Thursday, March 31, 2011

Porcupine Resolution seeks removal of occupiers Friday at elderly center

Update KOTA TV: Health Inspectors discover rotten surprise in Porcupine, SD:

Porcupine occupiers removed by police force in night:

For more updates, see Lakota Oyate on facebook.

The following resolution from Porcupine District Council calls for the removal of the occupiers at the elderly center on Friday, April 1, 2011
- 1 -
WHEREAS, the Porcupine District (Hereinafter the “District”) lies within the
legal boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as one of nine districts which serve
as local governing bodies for each district, and
WHEREAS, the district membership is authorized by the Oglala Sioux Tribal
Constitution and Bylaws in accordance with Article 6, to pursue self determination within
its own boundaries, and
WHEREAS, on Friday March 4, 2011 a small group of elders and non residents
illegally occupied the Porcupine Elderly meals center building, and in the process,
disrupted much needed services to the majority of elders in the district, and
WHEREAS, the occupiers handed a list of demands to the elected leadership of
the district, including the OST President Steele, representative Tuttle, representative
Weston and chairman Bush, and
WHEREAS, all demands were identified and settled by the parties involved, and
was done in a respectful and efficient manner, and
WHEREAS, the district representatives observed that immediately following the
illegal occupation activities, circumstances resulted in unsanitary conditions and over
crowded population inside the building, and
WHEREAS, the district leadership recognizes that there are unsupervised
juveniles currently located at the elderly meals center occupation site, and
WHEREAS, on the evening of Sunday March 27, 2011, Rifles were removed by
tribal Police officers at the occupation site, and
WHEREAS, on the same evening, (March 27) a young boy was beaten in front of
the occupation site and was seen by an eyewitness, stating the unknown boy was dragged
into the elderly building, and
WHEREAS, on March 10, another eyewitness account stated that as she was
taking her son to school, she saw two individuals behind the elderly building holding and
aiming a gun, and
WHEREAS, the district acknowledges that there are continued threats toward
members of the district made by the occupiers and non residents of the district, and
- 2 -
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the district is asking all occupants to
vacate themselves from the elderly building premises by Friday April 1st, 2011, or be
removed in accordance with the laws of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the district accepts and certifies the attached
petition to this resolution confirming that occupiers do not represent the majority of
voting members of this district, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, all federally funded items in the possession of
occupiers are to be returned to the meals center or face penalties including prosecution.
I, as undersigned Secretary of the Porcupine District Council do hereby certify that this
resolution was adopted by the vote of: _____ for; _____ against; _____ not voting;
during a ____________ session, held on the ________ day of March 2011.
Porcupine District
Presiding Chair,
Porcupine District

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Roberto Rodriguez: Arizona, In violation of all human rights

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
March 21, 2011

For the moment, Arizona has regained its sanity. Five draconian anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant bills were recently defeated by the state senate. However, this bout of sanity in this insane state may only be temporary; this action only dealt with five 2011 bills. More bills remain and the author of most of these bills, Russell Pearce, remains Senate president.

The defeat of these bills simply returns us to the unsustainable status quo, a hostile state climate, including the continued militarization of the border, plus the 2010 bills: the racial profiling SB1070 and the Anti-Ethnic Studies HB 2281.

A careful reading of these two bills has convinced many of us that the state has for years been out of compliance or in violation of virtually all international human rights laws. These laws were designed to protect the rights of peoples from physical and cultural extermination and persecution and from discriminatory treatment and forced assimilation. Virtually all these laws protect people’s rights to education, history, language, identity and culture.

In comprehending Arizona, it is useful to understand the UN definition of Human Rights: they are inherent, inalienable and universal. In April of 2010, five UN special rapporteurs denounced both SB 1070, and HB 2281, as measures that would most likely lead to the mass violation of human rights.

About HB 2281, they specifically wrote: “Such law and attitude are at odds with the State’s responsibility to respect the right of everyone to have access to his or her own cultural and linguistic heritage and to participate in cultural life. Everyone has the right to seek and develop cultural knowledge and to know and understand his or her own culture and that of others through education and information.”

Seven months later, then state superintendent, Tom Horne (now state attorney general) declared Mexican American Studies-Tucson Unified School District as out-of-compliance. The only form of compliance per HB 2281 is elimination. Eleven MAS educators promptly filed a lawsuit, proclaiming that they will not comply with an unconstitutional law that has given TUSD several months to dismantle the program.

Currently, HB 2281 appears first and foremost to also be in violation of the:

1948: UN Declaration of Human Rights
1948: American Declaration of the Rights of Man
1960: Convention against Discrimination in Education
1966 & 1976: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1969 American Convention on Human Rights (Organization of American States)
1989: The UN Convention on Rights of the Child
1990: The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
1994: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
2007: UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

SB 1070 also violates virtually every one of these human rights laws that are designed to prevent larger hostile governments from forcefully, politically or culturally eliminating or swallowing up smaller nations, peoples and cultures.

