Exposure to uranium and other radioactive elements in soil, dust, air, groundwater and surface water, including waste rock piles and materials used in building structures, poses risks to human health.

In addition to the cleanups in Nevada and on the Navajo Nation, funds are also starting to flow to cleanups across the nation, including sites in Jacksonville, Florida, West Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Mississippi, and Navassa, North Carolina.

On April 3, 2014, the United States Department of Justice announced this settlement, which was then subject to a period of public comment and judicial approval.  After considering comments from the public, the United States sought approval of the settlement, and on November 10, 2014, the district court approved the agreement as “fair and reasonable.”  The deadline for any appeals from the district court’s decision passed on January 20, 2015, without any appeals having been taken.

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