The root of the conflict re HB 2281 involves the insistence by Tom Horne that the highly successful MAS program preaches un-American values and that it does not emphasize the Greco-Roman roots of Western Civilization. In that sense, he is half-correct. The philosophical foundation for MAS-TUSD is rooted in maiz. Maiz culture is part of a 7,000-year culture that is completely Indigenous to the Americas. In effect, continues to call for a modern-day version of the colonial policy of “reducciones” or forced conversions. This latter-day policy is an attempt to exterminate that which is Indigenous among Mexican Americans and “reduce” them to the status of individual “Americans” – minus their roots, history and culture. American Indians will recognize “reducciones” as a predecessor to Indian Boarding school policies.

Most MAS supporters do not view this as a Mexican American or Ethnic Studies issue per se, but an issue that attacks the very precept of education. To be sure, it is not a K-12 issue either as John Huppenthal, the current superintendent of schools, actively campaigned against “La Raza,” and also vowed to eliminate Ethnic Studies at the University level. The minute governments begin to legislate what is acceptable knowledge means a degradation of the very idea of education. That is what is at stake in Arizona. Akin to SB 1070, there are many forces that would love to export HB 2281 nationwide.

Conversely, what should be exported is MAS’s proven curriculum. Expanding and adopting such an ethnic studies model in communities nationwide – which celebrates a student’s culture – would unquestionably see a dramatic rise in graduation rates and an increase in college-going rates. It might even contribute to a little more mutual respect and sanity in this conflictive world we live in.

* Precious Knowledge, which documents the heroic struggle to defend Ethnic Studies will screen in Tucson March 24.

Rodriguez, a professor at the University of Arizona, can be reached at

Column of the Americas
PO BOX 3812
Tucson, AZ 85722



Thursday, March 17, 2011

Indigenous Alliance without Borders: March to Demand Peace 2011

March to Demand Peace - Bring the Soldiers Home - Fund Jobs NOT Wars

By Jose Matus, Yaqui, Indigenous Alliance without Borders

Censored News
Photo: Jose Matus with Zapatistas in Chiapas 1995/Copyright Brenda Norrell

TUCSON -- Join the March for Peace - Stop The War Bring the Soldiers Home! We (All People of Color and Others) need to March for Peace and bring our Troops home - We must unite to fight for our rights here at home! Fight for our Rights especailly here in Arizona against the bad state government policies and the negative Political environment. Fight for Jobs - Health Care and Self -Determination Rights!

Indigenous Alliance Without Borders - Strongly supports the March to Stop the Wars!!
Join us March 19th to demand peace!
End the Violence!
End the Wars!
On the 8th Anniversary of the Invasion Iraq ~ March and Rally in Tucson for
Peace in Iraq and Afghanistan
We demand that our government end the
wars and bring our tax money home for
jobs, education, health care, environmental
protection and other human needs.


Saturday, Mar 19, 2011

Gather 10:00am at Armory Park
(6th Ave.
one block south of Broadway)

March to DeAnza Park
(Speedway & Stone)
Rally at 12:00 noon

For info or to help,
contact Alan Gilbert at

End the Wars Coalition,
Tucson Veterans for Peace,
Jobs with Justice,
The Nuclear Resister,
Coalicion de Derechos Humanos,
Women's International League for Peace
and Freedom,
Progressive Democrats of America/Tucson,
Indigenous Alliance without Borders,
Salt of the Earth Labor College,
Code Pink,
Women in Black,
Arizona Peace Council,
Alliance for Global Justice,
Tucson Club CPUSA,
Pan Left Productions,
International Action Center of Tucson,
Committee to Stop FBI Repression,
Revolutionary Grounds Books and Coffee,
Green Party of Pima County,
Tucson Peace Center

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sacred Places: US Listening Sessions on Navajo Nation 2011

From Klee Benally
Monday, March 14, 2011
Please attend these upcoming USDA listening sessions on protection of Sacred Places.
There was about 45 people in Window Rock when I showed up for the afternoon part of the session today.
It felt great to see many spiritual leaders and elders directly addressing the federal government's mismanagement and lack of understanding for sacred places.

Two issues were addressed very clearly, protection of Mt. Taylor from uranium mining threats and San Francisco Peaks from Snowbowl's threat of snowmaking with sewage water and expansion.

This is a great opportunity to directly address the agency that is responsible for Forest Service land management decisions.

There are several questions attached that you can address at the hearing style sessions.

I spoke today and stated that it was difficult to believe that this would be a meaningful process when the USDA is currently in court aggressively defending the agency's initial decisions to desecrate the San Francisco Peaks.
I urged the agency, at the least, to administratively hold the decision to allow and and all components of Snowbowl's development plans until this listening session process is complete and it's conclusions are rendered.

There were also calls made by other individuals to end Snowbowl's permit, which is something well within the power of the USDA to do.

It would be great to have more young folks at these next sessions.

What action if any will come of these sessions? Let us determine that and hold the USDA accountable if they are only using these sessions to diffuse the unrest that their lack of responsibility and action for protecting our holy sites has brought forth.

In respect,
Klee Benally

Topics to Cover…

§ What has your past experience been with the Forest Service on the
management and preservation of sacred sites?

§ Tell us about current interaction with the Forest Service on management and
preservation of sacred sites, including the effectiveness of existing laws and

§ How can the Forest Service do a better job addressing sacred site issues? Let
us know what you would like changed, including; what regulations and/or
policies to change to better address sacred sites…

§ Describe how you would like us to consult with you on the draft report to the
Secretary… How would you like to receive the draft report?

§ What HAS worked and is working to protect your sacred sites? Have any
tools, or procedures been effective that you would like to see continue?

§ Discuss any other issues regarding sacred sites with the USDA and

March 15, 2011 - Coal Mine Canyon Chapter House @ 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Coal Mine Canyon Chapter House
Directions: West 139 miles from Window Rock on Hwy 264 to BIA Indian Route 6710

From Tuba City go 15 miles east on Hwy 264 to BIA Indian Route 6710

March 16, Shiprock, NM @ 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Shiprock Chapter House
Directions: East from the junction of Hwys 491 & 64 in the town of Shiprock, 500' east from the junction on your way towards Farmington. The Chapter House is on the north side of the Hwy.

Klee Benally
Skype: indigenousaction

NEW: - Graphic Design, Web Design & more.
NEW: - Water is Life! Protect our Future! - Independent Indigenous Media - Indigenous Youth Empowerment! - Protect Sacred Places - Water is Life! No Snowmaking - Flagstaff Infoshop


National Sacred Sites Policy Review

Written Comments can be mailed to:

Dan Meza
Tribal Relations
US Forest Service, Southwestern Region
333 Broadway SE
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Electronic Comments can be sent to:
Additional Information

Sacred Sites Handbook
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack has directed the Forest Service to work with the USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) to review existing laws, regulations, and policies and examine their effectiveness in ensuring a consistent level of protection for American Indian and Alaska Native sacred sites located on National Forest System lands. Secretary Vilsack asked the Forest Service to consult with Tribal leaders to determine how the Agency can do a better job addressing sacred site issues while simultaneously balancing pursuit of the Agency’s mission to deliver forest goods and services for current and future generations.
The Secretary has asked the Forest Service and USDA OTR to provide a final report and recommendations for sacred site policy changes and proposed policy language by November 2011, following the conclusion of Tribal consultation. Information on the policy review can be found at

What is current policy on Indian Sacred Sites?
EO 13007 directs the FS and other federal land management agencies, to the extent practicable, permitted by law, and not clearly inconsistent with essential agency functions—

§ To accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners,
§ To avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites, and,
§ To maintain the confidentiality of Sacred Sites where appropriate.

EO 13007 also directs federal land management agencies to implement procedures to carry out the provisions described above. The EO instructs that the procedures should include, where practicable and appropriate, procedures to ensure reasonable notice is provided of proposed actions or land management policies that may restrict future access to or ceremonial use of, or adversely affect the physical integrity of sacred sites.

Executive Order No. 13007:
Indian Sacred Sites
May 24, 1996
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, in furtherance of Federal treaties, and in order to protect and preserve Indian religious practices, it is hereby ordered:
Section 1. Accommodation of Sacred Sites. (a) In managing Federal lands, each executive branch agency with statutory or administrative responsibility for the management of Federal lands shall, to the extent practicable, permitted by law, and not clearly inconsistent with essential agency functions, (1) accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and (2) avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites. Where appropriate, agencies shall maintain the confidentiality of sacred sites.
(b) For purposes of this order:
i. "Federal lands" means any land or interests in land owned by the United States, including leasehold interests held by the United States, except Indian trust lands;
ii. "Indian tribe" means an Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe pursuant to Public Law No. 103-454, 108 Stat. 4791, and "Indian" refers to a member of such an Indian tribe; and
iii. "Sacred site" means any specific, discrete, narrowly delineated location on Federal land that is identified by an Indian tribe, or Indian individual determined to be an appropriately authoritative representative of an Indian religion, as sacred by virtue of its established religious significance to, or ceremonial use by, an Indian religion; provided that the tribe or appropriately authoritative representative of an Indian religion has informed the agency of the existence of such a site.

Section 2. Procedures. (a) Each executive branch agency with statutory or administrative responsibility for the management of Federal lands shall, as appropriate, promptly implement procedures for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of section 1 of this order, including, where practicable and appropriate, procedures to ensure reasonable notice is provided of proposed actions or land management policies that may restrict future access to or ceremonial use of, or adversely affect the physical integrity of, sacred sites. In all actions pursuant to this section, agencies shall comply with the Executive memorandum of April 29, 1994, "Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments."

(b) Within 1 year of the effective date of this order, the head of each executive branch agency with statutory or administrative responsibility for the management of Federal lands shall report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, on the implementation of this order. Such reports shall address, among other things,
i. any changes necessary to accomodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites;
ii. any changes necessary to avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of Indian sacred sites; and
iii. procedures implemented or proposed to facilitate consultation with appropriate Indian tribes and religious leaders and the expeditious resolution of disputes relating to agency action on Federal lands that may adversely affect access to, ceremonial use of, or the physical integrity of sacred sites.

Section 3. Nothing in this order shall be construed to require a taking of vested property interests. Nor shall this order be construed to impair enforceable rights to use of Federal lands that have been granted to third parties through final agency action. For purposes of this order, "agency action" has the same meaning as in the Administrative Procedures Act (5 U.S.C.551[13]).

Section 4. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, nor does it, create any right, benefit, or trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by any party against the United States, its agencies officers, or any person.

William J. Clinton
The White House
May 24, 1996

Updated April 30, 2002

Taken of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)website January 29th 2011 9:45a.m.

Topics to Cover…

 What has your past experience been with the Forest Service on the management and preservation of sacred sites?

 Tell us about current interaction with the Forest Service on management and preservation of sacred sites, including the effectiveness of existing laws and regulations…

 How can the Forest Service do a better job addressing sacred site issues? Let us know what you would like changed, including; what regulations and/or policies to change to better address sacred sites…

 Describe how you would like us to consult with you on the draft report to the Secretary… How would you like to receive the draft report?

 What HAS worked and is working to protect your sacred sites? Have any tools, or procedures been effective that you would like to see continue?

 Discuss any other issues regarding sacred sites with the USDA and FS

More information on Forest Service Tribal Relations policies can be found at the following website:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Arizona issues uranium mine permits for Grand Canyon 2011

Sacred place of prayer for the well-being of the world approved for uranium mining in Arizona -- as disaster reveals truth of danger of nuclear power in Japan

Article and photo by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Arizona issues uranium mining permits that endanger water supply in Southwest
SUPAI TERRITORY (Grand Canyon) --
When the Supai opposed uranium mining here -- which Arizona just approved last week -- Supai said it is a place for prayer for the well-being of the world. Now in Japan, the truth of the danger of nuclear power is revealed.
Gathered at sacred Red Butte in the Grand Canyon to oppose uranium mining here in 2009, Supai said this is a sacred place where they go to offer prayers for the protection of the earth.
Speaking of the Supai responsibility to protect the land, water, and air here from the poisons of mining, Supai Waters said, "If we do let this happen, we would be the murderers of the world. We cannot let that happen."
Supai Waters said that protection of the Grand Canyon also affects the weather patterns and climate of the earth.
"My people have lived in the canyon since time immemorial. The canyons contain power points and vortexes. If there is tampering or pillaging, the earth will not be the same. There are places where we guard. These sacred places have to do with the weather, the wind, the sun, the celestial movements. That is why we are here protecting it," Supai Waters said.
Matthew Putesoy, vice chairman of the Havasupai Nation, said the Grand Canyon is a national treasure, inviting 5 million people every year to explore and be inspired by its beauty. "To the Havasuw 'Baaja, who have lived in the region for many hundreds of years, it is sacred. As the 'guardians of the Grand Canyon,' we strenuously object to mining for uranium here. It is a threat to the health of our environment and tribe, our tourism-based economy, and our religion."
American Indian Nations joined local residents to oppose this threat to their water and air.
However, Arizona regulators caved in to the pressure from the corporation -- Denison Mines based in Toronto, Canada -- and the coopted US government.
"Ignoring widespread public opposition, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality today issued three air- and one aquifer-pollution permits for three uranium mines located on public lands within Grand Canyon National Park’s immediate watershed," said the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust. (See statement below.)
The press statement was issued on March 10, 2011. The earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11.
The Havasupai territory in the Grand Canyon is targeted by this new uranium mining from Denison Mines based in Toronto, Canada. At the same time, Navajo communities and the aquifer that provides their drinking water are threatened by new uranium mining along the borders of their lands in New Mexico. Already, the same area of Church Rock, N.M., was the site of one of the United States worst radioactive spills.
Between Albuquerque and Grants, where Navajos and Pueblos live, there are even more new uranium mining permits issued by the state of New Mexico:

Listen to Native Americans and local residents speak out against this uranium mining at the summit in July of 2009. Recordings by Earthcycles and Censored News. Scroll down the list for 93 audio recordings from the summit at Red Butte:

There will be a benefit concert to Stop Uranium Mining at the Grand Canyon on March 26th in Flagstaff at the Orpheum Theater.
Arizona Regulators Risk Damage to Water, Air Near Grand Canyon With Uranium Mine Permits
Press statement from Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz.— Ignoring widespread public opposition, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality today issued three air- and one aquifer-pollution permits for three uranium mines located on public lands within Grand Canyon National Park’s immediate watershed. Two of the mines, EZ and Pinenut, are located north of Grand Canyon; the Canyon mine is located south of Grand Canyon. All three must undergo federal approval prior to opening.

“Arizona regulators are throwing caution to the winds by risking even more radiological contamination of the soil and water of the Grand Canyon region,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has fought to protect air and water around the Grand Canyon. “The Department of Environmental Quality has a statutory duty to protect the environment and should have denied the permits. Now it will face appeal.”

A U.S. Geological Survey report issued in 2010 found “elevated radioactivity is evident at all sites” previously mined or explored for uranium on public lands north of Grand Canyon. The report also found that “fifteen springs and five wells in the region contain concentrations of dissolved uranium that exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level for drinking water and are related to mining processes.”

In issuing the permits, the state refused to require monitoring for fine particulate matter uranium dust, which can enter the bloodstream through inhalation; alpha radiation can then impact cells and DNA, causing cancer and genetic defects. Fine particulate dust has been linked to several forms of toxicity in humans.

The aquifer pollution permit lacks aquifer water-quality monitoring down-gradient of the mine. It also lacks a remediation plan or bonding for such a plan in case aquifer contamination occurs. The permit issued is a “general” permit — the kind used for gas stations and other common facilities. Under the Napolitano administration, Arizona environmental regulators required a more stringent “individual” permit for the Canyon uranium mine.

“Given the potential threat to the groundwater and ultimately the seeps and springs of Grand Canyon, it is outrageous that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is not requiring the most stringent protections and is moving forward with permitting this mine under a permit that is supposed to be for activities that pose little threat to the aquifer,” said Alicyn Gitlin with the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter.

Deep aquifers have already been contaminated by uranium mining around Grand Canyon. Officials are still unsure how to clean up uranium pollution leaching into two Grand Canyon National Park creeks from the closed Orphan Mine on the south rim.

“State regulators in Arizona can’t guarantee that mining won’t contaminate regional aquifers. If that happens it would be impossible to clean up, and the damage would be permanent,” said McKinnon. “The state of Arizona is playing a foolish game of Russian roulette with a precious and irreplaceable resource.”

Today’s permits were issued as the U.S. Department of the Interior conducts public meetings on its proposal to protect 1 million acres of public land around Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims and the development of existing claims lacking valid existing rights. All three mines permitted today occur within the million-acre area; none of the mining claims in the area have valid rights.

Contact: Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 310-6713
Alicyn Gitlin, Sierra Club, (520) 491-9528
Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust, (928) 774-7488

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Roberto Rodriguez: Arizona Refuses to Take a Backseat to History

Arizona Refuses to Take Backseat to History
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Sometimes columns just seem to write themselves. The world is aflame, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East, and as a result, extremist Arizona legislators seems to be getting a complex … nobody seems to be paying as much attention to them compared to just several weeks ago.
Even Wisconsin has managed to upstage the rogue Arizona legislators. Utah too. As such, the Arizona rogue legislators have stepped forward to once again capture the 19th century spotlight.
Arizona put itself on the map last year for passing several bills that appear to send out the message that brown people are not welcome. The bill, SB 1070, the one that compels local police to seek out the legal status of suspects based on the nebulous concept of “reasonable suspicion,” is as close to official ethnic cleansing as one can get.
Because the “migra” or immigration services have long had that power, on the streets, “reasonable suspicion” translates to brown skin and the use of the Spanish language.
The HB 2281 bill is an attempt to deny the teaching of Ethnic Studies in Arizona. Its first target is Tucson’s highly successful Mexican American Studies K-12 program.
The attack on this program amounts to cultural genocide, though many people bristle at that description. Yet, how else to describe an attempt to forcefully assimilate any population? But all that is so 2010. 2011 in Arizona began with not simply declaring Mexican American Studies illegal – with an April 18 deadline to dismantle the program – but with a flurry of bills that make both of these bills seem Mexican-friendly.
The following will give you an example of the environment we are living – this, in the midst of a huge nationwide state-by-state budget crisis in which Mexicans always become convenient scapegoats.
Several of the bills, include: SB 1611. This so-called omnibus immigration bill is the equivalent of a free-for all. It is a collection of all the most extreme anti-immigrant ideas under one bill.
Among its many features, it prohibits students from enrolling in K-12 without proof of U.S.-birth certificates or naturalization documents. This bill goes contrary to the Plyler v. Doe 1982 Supreme Court decision.
It does the same for community colleges. It also permits the state housing authority to evict all residents of a public housing unit if one of the occupants is undocumented. “Driving while undocumented” would hereafter be a crime and the driver would lose the vehicle they are driving. It also forces companies to use the voluntary E-Verify system or lose their business license.
SB 1308 and SB 1309. These bills call for the nullification of birthright citizenship, reinterpreting the 14th amendment as no longer operative in Arizona. These bills would result in the creation of two types of birth certificates; one for citizens and one for those whose citizenship of the parents cannot be proven.
Truthfully, these two bills seem to be the holy grail of the 2011 bills. The rest appear to be subterfuge. The state legislators know that even when passed, they would be automatically challenged in court. But that’s the objective; if they were to succeed – via a Supreme Court decision – it would accomplish the objective of creating a larger deportable population. This is not an Arizona plan either, but the plan by many dozens of extremist legislators from throughout the United States to overturn the 14th Amendment, an amendment they claim only should have applied to the descendants of slaves.

SB 1097: This bill forces students to identify the legal status of their parents and also punishes school personnel if they don’t facilitate this identification process.
SB 1490: Requires food service workers to provide proof of citizenship. SB 1406: Authorizes the creation of a wall using private funding and inmate labor. SB1405: Requires hospitals to check for legal documentation before accepting patients.
SCR 1006: This would proclaim, contrary to all available data, the border as lawless and crime-ridden. It would call for further militarization of the border.
SB 1117/HB 2537: This would authorize Senate President Russell Pearce and House Speaker Kirk Adams, the unlimited power to use state funds to defend SB 1070.
Aside from creating an extremist slush fund, perhaps anticipating lawsuits or other court action, legislators have also proposed two even more mind-boggling laws: SB 1443: This legislation creates a joint 12-member legislative commission to examine which federal laws are applicable to Arizona. The commission would determine which federal laws are unconstitutional.
SCR 1010: This would exempt Arizona from international laws, most of which concern themselves with the protection of peoples’ inherent, inalienable and universal human rights.

Again, this is just a small sampling of this year's bills thus far, in part compiled by Derechos Humanos, an Arizona-based human rights organization. Until the political equation is altered, we can expect a flurry of more bills that will continue to be challenged in court, while stimulating calls to once again boycott this state – seemingly the last bastion of Manifest Destiny.

Now for the bad news out of Utah… 3 more bills:

HB 497: Think Arizona and SB 1070. Same draconian racial profiling measures. For it to be implemented, it would have to survive a court challenge.

HB 116: Utah’s very own Bracero Program. Would require a federal waiver. Without one, states currently cannot create their guest worker program.

HB 466: Permits Utah to enter into agreement with Mexican state of Nuevo Leon to facilitate federal migrant worker program.

These three are up for the governor’s signature (or veto) next week.

The rest of the country seems to have slowed up, perhaps simply waiting for Arizona to take the lead (to exhaust its finances on defending these draconian bills in the courtroom).

The good news in all this is that Precious Knowledge, a film that documents the inspiring story of the threatened MAS-TUSD program will have its U.S. nationwide premier on March 24.

Rodriguez, a professor at the University of Arizona, can be reached at:

Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Column of the Americas
PO BOX 3812
Tucson, AZ 85722


Monday, March 7, 2011

Mexico: The Silencing of Women's Voices

The Silencing of Women’s Voices
By Frontera Norte-Sur
Photo: Susana Chavez, who was murdered.
On Tuesday, March 8, International Women’s Day 2011, the voices of many
prominent human rights defenders will be absent from Ciudad Juarez,
Mexico. Within the past 14 months, human rights campaigner Josefina Reyes,
poet Susana Chavez and activist mother Marisela Escobedo all have been
murdered, while Cipriana Jurado of the Worker Solidarity and Research
Center and Paula Flores have been forced to flee the city.

Eva Arce, another well-known women’s activist, has been the target of
previous attacks and threats, and Malu Garcia, a founder of the
anti-femicide organization May Our Daughters Return Home, had her house
set on fire last month.

Paula Flores, whose young daughter Sagrario Gonzalez was abducted and
murdered in 1998, not only was a strong advocate for relatives of femicide
victims, but a community organizer who worked to keep young people out of
the cycle of crime and violence in the low-income Lomas de Poleo section
of the border city.

“The murders of human rights activists show that public space can’t be
used,” asserted Dr. Julia Monarrez Fragoso, researcher and director of El
Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Ciudad Juarez. “You can’t raise
your voice and those that do are ‘deserving’ of their deaths.”

Additionally, activists’ relatives have become targets, with vivid
examples being the February killings of Elias and Magdalena Reyes, the
brother and sister of Josefina Reyes, along with Elias’ wife Luisa

Interviewed on a Mexico City radio station last week, Marisela Reyes said
a new threat received by her slain sister Magdalena’s son was the final
straw, prompting the family to decide political asylum abroad was its only
realistic option.

As a first step in the asylum process, more than 20 surviving members of
the family then flew to Mexico City this past weekend. Prior to the mass
departure, some Ciudad Juarez news sites published photos of the hotel
where the family was staying under police protection.

Other stories later reported on an unusual demonstration of unnamed
persons accusing Reyes family members of besmirching the reputation of
local law enforcement; some anonymous comments published on the Internet
accused the Reyes clan of links with organized crime.

In a press release, the Mexican federal attorney general’s office (PGR)
said national authorities were collaborating with Chihuahua state law
enforcement in investigating last month’s murders of Reyes family members.
The PGR said all motives for the slayings were under consideration.

On Saturday, March 5, the Reyes family and their supporters ended a nearly
month-old protest encampment outside the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s
offices in Ciudad Juarez. Accompanied by Olga Reyes, several dozen
activists then staged a demonstration outside the US Consulate against
violence, militarization and US arms trafficking to Mexico.

Reyes said the protest was necessary because “people in many parts of
Mexico and in other countries don’t know what’s happening in Chihuahua.”
During the demonstration she wore a sash that read: “I am a Reyes Salazar
and don’t want another member of my family murdered.” In total, six
members of the family have been victims of homicide since 2008.

A spreading climate of terror was separately confirmed by Mexico’s
National Human Rights Commission, which requested state protection March 6
for relatives of victims of 2009 Villas de Salvarcar massacre of young
people in Ciudad Juarez. The government human rights agency said
protective measures were necessary to guarantee the safety and physical
integrity of the families.

On a closely related note, the Las Cruces-based solidarity group Amigos de
las Mujeres (Friends of Women) expressed grave concern about the “rash of
assassinations and attacks on activists who are demanding justice” carried
out by “unknown paramilitary organizations, and called attention to a
“disturbing pattern” in which entire families begin to receive threats
that even escalate into more murders.

In a statement, Amigos de las Mujeres also sharply criticized the US
federal government for its treatment of surviving members of Marisela
Escobedo’s family. A Ciudad Juarez mother who tirelessly protested the
murder of her daughter, Escobedo was gunned down in front of state
government offices in Chihuahua City last December. Shortly afterward, her
husband’s business was torched and her brother-in-law murdered.

Family members then sought refuge in the United States, but Marisela’s son
Juan Manuel Frayre Escobedo and brother Hector Escobedo Ortiz remain
locked up in an Otero County, New Mexico, immigration detention center.

The facility, Amigos de las Mujeres noted, was the subject of a recent
report from the American Civil Liberties Union that documented a host of
abuses. The group urged its sympathizers to contact their Congressional
representatives and lobby for the release of Marisela Escobedo’s relatives
from the immigration prison.

For nearly a decade, Amigos de las Mujeres has worked in support of
relatives of femicide victims in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua. And like
many advocates on both sides the border, group members have observed
violence against women and their advocates in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua
spiral upward with no let-up in sight.

According to a new report from COLEF, at least 1,192 women have been
murdered in Ciudad Juarez since 1993, with 442 of the homicides occurring
in the 12-year period from 1993 to 2005 when the city become known
internationally for the crimes committed against women. Of the earlier
victims, 58 remain unidentified, according to Dr. Julia Monarrez.

The lead researcher in the study, Monarrez has identified two main types
of gender violence in the city: domestic and marital violence, and a
second one marked by the serial murders of young, low-income women who are
kidnapped, tortured and mutilated by groups of “powerful men.”

In recent years, a third variant of violence, connected to organized crime
disputes, has added an “extra” deadly element to an already violent scene,
Monarrez told the Mexican press in a recent interview.

In one of the latest instances of criminal violence, an unidentified young
woman was shot to death firing squad-style along with four men in the
Barrio Alto neighborhood of Ciudad Juarez early on the morning of March 6.
Witnesses quoted in the local press described the victim unsuccessfully
begging for her life. On the same day, another woman was found possibly
beaten to death in the city’s conflict-ridden downtown zone.

The violence in Ciudad Juarez will receive heightened international
scrutiny this week, when members of the non-governmental Ciudad Juarez
Women’s Roundtable give talks in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. The
European tour is part of a new campaign to protest the “simulation of the
Mexican state” in addressing gender violence, as well the Calderon
administration’s failure to fully comply with the 2009 Inter-American
Court of Human Rights sentence related to the murders of three young women
in Ciudad Juarez back in 2001.

Andrea Medina Rosas, Women’s Roundtable spokesperson, said hundreds of
national and international recommendations concerning gender violence have
been made to the Mexican government during the last two decades, including
some of which have been attended, but that “effective results” have been
lacking until now.

Additional sources, El Diario de Juarez, March 6 and 7, 2011. Articles by
Daniel Dominguez and editorial staff., March 5, 6 and 7,
2011., March 5 and 6, 2011. La Jornada, March 5, 2011.
Articles by Ruben Villalpando and Ariane Diaz., March 4,
2011. Articles by Gladis Torres Ruiz. El Paso Times, February 18, 2011.
Article by Diana Washington Valdez.

Frontera NorteSur is made possible by reader contributions and a grant
from the McCune Charitable Foundation

Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Photos: Long Walkers speak to Nez Perce students 2011

Photos by Longest Walk 3 northern route. Long walkers speak to Nez Perce students on Thursday, March 3, 2011.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Navajos Forgotten People to UN: The Right to Safe Water 2011

3 1 2011 FP Case SUBMITTED for UN Visit for safe drinking water & sanitation[1]

Many thanks for this important contribution. Receipt is confirmed.


Lucinda O'Hanlon
Special Procedures Division / OHCHR
Palais Wilson, Office 3-080
tel: +41 22 917 9679

Forgotten People
01.03.2011 22:40, "Duane H. Yazzie" , mroberts , Forgotten People
SubjectRe: Forgotten People's Case to IE on the Human Right to Water & Sanitation

Attention: Ms. Lucinda O'Hanlon, Office of the Independent Expert (IE)

For: Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, Independent Expert (IE) on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Mission to the US, United Nations Human Rights Council.
Dated: March 1, 2011
Via E-mail:
Re: IE official visit, February 23-March 4, 2011 and official report to U.S.
Forgotten People is herewith submitting these documents in response to a posting by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights about the Independent Expert investigation of Human Rights to Water and Sanitation and official report to the U.S.
Please confirm receipt of this document and contact us to obtain more information and schedule an on-site visit.
Don Yellowman, President
Joe Klain, Vice-President
Lucy Knorr, Sec'y/Treasurer
Marsha Monestersky, Program Director
Copy: Honorable Leonard Gorman and Duane H. Yazzie, Navajo Human Rights Commission
Ms. Michelle Roberts

[attachment "3 1 2011 FP Case SUBMITTED for UN Visit for safe drinking water & sanitation.doc" deleted by Lucinda O'Hanlon/UNCHR/UN]
Lucinda O'Hanlon
Special Procedures Division / OHCHR
Palais Wilson, Office 3-080
tel: +41 22 917 9679

March 2, 2011

Dear Ms. O’Halon,

Greetings from the Navajo Nation! Thank you for confirming receipt of Forgotten People, Navajo Nation 3/1/2011 case submission on the human rights to water and sanitation.

Please let us know when we will hear from you so we can schedule an on-site investigation and be included in the official report to the U.S. As you can appreciate, the issues here are critical to water haulers in the former Bennett Freeze and throughout the Navajo Nation.

There is a great deal of information we can share with you on safe drinking water and sanitation issues and some of the solutions we have implemented for water haulers.

In the interim, please include the following links in Forgotten People’s case file:

1. US Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Report highlighting the work of Forgotten People.

Health and Environmental Impacts of Uranium Contamination in the Navajo Nation EPA Progress in Implementing a 5-Year Cleanup Plan
April 2009 Progress Report

2. Forgotten People and La Sierra University 9/2010 PowerPoint presentation posted on US Environmental Protection Agency website

Decolonizing the Navajo Nation
Using Grassroots Driven Development & Activism to Secure Environmental
September, 2010
Uranium Contamination and Stakeholder Workshop
Community Involvement Session
Tuba City (Navajo Nation), AZ

10/2010 US EPA Uranium Stakeholders Conference, Tuba City (Navajo Nation), AZ

3. Forgotten People 2/2011 PowerPoint to Navajo Generating Station – Securing Economic & Climate Justice
Forgotten People Resolution to NGS
4. Forgotten People 3/2010 Abstract posted on US EPA website.

Forgotten People CDC – The Navajo Nation Laboratory
US EPA Health Disparities Symposium: Strengthening Environmental Justice
and Decision Making: A Symposium on the Science of Disproportionate
Environmental Health Impacts

3/2010 US EPA Health Disparities Symposium, Washington, DC: Strengthening Environmental Justice and Decision Making: A Symposium on the Science of Disproportionate Environmental Health Impacts

4. Historic 1/2010 Navajo Nation Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency

(Document is also attached as an Adobe file)

5. Forgotten People’s website and updated blog for more information at:

Respectfully submitted,

Lucy Knorr, Sec’y Treasurer Marsha Monestersky, Program Director

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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